free html hit counter January 2008 - Page 7 of 8 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Om: Get Better Soon, Man

By - January 03, 2008

Om Malik, a pal and FM colleague, had a heart attack over the holidays – the best kind, the one that let him live and recover and, I can only imagine, come back with a renewed zest for life. But wow, what a wake up call to us all. Get better soon, Om.

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Rich Skrenta, no stranger to long time readers of this site, is starting a search site. He’s calling it Blekko (for now, the pic is what you see on the site at present).

This should be interesting. From his post:

The web is big. Really, really big. It’s literally billions and billions of pages. It’s Carl Sagan big. And it’s doubling in size every year or two.

So the idea that what you can see in positions 1-3 above the fold on Google are the sum of what the web has to say about every possible query is crazy.

And yet they have 85%+ market share, and little effective competition. At the same time there is such a fabulous business in search. It’s the highest monetization service on the web, by far. Why does this Coke have no Pepsi?

Having just spent 5 years in the media space, I’ve come away with the idea that editorial differentiation is possible. But the editorial voice of a search engine is in the index…so it has to be algorithmic editorial differentiation.

This is the man who has written that PageRank wrecked the web, and that Google is going down. Rich is a serious guy, however, and I’ve emailed him asking for a quick interview.

CBS Video: Not In The Conversation

By - January 02, 2008

Close readers will notice a trend in 2008 here on Searchblog: I’ll be posting stuff about conversations, and in particular how companies are doing when it comes to having conversations with their key constituents. You may recall my one of my seminal posts on this topic: From Pull To Point, in which I urged the Wall St. Journal and the Economist to join what I called at that time “The Point To Economy.” I now call it “The Conversation Economy” and since I wrote that post, the NYT has joined, and it looks like the Journal may follow. But as this post from Poynter shows, CBS News ain’t even nearly there yet, and it’s particularly interesting, because it has to do with video, which I think is a key grammar in what I am starting to call the emerging Internet Creole. From the post:

CBS Sunday Morning may be the best news show on television. A couple of weeks ago, it carried a superb piece on the art of conversation — one that I wanted to send to a friend. So, logically, I went to to look for it.

It’s not there. Or maybe it is — but I certainly couldn’t find it.

An Experiment with PDF Ads Via Yahoo

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Tf 3.Samllcover

Kevin Kelly is trying out a new ad insertion program with his book “True Films”. His write up is interesting and Kevin’s always thoughtful about these things.

Earlier editions of this book have been available on Amazon, Lulu, and as a cheap download from my site. But with this new version 3.0 I am trying something new. I am offering this 200-page full-color guide (perfect as a companion if you have Netflix) as a FREE download. It’s in PDF format, but with a twist. To help offset the significant bandwidth costs of these downloads (I hope my server can take the wave), I have appended advertisements to the PDF book. Here is how the ads work:

If you choose to see the ads, they will appear in a gray sidebar on the right, adjacent to the pages of the book, just outside the frame of the page…..These ads are inserted into the PDF by Adobe (using the Yahoo ad network) when you open the file. Like Google Adsense ads, they are contextual.

Wikia Search: BB Review

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Boing Boing has a good write up of the philosophy behind Wikia Search, though it’s light on any details. Wikia search will launch Jan 7, according to this WP article. From the BB post:

But ranking algorithms are editorial: they embody the biases, hopes, beliefs and hypotheses of the programmers who write and design them. What’s more, a tiny handful of search engines effectively control the prominence and viability of the majority of the information in the world.

And those search engines use secret ranking systems to systematically and secretly block enormous swaths of information on the grounds that it is spam, malware, or using deceptive “optimization” techniques. The list of block-ees is never published, nor are the criteria for blocking. This is done in the name of security, on the grounds that spammers and malware hackers are slowed down by the secrecy.

But “security through obscurity” is widely discredited in information security circles. Obscurity stops dumb attackers from getting through, but it lets the smart attackers clobber you because the smart defenders can’t see how your system works and point out its flaws.

Seen in this light, it’s positively bizarre: a few companies’ secret editorial criteria are used to control what information we see, and those companies defend their secrecy in the name of security-through-obscurity? Yikes!


By - January 01, 2008

Why go? Well, I think this picture of my daughter Beatrix on the Teacups ride says it all…

Bea Rocks And Rolls