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Google As Content Company – A Trend Worth Watching

By - September 08, 2011

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It’s been a while since I’ve said this, but I’ll say it again: Google is a media company, and at some point, most media companies get pretty deep into the Making Original Content business. With the acquisition of Zagat* Google has clearly indicated it’s going to play in a space it once left to the millions of partners who drove value in its search and advertising business. Google is walking a thin line here – media partners are critical to its success, but if its seen as favoring its “owned and operated” content over those who operate in the open or independent web, well, lines may be redrawn in the media business.

Now, it’s easy to argue that this was a small, strategic buy to support Google’s local offering. Then again…Blogger, YouTube, and GoogleTV are not small efforts at Google. And if I were an independent publisher who focused on the travel and entertainment category, I’d be more than a bit concerned about how my content might rank in Google compared to Zagat. Just ask Yelp.

So…what other content-driven categories might Google find the need to get into? Well, ask yourself this question: What other content-driven business categories are important to Google?

Answering that question falls into the category of “things that make you go….huh…”

I’ll have more thinking on this soon, I hope. But I wanted to note the sale as indicative or a larger trend worth watching.

*Zagat has had a commercial relationship with FM, a company I founded, but not a material one on either side as I understand it.

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  • Vanja

    Well, with the launch of Magnifier it’s obviously music. With Google Music and G + it could become an interesting mash up. Maybe movies and video. It would be compatible with YouTube rentals. That could definitely route the traffic to specific source and it could boost advertising.
    I doubt Google will try further from travel and entertainment anytime soon.

  • http://techstuff123.wordpress.com Arundhati

    Google’s forays into content have been focused on crowd sourced content and not in the creation or syndication of original content. That is why they are not necessarily a typical online media company.

    Also, I’d expect them to favor the most relevant content source, regardless of whether they own it or now. User relevance trumps all.

  • Vincent

    Google’s becoming a modern day Microsoft, using their monopoly to get a piece of the action in almost everything that makes money on the web. Just look at the non-content areas they’ve moved into:

    Deals, Music, Travel Booking, Restaurant Guides, Payment Processing .

    If Places has a similar result as Yelp, a deal is similar to one on Groupon, if the booking tech can circumvent the airline or hotel website, if the music is on YouTube, if a site uses Checkout vs Amazon or Google — does it go on? — it’ll likely be found higher in their search results than their competition.

    Of course, we can’t know for. Good for them while it lasts, but as we saw with MS, it can lead to an effort to defend the monopoly leaving open a new player to come in. We can only hope so. I don’t want these guys knowing everything I do and then selling my “anonymous” information to third parties.

  • http://traffic.de.com Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

    I still don’t understand why advertisers are willing to pay money to show up for morons, idiots, noobs, etc. — but I guess they can pay money to show up wherever they want. I guess they hope to become more well known among morons, idiots, noobs, etc. — I just wonder what that kind of brand recognition would do for their bottom line.

    ;) nmw