free html hit counter July 2008 - Page 2 of 3 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Remember When I Said It's Over?

By - July 17, 2008

Said it here. Proof points piling up, see this and this:

Today our US Search Engine Performance Report: Q2 2008 was released. Analysis of data from our client index showed that Google took more than its fair share of the overall increase in search spending: for every new dollar spent on search in Q2 2008 versus Q2 2007, $1.10 went to Google. Yahoo lost $0.09, and Microsoft lost $0.01. In other words, advertisers are putting all of their new search dollars into Google, and pulling money out of Yahoo Search and Microsoft Live Search.

If I were at Google, I’d be more than a bit worried. Why? Because once you’ve vanquished your competition, then what?

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Google Experiment: Digg Meets Custom Search

By - July 15, 2008

Thanks to Lost Remote, I found this post from a fellow who found an interesting Google experiment in crowdsourced SERP personalization, what they call “Edit Search Results.”

Justin Serp Top-20080715-050256

From the FAQ:



This feature allows you influence your search experience by adding, moving, and removing search results. When you search for the same keywords again while you are logged in to your Google account, you’ll continue to see those changes. If you later want to revert your changes, you can undo any modifications you’ve made.

Note: This is an experimental feature served to a random selection of participants and may be available for only a few weeks.

Twitter Acquires Summize

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This is probably one of the most important things that Twitter has done in its young history. Search is not good at Twitter, but Summize is a pretty good Twitter search service. It also could be a lot more. And there are many, many more things Twitter could do.

This is also the glimmerings of a business model for Twitter, in that the service needs attachment points of declared intent which may make sense for marketing. Search is certainly one.

The 2008 LaunchPad: Web Meets World

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A while back I announced the theme of this year’s Web 2 Summit:The Opportunity of Limits: Sustaining, Applying and Expanding the Web’s Lessons.”

Since announcing that initial theme and lineup, an amazing group of folks have agreed to come and participate, and if you peruse the list, you’ll note that it’s not just the regular coterie of Internet leaders. Sure, we’ve got those folks coming, and yes, we’ll be focusing just as intently on the opportunities in our industry. But we’re also going further afield. As we wrote in the overview:

In the first four years of the Web 2.0 Summit, we’ve focused on our industry’s challenges and opportunities, highlighting in particular the business models and leaders driving the Internet economy. But as we pondered the theme for this year, one clear signal has emerged: our conversation is no longer just about the Web. Now is the time to ask how the Web—its technologies, its values, and its culture—might be tapped to address the world’s most pressing limits. Or put another way—and in the true spirit of the Internet entrepreneur—its most pressing opportunities.

As we convene the fifth annual Web 2.0 Summit, our world is fraught with problems that engineers might charitably classify as NP hard—from roiling financial markets to global warming, failing healthcare systems to intractable religious wars. In short, it seems as if many of our most complex systems are reaching their limits.

It strikes us that the Web might teach us new ways to address these limits. From harnessing collective intelligence to a bias toward open systems, the Web’s greatest inventions are, at their core, social movements. To that end, we’re expanding our program this year to include leaders in the fields of healthcare, genetics, finance, global business, and yes, even politics.

Last week (while I was on vacation, so I missed posting on it) we announced the focus of our annual Launch Pad program, where we focus on promising startups. This year, we’ve aligned Launch Pad with our theme, and I am very excited by the result. From our description:

For Launch Pad 2008, the focus will be on startups in the fields of alternative energies, social entreprenuerialism, microfinance, developing economies, political action, renewable technologies, and the like. We’ll be particularly interested in where these companies display significant cross over with the web, of course, but this will not be required.

Tim wrote a great post summarizing the idea:

This might seem like quite a departure for the Web 2.0 Summit, the conference that made its name by celebrating the revolution in the consumer internet caused by the move to the internet as platform, service based business models, and social media. Or is it? After all, I’ve argued all along that the real heart of Web 2.0 is the ability of networked applications to harness collective intelligence. Yes, you can harness collective intelligence to build amazing internet businesses, as the past five years have shown us.

But what good is collective intelligence if it doesn’t make us smarter?

In an era of looming scarcities, economic disruption, and the possibility of catastrophic ecological change, it’s time for us all to wake up, to take our new “superpowers” seriously, and to use them to solve problems that really matter.

Submissions are now open. I hope you can help us spread the word!

They Said, We Said In MSFT/YHOO

By - July 14, 2008

I’ve been watching the developments over the past week, and honestly feel like it’s a bad tennis match – back and forth, back and forth, but no aces, no amazing backhand winners.

Here’s another volley from Microsoft today:

Microsoft Sets the Record Straight

REDMOND, Wash. – July 14, 2008 – On the evening of July 12, Yahoo! Inc. released a statement relating to recent discussions involving Yahoo!, Microsoft Corporation, and Carl Icahn. Microsoft believes the statement contains inaccuracies that need to be corrected. Among other things, the enhanced proposal for an alternate search transaction that we submitted late Friday was submitted at the request of Yahoo! Chairman Roy Bostock as a result of apparent attempts by Mr. Icahn to have Microsoft and Yahoo! engage on a search transaction on terms Mr. Icahn believed Microsoft would be willing to accept and which Microsoft understands Mr. Icahn had discussed with Yahoo!.

Specifically, on Thursday afternoon, July 10, Mr. Bostock called Steve Ballmer’s office to arrange a call. On that subsequent call, Mr. Bostock told Mr. Ballmer that “with substantial guarantees on the table and an increase in the TAC (traffic acquisition cost) rate, there are the pillars of a search only deal to be done.” Mr. Bostock encouraged Mr. Ballmer to submit a new proposal to Yahoo! for a search only deal reflecting these terms.

After considering Yahoo’s request and taking into account Yahoo’s previous feedback about our prior search proposal, Microsoft determined late Friday to propose an enhanced search transaction. This proposal included significant revenue guarantees, higher TAC rates, an equity investment and an option for Yahoo! to extend the agreement over a 10 year period.

Microsoft’s proposal did not include changes to Yahoo’s governance.

At the time Microsoft submitted its enhanced proposal, Microsoft asked that Yahoo! confirm whether it would agree that the enhancements were sufficient to form the basis for the parties to engage in negotiations over the weekend on a letter of intent and more detailed term sheets. This discussion has been mischaracterized as a take it or leave it ultimatum, rather than a timetable in order to move forward to intensive negotiations. Yahoo! informed Microsoft on Saturday that it had rejected the proposal.

Feed Reader 169 of "Let's Take It Offline"

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That’s what I am, of Google’s “traditional media blog,” launched early this month.

Here’s the feed. Here’s the mission:



The recent launch of our traditional media advertising platforms enables you to advertise on TV, radio, or in newspapers. We’ve created this blog as a place for you to turn for the latest in feature launches and tips to help you run effective traditional media campaigns.

I think the idea that Google, which most “traditional” media companies fear, “helping” samesaid companies execute is going to take some….finesse. The idea of having a voice that humanizes that relationship is a good one. Looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

What Else Is Fascinating? Yahoo BOSS

By - July 13, 2008

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I have a really long post in me about what Yahoo did last week – announcing Yahoo BOSS, the first step in a truly scaled, open search index. Well done, Yahoo. More to come.

What's Interesting After a Week Off? Google/YouTube, For a Start.

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The Journal pokes a beehive about YouTube’s revenue, which is not what it should be and is a real thorn for Google. In light of the Viacom case, this is very interesting stuff. Then Cuban claims the porn issue means Google will lose – it only sells ads on non porn content, meaning it’s filtering, meaning it’s not a safe harbor DMCA defensible play. No matter what, this is going to be landmark stuff. The funny thing is to hear Google acknowledge it has a mess on its hands as it deals with the shift from search ads to brand ads, and not just with YouTube:

Mr. Armstrong, who is 37 years old, describes Project Spaghetti as an effort to fix the plumbing behind all of Google’s ad initiatives. The inefficiencies, he says, are a product of Google’s rapid growth and its innovation. Streamlining the systems and developing new ad formats, he says, should eventually improve the company’s bottom line.

Funny to hear it put this way at a company that the world thinks has its shit totally together. It’s never like you think it is, inside. I’ve been writing for years about this DNA shift – from engineering company to media company. It’s great to see a well reported piece really dig into it.

Back, Sort Of

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I am finding it’s taking a while to get my head back into all the things I have to do. The trip was fantastic. Here’s a shot of the family heading up the final stretch to Holcomb Lake. We decided to take horses for all – the kids are pretty accomplished riders and my youngest couldn’t do the whole walk. We’re glad we did, it let us really roam out there in the Sierra.

I hope to be back at posting this week. I am traveling with my family for two more weeks soon, so posting will be light throughout the summer, and my focus is on FM. However, if you follow me on Twitter, I’ll keep you updated there as best I can. Searchblog isn’t the best place to post personal stuff, but I figured you might want to see what I’ve been up to…

Heading (Way) Out For the Week

By - July 06, 2008

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My family and I are going into the backcountry this week – no email, Twitter, blogging, etc. Here’s where we’re going, in case any of you might be curious. Click the terrain or satellite tabs to see the amazing country – truly another world back there.

See you in a week!