Google to Offer Payment Service

The other revenue shoe drops. Not confirmed, but…this from the Online Journal. Google Inc. this year plans to offer an electronic-payment service that could help the Internet-search company diversify its revenue and may heighten competition with eBay Inc.'s PayPal unit, according to people familiar with the matter. Exact details…

The other revenue shoe drops. Not confirmed, but…this from the Online Journal.

Google Inc. this year plans to offer an electronic-payment service that could help the Internet-search company diversify its revenue and may heighten competition with eBay Inc.’s PayPal unit, according to people familiar with the matter.

Exact details of the search company’s planned service are not known. But the knowledgeable people say it could have similarities with PayPal, which allows consumers to pay for purchases on Web sites by funding electronic-payment accounts from their credit cards or checking accounts. Some consumers like PayPal for the security it offers, since it allows them to share their banking or credit-card numbers only with PayPal without having to divulge the information to merchants.

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Friday

Ah, it's Friday. Travel day for me, left Laguna and Safa's excellent conference this morning. Over the three days we heard from an interesting mix of international CEOs (Tom Online, Hurray!!, Daum), and a lot of search/ecommerce (Marchex, WebSideStory, Overstock, Indeed). Safa did not do the typical investor conference,…

Ah, it’s Friday. Travel day for me, left Laguna and Safa’s excellent conference this morning. Over the three days we heard from an interesting mix of international CEOs (Tom Online, Hurray!!, Daum), and a lot of search/ecommerce (Marchex, WebSideStory, Overstock, Indeed). Safa did not do the typical investor conference, where CEOs just present company Powerpoints, he really drew folks out into conversations. I enjoyed it a lot. The highlight for me was last night, when I joined a panel with Steve Jurvetson and Jerry Yang, quite an honor. Jurvetson invested in Baidu, HotMail, Skype, and many, many other successful companies, and it was fun to hear his thoughts on Yahoo, MSFT, Google et al. Jerry was his usual understated self. Over and over he said “We can’t presume (insert competitor here) will stumble, we have to assume they will succeed.” He said he keeps working because the thinks the competition is getting really strong, and he wants to continue to help guide Yahoo through this phase of the battle.

Steve pointed out that it was going to one hell of a battle, that in fact MSFT was girding for a company wide holy war, one that he thinks they must win. Now it gets interesting….

A company that was much discussed during the week was MySpace, which is owned by Intermix Media. The CEO presented there, and the stock shot up during the week. That might have something to do with the fact that the company settled (without admitting wrongdoing) an adware/spyware case based on practices it claims it has since abandoned, but also, there were an awful lot of investors in that conference room, and on the second night Safa had a really interesting and entertaining panel of teenagers who told us how they use media (I asked him if we could steal the idea for Web 2.0, and he gave his consent….). All of them used MySpace, it was pretty much a clean sweep. None of them used anything else for social networking and the like. I think the investors were taking notes….it felt like ICQ all over again.

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YubNub

I've been pointed twice in one week to YubNub, which bills itself as a "(social) command line for the web." YubNub is the result of a "program like hell for 24 hours" project, in fact, it came out of one guy's attempt to win a contest around the new…

YubnubI’ve been pointed twice in one week to YubNub, which bills itself as a “(social) command line for the web.”

YubNub is the result of a “program like hell for 24 hours” project, in fact, it came out of one guy’s attempt to win a contest around the new Ruby on Rails framework.

The idea of search as the command line for the web is well established, this takes the idea one step (or more) further, letting you set up commands in the search line itself. You can use the search line as a single point of reference for searching just about any web resource, and you can add your own, if you’re geeky enough (others will do it for you if you’re challenged like I am). From the post explaining YubNub:

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More On ClickFraud

Wired News throws another log on the click fraud fire here. This is the story of BlowSearch, a meta search engine which has discovered that click fraud is rampant and is creating a tool to deal with it. Let's pull back to 50,000 feet here for a second. Advertisers…

Wired News throws another log on the click fraud fire here. This is the story of BlowSearch, a meta search engine which has discovered that click fraud is rampant and is creating a tool to deal with it.

Let’s pull back to 50,000 feet here for a second. Advertisers and SEMs are saying that clickfraud, in aggregate, accounts for 15-20% of all spending (I had two major agencies confirm this figure to me again this week). Why do they say this? Because they are on the front lines and see the non-performing clicks, the domain parking lots filled with AdSense ads, the odd patterns of clicks in the middle of the night from what have to be robots or armies of third-world paid-to-clickers. It’s hard to substantiate these claims, but let’s think about this for a minute: 20%! That’s more than a billion dollars in fraud in an industry growing faster than anything else in the media business.

Now, it’s in the advertisers’ best interest to claim this kind of fraud, for the more they can say some clicks are fraudulent, the more refunds they get from Google et al, and the higher their “real” conversion rates are. So, caveat number one, take advertisers claims with a grain of salt.

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Yahoo Integrates Paid Subs, Newstand Model Ho!

I've been on about this for a long time, how Yahoo and Google can and should be the distributor of choice for the publishing industry, if the publishers can only get out of their own way with regards to their old business models. It's the music industry and digital…

YahoosubI’ve been on about this for a long time, how Yahoo and Google can and should be the distributor of choice for the publishing industry, if the publishers can only get out of their own way with regards to their old business models. It’s the music industry and digital distribution story all over again. Consumers want their music a la carte, but it took the labels forever to ween themselves off the pre-packaged delivery system of CDs. But sell songs the way consumers want to buy them, and for less, and all of a sudden you will see a massive uptake in purchasing, as well as new models like subscription.

Well, the same can be said of publisher’s content. Especially stuff like LexisNexis, or Thompson/Gale, or the Wall Street Journal. Yahoo today announced that they have cut deals with all these publishers, among others, to include their content, or at least summaries of it, in Yahoo searches (some are forthcoming, others are in at launch). Yahoo is calling this services “Yahoo Search Subscriptions.” Unfortunately, the publishers are not letting Yahoo do what, really, Yahoo should be doing, which is acting as a central clearinghouse for transactions and subscription fulfillment/services. You still have to manage your sub with each individual publisher, which is way too much friction to activate the long tail user of paid content. But it’s a step, and I think once the publishers dip their feet in, they’ll realize the water is just fine.

In essence, publishers are terrified that if they allow their content into search engines, they’ll never get paid for it, and they’ll lose the relationship with the customer to boot. The database aggregators like LexisNexis, In particular, are wary of search. But if I could find LexisNexis articles in a Yahoo search, and easily click through and read them for a small fee (or a Rhapsody like option that lets me buy an unlimited sub for say $10 a month), why, I’d do it all day long. But don’t ask me to log in to LexisNexis each time. Let Yahoo handle that. And don’t make me pay $5 for each article. I’ll never do it.

Paid Content coverage notes that no money is yet changing hands, it’s simply a hand off between Yahoo and content partners. That is silly. When will publishers realize that Yahoo is the new newsstand, and they’ve earned their cut?

Gary has a long and well thought out overview here.

Press release in extended entry.

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Miva: Overthinking the Logo

I just saw a Miva ad that explains how they came up with their vaguely alien logo/typeface, which honestly, I did not like much when I first saw it (Miva is the old FindWhat plus whatever they bought over the past few years). Apparently, they combined the symbol for…

Miva AdI just saw a Miva ad that explains how they came up with their vaguely alien logo/typeface, which honestly, I did not like much when I first saw it (Miva is the old FindWhat plus whatever they bought over the past few years). Apparently, they combined the symbol for infinity with an arrow that goes up and to the right. If ever there were an example of packaging irrational exuberance into a neat corporate logo, here it is. Then again, I did pay attention to the ad, so there you have it.

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Google And Pre-Fetching

Google has found itself in the midst of another tempest, whether this particular one is in a teapot or not depends on your point of view. The issue has to do with "pre fetching" – a practice for which Google got some heat back when it introduced its web…

MozillaGoogle has found itself in the midst of another tempest, whether this particular one is in a teapot or not depends on your point of view. The issue has to do with “pre fetching” – a practice for which Google got some heat back when it introduced its web accelerator.



I first saw note of this on Dave Farber’s IP list. From the original post, by privacy advocate Lauren Weinstein:

…about a month ago, Google started triggering “prefetch”

page data for the top listings in search results. This behavior is

reportedly currently limited to users on Mozilla-based browsers

(Mozilla, Netscape, Firefox…)

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Google Will Eat Itself

…when a company gets this kind of attention, someone should write a book about it (hey, wait…). This project, as I understand it, is a meditation on the economics of Google. The angle: We generate money by serving Google text advertisments on our website GWEI.org. With this money we…

…when a company gets this kind of attention, someone should write a book about it (hey, wait…).

This project, as I understand it, is a meditation on the economics of Google. The angle:

We generate money by serving Google text advertisments on our website GWEI.org. With this money we automatically buy Google shares via our Swiss e-banking account. We buy Google via their own advertisment! Google eats itself – but in the end we will own it!

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Who Will Google Buy Next?

You decide. (Or see what Slashdot has to say). This is a thread at Kuro5hin, a tech/culture site. It also gives an overview of companies Google has already purchased, and speculation on companies Google might buy (Koders, T'rati, Answers…most of them you've read about here….) BTW, who will buy…

You decide. (Or see what Slashdot has to say).

This is a thread at Kuro5hin, a tech/culture site. It also gives an overview of companies Google has already purchased, and speculation on companies Google might buy (Koders, T’rati, Answers…most of them you’ve read about here….)

BTW, who will buy MySpace?

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