Watch This Space

This is what I'm talking about, right here. I posted on Blender's prototype earlier, but looks like FeedBurner is on it too. This is very interesting, and very worth watching. Hat Tip, Linden….

This is what I’m talking about, right here. I posted on Blender’s prototype earlier, but looks like FeedBurner is on it too.

This is very interesting, and very worth watching.

Hat Tip, Linden.

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Google Clarifies On China and News

From their blog (and the first post of any consequence, IMHO): For last week's launch of the Chinese-language edition of Google News, we had to decide whether sources that cannot be viewed in China should be included for Google News users inside the PRC. Naturally, we want to present as…

google-blogFrom their blog (and the first post of any consequence, IMHO):

For last week’s launch of the Chinese-language edition of Google News, we had to decide whether sources that cannot be viewed in China should be included for Google News users inside the PRC. Naturally, we want to present as broad a range of news sources as possible. For every edition of Google News, in every language, we attempt to select news sources without regard to political viewpoint or ideology. For Internet users in China, we had to consider the fact that some sources are entirely blocked. Leaving aside the politics, that presents us with a serious user experience problem. Google News does not show news stories, but rather links to news stories. So links to stories published by blocked news sources would not work for users inside the PRC — if they clicked on a headline from a blocked source, they would get an error page. It is possible that there would be some small user value to just seeing the headlines. However, simply showing these headlines would likely result in Google News being blocked altogether in China.

We also considered the amount of information that would be omitted. In this case it is less than two percent of Chinese news sources. On balance we believe that having a service with links that work and omits a fractional number is better than having a service that is not available at all. It was a difficult tradeoff for us to make, but the one we felt ultimately serves the best interests of our users located in China. We appreciate your feedback on this issue.

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Bloglines Bows Web Services, Addresses RSS B’width Issue

Mark over at Bloglines sent me a note about his company's new web services, very cool. He's working with FeedDemon, Blogbot, and NNWire to support a new open standard that reduces RSS bandwidth demands. More here and here. Release in extended entry. Way to go, Mark!…

Mark over at Bloglines sent me a note about his company’s new web services, very cool. He’s working with FeedDemon, Blogbot, and NNWire to support a new open standard that reduces RSS bandwidth demands. More here and here. Release in extended entry. Way to go, Mark!

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The Analysts on GOOG

Co-lead underwriter CSFB says GOOG will hit $145. From The Street's coverage: Contrasting with mixed reviews for Google already published by analysts from firms that didn't participate in Google's IPO, CSFB's report, along with initiations from fellow joint book-running manager Morgan Stanley and underwriters Thomas Weisel Partners, WR Hambrecht and…

happytraderCo-lead underwriter CSFB says GOOG will hit $145.

From The Street’s coverage:

Contrasting with mixed reviews for Google already published by analysts from firms that didn’t participate in Google’s IPO, CSFB’s report, along with initiations from fellow joint book-running manager Morgan Stanley and underwriters Thomas Weisel Partners, WR Hambrecht and J.P. Morgan, all assigned Google ratings equivalent to a buy.

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My Yahoo: Big RSS Embrace

A new My Yahoo is now in beta, and it really gives RSS the big bear hug. Here's Jeremy on the launch…. Instead of "you can add anything you want, as long as it's on the list of My Yahoo content" you can now add pretty much any public RSS…

myma_4l.gifA new My Yahoo is now in beta, and it really gives RSS the big bear hug. Here’s Jeremy on the launch….

Instead of “you can add anything you want, as long as it’s on the list of My Yahoo content” you can now add pretty much any public RSS or Atom feed. In other words, the content model is open.

Let me say that again, just for dramatic effect: the content model is open now…..
This not only makes My Yahoo relevant in the modern wave of syndication, it does something else–something that Yahoo is in a unique position to do: bring RSS to the masses.

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Search Volume by Type of User

In preparation for Web 2.0 next week, I spoke today to Gian Fulgoni, founder of Comscore. He's giving a great talk on the things a major research house knows about the web. One of the slides he showed me I just had to steal to give you a sneak preview…

In preparation for Web 2.0 next week, I spoke today to Gian Fulgoni, founder of Comscore. He’s giving a great talk on the things a major research house knows about the web. One of the slides he showed me I just had to steal to give you a sneak preview (click on image for a larger view).

comscore.9.04

What this tells us is pretty interesting: the heaviest users of search, who are a minority of total search users, account for the vast majority of search queries. This seems a case where the tail is not as powerful as the head….And clearly, the more folks use the web, the more they use search. What happens when the majority of us are heavy users of search? Time to buy more servers….

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Fathoming Context: Much More to Come

I spent some time today talking to the founders of Fathom Online, a SF- and NY-based search marketing firm. I wanted to get a view of the search economy from a firm that makes its livelihood betwixt and between – optimizing campaigns for advertisers, employing software-based analytics and database mining…

fathom_logo.gifI spent some time today talking to the founders of Fathom Online, a SF- and NY-based search marketing firm. I wanted to get a view of the search economy from a firm that makes its livelihood betwixt and between – optimizing campaigns for advertisers, employing software-based analytics and database mining techniques to eek out the best possible performance from paid search. As many of my readers know, Fathom represents a booming industry, one that will only prosper as performance-based marketing gets more and more complex. I spoke with Chris Churchill, Founder and CEO, Rob Middleton, Executive Vice President New Business, and Jay Webster, President and Chief Technology Officer. Between them they have a boatload of experience in traditional and online marketing, search, and the internet industry.

Our discussion ranged (headline: The Big Agencies Still Don’t Get It), but the meme I found most interesting was their take on contextual advertising. I pushed on this piece, both because I feel traditional ad networks fail to take advantage of the endemic value of an audience/author relationship, and because I’ve heard over and over that AdSense performs miserably compared to AdWords/Overture. But the Fathom guys saw opportunity in my line of questioning. Instead of agreeing that contextual advertising was something of a low-end, low quality option, they said that contextual would benefit from the next wave in marketing spend.

Why? Simply put, the margins on “quality” PPC – search-related keywords on the major engines – are getting too low. The competition is fierce, and there’s less money to be made optimizing in those areas. Instead, there’s a whole new landscape to navigate, a landscape opened up by AdSense, but which, to date, has yet to benefit from the full attention of the market. But Kanoodle, Quigo, and many others are beginning to play there, offering solutions which, at first blush, are performing far better than AdSense, and for far less cost than AdWords. In fact, Chris said that Quigo was his best performing network last month, so he bought a bunch of inventory there to resell to his clients.

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Short Sellers And The Net

There are a raft of reports lately talking about how short sellers are moving in on net stocks, Google in particular (one story notes that 21 percent of Google's shares are shorted). This CBSMW piece rounds up the others, stating that the short interest in Google is in fact 15…

There are a raft of reports lately talking about how short sellers are moving in on net stocks, Google in particular (one story notes that 21 percent of Google’s shares are shorted). This CBSMW piece rounds up the others, stating that the short interest in Google is in fact 15 percent.

Also of note: The Google underwriter’s quiet period lifts tomorrow, meaning that those banks which helped the company go public can now start coverage.

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Comcast Signals It’s Hip to the VOI Threat

(Where VOI = Video Over Internet)… Gary points us to a Journal piece (sub required) in which Comcast chief Brian Roberts has this to say: We're approaching seven million users on Comcast's high speed Internet service… We also have video on-demand and a very exciting arrangement with Sony and MGM…

comcast(Where VOI = Video Over Internet)…
Gary points us to a Journal piece (sub required) in which Comcast chief Brian Roberts has this to say:

We’re approaching seven million users on Comcast’s high speed Internet service… We also have video on-demand and a very exciting arrangement with Sony and MGM to get lots of movies and a deal with the NFL. In fact, we think eventually 10,000 hours will be available on demand. And if you then overlay that with access to the Internet, there is virtually unlimited content that consumers will be able to access on a television, a PC and perhaps on a mobile device. There is constantly going to be a need to make it easy for consumers to access what they want when they want it. Call it a search engine. Call it a portal. Call it an on-screen guide or navigation device.

Gary points out that Comcast is starting to think about search, and yes, that’s important in and of itself (caveat: I am not a fan of Comcast’s gatekeeper business model). What I find interesting is why they decided to think about search: they are seeing that soon the world will have PVR+Web-based delivery, and that means Comcast’s “we own the means by which video enters your home” model is hosed.

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Google News And China

I was on the Google campus when the AP's Google News China story broke (it's been followed by the Merc and others). I've been hanging back and not commenting as it percolated earlier in the week (ie this Slashdot thread), waiting for something which advanced the story. David Krane, who's…

greatwallI was on the Google campus when the AP’s Google News China story broke (it’s been followed by the Merc and others). I’ve been hanging back and not commenting as it percolated earlier in the week (ie this Slashdot thread), waiting for something which advanced the story. David Krane, who’s been helping me with my interviews on the campus, mentioned the story and I asked where things stood.

David explained that Google made the decision to omit a small number of Chinese government banned sites (about eight) because to include them would create a damaged user interface experience. Google China users would see results and links, but be unable to click through to the actual pages, because China in fact filters those sites – they can’t be seen behind the Great Firewall of China.

This line of reasoning is echoed in the Merc’s coverage:

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