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Aardvark Launches Social Search With A Twist

By - October 14, 2009

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I’m so focused on Web 2 and FM right now I can’t grok this. But you guys can – Aardvark, which I have written about in the past and will present at Web 2 next week, has launched a social search function based on their growing people-powered network. What do you all think?

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Sept. Search Share Report

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Just got an email from an UBS analyst with an overview of search share data from Comscore for Sept. Summary:

Google increases Month/Month search share

Comscore’s September US search data suggests Google took some share lost over the last few months, which gives us confidence in our Q3 paid click growth ests. (12% Y/Y worldwide). Bing’s share of US search also increased, though share gains were lower than previous months as September is typically a relatively weaker month for travel, a vertical in which Microsoft has tried to differentiate itself.

Google and Microsoft took share at Yahoo!’s expense

Google’s share of US core searches in Sep was up 27 bps M/M to 64.9%, almost reaching levels prior to the launch of Bing. Bing had 9.4% of US search share (+18bps M/M) while AOL and Ask were roughly flat M/M at 3% and 3.9% respectively. Yahoo! lost 50bps M/M, resulting in 18.8% share of core US searches.

Google and Microsoft’s Y/Y query growth still strong in September

Bing’s Sep. Y/Y search volume growth was +31% Y/Y from 32% Y/Y in Aug, while Google’s search volume grew 21% Y/Y, roughly flat from 22% Y/Y growth in Aug. Yahoo!’s search volume grew 9% Y/Y from 17% Y/Y growth in Aug.


Web2: Help Me Interview Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen

By - October 11, 2009

web 2 09.png _@user_64196.jpg I met with Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe, ten days ago – one week before the annual Adobe developer’s conference. He told me there’d be a lot of news about Adobe coming, and the company certainly delivered – in particular around mobile and Flash platform development.

But while the list of product and platform releases is impressive, it was Adobe’s earlier announcement of its acquisition of Omniture that got folks buzzing. From my point of view, this is one more step in Adobe becoming a central platform company in the Internet ecosystem.

With 800mm installs of Flash, the acquisition of Omniture, and a multi-device strategy, Adobe aims to become the industry standard in how marketers and media companies deliver experiences to audiences and customers. And while many still view the company as the provider of end user tools like Photoshop, the reality is that Adobe is in fact Microsoft’s most significant web platform competitor, which in turn makes it a significant competitor to Google in some areas (though the companies collaborate on key initiatives, like the Open Screen Project, for example, which is clearly as anti-Microsoft as they come). The difference, Narayen told me, is that Adobe does not have (nor does it plan to have) a media business, so it doesn’t compete with its partners.

I’m looking forward to our conversation, and I’d love your input on what you’d like to hear from Narayen.

Others we’ll be interviewing (and I’ve asked for your help):

Carly Fiornia

Jon Miller

Sheryl Sandberg

Qi Lu

Carol Bartz

Evan Williams

Brian Roberts

Jeff Immelt

To come: Aneesh Chopra, Austan Goolsbee, Paul Otellini, Tim Armstrong, Tim Berners Lee, and more. An amazing lineup and less than ten days away!

Also, remember to tweet your questions for any of the folks above with the #w2s hashtag for a chance to win a free Web 2 Summit pass – we’ll be picking three at random to win…

Ah, Irony

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I’m very much looking forward to the tsunami of work slowing down – Web 2 is ten days away, and my partner is starting Monday at FM – because there’s just so much stuff that I’d like the time to think through, and spending the weekend doing it is not that great for family life. High on my list of topics, however, is the current donnybrook between The Entire Media World and Google. Last week media titans met in China and the CEO of AP, in particular, made a point of excoriating Google (adding “blogs” and “Facebook” to the mix for good measure). I was reading up on this topic on the AP website, which is hosted by Google. Ah, the irony.

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Web 2: Help Me Interview Carly Fiorina

By - October 07, 2009

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_@user_67953.jpgDuring the late 1990s and through 2005, Carly Fiorina was one of the most powerful women in technology. As CEO of HP, she developed a reputation as a respected and effective manager, doubling HP’s revenue, buying Compaq in the process, and debuting as Fortune magazine’s first ever “Most Powerful Woman in Business”.  

Fiorina is not without her detractors in the Valley (her departure was a story in itself), but she’s an indisputable powerhouse, and she seems ready and poised for her next act. According to most reports, that act will be as a Republican challenger to longtime incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer. During the 2008 election, Fiorina acted as a economic advisor to John McCain, addressing the Republican National Convention, a move often seen as a precursor to public life.

Fiorina will join us on our first night at dinner to have a wide ranging discussion about the state of technology, policy, and politics. I’m really looking forward to this conversation, and could use your help to identify the best things to discuss with her. What do you want to hear from Carly Fiorina?

Others we’ll be interviewing (and I’ve asked for your help):

Jon Miller

Sheryl Sandberg

Qi Lu

Carol Bartz

Evan Williams

Brian Roberts

Jeff Immelt

To come: Aneesh Chopra, Austan Goolsbee, Paul Otellini, Shantanu Narayen, Tim Armstrong, Tim Berners Lee, and more. Again, an amazing lineup.

If you want to come, I can still get you a Searchblog discount (for a few more days). Just ping me here.

Google Is Acting Like A Traditional Media Company

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…as pointed out in this WSJ Digits piece:

As part of the shift, Google is thinking up and tailoring more ad campaigns in close consultation with ad agencies. In May, the Mountain View, Calif., Internet giant altered its sales structure to work more closely with ad agencies and react more quickly to trends by organizing sales staff exclusively by industry, like automotive and technology. It also created a senior position responsible for improving communication with the largest ad agencies.

….The new approach is a turnabout for Google, which for years argued that advertising should be designed and priced based on strict benchmarks such as how many times an ad was viewed, rather than its emotional appeal. Marketers spent handsomely on search ads for specific uses, such as driving sales of a particular product, but when they wanted something more unique they went elsewhere, to Yahoo Inc. or other media, such as television.

Search Does That. Social Does This. Give Me A Reese's Cup Please

By - October 05, 2009

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If ever there was a strong meme in search, it’s the impact of social: Everyone is talking about how Facebook and Twitter are threatening Google for what I’ve called the “oxygen” of the web: distribution of attention.  

A little background. Google rose to prominence as the absolute winner in the Internet’s distribution game. The de facto interface for knowledge navigation, Google brought signal to the noise of Web 1.0: Sure, nearly everything worth publishing was now on the web, but how on earth could you find that ONE thing that mattered to your query, NOW?

A hundred billion plus dollar business ensued: we all now use Google to find that which we want to find on the web. In particular, Google is great at delivering authority on the web for those things that had already been published and ranked: In a way, Google has become the reference librarian of the web.

But…just searching a reference library is one thing. What about finding things people are talking about right now? And wouldn’t it be great if you could cross index that reference library with your social graph, so that people you trusted helped you go from query to decision?

Twitter and Facebook promise that next step in search. Let’s tease this out a bit.

We have different modes when we search. Sometimes we are looking for that perfect reference point – an article on how to train a dog, for example, or a how to guide on building a treehouse. But then we hit a critical inflection – we want to validate our reference material with a real live human connection. And Google can’t really do that. In short, we want to cross reference what we’ve learned with the experience of someone we trust.

Before the rise and ubiquity of social networks, the ability to do this was pretty serendipitous – sometimes in our reference search we found humans with whom we could connect and then learn (this happened to me in 1995 as I was searching online for my birth mother, but that’s another story).

But it’s happening more and more online now, thanks to our ability to use Twitter and Facebook to query our social graph. Through status updates or tweets, we can ask real people that which before we asked Google. And, by reading through the lifestreams of our network, we can discover that which we might never has asked, but nevertheless find interesting.

It’s late and I’m working way too many hours to do this line of thinking justice. But I will simply state it this way: Facebook and Twitter, you need to get better at mixing traditional web search with what you’ve already got. And Google/Microsoft, well, vicey versa. You need to get better at mixing social into your traditional web search.

Whoever does it best, wins.

Update: A new study on the interplay of search and social media can be found here.

Web 2: Help Me Interview Jon Miller

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web 2 09.png_@user_61072.jpg Jon Miller has graced the Web 2 stage several times, most memorably when he was CEO of AOL, and both Google and Microsoft were competing for his company’s search deal (Google won, that deal is close to expiration, and now-CEO Tim Armstrong, who helped Google win the deal back then, will be discussing, at the Summit, who he might next partner with – Microsoft or Google – but I digress…for now).

Now Miller runs digital for none other than Rupert Murdoch. I’ve enjoyed my relationship with Jon over the years, he’s a straight shooter. He’s inherited a number of seemingly intractable problems – the digital model for news, for one, MySpace, for another. But when I spent an hour with him in New York a couple of weeks ago, he was unperturbed. He’s seen too much.

Since Jon agreed to submit to yet another Battelle-style interrogation, his newest report Owen Van Atta has also joined the lineup (it’s so recent that we don’t have him up yet on the speaker page). No matter, I’ll ask both Owen and Jon what the plan is for MySpace.

But let’s not forget that Newscorp is a lot bigger than MySpace. If you want to know how much bigger, pay attention to the Audience Network, a little known entity that just happens to be #2 in ad network reach after Google. Who owns it? Well, Miller and Murdoch.

This one is going to get interesting. Trust me.

So help me out, what do you want to hear from Jon Miller?

Others we’ll be interviewing (and I’ve asked for your help):

Sheryl Sandberg

Qi Lu

Carol Bartz

Evan Williams

Brian Roberts

Jeff Immelt

To come: Aneesh Chopra, Austan Goolsbee, Paul Otellini, Shantanu Narayen, Tim Armstrong, Tim Berners Lee, and more. Again, an amazing lineup.

If you want to come, I can still get you a Searchblog discount (for a few more days). Just ping me here.

Web 2: Help Me Interview Sheryl Sandberg

By - October 02, 2009

web 2 09.png_@user_61556.jpg As I mentioned a couple of days back, one of the folks I get to interview on stage later this month is Sheryl Sandberg, who I met with earlier this week (this post was one result of that meeting). Sheryl is Mark Zuckerberg’s key partner in building out Facebook, and while she won’t take credit publicly, I’d wager that Facebook’s recent declarations of profitability and top line revenue growth have a lot to do with her leadership and focus on Facebook’s online advertising platform, which is clearly starting to scale.

Recall that Sandberg came from Google, where she ran ad platforms, and she made the choice to move to Facebook for a reason. What did she see? Well, my own thoughts run to the trends I’ve been pointing out for the past year or so – the model of attention distribution is shifting in the web economy, and Facebook, along with Twitter and other social sites, are increasingly taking share from Google. Follow the referrals, so to speak. Search is still king, but it’s no longer a dictatorship.

So what do you want to hear from Sandberg?

Others we’ll be interviewing (and I’ve asked for your help):

Qi Lu

Carol Bartz

Evan Williams

Brian Roberts

Jeff Immelt

To come: Aneesh Chopra, Jon Miller, Austan Goolsbee, Paul Otellini, Shantanu Narayen, Tim Armstrong, Tim Berners Lee, and more. Again, an amazing lineup.

If you want to come, I can still get you a Searchblog discount (for about another week). Just ping me here.

Please Stop The Chattering Teeth.

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deeply annoying ad.pngWhoever is running these chattering teeth ads, cursing the Internet to another round of Punch The Monkey crap creative and all the consequences therein, STOP IT.  

But it’s really all our fault, isn’t it? Premium sites run remnant ad networks, and crap like this gets through faster than we can beat it back. We really do need some kind of crowdsourced feedback system so ads as annoying as this one get beat down, quickly, and never show up again, except to those who really want to see them. Who, I imagine, are the same folks who buy Chia pets late at night off infomercial programming.

Oh, wait, there is a feedback button here! But clearly, it’s not being used! Why? Because it requires you fill out a multiple choice, ten question form! Which I did, but then returned an error message. That’s doubly annoying – I took the time to inform CBS that this ad sucked, and my time was wasted. ARGH!!!!

Hey CBS (and all of us – including FM, which has run this ad due to our relationship with ad networks) these ads SUCK. Stop it!!!!