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

I Will Admit…

By - June 26, 2008

I miss the luxury of thinking hard about ideas, as we got to when editing Wired, or I got to when writing The Search. This piece reminded me of those glorious times. Of course, Kevin has made an entire career of it.

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Interview: Gian Fulgoni, Chair, Comscore

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I noticed an interesting comment on my previous post on the launch of Google’s AdPlanner, from Gian Fulgoni, Founder and Chairman of Comscore, a company that has gotten hammered in the aftermath of Google’s launch. I asked if he’d elaborate, and here’s the interview:

In your comment on the Searchblog post noting Google’s Ad Planner, you noted discrepancies between publisher’s server logs and Google’s numbers. Can you say more? Why is this?

I suspect the main reason is that traffic numbers from server log data are inflated because of cookie deletion whereas panel metrics don’t rely on cookies and so aren’t affected by cookie deletion. As an example, Google Ad Planner shows as having 9 million UVs in a month. comScore shows as having 11.9 million UVs and themselves have claimed they get 19 million UVs based on their server logs.

Separately, I’ve noted comments on the blogosphere from several site operators saying that their Google Analytic UVs are twice as high as their Google Trends UV numbers.

Are you concerned about Google’s new product? What are you telling your apparently startled investors?

We think that Google’s products and ours are designed for very different purposes. Theirs appear to represent a point solution aimed primarily at driving ad dollars to Google sites or sites in the Google Ad Network. In contrast, comScore’s products are designed to be used for media planning and analysis on a Web wide basis. We believe that ad agencies, advertisers and publishers (especially any publisher that competes with Google) will continue to insist on the use of objective, third party sources of data such as comScore’s. Nobody wants to see the fox guarding the chicken coop.

comScore offers a broad portfolio of solutions for media planning and analysis that include:

§ Home vs. work vs. university

§ Dictionary hierarchy of multiple levels: property, channel,

subchannel, etc.

§ Ad network view, custom views for companies that represent a

collection of sites.

§ Measurement of duration or time spent

§ Measurement of sessions

§ Measurement of day part

§ Segmentation by heavy, medium and light users

§ Segmentation by content consumption: finance, sports, health,

entertainment, etc.

§ Segmentation by Prism code, PersonicX code, customized customer


§ Source / loss

§ URL level detail

§ Custom entities on the fly

§ Buying power index

§ Ad Impressions

§ Reach / Frequency

§ Advertising effectiveness, including branding, latency and offline


§ Video Metrix – reporting of online video consumption

Do you trust Google as an arbiter of where ad planners should put their money? If so, why? If not, why not?

My personal belief is that Google hasn’t built these products with the objective of entering the market research industry and being an “independent arbiter” of where ad planners should put their money. Rather, they appear to have built tools that help facilitate the movement of display ad dollars to Google and its Ad Network. Nothing wrong with that if you’re in the business of selling advertising. But, can you be that and be an arbiter at the same time? Perhaps Sarah Fay, CEO of Aegis North America, put it best when she said: “For an advertiser, the last thing you want to do is to have your adviser be the same person you are spending your money with.”

Yahoo Reorgs Again

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From the Journal:

Yahoo Inc. announced plans to centralize is product development to drive more global revenue as it tries to beat back concerns about its ability to compete as an independent company.

The new blueprint shifts more responsibility to two senior executives who will lead two newly created groups. Ash Patel, a longtime company executive who has been overseeing Yahoo’s efforts to open up its sites to third-party developers, will lead an Audience Products Division overseeing the development of new products. Hilary Schneider, who currently oversees the company’s sales operations and publisher network, will be in charge of activities for the U.S….

More when I get out of meetings…

BBC Gates Documentary

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I enjoyed being part of this thoughtful documentary on the impact of Bill Gates on our industry, which was available only in the UK, but is now up on YouTube in several parts. The first of them is embedded below.

Search News

By - June 25, 2008

Two notable search startups had news in the past day:

Kosmix launched horizontal topics, quietly at first, then TC caught on.

And SearchMe is mining new visual search approaches. Marketing Pilgrim has more.

More Secret Sauces

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Google Ad Planner has its own secret sauce, Danny finds. And that is troubling, at least in some ways. Where’s the data coming from, asks Danny, and then TC. So far, no answers. That’s not going to stand.


By - June 24, 2008

From Mike:

We’ve got multiple sources at both Yahoo and Microsoft telling us that official talks are back on between the two companies. But we’re hearing something different than CNET – the talks are about a full buyout again, not a sweetened search-only deal.

A Business Model For News

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Seems everyone today is talking about why Google News isn’t growing as fast as most other news sites. I think the answer is easy: There’s no business model. If Google were making money off Google News, I bet it’d be growing pretty darn fast. Simple. When something adds value, value get added back to it.

I’ve long thought that Google News should have a business model. But that would mean Google act like a publisher…..

What Are Community Standards?

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Is it what people say they value publicly, or what they search for in the privacy of their home? Man, that’s a tricky one.

In the trial of a pornographic Web site operator, the defense plans to show that residents of Pensacola are more likely to use Google to search for terms like “orgy” than for “apple pie” or “watermelon.” The publicly accessible data is vague in that it does not specify how many people are searching for the terms, just their relative popularity over time. But the defense lawyer, Lawrence Walters, is arguing that the evidence is sufficient to demonstrate that interest in the sexual subjects exceeds that of more mainstream topics — and that by extension, the sexual material distributed by his client is not outside the norm.

Google Comscore Killer?

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I don’t know how long ago it was I begged Google to do a version of Comscore that publishers actually could agree with. (Actually, thanks to site search, here’s my plea). Anyway, here’s a Marketwatch/WSJ story that claims it’s on the way:

Google Inc., the dominant player in Internet searches, is planning to unveil a new service that measures Internet usage utilizing data from Web servers, the Wall Street Journal reported late Monday, citing sources who have been briefed on the plan. The new tool, which can be launched as early as Tuesday, is intended to help advertisers find the best places to buy online ads by showing them the Web sites where their target audiences visit, the newspaper said.

Such a tool must be neutral and not bias advertisers toward buying on Google properties or those that have Google ads, which of course is going to be a perceived bias in any case. Such is the price of being Very Big.

Update: Google Ad Planner announced today. Not sure if this is really a Comscore killer. Sounds like a tool to help folks buy Google Ads to me.

OTOH, the markets are punishing Comscore stock