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The Final CM Conversation: Gian Fulgoni, Founder, Comscore

By - October 14, 2008

Speaker Fulgoni

Last up in my crowdsourcing of CM Summit conversations is Gian Fulgoni, Founder and Chair of Comscore, the controversial and defacto measurement service for the Internet.

Gian is no stranger to these pages, I’ve interviewed him recently here; posted about his company here, and here. Comscore is the company “everyone loves to hate,” according to a recent Fortune piece.

My own view of the company has become more nuanced in the past year or so. I am on the board of the IAB, and Comscore, along with rival Neilsen, have agreed to undergo an MRC audit to address, once and for all (we hope), the discrepancies between their panel based measurement systems and what publishers see in their own logs. Fulgoni has been vocal in his defense of Comscore’s weighted approach, which he says takes into consideration factors that internal logs don’t – in particular multiple IP addresses and cookie deletion. Sound boring? It’s not, if you care about the future of the entire marketing ecosystem.

My questions for Gian include:

– Explain cookie deletion and multiple IPs – why are your estimates of web traffic so much lower than ours?

– What do you make of the upstarts looking to overtake your business – Quantcast and Compete?

– Google AdPlanner?

– How does one measure rich and streaming media?

– What about more complicated stuff like CM?

So what do you want to ask Fulgoni?

Other CM conversants, still eager to hear your questions (the conference starts Weds. morning):

David Rosenblatt (CEO DoubleClick, now at Google)

Laura Desmond (CEO Starcom)

Joel Hyatt (CEO Current)

Evan Williams (co-founder Twitter)

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CM Conversations: Evan Williams

By - October 13, 2008

Evan Williams2 Next up in the star lineup of conversants at the CM Summit this week is Evan Williams, the co-founder of Blogger, which Google acquired in 2003, and current co-founder of Twitter, which I’ve written about recently (TweetSense, anyone?).

Evan’s knack for conversational social media applications is obvious, but as Twitter settles into its place as a Web 2 favorite (and punching bag), one key question does remain – what’s the business model? How might Twitter work with marketers? With Blogger, Google saw a model – AdSense (and data, of course). Will lightening strike twice?

Rather than list additional questions here, I thought I’d just open this one up, knowing that Searchblog readers have *a lot* to ask Evan. So…have at it!

Other CM conversants, still eager to hear your questions (the conference starts Weds. morning):

David Rosenblatt (CEO DoubleClick, now at Google)

Laura Desmond (CEO Starcom)

Joel Hyatt (CEO Current)

Last to come (will post later today or Tuesday): Gian Fulgoni, founder Comscore.

CM Conversations: Joel Hyatt

By - October 12, 2008

Joel Hyatt

Continuing my crowdsourcing of questions for one-on-one conversations at this week’s CM Summit is Joel Hyatt, CEO of Current. Founded in 2005, Current is “the only 24/7 cable and satellite television network and Internet site produced and programmed in collaboration with its audience.” The company has grown to nearly $64 million in revenues (2007) but has yet to hit profits, early this year it filed a public offering ($100 mm in proceeds), which has not completed due, one presumes, to market conditions. Still and all, a cable channel that counts more than 50mm potential viewers is a serious asset, and, its online presence, is a vibrant community as well. It doesn’t hurt that the company courts a difficult to reach demographic – young, educated adults.

Current has been at the center of a lot of innovation in media, a recent example is “Hack the Debate“, a partnership with Twitter (co-founder Evan Williams will also be speaking at the CM Summit).

Current is an ambitious project, backed by serious players, including Al Gore, who serves as Chairman. Hyatt, who runs the company day to day, also serves on the board of HP and the Brookings Institute, and has been quite involved in politics, serving as National Finance Chair for the Democratic Party in 2000. Previous to Current, he co-founded and led Hyatt Legal Services, which provided low-cost services to middle and lower-income families.

So what would you want to hear from Joel in a fireside chat? My questions include:

– Current has a pretty new model (for television, certainly) but still a lot of its value is in the TV play. Are you still held hostage to that? Will the online portion of Current ever be bigger than the television piece?

– How is the economy impacting sales, both offline and on?

– Clearly this is not a time to go public. What are the financing options for a large media play like Current in this environment?

– Tell us more about the deal with Twitter? What does it portend?

– What’s broken with how we get our news? If you ran a major news outlet (IE CBS News), what would you do differently?

– What have you learned working with marketers at Current? Give us some examples of innovation that might spark discussion?

– I can’t let Joel get off stage without getting his take on the election, given the timing….

What would you ask Joel?


David Rosenblatt

Laura Desmond

That Google/Wikipedia Post – Finally

By - October 10, 2008

Remember a couple months back when I promised you guys I’d post on this?

Well, thanks to a deal with LookSmart, I finally got a chance to write it. It’s over here. From it:

But here’s the rub: There’s a critical difference between curation based on algorithm (Google News) and curation based on human insight (Digg or Wikipedia) – and that difference can be summed up in one word: Voice. In short, sites that allow people to be part of the curation process have voice, and sites that are driven by algorithm, don’t.

No matter how hard we try, we can’t come up with an algorithm that creates a truly human voice. Sure, we can mimic it, but until we solve the Turing Test, the only computer that can create a human voice is, well, a human. And when you put lots of humans together, and give them all a chance to express their voices, you get community-driven media.

Now, how does this all relate to Google Maps and Wikipedia?

In my earlier post, I said “Google Maps isn’t very good.” That was kind of a cheap shot, because in fact the application is great – if what you need is a Map. But the promise of Google Maps goes well beyond looking at a map – currently you can get driving and walking directions, find businesses nearby, calculate traffic delays, and the like. But it’s the promise of what might be layered on top of that where things get really interesting.

On Speech Based Interfaces to Search – and Beyond

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This stuff is going to get real, soon. From Google’s latest Technology Roundtable Series:

[This] video, “Applications of Human Language Technology,” is a discussion of our enormous progress in large-scale automated translation of languages and speech recognition. Both of these technology domains are coming of age with capabilities that will truly impact what we expect of computers on a day-to-day basis. I discuss these technologies with human language technology experts Franz Josef Och, an expert in the automated translation of languages, and Mike Cohen, an expert in speech processing.

BTW, isn’t it funny how so many VP level people (note the guy introducing the piece) at Google says “Google” exactly the way Larry and Sergey say it, and not at all the way most of the rest of us say it? There’s this funny, compressed, geeky inflection on the “ooooo” sound.

Microsoft's U Rank

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U Rank

Microsoft has a quiet test running in its research labs that may be of interest to some of my search geek readers. It requires registration, alas, but it might be fun to check out. Called “U Rank” here’s a snip from an email sent to me from Microsoft:

Some of the interesting features of U Rank include:

Create the perfect search results for you: Put results in just the right order and add images and video results for added context.

Annotate results: Write notes to summarize important information under each URL.

Short-cuts: Move your favorite sites up; then put an ! in front of the query and go straight to the top result.

Lists: Keep lists while you’re researching (“hotels for my next trip”, “DSLRs for me”)

Collaboration: Share URLs with friends (“related projects”, “our reading list”)

Recommendations: Tell your friends what you like (“best books,” “favorite restaurants”)

The goal of the research project is to learn more about “how” people use search technologies, like whether they take advantage of the ability to edit search results and how they share the results over time with friends and family.

Update: Microsoft contacted to to clarify: it has no intent of implementing this until they learn from the test and if the test goes well…


By - October 09, 2008

I still plan on posting about the other main speakers at CM Summit next week – Joel Hyatt, CEO of Current, Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter, and Gian Fulgoni, founder of Comscore – but some stuff has come up and I may not get to it till the weekend. Posting will be light to non existent Friday as I take care of some personal stuff.

Back as soon as I can be. Meanwhile, try not to watch the markets and remember this too will pass. As did the good times.

In the Age of Google…

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You always have to go back to the question to get the right answer. Just wanted to get that down in writing.