Go Google Yourself!

Ha – Tech bloggers seem to leave a lot of global tragedies unnoticed, but whatever you do don’t get ARROGANT about being the big gorilla of search.   This Google post, to me, does not cross any lines but it sure has caused an outcry from bloggers who think Google’s getting pretty dang arrogant to dictate english usage in this fashion while slapping Yahoo in the face.
Although this is a small thing, one wonders if Google is teetering near that fateful “tipping point” where it crosses from a darling of search to a sort of Darth Vader of search – powerful and effective but constantly under suspicion.

Yikes, even Battelle is swearing about this!

Microsoft Vista – a nice lookin’ blog for a nice looking OS.

Wow, Microsoft Vista has a very slick looking blog up here that mimics the look and feel of the new Vista which, for reasons I don’t understand, really had a great look at MIX06. I think it was simply the use of very appealing full screen pix in a copycat move on the new MAC Operating Systems. Dropping in MS LIVE sidebar gadgets (and hopefully Google and Yahoo gadgetry as well) will allow a user to have a wonderfully customized and functional desktop – looking forward to that.

I also really want to give them kudos for making registration (needed to comment) very simple (name and email). MS registrations tend to be so complex I actually almost left thinking “I’m not going to go through a 5 minute registration just to leave a comment!”.

Google Farts. Stock up 13%

Google’s doing a great job and putting out some good stuff such as customized search. Earnings for Q3 were better than expected, but that should already be reflected in the stock price.

Since Google already has a huge portion of all internet searches, and given that they just spent 1.6 billion for YouTube with marginal current revenues, and given that we are in a very uncertain time where online revenues could go down or other companies could spring onto the search scene with something great almost overnight and threaten their dominance ….
What exactly is driving this stock price through the roof? It kind of smells like 1999 to me, but what do I know?

Measuring internet “engagement”

Robert Scoble’s asking a great question today about how to measure “engagement” at a website as opposed to just a visit. This issue was recently addressed at some length in the big debate over Comscore metrics for Myspace that Danah Boyd challenged as questionable.

As I suggested in that debate and Scoble is saying now, there’s an important difference between a user who simply loads a page and leaves the site immediately vs a user who engages with the site.

Experiments are needed, since it may be as simple as taking a ratio of total unique visitors to total time online to get a sense of how engaged the visitors are.

Of course that does NOT necessarily translate into somebody who’ll buy from advertisers which is the type of metric that sponsors are most interested in. We wouldn’t see much Golf on network TV if traffic was the metric, but when you count the fact that golf watchers come from a great demographic for big ticket items it works out for the networks who can sell to a key group (e.g. sell Lexuses, Diamondses, and ringses …..my precious!…..)

Even more complications with metrics are here in the form of RSS syndication, extensive duplication of information (e.g. this blog is auto duplicated over at Facebook), and the new gadgetification of the desktop where mini applications are going to run wild all over the place, making a “page view” less relevant, or irrelevant, for many websites and advertisers and measurers.

Funny – ZeFrank on “Rocketbooming” your metrics
RocketBoom says Zefrank is full of Zeerrors.

Zune Video

Robert Scoble’s got the Zune Scoop direct from Microsoft in the video over at Scobleizer.

Assuming that the Zune is as good or somewhat better than the IPOD, as appears to be the case, this is shaping up to be a very interesting test of whether Microsoft can overcome the branding “momentum” of Apple and IPOD, nothing short of a spectacular success.

I’d think timing will matter a lot.  If Zunes, coming out November 14, sweep into the Christmas scene with a bang and lots of positive press it’ll bode  well for the long term prospects.

If the Zune song sharing  feature takes off it could signal a turning point in how the big players change the way they integrate the consumer into the process of selling to other people.   I predict that the company that most effectively integrates user content and user revenue sharing will be the big winner this decade, and that it’s still anybody’s game.

Kevin Rose to Newscorp: Digg this $150,000,000 price tag?

It now appears that Digg probably won’t be sold to Newscorp and may simply go for another round of financing. If so Rose and Zuckerman over at Facebook may be sharing some pizza in a few years thinking “wow, we turned down HOW MUCH?” One uncertainty with Digg appears to be traffic. Comscore shows a small fraction of what Digg claims and Alexa traffic seems to support. However Alexa is notoriously unreliable, often showing huge swings where none exist and seeming to favor tech sites, probably because the toolbar Alexa uses to count visits is more often on the computers of tech people. For Digg, itself a high page view high tech site, Alexa is a questionable measure.

The Comscore traffic discrepancy is so huge that either Digg or Comscore’s credibility should be at stake. Not so in this new bubbling time where nobody seems to care much about the facts, just the hype. Like YouTube, Digg offers little of substance, a lot of page views, and not much revenue. They are lucky the pockets are so deep and the rationale so thin for these megabuck deals.

Zune song sharing can be summed up in two words. Brilliant, and Finally!

Rumor has it that Zune will encourage song sharing with revenue share to the “user song promoter” who sends a song to friends to listen to free and then gets some money if they buy it. MS certainly would be wise to cut the users in on the profits.

As I recently noted it’s surprising how users still don’t demand more of a piece of the action, though not surprising how Google, YouTube, Myspace, Yahoo, MSN, and other user content collection points, the key beneficiaries of this arrangement, have not done much to innovate in that direction.

Good for MS to break that ice. Users, collectively, hold all the *future* revenue streams in their wallets. Therefore they could hold most of the power. It’s about time they used it.

More at CrunchGear

Google launches customized search

Wow, Matt notes that unlike offerings by Yahoo and LIVE, Google’s going to allow you to include thousands of URLs in a customized search specialized for your own websites.

This is exactly what I was looking for in travel as it allows you toa create a great regionally targeted search engine using “known and trusted” URLs combined with Google’s monster search power. They’ll also be sharing revenues from the searches though historically that’s been too small amount with the generic customized search (which they’ve had for some time).

Good going Google! Yahoo and MSN – copy this approach NOW!

Yahoo really should have come up with this “including many URLs” approach because it’ll encourage the community to pick trusted URLs to include in their searches, and Yahoo, unlike Google, would be comfortable using that human feedback. It’s spammable, sure, but a great spam fighting tool in that the power of the whole community is unleashed in the selection process.

Hey!  I built one for Oregon Travel and will upgrade California Travel with  more good sites soon.    This has a lot of potential if Google uses the community input to help weed out crappy sites and upgrade unknown sites, though they tend to avoid this type of human (and therefore spammable) input.    Yahoo is more comfortable with that approach so I hope they are taking advantage of it via the Rollyo and Yahoo custom search user inputs.

MORE about this:





Billion dollar Video Conferencing Market? Maybe, but you’d have to charge a jaw dropping $299,000 per fancy station. Wait, Cisco IS charging $299,000 per station!

This NYT Article (requires login) has Cisco seriously suggesting that companies are going to buy $299,000 video conferencing stations.   Wait…here’s the cheap version:  The basic TelePresence 1000 model, designed for one-on-one meetings, is priced at $79,000 per station.

Oh, OK then I’ll take TWO of those please.

Talk about out of touch and over technologized?  I suppose it’s possible that a brilliant sales effort will convince upper management of the big companies that this is worth it and that Cisco’s fancy pants model is the only way to go.  It’s certainly also true that even this exhorbitant cost for the units pales in comparison to sending people around in airplanes and putting them up in hotels (well, actually you can buy a lot of plane tix for $299,000 but true that if everybody actually used this approach, which has been around for many years now, it would save money over travel).

My point?  This totally misses the boat on how to get work done.   Efficient people use email and, if really needed and they like it they call on phones.  If they like to see people they can use existing, virtually free computer cam conferencing.

Efficient people also meet each other in real time and real space to have a beer or dinner and connect.  That’s a primate thing and it’s condusive to good biz, but can’t be replicated via even a high definition TV environment.   Nope, not even a $299,000 one.

Danny I was hoping for more – how about a Search UNconference?

I don’t know Danny Sullivan personally aside from comments at his blog and forums, but all reports say he’s a fine guy and easily one of the top search specialists in the world.

When it looked like Danny would be leaving Search Engine Strategies earlier in the year I was optimistic that he might break those of us in the publishing and search marketing fields out of the ‘same old speakers’ and ‘same old pitches’ one tends to hear at the two main search conferences: SES and WebmasterWorld’s “PubCon”.   However he’s not leaving yet, so I’m happy for him I guess but disappointed he won’t come up with something new.

I think many would agree that Danny’s the guy who could bring something really new and powerful to the growing, global, search marketing human (and information) network. Something that would capture the spirit of “Web 2.0” which is far more collaborative, information rich, virtual, and unstructured than the internet of the 1990s.   Also, there are a HUGE number of case studies now that reflect all the common problems websites have.  Simply examining all these in a conference environment would be far more helpful than listening to yet another SEO guy talk about how he gamed Google’s Algo five years ago.

I don’t want to be too critical of SES and WMW because these are good conferences all things considered. However after attending some UNconferences such as MashupCamp I’m convinced that the UNconference format (or things like Yahoo’s Hack Day) are vastly superior to the old standard where speakers, often with less experience than many in the audience, struggle to speak clearly and make with their weak powerpoint presentations relevant.

UNconferences, like Startup Camp in a few weeks, tend to unleash the power of the audience and ironically the lack of structure creates far more cohesive sessions. I think this is because your brain goes into active vs passive mode.

So Danny after you make your deserved big bucks back at SES over the next year, how about shaking things up for 2007?