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

By - November 03, 2008

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.


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Yahoo and Google Falling Out of Tree?

By - October 31, 2008

Just in time for my interview with Jerry Yang next week at Web2, this report from the Journal (via Reuters):

Google Inc (GOOG.O) and Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) could announce a decision to walk away from their search deal by the middle of next week, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The two Internet companies have so far failed to reach an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on implementing their search advertising partnership.

I spent a very engaging hour or so with Jerry earlier this week and we discussed this deal, among a lot of other things. I wonder if we’ll get confirmation by the time he and I have our chat Weds. afternoon.


By - October 30, 2008

I’m watching this unfold, OpenID, Facebook Connect, Y!OS, Microsoft support, Google support…it’s supposedly a big group hug, but it feels like a war, folks. And it’s not pretty. Note this:

A couple of hours ago, the Google Security Team posted an article claiming that Google’s made the switch to OpenID, joining Yahoo! and Microsoft in the ranks OpenID providers.

But it looks like someone may have been a bit to hasty to pull that switch (perhaps itching to get some of the limelight Microsoft has been receiving for adding OpenID to all Live ID accounts just the day before yesterday)… because whatever it is that Google has released support for, it sure as hell isn’t OpenID, as they even so kindly point out in their OpenID developer documentation

I hate to say it but watch this space.

I Support Barack Obama

By - October 29, 2008

…which should not be a surprise to regular readers of this site. I am on a list of “CEOs for Obama” and have been donating to Obama’s campaign. Why am I posting this now? To a media/tech site? Well, I was inspired by Tim.

Faced with these problems, we need a president who can harness the best and brightest our country has to offer, a president who is conversant with, and comfortable with, the power of technology to assist in solving these problems, a president who is good at listening, studying, and devising solutions based on the best insight available, rather than on narrow ideology. We need a president who can forge consensus, not just among the partisans in our own fractured democracy but around the world. We need a president who can inspire our citizens and our global partners to forgo narrow self interest and embrace the possibilities that we can achieve if we work together to build a better future.

Hear Hear, Larry

By - October 14, 2008

I like how Larry puts this in today’s Journal:

This war must end. It is time we recognize that we can’t kill this creativity. We can only criminalize it. We can’t stop our kids from using these tools to create, or make them passive. We can only drive it underground, or make them “pirates.” And the question we as a society must focus on is whether this is any good. Our kids live in an age of prohibition, where more and more of what seems to them to be ordinary behavior is against the law. They recognize it as against the law. They see themselves as “criminals.” They begin to get used to the idea.

That recognition is corrosive. It is corrupting of the very idea of the rule of law. And when we reckon the cost of this corruption, any losses of the content industry pale in comparison.

Google's Project 10^100

By - September 28, 2008

This will be interesting to watch:

To mark our 10th birthday and celebrate the spirit of our users and the web, we’re launching Project 10^100 (that’s “ten to the hundredth”) a call for ideas that could help as many people as possible, and a program to bring the best of those ideas to life. CNN will be covering this project, including profiles of ideas and the people who submit them from around the world. For a deeper look, follow along at Impact Your World.

The site is here. I wish we could see the ideas streaming by and vote on them. It’s too opaque right now. But this is VERY Web Meets World, which is the theme of Web 2 this year, and Larry Brilliant, the head of, will be our first speaker. Good timing.

Not Everybody. But Passions Do Run High…

By - September 26, 2008

Fortune gave this piece a Diggbait title:

Everyone Hates Comscore (I am quoted)

But the truth is more like this: Everyone Wishes They Shared the Same Reality.

The promise of online marketing is not yet delivered upon. Meanwhile, we have an arbiter that often seems disconnected from reality, at least from the point of view of website publishers.

There’s alot of work to be done to bridge the gap, and it’s not all Comscore’s fault. I am looking forward to my interview with Comscore founder Gian Fulgoni at the upcoming CM Summit in October, where we can really suss some of these issues.

I will also be interviewing Twitter (and Blogger) co-founder Evan Williams, as well as Laura Desmond, the global CEO of Starcom (one of the largest media buyers in the world) and David Rosenblatt, who runs DoubleClick.

I Love Baseball. I Don't So Much Love the MLB

By - September 22, 2008

But they are learning. From Larry’s blog:

Russ Gooberman wrote to tell a happy story about Major League Baseball.


A month ago, I created a mashup clip of some MLB’s All-Star Game Home Run Derby. Specifically, I wanted to feature the record-breaking home run streak of Texas Rangers youngster, Josh Hamilton. So, I cut up some YouTube footage of his longest homerun of the contest, and set it to the audio of the final homerun sequence of the movie, The Natural. The next day, the mashup was featured on as their “Video of the Day.” Here’s
My Mashup. The following day, MLB Advanced Media sent a trademark claim to YouTube, and had the video taken down.

….The interpretation of such an event in the public discourse is not for Major League Baseball to determine or influence. These events that affect our perceptions of our national pastime cannot be copyrighted. The discussion and dissemination of ideas relating to them cannot be censored. There are countless cases of MLB pursuing copyright infringements that go beyond their rights as copyright holders. Evidence of overzealous prosecution has been abundant. This Sisyphean struggle to stop any and all interpretations of MLB material will eventually fail.

Google Clears "Abortion" As An AdWord

By - September 21, 2008

Google settled a suit in the UK around the issue of whether or not religious groups can buy the keyword “abortion.” Long story short: They now can (via NYT).

Expect a lot more of this kind of thing going forward. Google has the responsibility of being an arbiter of who can declare what online, and that responsibility will only increase.

The Bailout

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It’s not related to the content of this site, but I am so damn mad about the financial bailout, mainly because the folks who profited the most from this mess are getting bailed out. So when I saw this post from Fred, summarizing Tom, I had to pass it along. I agree totally.

Rule #1: Cut salaries now

Part of the bailout bill ought to be that any organization which proffers securities for government purchase must agree not to pay any employee or contactor more than $1 million per year for the next four years. No cheating with trips to events on the corporate jet or other perks with draconian penalties TO THE RECIPIENT for violations.

Rule #2: No new golden parachutes

Some executives have contracts which entitle them to huge golden parachutes – especially if their pay is cut. These need to be annulled.

Rule #3: End payment on old golden parachutes

Payments on existing golden parachutes should be stopped.

Rule #4: No dividends for a year

This seems harsh to us shareholders who may have bank securities in our portfolio, but it’s not. Clearly an organization which is being bailed out needs to conserve cash to survive.