free html hit counter April 2008 - Page 2 of 6 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Universal Search: The Battle For Your New Video Habits

By - April 21, 2008

As I noted in my panel dust up with the head of Google’s universal search product, I found it interesting that YouTube was being pushed so directly into Google’s universal search results. This from Hitwise I also find interesting:

One interesting trend that I have noticed is that search engines and social networks are now accounting for an equal share of referred traffic. Last week (ending April 12, 2008) the share of upstream traffic from search increased 35% over the same week the previous year, while the referred traffic from social networks declined 20%.

Upstream 04-12-2008

I am curious if this trend is because of natural causes, or an intentional effort by Google to counteract an otherwise disturbing reality: that social networks were better at driving traffic to video than search. It has implications…if consumers were to get in the habit of finding their video through social nets, and not search, that could hurt future revenues at search sites.

When, I wonder, did Google start integrating video into its results? Why, May of 07, exactly the same time the orange line started its travel downward. Interesting.

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Are Ad Networks Good In Recessions?

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That’s what this Times article seems to imply:

Last year, Mr. Townsend said, many clients were happy to spend money just to raise awareness. Since January, however, “everyone’s retail-oriented. They want as many clicks for the dollar as possible,” he said.

Well, it’s fine and dandy to harvest demand for as long as you can, using ad networks. But at some point, you have to create demand as well. I sense that as we enter a downturn, the smart marketers are getting ready to do just that, as opposed to chasing ever decreasing margins down the rathole of direct response.

Web 2 Expo This Week

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Posting might be a bit light as I will be at the Web 2 Expo this week. It’s shaping up to be quite a show, with news from Microsoft, Yahoo (not that news!) and many others…

Blogs, Buzz, and Moms

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Our partner BabyCenter has released a study about the power of Mom’s online. Not surprisingly, they are one of the most influential groups online.

New research released today by BabyCenter(R), the largest online resource for expectant and new parents around the world, and industry-leading market research company, the Keller Fay Group, reveals that today’s pregnant women and new moms engage in one-third more word of mouth conversations per day than the total public or women and almost two-thirds of these conversations include brand recommendations. This group has an average of 109 word of mouth conversations per week about products, services and brands, most of which are positive and considered highly credible by other moms.

Voice And Point of View

By - April 18, 2008

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These are the two essential ingredients to any successful media property, to my mind. But I’m not alone, I’m really just parroting Clay Felker, my partner for a few brief years when I taught at Berkeley, and a legendary figure in the world of magazines.

So why do I bring them up? Because for once, I have something nice to say about Time Inc., in particular, its flagship magazine, Time. When I was in Europe, I read the cover story of Time that week, “The Clean Energy Myth.” The piece was a winner – a conceptual scoop, an important and timely topic, and – this was the really surprising part – a true argument, an attempt to make a point. It was so refreshing, and so different than the warmed over “on the one hand, on the other hand” pap I was used to from most newsmagazines. This article was great journalism, and it had a serious point of view. The last graf, for example:

Advocates are always careful to point out that biofuels are only part of the solution to global warming, that the world also needs more energy-efficient lightbulbs and homes and factories and lifestyles. And the world does need all those things. But the world is still going to be fighting an uphill battle until it realizes that right now, biofuels aren’t part of the solution at all. They’re part of the problem.

I figured it had to be an article for only Europe. But when I got back, I was thrilled to see it on the cover here as well. I have not checked, I’m hoping they didn’t water it down. But in any case, it struck me that Time was starting to realize what conversational media properties already knew inherently – you can’t survive on distribution alone. You need Voice and Point of View.

I noticed another thing about Time recently: The magazine now writes a leader opinion piece, often strongly worded, to kick off the entire magazine. I love this idea, we did it at The Standard. It says “This publication stands for something. We’re leaders, arbiters of analysis.” Bravo, Time.

(Of course, I think nearly every site represented by FM has Voice and Point of View in some way or another, but I’m biased. Or rather, that’s my point of view…)

Language Is the Transit of Conversation

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Some musings, fundamental stuff for most of you I imagine, but still, background on the noodling I continue to do around my shadow next book, over at the Amex site where I’m contributing some thoughts from time to time as part of an FM brokered marketing program. From it:

At its core, the Web is a network of computers. As businesspeople, we’ve been in dialog with computers for some time now. But back in the 1960s and 1970s, computers were hulking machines meant for the back offices of Very Large Companies, not small businesses. These machines had a very particular interface – a command line into which you were required to type an arcane “computer language” to get anything done. The number of people who spoke this language were understandably low, and therefore, the number of people in the world who were having “conversations with machines” was also quite low.

In the 1980s, we all got “personal computers,” and thanks to the graphical user interface – “GUI” – millions of us starting talking with computers. But the conversation was hardly fluent. I call this the “hunt and poke” era of computing – we used a mouse to navigate a representational desktop; when we found something we wanted, we poked at it until it came alive for us. This gesticulative interface – not unlike what the wordless signals we employ while in a foreign land in need of the bathroom – is a step forward, but it sure doesn’t scale.

And then the Internet came along. And everything changed. Now we were not just navigating our desktops, or the back office computer files. We were navigating mankind’s possible knowledge base. The whole shootin’ match. Clearly, not a place we could hunt and poke our way through. We needed a new interface. And we found one, in search.


By - April 17, 2008

I am the first John on Google. WTF? Google, please don’t change this. I feel – so giddy!

(hmmm, really, WTF?!)

The First John

I mean, I am ahead of Lennon. The Gospel. Er…McCain. WTF? What I really love about this is that I found out from my kids drama teacher via my wife. No wait, my wife knew, but I didn’t. Then Neil at FM told me. In an email. Because his kid saw it. I mean really. WTF?


Since folks are seeing it all over, it’s not just Google doing personal narcissism search (yeah, we can’t wait till we’re all first in our own searches….see image above). Huh.