free html hit counter The Web As Platform Archives | Page 19 of 25 | John Battelle's Search Blog

Chrome: This Is Web OS, Make No Mistake

By - September 01, 2008

Chrome

Why launch Chrome (Google’s new “browser”) when Firefox, Google’s favored son, is doing so well? Because Google needs its own. Using a comic book to introduce it is fun, and certainly, there’s always room for new approaches to platform and interface, and Chrome looks to have a lot of neat new features and a fresh approach. But what this really tells us is that Google is dead serious about the distribution business, for one, and dead serious about the operating system business, for another. Reading through the book, I am struck by how similar the language is to traditional operating system overviews. Multithreading, stable development platforms, etc. etc.

With the IE 8 in beta, and Firefox going strong, it looks to be a good season for innovation on the Web.

  • Content Marquee

Updated: Exclusive: A Look at Google Ad Planner Data Vs. Comscore

By - August 14, 2008

When Google Ad Planner came out back in June, I immediately thought of Comscore – and I was not alone. Many in the marketing industry thought that Google’s product would be a “Comscore killer,” and when I noted as much in my coverage, Gian Fulgoni, Comscore’s chair, shot back in a comment to my post:

Hi John: Before celebrating the availability of these products from Google, I think it would be prudent for web site operators to compare their site traffic numbers as obtained from their server logs (or Google Analytics for that matter) with the unique visitor numbers that Google is now publishing through Google Trends and Ad Planner. I think they will be astonished at how much lower Google now says their traffic is.

I asked Gian to elaborate, and published the resulting interview here.

But until now, we’ve not had the data to back Gian’s claim. I asked him if he could provide it, and to his credit, he did. The story it tells is certainly not what one might expect. (Of course, the data is from Comscore, so it must be taken as such, but remember, Comscore is a public company that stakes its reputation and its market value on data, so my gut tells me that Gian is not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.)

A bit of background: Anyone paying attention has noticed that publishers, by and large, believe Comscore’s panel-based measurement system grossly underestimates traffic and unique visitors. As a publisher myself (FM represents more than 160 middle to large sized sites, including this one), I’ve been one of the most visible such complainants. And that list is not short. In fact, Comscore and Nielsen are both working with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (I am a board member) on an audit of their practices to verify their methodologies. (Comscore notes that it believes the issue of cookie deletion can cause significant inflation in unique visitors, for more see this release.)

Given this, the world expected that Google, with its unparalleled access to web-wide data, would validate publishers’ concerns and show that Comscore’s numbers were significantly under-reporting reality.

Turns out, the reverse is true. Gian provided me data comparing Google Ad Planner and ComScore data in two cases. First, for a large sample of 20,163 sites, his shop compared reporting on monthly uniques between the two services. Secondly, Gian pulled out 5,398 sites that are part of the Google Adsense ad network, and ran the same comparison.

The results are pasted in these two charts (provided to me by Comscore):

Comscore-Google Uv Graph 2

Google-Delivered Ads Graph

What to make of the numbers? First off, it’s quite interesting to see that Comscore measures, on average, a significantly higher number of uniques across all types of sites. Comscore’s numbers are three to three and a half times higher, according to Comscore.

Secondly, for sites that are using Google’s Adsense network, the undercounting is not as dramatic (that’s the second chart.). As Comscore’s charts note, there seems to be a “significant bias in Google Ad Planner data” toward “sites that carry more ad impressions from Google.”

In short: If you were a media planner using Google Ad Planner, and you were looking for larger sites, you would be led to sites that are running Google AdSense, on average, over sites that do not. Net net: This data indicates that Google Ad Planner pushes ad dollars to Google sites over non-Google sites. This makes sense – Google has data on Google users, after all. So that data might naturally bias toward Google-related sites.

But as I said in my coverage: “Such a tool must be neutral and not bias advertisers toward buying on Google properties or those that have Google ads, which of course is going to be a perceived bias in any case. Such is the price of being Very Big.”

So far, not so good on this measure. As Gian and Comscore have long pointed out to me, it takes more than raw data to make for good measurement. Ideally, you weight your data with a lot more knowledge of its context – what kind of machine is creating it (work or home? Man or woman? etc.). While Google once blended Comscore demographic data into its ad network, Comscore confirmed to me that this is no longer the case. And while it is subject to endless criticism, Comscore does have a lot more practice at this game than does Google. At least for now.

This data once again raises the question, long asked, of how Google is measuring in the first place. Most believe Google must be leaning heavily on its Toolbar data (see TC for more here and Danny here), and this data does nothing to counter that argument. The strong bias toward Google network sites is suspicious – one can imagine that folks who might install the Google toolbar are clearly already biased toward visiting Google-related sites, for example.

But Google will not acknowledge any use of the Toolbar. Instead it said in its announcement: “Google Ad Planner combines information from a variety of sources, such as aggregated Google search data, opt-in anonymous Google Analytics data, opt-in external consumer panel data, and other third-party market research.”

As I pointed out earlier, I don’t think such coyness can stand. I’ve pinged folks at Google to get a response on this, and as soon as I do, I’ll update this post.

UPDATE: Google has provided a statement to me:

We take the objectivity of Google Ad Planner very seriously in providing advertisers and publishers with a better understanding into online audiences. While we don’t comment specifically on our data collection methods, Google Ad Planner in no way treats AdSense sites differently than non-AdSense sites.

Al Gore Joins the Lineup At Web 2 Summit

By - August 07, 2008

Ag Headshot-1

Those of you following my posts around the theme of this year’s Web 2 Summit already know that we’re expanding the scope of the conference this year, and asking a core question: How can we apply the lessons of the Web to the world at large? From my post outlining the theme:

As we convene the fifth annual Web 2.0 Summit, our world is fraught with problems that engineers might charitably classify as NP hard—from roiling financial markets to global warming, failing healthcare systems to intractable religious wars. In short, it seems as if many of our most complex systems are reaching their limits.

It strikes us that the Web might teach us new ways to address these limits. From harnessing collective intelligence to a bias toward open systems, the Web’s greatest inventions are, at their core, social movements. To that end, we’re expanding our program this year to include leaders in the fields of healthcare, genetics, finance, global business, and yes, even politics.

Increasingly, the leaders of the Internet economy are turning their attention to the world outside our industry. And conversely, the best minds of our generation are turning to the Web for solutions. At the fifth annual Web 2.0 Summit, we’ll endeavor to bring these groups together.

To my mind, no person better exemplifies the merging of these two worlds than former Vice President (and Nobel laureate) Al Gore, the Chairman of Current TV. Gore and CEO Joel Hyatt started Current as “a new breed of media company that works with its young adult audience to create media that informs, enriches and inspires,” by integrating online and offline media, a very Web Meets World endeavor indeed. Readers may recall that Gore recently joined Kleiner Perkins as a partner focused on green issues, as well. And we are very pleased to announce that VP Gore will be joining us at the Web 2 Summit this year.

Others joining VP Gore include Elon Musk, of PayPal, Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX, Larry Brilliant, the head of the Google.org foundation, and Michael Pollan, author of many wonderful books on our relationship to food, including my favorite: The Botany of Desire. The full lineup is truly wonderful, and we’re still adding speakers.

Requests for invitations can be found here, this is going to be one special event.

The 2008 LaunchPad: Web Meets World

By - July 15, 2008

Web2Newlogo-Tm

A while back I announced the theme of this year’s Web 2 Summit:The Opportunity of Limits: Sustaining, Applying and Expanding the Web’s Lessons.”

Since announcing that initial theme and lineup, an amazing group of folks have agreed to come and participate, and if you peruse the list, you’ll note that it’s not just the regular coterie of Internet leaders. Sure, we’ve got those folks coming, and yes, we’ll be focusing just as intently on the opportunities in our industry. But we’re also going further afield. As we wrote in the overview:

In the first four years of the Web 2.0 Summit, we’ve focused on our industry’s challenges and opportunities, highlighting in particular the business models and leaders driving the Internet economy. But as we pondered the theme for this year, one clear signal has emerged: our conversation is no longer just about the Web. Now is the time to ask how the Web—its technologies, its values, and its culture—might be tapped to address the world’s most pressing limits. Or put another way—and in the true spirit of the Internet entrepreneur—its most pressing opportunities.

As we convene the fifth annual Web 2.0 Summit, our world is fraught with problems that engineers might charitably classify as NP hard—from roiling financial markets to global warming, failing healthcare systems to intractable religious wars. In short, it seems as if many of our most complex systems are reaching their limits.

It strikes us that the Web might teach us new ways to address these limits. From harnessing collective intelligence to a bias toward open systems, the Web’s greatest inventions are, at their core, social movements. To that end, we’re expanding our program this year to include leaders in the fields of healthcare, genetics, finance, global business, and yes, even politics.

Last week (while I was on vacation, so I missed posting on it) we announced the focus of our annual Launch Pad program, where we focus on promising startups. This year, we’ve aligned Launch Pad with our theme, and I am very excited by the result. From our description:

For Launch Pad 2008, the focus will be on startups in the fields of alternative energies, social entreprenuerialism, microfinance, developing economies, political action, renewable technologies, and the like. We’ll be particularly interested in where these companies display significant cross over with the web, of course, but this will not be required.

Tim wrote a great post summarizing the idea:

This might seem like quite a departure for the Web 2.0 Summit, the conference that made its name by celebrating the revolution in the consumer internet caused by the move to the internet as platform, service based business models, and social media. Or is it? After all, I’ve argued all along that the real heart of Web 2.0 is the ability of networked applications to harness collective intelligence. Yes, you can harness collective intelligence to build amazing internet businesses, as the past five years have shown us.

But what good is collective intelligence if it doesn’t make us smarter?

In an era of looming scarcities, economic disruption, and the possibility of catastrophic ecological change, it’s time for us all to wake up, to take our new “superpowers” seriously, and to use them to solve problems that really matter.

Submissions are now open. I hope you can help us spread the word!

Initial Web 2 Summit Lineup Up, Registration Is Open

By - May 28, 2008

Web2Newlogo

My partners at Web 2 told me today that the new website is live, the initial theme is up and posted (I am very excited about this year’s theme) and if you haven’t gone before, you can request an invitation to come here. Last year we had nearly 10,000 requests for an invitation, so if you want to come (Nov. 5-7 in SF) please fill out the form asap. I review each request personally.

The first line of speakers is also up, and there is a lot more cooking. Initial speakers include Jack Ma, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Andreessen, Ken Auletta,

Richard Rosenblatt, Lance Armstrong, Ralph De la Vega, Paul Otellini, Mary Meeker, Padmasree Warrior, Kevin Johnson, Joel Hyatt, Mathis Wackernagel, Marc Benioff and Vinod Khosla.

From the theme:

The Opportunity of Limits:

Sustaining, Applying and Expanding the Web’s Lessons

The commercial web is now a teenager—it’s been fifteen short years since Marc Andreessen released the Mosaic browser. To put this in perspective, television as a commercial medium reached its fifteenth birthday in 1956—the year Elvis Presley made his first appearance on national TV. National news broadcasts were still in their infancy, “As The World Turns” debuted as America’s first half-hour soap opera, and “The Price Is Right” began its dominance of the game show genre. Commercial grade videotape recorders emerged, portable black and white television sets were introduced, and the first local color broadcast aired in Chicago.

Fifteen years after television’s birth, the contours of the new medium were just emerging. The idea that this revolutionary new phenomenon—one busily reshaping the very fabric of society—might one day become just another application on a vast web of computers, well that idea wasn’t exactly in vogue.

In the first four years of the Web 2.0 Summit, we’ve focused on our industry’s challenges and opportunities, highlighting in particular the business models and leaders driving the Internet economy. But as we pondered the theme for this year, one clear signal has emerged: our conversation is no longer just about the Web. Now is the time to ask how the Web—its technologies, its values, and its culture—might be tapped to address the world’s most pressing limits. Or put another way—and in the true spirit of the Internet entrepreneur—its most pressing opportunities.

As we convene the fifth annual Web 2.0 Summit, our world is fraught with problems that engineers might charitably classify as NP hard—from roiling financial markets to global warming, failing healthcare systems to intractable religious wars. In short, it seems as if many of our most complex systems are reaching their limits.

It strikes us that the Web might teach us new ways to address these limits. From harnessing collective intelligence to a bias toward open systems, the Web’s greatest inventions are, at their core, social movements. To that end, we’re expanding our program this year to include leaders in the fields of healthcare, genetics, finance, global business, and yes, even politics.

Increasingly, the leaders of the Internet economy are turning their attention to the world outside our industry. And conversely, the best minds of our generation are turning to the Web for solutions. At the fifth annual Web 2.0 Summit, we’ll endeavor to bring these groups together.

I can’t wait for this year, it’s going to be great! And there is a lot of room for speakers still, in particular with an eye toward this theme. Please make your suggestions in comments here. Help me make this as good as it can be! Thanks.

Pre-Registration for FM's Second CM Summit, This Time, In NYC! (Searchblog Readers Only)

By - March 20, 2008

Cmsummitynyc

Last September my company, FM, hosted the first ever Conversational Marketing Summit in San Francisco. I wrote about it here. The event was a hit – sold out, good buzz, great speakers and attendees. I was proud (and very nervous about hosting our first event).

This year it’s back, and we’re doing it twice. First, in New York, the capital of brand marketing. That will be this June 9-10, as part of New York’s Internet Week (official site). Then we’ll do it again in SF this Fall – more on that event later.

But first, to our June event. If you read my rant on ad networks a few days ago, you know I’ve been thinking a lot about brand marketing, the online world, and conversational media. So it should not come as a surprise what the theme is this year. We’re calling it “New Brand Way”, and in our two days of conversation, we’re hoping to move the needle a bit on some sticky issues in marketing and media.

Logo 2

We’re selling only 300 or so tickets to this event. We’ve found that keeping the audience intimate makes for a really valuable use of everyone’s time. And those of you who’ve been to events I’ve run know we don’t waste folks’ time.

Readers of Searchblog get a chance to register early, and get a 25% discount. The code to use to get that big discount is JBAT25D. This discount won’t last long. We do events right, we spend real money on production, audio visual, and decent food (we’re doing it at the Ritz Carlton, after all). So get the discount while it’s hot!



Speakers include:

Jeff Berman, EVP – Marketing and Content, MySpace. Curious how MySpace’s plans to make money in social media? Me too!

Eileen Naugton, Director of Media Platforms, Google. Eileen is in charge of Google’s media monetization strategy, including YouTube. Yep, that’s a big job.

Matt Freeman, CEO, Tribal DDB. Matt is a leader in creating new forms of marketing online. See his interview in Ad Age here for more on his kind of thinking.

Michael Hoefflinger, GM – Partner Marketing, Intel. You know Intel Inside? The one with a billion dollars to spend each year? That’s Mike’s program.

Wenda Millard Harris, President, Media, Martha Stewart. Wenda is also Chair of the IAB and used to run Yahoo’s brand advertising sales. She’s got tons to say, as you might imagine.

Rich Silverstein, co-chair, Goodby Silverstein. Yep, he makes great 30 second spots. But his agency is also leading in online innovation. So what does he have to say about the future of our medium?

Mark Kantor, CEO, Graffitti Wall. Want to know how to succeed on Facebook? Talk to Mark.

Jonah Bloom, Editor in Chief, Ad Age….

….and many, many more.

Below are some highlights from my write up of the theme. If it reads like a post on Searchblog, well, you should not be surprised. In fact, what I’m pasting below is pretty much the beginning of my second post on ad networks and brands. But I’ll get to that later, maybe this weekend…

—-

CM Summit New York

June 9-10, 2008

The Ritz Carlton Battery Park

“New Brand Way”

Close your eyes and imagine leafing through your favorite magazine – Vogue, perhaps. A two-page spread halts your progress – the image of a beautiful, sophisticated woman standing in the doorway of a crumbling Havana doorway, with an elegant brand – “Lancome” – etched in the lower right corner. Or perhaps it’s a spread in Fortune, an arresting montage of imagery featuring a Jaguar automobile, a model you’ve never seen before.

Now, open your eyes, and imagine the same experience online.

Having a hard time?

As marketers, we love scale, and we demand safety and quality. But somewhere along the online way, we’ve forgotten about engagement.

Brand marketers are experts at using traditional media to build demand for their brands – over the past 50 years, we’ve perfected the art of the engaging spread, the irresistible 30-second spot. But when it comes to online, we have yet to find our footing.

Instead, we’ve funded the first ten-plus years of the commercial Internet with direct response dollars, pouring “branded display” budgets into ad networks and CPC vehicles. We’ve tried just about everything, to be sure, and we do buy display units on our favorite sites. Yet we’re often disappointed with the performance they deliver.

To paraphrase Wenda Harris Millard, Chair of the IAB, we must not trade our brands like pork bellies. Brands are not commodities, so why are we judging our online marketing by the standards of direct response? Is it, perhaps, because we can? Or, perhaps, is it because we don’t know how to measure that magic that occurs between a consumer’s ears when they first see the image of a beautiful woman standing in a crumbling doorway?

To keep building our brands, we have to go where the audience has gone. And every month, more than 600 million people visit conversational media sites – foreign lands when it comes to brand marketing. Or ….are they?

At the second Conversational Marketing Summit, our first in the brand capital of New York City, we’ll tackle this conundrum head on. What kind of marketing works in social media? Which of the lessons learned from marketing in traditional media apply when the audience joins the conversation? Why will we pay an $80 CPM to reach women, 18-34, in Vogue, but just $3 to reach the same audience online? What do we make of the promised new platforms from Google, AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo? Are CPC networks simply harvesting the hard won brand value we’ve built offline? How does one create engagement and build brands in the context of conversational media? What are the online analogs to the executions we so love in magazines and television, and how do we execute them? Who’s already doing it right, and how?

It’s time to reclaim our brands online, and to declare marketers a full and fair participant in the burgeoning conversation that is the online media world. In short, it’s a New Brand Way online, and it starts at the CM Summit, New York. Join us!

—-

I hope to see you guys there. And if you have input, thoughts, ideas for making this program better, please let me know. Thanks!

Web 2 Expo Early Reg Discount

By - March 16, 2008

Web 2 Expo

Hey gang, if you plan on being at the Web 2 Expo in SF next month, best sign up asap. My partners reminded me over the weekend that the early registration discount expires at the end of the week. Head here to get the discount. The Expo is a big event, last year there were around 10,000 folks and tons of exhibitors. I interviewed Eric Schmidt onstage, and this year I’m going to be doing the same with Marc Andreessen. Should be fun! More on keynotes and schedules….

Starting Up? Hit the LaunchPad!

By - February 21, 2008

Web2Expo

The SF Web 2 Expo is coming up in April, and the LaunchPad is once again happening. If you’re part of an interesting startup, you should consider applying for the LaunchPad. This year they are doing it as we did it at the Summit last year – VCs are judging the whole shebang. Check it out here.