Tags run amok!
If you're not familiar with del.icio.us, in short, it's a social bookmarking system working on the priniciples of folksonomies - a way of letting users classify content themselves - see the link for a quick primer.
Well, guess what? When you have 30.000+ users and you're giving away free links, people are going to abuse it. It's a crying shame, but it's hardly surprising - the funny thing about many things like this (they come and go on occasion, the kind of "let the users take control kind of things) is that it never appears to occur to the creators that people won't behave in the way that they'd like them too.
del.icio.us is doomed, the poor chap that owns it only works on it at weekends and evenings so unless he can magic some kind of moderation into the system and find people to administer the app then it's dead in the water already...
See the job listing posted on craigslist above for what would appear to be a fancy term for "content negotiator".
Google is looking for a Strategic Partner Development individual who can bring their excellent partner/business development experience to assist us in obtaining and negotiating significant and complex relationships in the new area of multimedia search.
This high-visibility role requires someone who will be responsible for identifying, structuring and negotiating licensing relationships with some of Google’s largest and most strategic partners to acquire and monetize a wide range of video and audio content.
These individuals will need to establish and drive very senior level relationships with a range of content companies. In addition, these individuals will be responsible for negotiating and closing contracts. Ideal candidates must be extremely partner-focused, proactive, have a strong media background, be technically savvy, work effectively within a team environment and be comfortable presenting to Google and partner C-level management.
With recent video search (well, kinda..) moves and Yahoo, a much more media oriented company growing at a much faster rate it would come as little surprise to learn that Google would be tying a lot of these incessant beta's up and positioning themselves likewise...
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.
Check out this little interesting snippet in the Business2.0 story threadlinked above about Google and Yahoo wanting both to buy the immensely popular Flickr photo sharing site based on folksonomy tagging
The forecast for entrepreneurs during the next few months? It'll be raining -- cash. Consider Flickr, a popular photo-sharing-meets-social-networking site based in Vancouver, British Columbia. When it went live a year ago, it attracted plenty of notice and even pulled in a few angel investors, such as Excite co-founder Joe Kraus. But that's nothing compared with the torrent of offers it's entertaining now. Google and Yahoo want to buy it outright, while venture capital firms are flooding it with all kinds of creative proposals. "We get four or five calls a week from VCs," says Stewart Butterfield, who co-founded Flickr with his wife, Caterina Fake. "We even had a health-care fund call recently. I guess they wanted in on the excitement."
Doesn't say where he got that info of course but speculation on at least Google buying Flickr is nothing new and it makes perfect sense for either company. Lets face it though, if Google get it we'll just end up with another half finished beta...
AP Partners With Winstar to Sell Ad Inventory
The Associated Press has tapped Winstar Interactive Media, a division of Interep Interactive, to sell ad inventory within its syndicated news and multimedia feature stories in the U.S.
The partnership offers Winstar the opportunity to sell ads on a network of over 450 syndicated newspapers and broadcast Web sites with over 6 million unique users per month, many of which have well-established regional audiences, said Tim Mahlman, Winstar Interactive's SVP of sales.
The clickz story threadlinked above doen't mention anything about potential conficts of advertiser interest...
I've spent a little time this evening talking to some of the better er... enthusiastic link hunters out there about how to game the new MSN
"Just get links, from wherever is convenient"
Know what? It's easy, way too easy in fact. One professional search spammer told me "Just get links, from wherever is convenient" - it turns out that MSN's links are not weighted in any way like links are in Google and Yahoo, you can just go right out there and get the links you want, with the exact anchor text you want and be ranking for your terms in a very short space of time.
Also, they either have no duplicate content filter, or it has a major flaw - you can copy any page you like (provided you have the site owners.... ack, who am i kidding?) and providing you get more links coming into that page than the other guy, you win.
Is this the best start for MSN?
Ok, so i know MSN is new, and this is a v1 search tech but surely the fact that a child could game it is not good for MSN? The default homepage of a Windows install is still MSN if i've been informed correctly so there's plenty of incentive for people to want to rank now rather than "when it kicks in" right?
The interesting question for me though is this: If it's very easy to game, which it is, will users actually notice the fun and games search marketers are having with the new engine? After all, there's little point in spamming away like mad to rank for shoes if your site is about venezuelan beaver cheese is there?
Anyone care to offer thoughts on the new Mickey Mouse algo from MSN?
MSN Takes On Google With New Ad Campaign
MediaPost runs all the gory details of M$' media blitz on Google for a slice of the Search pie:
The ad campaign aims to reach 90 percent of U.S. households 40 times in the next eight weeks, said Chris Cocks, MSN's director of global campaigns. "This will be our biggest campaign since the introduction of the MSN Butterfly in 2000," Cocks said. The initiative will hit 25 markets in 10 languages concurrently.
In the United States, the campaign, coordinated by McCann Erickson, San Francisco, will include TV, viral, and out-of-home advertising, in addition to heavy online media. Online advertising will appear on MSN's home page and other MSN properties targeting the company's 360 million users. Apart from the MSN network, online ads will appear on sites including CNet, USAToday.com, and CBS Sportsline.
MSN will primarily buy ads on cable TV, but also plans to purchase air time in the top 12 metro markets during heavyweight television events like the Superbowl this Sunday, the Academy Awards, and the NCAA finals in March.
Managing the Technorati community
Niall Kennedy who previously worked for NexTag will be managing the Technorati community according to his blog threadlinked above and this post by Richard Ault, one of the Technorati founders.
Starting Tuesday, February 1, I will start a new job as Community Manager at Technorati. I will be responsible for helping the world understand Technorati's service offerings and providing developers with the tools they need to build and extend Technorati. I will help make your voices heard and build new features to strengthen the links we create while consuming and producing content.
Adding a community manager to a staff of twelve is a big move for any company and a strong signal to a community of users. Expect big things and we will all be working hard to deliver new tools to track the world live web.
and hey Niall, people reply to your comments here dude! I still want an answer dammit! heh...
Hey, what about the consumer?
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...
Cross-platform Compatibility and Extensive Features With Skype
Good news for me as a Linux guy and also for the Mac crowd today as Skype breaks it's betas out into full versions of the free VoIP software for both platforms. Features include:
Skype's Global Directory - the user-built global Skype contacts directory with numerous search options and an easy add-a-contact tool
Instant messaging – cross platform messaging ability
Conference calling – instantly create a free 5-party conference call
Logs – reference or discard call and message history
Presence – easily manage availability and view status of contacts
Customization – MyPicture image display, ring tones, call alert options
File transfer –send and receive files via Skype
Mobility – sign in to a Skype account anywhere in the world
SkypeOut –pre-pay to call traditional phones around the world, at local rates
Multiple Skype accounts on one computer
End-to-end encryption for superior privacy
Verizon takes mobile TV prime time
There's a great piece threadlinked above from telephonyonline detailing Verizon's moves into Mobile "mobisodes" with the launch of it's VCast service tomorrow:
Verizon and News Corp. claim the mobisode is a milestone in mobile content, which may not be over-stating it. It shows that major entertainment companies are willing to devote resources, money and talent toward creating something solely for the mobile format. The studios are willing to bet that the tiny screen of a handset can be an entertainment medium in its own right — a so-called “fourth screen” on par with the movie, TV and PC screens — not just an adjunct to wireless.
“We certainly believe that wireless is becoming a new medium for entertainment,” said Paul Palmieri, executive director of business development for Verizon Wireless. “We're targeting mainstream media and bringing it directly to subscribers. These mobisodes are a signal of what's to come.”
But the industry is also taking a risk. Video streaming is barely in its nascent phases. The repurposed sports, news and entertainment video streams currently available have limited audiences. The format of the short video clips optimized for a tiny screen may seem a bit arcane to consumers bred on living room TV. News Corp. and Verizon are gambling that they can spur the market for multimedia by creating an entirely new format of wireless entertainment. And while industry observers laud both companies for taking the plunge into these unknown waters, many of them expressed doubts as to whether the mobisode will be a success.
Risk or not, the potential of the handset is too great to ignore, said Lucy Hood, senior vice president of content for News Corp. She pointed out that there are 1.3 billion mobile subscribers in the world today, compared with 1.1 billion TV homes — and the growth in handset purchases is far outpacing that of TVs. “This is a growth market that we want to be a first mover in,” Hood said.
Yahoo! vs. Google (continued)
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.
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...
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.
Social Networking Sites Move Towards Specialization
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.
Interesting article on how to comment-spam captcha enabled blogs
(if you were one of the 94 people i comment spammed) sorry about that, and hope that you are not pissed. if you are new to my site, then you must realize that i like to stir things up every once in a while. if you've been here before, then i'm hoping you've got a smile on your face, and sort of expect stuff like this from me :) anyways, you were targeted for 2 reasons. 1) because your blog uses CAPTCHA to provide a false sense of security. 2) because we are members of the same group. so i know a handful of you (and know of most of you). could easily have done this against a bunch of strangers ... but did not think that that was a good idea. this is just my way of saying that we've got more work to do. i will not be comment spamming you anymore. unless you comment spam me back in retaliation ... and then i'll have to blast you out of the water ... just kidding.
Earlier today we reported on the launch of LifeHacker, Nick Denton's new Gawker Media property.
It's live - and im hoping for good things...
From Nick's post on the launch:
Lifehacker is to software as Gizmodo is to hardware. I wanted the site myself, as a reader, because I'm a bit sick of all the download directories out there. Say you're looking for freeware to convert Word documents into a PDF: you end up downloading half a dozen applications to find the one without spyware or a heinous interface. In future, Lifehacker will be the guinea pig.
Thomas Register and Thomas Regional have combined to form ThomasNet - as searchviews points out, if you're looking for Thermoset polyurethane elastomer products, you're in luck!
From the about page:
ThomasNet, powered by Thomas Register® and Thomas Regional®, brings together industrial buyers and suppliers on a national, regional, and local level.
For industrial buyers, ThomasNet is an industrial search engine that provides one source for finding the exact product, service, or supplier they need - at the exact time they need it. ThomasNet also gives buyers direct access to the detailed information they need to make a purchasing or specifying decision, including line-item product details, CAD drawings, and more.
For industrial suppliers, ThomasNet is a leading provider of Internet marketing solutions. The company helps suppliers grow their business online by driving qualified industrial traffic to their Websites, and converting that traffic into customers. ThomasNet's complete range of online catalog, e-commerce, and CAD solutions help suppliers deliver the detailed information buyers expect on the Web.