The Google vs Kinderstart Lawsuit was dismissed though judge Fogel suggested that if Kinderstart can show a case of “manual intervention” by Google the outcome might be different and it’s now clear they’ll refile in September, probably as a class action. If the judge means they only need to show that Google’s done manual intervention *in any case* then this is going to get interesting, because everybody in SEO knows that Matt’s spam team routinely zaps sites that violate guidelines from the index. I doubt this was Kinderstart’s problem though – rather a severe algorithmic downranking that many sites have suffered over the past few years. However the Google lawyers may have failed to understand the nuances of the algorithm vs violations and how humans interface with this at Google (I think no single person knows everything over there). Thus if the judge felt Google claimed “no manual intervention whatsoever” then I think he might get pissed to know how often violating sites get killed off.
If this is any indication of the thinking that could guide the decisions I have no idea what’s going to happen here.
Robert’s concerned about potential failures of Web 2.0 companies. He’s one of the best connected online people and his departure from Microsoft last month to join podtech signalled some *optimism* about the potential of Web 2.0. Now that he’s in the trenches with other 2.0 startups it makes me nervous to hear him worry, though I think his concerns are legitimate and notable.
To me a key question remains unanswered, and relates to how people will relate to community niches which I predict will dominate the future of online activity, though I’m not sure how search will fit into the mix and it may continue to generate most of the revenues.
Will people primarily:
1) Join online communities as they grow up organically from the ground up ?
(e.g. Myspace, Facebook, PlentyofFish, Flickr)
2) Join communities that they are directed to via advertising and other activities at Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL?
3) Start with 1 and finish with 2 after the big company aquires the 2.0 company?
There are other possibilities but I think option 3 is going to be the pattern we’ll see for most companies. FOX’s aquisition of Myspace and Yahoo’s of Flickr suggest that the big guys may just wait to see what creamy companies rise to the top and skim them off. This experimental approach seems logical given the very high level of uncertainty associated with all things online.