free html hit counter November 2008 - Page 4 of 4 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Google Says No Mas to Yahoo Deal

By - November 05, 2008


Yahoo! Announces Termination of Services Agreement by Google

SUNNYVALE, Calif., November 5, 2008 – Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today announced that Google has terminated the advertising services agreement the companies announced in June. Yahoo! continues to believe in the benefits of the agreement and is disappointed that Google has elected to withdraw from the agreement rather than defend it in court. Google notified Yahoo! of its refusal to move forward with implementation of the agreement following indication from the Department of Justice that it would seek to block it, despite Yahoo!’s proposed revisions to address the DOJ’s concerns.

While the implementation of the services agreement with Google would have enabled Yahoo! to accelerate its investments in its top business priorities through an infusion of additional operating cash flow, this deal was incremental to Yahoo!’s product roadmap and does not change Yahoo!’s commitment to innovation and growth in search. The fundamental building blocks of a stronger Yahoo! in both sponsored and algorithmic search were put in place independent of the agreement.

Google’s blog post

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But Before I Go…

By - November 04, 2008

I just learned my next piece is up over at the Looksmart series. It’s a rumination of sorts….

In ten short years, Google has become our social glue – we all presume that two people, asking roughly the same question, will get pretty much the same answer, and that answer will be correct. For most of the past decade, that was a pretty fair assumption. Google has become a universal search resource, reliable, accurate, and … consistent.

But for a variety of reasons, that assumption is no longer true. The ongoing goal of all search providers has been to personalize search – to tailor answers to the individual who is doing the searching. Search no longer takes one signal – your query – and finds results against the entire web. Instead it takes many signals – your search history, your geographic location, things you’ve clicked on in the past, files on your hard drive (if you allow it), and many others – and processes those signals against probable sub sets of data that have a higher chance of providing *you* the best answer. And that answer, increasingly, will be quite different from someone else’s, even if that other person asks exactly the same question.

Along the way, I think, something has been lost. It’s the same thing my mother lamented as she watched my generation abandon the newspaper – common ground, common spaces – a common set of facts around which we as humans can gather, debate, and connect. And therein lies an opportunity, I sense, to create a new kind of search that is in fact *not* personalized, but rather socialized – shared and common to all.

It's One DataPoint. But It Ain't Great for PPC

By - November 03, 2008

A reader sent me this:

In September, we reported online sales were holding steady across our client base. As November begins, the situation has become bleaker. Across much of our client base, we see significant signs of the economic slowdown.

For background, our agency manages search for over 100 clients, mostly online retailers, mostly B2C. Our clients spend about $100 million combined on paid search clicks annually.

Here are total PPC-driven sales, aggregated across all our clients, from Monday, June 2, 2008 through Sunday, October 26, 2008.


This is a chart that gives pause. There is a lot more analysis in the post, I urge those interested in these issues to read on.

Yahoo Google Deal- News

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From a Weisel report emailed to me just now:

On Monday (11/3) after the close, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google and Yahoo have submitted to the Department of Justice a revised version of their proposed search agreement. While we see little legal reasoning behind blocking the deal, we believe the DOJ is basically saying that Yahoo can’t be trusted to do the right thing for its business over the long term.

Shortened Duration: The reported revised plan shortens the partnership from 10 years to 2 years, forcing Yahoo to avoid lowering its search monetization capability if the company can’t rely on Google for a decade.

Cap on Outsourced Revenue: The revised deal would also place caps on the revenue that Yahoo can generate from the partnership to 25% of Yahoo’s search revenues (or around $1bn annually based on our 2008 estimates). Given Yahoo had originally identified search revenues of $800mn that would be addressable for Google suggests again that the DOJ would want to put fail safe measures in place to limit Yahoo from getting too aggressive and outsource beyond the tail keywords which it had previously highlighted.

Here is a Reuters piece:

Yahoo Inc and Google Inc have drastically scaled back the scope of their search advertising deal, a person close to the discussions said on Monday, in a last-ditch effort to win U.S. antitrust approval.

The move comes after Google appeared to be on the verge of walking away from the partnership, which was announced in June to foil Microsoft Corp’s takeover attempt of Yahoo. The deal has since drawn scrutiny from U.S. regulators amid a growing chorus of criticism from advertisers.

The two Internet companies have submitted a reworked proposal to the U.S. Department of Justice that shortens their partnership to just two years from 10 years, the source said.

Jerry and I sit down to talk on stage Weds.

So…Why Is Google Reminding Folks How to Block Advertisers…Now?

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Check this out from the AdSense blog:

When we notice a spike in readers who are interested in a specific topic, we like to address it as soon as we can. There’s been some interest in filtering ads from publisher pages, so here’s a quick refresher on the filtering tools we offer:

Competitive Ad Filter

You can restrict contextually-targeted and placement-targeted ads from appearing on your pages by adding the URL of each ad to your Competitive Ad Filter. After logging in to your account, click the AdSense Setup tab and visit the ‘Competitive Ad Filter’ page. You can also find full instructions and tips for entering in specific URLs in our Help Center. To determine the URL of an ad, try the AdSense Preview Tool or follow these steps. Please keep in mind that it may take several hours for the filter to take effect.

Look, I run a network of high end publishers, and many of them use Google and other remnant networks to backfill ad inventory. So I see this too. And I can give you exactly one reason why this came up. For those of you too lazy to click the link, Google came out against Proposition 8 a while back, and I applaud them for doing so. And the spike they are referring to? Most likely (I have not confirmed this) it’s because the Yes on Prop 8 folks are aggressively spending on Google right now, and a ton of publishers are seeing Yes on 8 ads on their site, and they don’t want to allow those ads.

For the record, I am openly against this proposition. If that means another group of readers (yeah, I am for Obama too) stop reading me because they think my views don’t fit theirs, well, sorry to see you go, folks. Most likely, most of you left me already given my views on the presidential electon. Somehow, I sense, in a decade or two, this will all seem like a pretty stupid debate.


Facebook Lexicon on Election

By - November 02, 2008

Amr has a fun analysis.

The Facebook Lexicon is a very nifty tool which analyzes the frequency and associations of words in Facebook wall messages for profiles, events, and groups. The first graph below shows that Obama is mentioned significantly more frequently than Mccain, and, more importantly, the second graph shows that the mentions for Obama have more positive sentiment (e.g. “I love Obama”), versus negative sentiment (e.g. “I hate McCain”).

Link to Lexicon on sentiment.