free html hit counter September 2007 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Customer Policy in the Age of Conversation

By - September 30, 2007

AT&T has a TOS for its customers which, implemented strictly, would be an indefensible limitation on freedom of speech (and would create a shitstorm for the company if enforced). I’m very interested to see how long it takes for AT&T to listen to the howling in the blogosphere, and revise that TOS. My take: Companies who don’t listen, respond, and iterate are doomed to fail in the conversation economy.

The language:

5.1 Suspension/Termination. Your Service may be suspended or terminated if your payment is past due and such condition continues un-remedied for thirty (30) days. In addition, AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by you, without notice, for conduct that AT&T believes (a) violates the Acceptable Use Policy; (b) constitutes a violation of any law, regulation or tariff (including, without limitation, copyright and intellectual property laws) or a violation of these TOS, or any applicable policies or guidelines, or (c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries.

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Huh. Yahoo's Better, Google's … Bigger-er?

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This Compete study was interesting to me (found on Mashable). The blog posts that summarizes it asks:

An interesting data point got me thinking recently. According to Compete data there are roughly 7.5 billion search queries performed every month by the US Online Population. However there are only about 5 billion search referrals every month. This means that roughly 1/3 of all searches in some sense go unanswered. People search for something and then don’t click on a search result. So the obvious question is which search engine is doing the best job from a “search fulfillment” standpoint?

It then answers:

Yahoo! pretty much takes the cake on this one with about 75% of searches performed on Yahoo! in August resulted in a referral. By comparison, searches on Google result in a referral about 65% of the time and searches on MSN/Live result in a referral about 59% of the time. Lower search fulfillment numbers mean that on a percentage basis fewer search queries on that engine resulted in the searcher clicking on a result link. So from this perspective one might consider Yahoo! more effective at getting consumers the results they want.


I can imagine that these results have to do with any number of contextual issues – do people who use Yahoo search exclusively, for example, have habits that Google searchers do not? For example, I wonder if folks who do tons and tons of searches each day – the most high volume, hard core users of search – might be Google users, and also might use Google the way I do – very iteratively, in other words, I try a lot of query strings till I get the one I want, then I drill down.

Just a thought. When I see studies like this, I tend to not buy the obvious conclusion. That’s not to say it might not be true, but it strikes me more is most likely in play here than meets the eye.

Last Few Days to Submit to the Web 2 Launchpad

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The submissions deadline is Oct. 1 for the Launchpad, for those of you who need a gentle reminder. We’ve got a great group of applicants already, but the deadline is very strict, as we have to have time for the final judging process.

A reminder on the new approach this year:

At this year’s Web 2.0 Summit, we are evolving Launch Pad a bit. While it’s great to be chosen to launch your new company at a conference like Web 2.0 Summit, the reality of the market is that the majority of successful Web 2.0 companies do more than just launch products. They also often pass the test of VC scrutiny— that’s how the market determines who wins and loses in the world of startups. To that end, this year there is no fee for companies involved, instead, the VCs are sponsoring the program.

The New Approach

This VC Edition of Launch Pad has several adjustments to the typical judging process:

* The judging panel will be comprised of six venture capitalists who will review Launch Pad companies as if considering them for funding.

* Judges will select up to eight finalists, that will be given ten minutes each, to pitch themselves on stage, in front of the entire Web 2.0 Summit audience and the VC judging panel.

* Each company will be provided feedback on its presentation in real time, by both the VC judges and the audience.

* The VCs may, at any time, offer these applicants non-binding term sheets for financing.

Entrants no longer need to launch their company or major product/service to qualify. Instead, those that apply will be reviewed by our panel of venture capitalists. If they make the first cut, they will pitch their company in front of the Web 2.0 Summit audience – the top executives, financiers, press, and analysts in the Internet industry. The audience will also have the opportunity to vote, along with the VC panel.

Still On the Road

By - September 26, 2007

I’m always on the road when loads of news breaks. Alas. But I will be back starting Thursday….

Facebook Investment

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I met with Mark Zuckerberg last week. One thing he told me was this: dealing with financing and corporate development strategy was not anywhere near the top of his list.

Well, it’s at the top of someone’s list, as the news out yesterday was all about Facebook taking an investment from either Microsoft or Google. Money is very, very cheap to Facebook right now, and it’ll be very, very interesting to see if Microsoft ends up winning this round. Mark may not be that focused on corporate strategy, but if Google does not come out on top, I doubt it’ll be due to a lack of attention on his part….

Inside Facebook

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I’m enjoying Justin’s writing and wanted to point you all to his site, and thanks for the reminder, Frank. He’s asked a good question here:

As the initial bonanza matures, how long do you think Facebook will be able to maintain its hands-off approach to the Platform economy?

If Google Buys Sirius

By - September 24, 2007


I’m shorting the stock. Oh wait, I don’t have any stock. But if I did, I’d short it. That would signal, to me anyway, that the company is overreaching. It’s pretty close as it is, in terms of how much pasta is being thrown at walls. You can’t do 25 things well at once.

What am I talking about? This rumor.