Business issues - a general catchall for all seo business related discussions

Puzzling the Google DIrection by it's Aquisitions

Thread Title: Google Acquisitions Thread Url: http://ifindkarma.typepad.com/relax/2004/10/google_acquisit.html Thread Description:

For those that like to do puzzles, maybe you can fathom out the GOOG gameplan by looking at their aquisitions over the last 4yrs - a neat summary provided by Adam Rifkin here:

2/2001: Deja 9/2001: Outride 2/2003: Pyra Labs 4/2003: Neotonic Software 4/2003: Applied Semantics 9/2003: Kaltix 10/2003: Sprinks 10/2003: Genius Labs 4/2004: Ignite Logic 6/2004: Baidu 7/2004: Picasa 10/2004: Keyhole

Buggered if i can work it out heh. Google, just what is it that you want to be?

About.com for Sale - Major Search Firms and NYT Bidding for it

Thread Title: About.com, Primedia's Web Venture, Is for Sale Thread Url: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/08/technology/08deal.html Thread Description:

Yep, About.com is up for grabs and the bidding ends today - cost? $350 - $500 Million

Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and NYT are all bidding for the About property.

More as it happens...

Does the Google Bubble make you Nervous?

Thread Title: Google Makes Buckets of Money, I Get Nervous Thread Url: http://www.researchbuzz.org/google_makes_buckets_of_money_i_get_nervous_.shtml Thread Description:

Well, it certainly makes Tara over at ResearchBuzz nervous. She can't stop thinking about 1999 and how it could all go horribly wrong again. She ends with some good questions:

I have questions about Google that I don't know if anyone can answer; but they're keeping me up at night while I watch the stock:

1) Where's Everyone Else? -- C'mon, the bandwagon is one of the basic structures of the Internet. Where's Yahoo's ad network for content publishers? How about MSN? It's been obvious for a while now that Google's making serious money out of their text advertising, and more as it goes beyond their Web site. Where are the other competitors?

2) What Happens When They Show Up? -- Can anyone displace Google's AdSense?

3) What About Snidely Whiplash? -- Click fraud is a real concern especially when so much revenue is coming out of one place. Can bad guys doing click fraud put a dent in Google's revenue? How much can they disrupt the supply/demand market of text advertising?

4) When does Google stop being a search company? -- They started with a search engine, and now they're into mail and photo organizing and blogging and text ads. When does Google stop being a search company, if ever, and is that good or bad?

Some very good questions.

Google Charged with Trademark Counterfeiting in French Court

Thread Title: Google loses trademark case in France Thread Url: http://news.com.com/Google+loses+trademark+case+in+France/2100-1030_3-5564118.html?part=rss&tag=5564118&subj=news.1030.20 Thread Description:

Cnet are reporting that Google has lost it's case with Louis Vuitton - They were charged with trademark counterfeiting, unfair competition and misleading advertising on Friday by the Paris District Court and orderd to pay $257,430:

The ruling comes on the heels of another French court order against Google, in a case brought by European chain Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts. In that lawsuit, the court said Google infringed on Le Meridien's trademarks by allowing the hotel chain's rivals to bid on keywords of its name and then appear prominently in those related search results.

Both lawsuits have hinged on Google's signature keyword-advertising system, Adwords, which pairs text ads with related search results. For example, a Nike ad appears after a search for running shoes. Through the system, Google allows marketers to bid for such search-related keywords, including common branded and trademarked terms.

The negative rulings could hamper the company's advertising practices--at least in Western Europe, where the courts have been favorable to trademark owners. Google derives the lion's share of its revenue from online advertising.

Seems the French at least are less tolerant of Google's controversial trademark practices...

SPAM e-mails cost US $22 billion annually.

Thread Title: National Survey Finds 22.9 Million Hours a Week Wasted on Spam Thread Url: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/ntrs/ Thread Description:

Findings from the 2004 NTRS, an annual survey that tracks U.S. consumers’ technology opinions and behaviors, indicate that online users in the United States spend an average of three minutes deleting spam each day they check e-mail. Aggregating their usage across the 169.4 million online adults in the United States, this equals 22.9 million hours a week, or $21.58 billion annually when based on the average working wage.

My main email box gets so much spam it isn't even worth checking anymore. Literally 500+ spams a day.

And yet, I still like the fact there isn't a lot of government legislation on 'the internet' as a whole.

Time Warner - 5 Million Shares in Google

Thread Title: Time-Warner Owns More than 5 Million Shares of Google Thread Url: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050204-100243 Thread Description:

Bearing in mind all of the talk about Yahoo being a media company and Google being a tech firm and how that relates to predicted market share and growth for both companies it's interesting to note that Time Warner own 5 Million shares in Google.

Find the SEC filing here and see this Cnet report also

Click Fraud Going Mainstream

Thread Title: The click, the fraud and the ugly side of search Thread Url: http://www.netimperative.com/2005/02/01/click_fraud Thread Description:

Mike Grehan has a great article posted over at NetImperitive linked above - it's an interesting read for sure but what interests me more at the moment is the fact that it seems that at least once a week you see something about click fruad.

This was not the case even a year ago as far as i recall, it's always been a problem, but one usually discussed in the seo forums rather than major newspapers right?

Even investors are looking at it as a reason not to buy Google stock. (i posted this elsewhere but i think it bears repeating..)

Google grew earnings via AdSense which is now close to half of its revenues. AdSense has the highest click fraud rate of any CPC product. In fact, many marketers refuse to use contextual advertising because of publishers clicking on their own ads which leads to low ROI

from always-on Funny how the success of Search and the mainstreaming of Search Marketing suddenly makes all the problems search marketers have been facing for years so much more in yer face...

Google Profits increase Sevenfold in Q4

Thread Title: Google 4Q Profits Increase Sevenfold Thread Url: http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/050201/earns_google_4.html Thread Description:

Plenty of financial reporting on Googles enormous Sevenfold increase in Q4 earnings, i've linked to the Yahoo Finance piece, mostly becuase im easily amused :) Here's a few snippets and links:

AP - Google 4Q Profits Increase Sevenfold

Google Inc.'s Internet-leading search engine fueled a sevenfold increase in fourth-quarter profits to soar past analyst expectations.

The Mountain View-based company said Tuesday that it earned $204.1 million, or 71 cents per share, during the final three months of 2004. That compared to net income of $27.3 million, or 10 cents per share, at the same time in 2003.

The Street - Google Beats by a Dime

For its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the Mountain View, Calif., Internet media giant earned $204 million, or 71 cents a share, up from the year-ago $27 million, or 10 cents a share. So-called net revenue, excluding the fees the company pays its search engine advertising partners, jumped to $654 million from $503 million in the third quarter.

MarketWatch - Google tops Q4, stock hits $200

For all of 2005, analysts expect Google to earn $3.42 per share, up 33 percent from 2004, and generate sales of $2.89 billion, a 52 percent rise. Current first-quarter estimates call for Google to earn 80 cents in the first quarter on revenue of $645 million, up 69 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Shares may be volatile as investors keep their eye on the calendar, knowing that another 177 million additional Google shares owned by insiders will be eligible for sale Feb. 14.

When Innovation runs ahead of Consumer Demand

Thread Title: Hey, what about the consumer? Thread Url: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?page=1&guid=%7BCA960A11-D563-4635-9B06-E6D0D0C1BD51%7D&siteid=mktw Thread Description:

Bambi Francisco has an interesting story at MarketWatch threadlinked above about the internet bubble burst of 2000 and the current arms race amongst Search companies and others.

Her point, is that while they're all very busy keeping up with eachother and trying to outdo one another at every turn with innovation, they may very well be missing the point: Consumers are not ready.

llow me to remind you that it was in March 2000 when the Nasdaq hits its peak, investor complacency turned into fear, and, importantly we began to realize that the products and services being sold or offered were ahead of their time.

Translation: They were clumsy versions of what the consumer of the future would need, embrace and pay for.

In like vein, it appears to me that many companies -- in their effort to keep up their expected growth trajectory -- are throwing service upon service at consumers.

Some of these services are merely slight improvements over what's already out there. Some are services that consumers aren't even aware they need.

Unless these services are useful or differentiated enough, consumers won't pay for them. Nor will they stick around long enough for advertisers to pay to reach them.

Makes for an interesting need and good food for thought...

Google becomes Domain Name Registrar

Thread Title: Google Is Now A Domain Registrar Thread Url: http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2005/01/31/google_is_now_a_domain_registrar.html Thread Description:

scroll down to 895 - it seems Google are now a fully licensed domain name registrar, what could this mean? Get out of sandbox with a GOOG domain name buy? heh...

Yahoo vs Google - Yahoo Lagging but Growing FASTER

Thread Title: Yahoo! vs. Google (continued) Thread Url: http://avc.blogs.com/a_vc/2005/01/yahoo_vs_google.html Thread Description:

There was an article today in NYT which was only mildly interesting - what i found on a related subject that captured my attention more though was the threadlinked post by Fred Wilson:

According to Comscore, one of my portfolio companies, Google's US market share is 38% and Yahoo! is 35%. So between the two, they own 73% of the US market. Worldwide, Google is stronger, with 47% to Yahoo!'s 27%, but even worldwide, the two of them capture almost 75% of the market.

and...

It's interesting to me because I use Yahoo! (my.yahoo.com to be specific) as my start page, but I use Google as the search field in Firefox, where I do most of my searching. And I use Google's desktop search which further drives me toward Google when I do a search. But for local search, maps, and yellow pages, I always go to Yahoo! because they have by far the best service for that kind of search.

Of course that's all well and good, Yahoo is a more rounded service by far, but what when, that's when, not if, Google put all these Beta's and aquisitions they've been hoarding into play? Maybe under my.google.com - the whole scene could shift dramatically at that point...

MSN Officially Enter the Search Race

Thread Title: Microsoft officially enters search engine fray Thread Url: http://www.globetechnology.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050131.gtmsnjan31/BNStory/Technology/ Thread Description:

Im not sure if the Globe and Mail are breaking an NDA here but it looks like they might be, especially in light of peter's comments - one of the "SearchChamps" team.

From the Globe and Mail piece:

Microsoft has declared war on Google, Yahoo and other search engines with MSN Search, which is being officially launched tonight at midnight, Feb. 1.

After a development period of just 21 months, MSN Search — in Canada at search.sympatico.msn.ca — Microsoft took the final wraps off its newest product, which it promises will offer a "more personalized search experience."

Microsoft's entry into search-engine technology represents the Redmond, Wash., software giant's attempt to take a bigger bite out of the lucrative search-engine pie. Ad revenue from searches on all engines in Canada added up to $21.3-million in 2004, aimed at the country's 16.4 million Internet users.

Let the games begin...

News Officially Broken

...and some quotes and links from the more interesting sources:

NYT - Microsoft Introduces Its Own Search Service

Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, said that Microsoft was now in a position to differentiate its offering.

"There is a tremendous opportunity for rapid innovation here," Mr. Gates said in an e-mail interview, "and the great thing about the launch of MSN Search is that we now have a strong platform in place that will enable us to begin to deliver those innovations to consumers."

Microsoft has added a few features meant to differentiate its new service.

It has included, free, the content from its Encarta encyclopedia, which until now has been fee-based.

VC $$$'s Tuning to Specialized Social Network Startups

Thread Title: Social Networking Sites Move Towards Specialization Thread Url: http://professional.venturewire.com/exclusives.asp?s=DEALBOOK&sid=IPHLQOOPLL Thread Description:

With a rash of relatively general social networking startups last year kickstarted by the likes of Friendster in 2003 VC $$$'s are tuned to more specialized services and structures in 2005. Dating and Business networks being a prime focus:

Opportunities remain, though only a few companies in the space are profitable as of yet. David Sze, general partner with Greylock, sees dating and business networking as the two areas where consumers are willing to pay, but he said that a lot of companies haven't figured out yet how to make money.

In both those markets, users are more likely to pay subscription fees, an extra revenue stream on top of the traditional advertising revenue that social networking sites usually focus on. VCs' belief in these markets in particular can be seen through the example of one round - the $110 million blockbuster round for e-dating firm eHarmony.com Inc., which raised the money from Sequoia Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures and Fayez Sarofim & Co.

Google & Blogs - Should they Buy Technorati?

Thread Title: Here's Why Google Should Buy Technorati Thread Url: http://www.thestandard.com/movabletype/russellshaw/archives/000833.php Thread Description:

Russell Shaw at The Standard posts a little mild speculation on whether Google already have plans to buy Technorati - it's no secret that Google are severely lacking in the blog search department: The way Google works is just not suited to rapid indexing of the kind that Technorati specialize in and, i would say, that that flaw is becoming increasingly obvious and making GOOG far less useful for many types of search tasks.

Im not sure that GOOG would actually buy Technorati, i think it's far more likely they would develop something similar in-house. Technorati may be watching 6.5 million blogs but with Googles power, if they were to launch a pinging service they'd surpass that number in no time i think.

From the threadlinked standard piece:

Google, they of the $52 billion market cap, needs that functionality in the blog search space. They should acquire Technorati, and then do the following:

*Keep Technorati as a distinct URL. Otherwise, pinging anarchy would rule, and that would suck.

*Set up a Blog tab on the Google home page, on the same line as "Web, Images, Groups," and so forth. That way, you can specify a search of Blogs rather than Web, Images, Groups, or even your desktop.

*If you perform just a plain ol' Web search, list the first few Blog hits above the Web hits, in summary form.

Yes, Google should buy Technorati. How about, now??

For me, i rarely use google for breaking news - i do use news.google.com of course but it's not the same, and it's not as fast as finding blogs that have already spotted a story and are linking and commenting on it right now.

So, questions for Threadwatch'ers:

Does Google need a Ping Service and blog index? Should/would they buy Technorati? Could Yahoo beat them to it? - after all, Yahoo are streets ahead in RSS adoption so maybe that would be a more likely scenario?

Tell us what you think...

Yahoo! Finance kicks Reuters, Provides Direct Feeds

Thread Title: Yahoo to Offer Financial Data Feeds Thread Url: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/nm/20050131/wr_nm/tech_yahoo_finance_dc Thread Description:

Yahoo! will be giving Reuters the boot and will be running feeds direct from the stock exchanges and marketing those services to other sites. Forbes will be its first customer.

Craig Forman, vice president, information and finance, said that Yahoo would continue to license data from providers such as Reuters, but said the company wanted have "greater control and flexibility" over the financial data it receives and distributes.

"We're the No. 1 financial Web site on the Internet," Forman said, adding that Yahoo's Finance section -- http://finance.yahoo.com -- has gained enough recognition as a brand to be sold to other Web outlets.

"Now we're expanding that strategy of syndication to include financial information," Forman said.

Search Engines, Illegal Content, Responsibility & the Law

Thread Title: Did Norway Just Outlaw Google? Thread Url: http://techdirt.com/articles/20050128/1047248_F.shtml Thread Description:

Mike at techdirt raises an interesting point about illegal content and the law. In a recently publicized case Norway have fined a student who published a community site that pointed to Mp3's - some of which where obviously illegal.

The guy didn't host the Mp3's, his users just posted links to them, Norway ruled that this was "abetting an illegal act" and have fined him the equivalent of £8000

Where does this leave Search Engines?

Scandinavian countries are particularly anal about Search - just a couple of years ago one News service was told that it could not even link to a newspapers stories - for the most part (at least here in Denmark) they seem not to get it. So, where do Search engines stand on illegal content now?

The ruling did state that the website in questions actins where "premedotated" but it's only a hop skip and a jump from fining someone for linking to mp3 files, prohibiting a site from linking to news stories to taking legal issue with a major search engine over what's available in the index.

The mind boggles at lunacy, but it could happen.

Content Discovery - New Models for Revenue

Thread Title: 10 Predictions for the Year Thread Url: http://www.greenhousegrows.com/publications/01-2005/article1.html Thread Description:

Some interesting predictions for content revenue, no.2 particularly caught my eye in light of Googles recent moves with Scholar and Library - it's clear as day when you read it but i'd certainly not given it much thought so i think some of you will find it interesting aswell:

To achieve much broader penetration, the information industry needs to change the process by which people find and buy the information they need. Two conditions are necessary and both will start to take hold in earnest this year. First, premium content will become discoverable though the major search engines. In seeking information, users often do not know the likely sources and therefore rely on search engines. While search engines are relatively effective in finding relevant content on the free web, they have as yet little content indexed from premium collections. As a result, search engines currently do not find relevant articles from The New York Times archive, Thomson’s Investext library of Wall Street research reports, Hoover’s company reports, or reports from market research firms, among other premium sources. An important example of change, however, is Google’s plan to index content from hundreds of academic journal publishers (with their permission). This move will enable users to discover content that previously was not visible to search engines. The second condition for broadening content sales is the packaging of information for pay-per-view purchasing as an alternative to subscriptions, so that users can purchase content once they find it. Pay-per-view packaging is not new. A variety of publishers and distributors, ranging from The New York Times to Factiva to Forrester Research, have been selling content “by the drink” as a complement to subscriptions. Now, however, the combination of discovery and pay-per-view packaging will set the stage for a much larger content market.

There's much more at the threadlinked post above so check it out.

GOOG forcast looking good for Febuary

Thread Title: Google's Three February Catalysts Thread Url: http://www.forbes.com/markets/2005/01/28/0128automarketscan02.html Thread Description:

Forbes reports on Googles "three catalysts" for Febuary as according to Credit Suisse First Boston:

CSFB slightly raised estimates and said the Internet company will see three catalysts in February. The research firm expects Google to report strong fourth-quarter results after the close of trading on Feb. 1, and estimated operating earnings of 72 cents per share on revenue of $604 million. CSFB said Google's analyst day on Feb. 9 will also boost the stock, noting that the company "remains under-owned relative to the size of the opportunity and its peers. The analyst day represents the first time, other than their key note at our December Tech Conference, the company will meet with investors in detail since the IPO.

Google using Answers.com - Now that's cool...

Thread Title: Google Completes Definition Move To Answers.com Thread Url: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050128-073427 Thread Description:

SEW reports that Google have moved to using Answers.com for their definitions - the links you find for your keywords at the very top of the page after querying.

This is cool. Yesterday i posted about Answers.com and expressed a wish to see a tab or some kind of integration into a major SE - now i have it! Danny S had reported previously on this but i missed it, sometimes the headlines fly by to quickly to catch everything on any given day...

Im going to enjoy having that on Google, i only used Answers.com for the first time yesterday and was much impressed :)

LookSmart Spin $1.5M Failure

Thread Title: LookSmart Details What Went Wrong Thread Url: http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3465511 Thread Description:

..and clickz give them a platform to do it on.

Search engine marketing firm LookSmart blamed its disappointing fourth-quarter results on its failure to pursue advertisers for keyword categories that generated high query volumes.

LookSmart reported a loss of $1.5 million for the quarter, on revenues of $16.5 million. Both figures kept with revised guidance the company issued earlier this month.

"Our sales effort wasn't deep enough or effective enough," said CEO Dave Hills, speaking on the company's conference call announcing earnings. "We didn't focus on the categories that would drive the business forward."

This was due to a failure to track query volume in a detailed enough manner, said Hills. As a result, the sales staff wasn't aware of categories with underutilized inventory.

Since when were they an SEM?