I simply don’t know if this lawsuit against Google, SONY, and other big players suggesting a previous right to digital distrubition has merit or not because I don’t understand the legal issues well.
However it’s another good example of a tactic increasingly used by tech firms that are not doing very well with their technologies – work the legal angles hoping to hit a big payday via settlement with a deep pocket like Google or even hit a home run with a court decision in their favor.
I’m not objecting to these lawsuits though – I think the big players have tended to give great liberties with content distribution and have taken great liberties as well. Youtube’s empire was built largely via illegal content distribution. These complex deals with gigantic stakes probably should be settled by objective legal means.
When you are raking in billions it’s easy to be generous and I predict that the real “tipping point” for Google’s fall from grace will be the shift from them getting sued to them suing other firms, especially small ones. Maybe they won’t have to sue which would bode very well for Google’s long term prospects and claim to the high ground.
Yikes – I leave town for a few days and can hardly keep up with all the interesting tech news items. In addition to the fun Jeremy v. Matt copycat debate we’ve got:
Jason on Digg Rigging This is just a tiny part of the HUGE number of upcoming stories which will showcase how complex the relationships are between SEO, social networking sites, and …. money. I actually contacted the Digger Jason is effectively accusing of abuse and it does not appear to me he’s taken any money at any time. Here’s a great summary of that “Digg Ban” case. But his innocence does not suggest to me that there is not a huge and growing issue with Social media SEO uses and abuses. At PubCon many were discussing how powerfully social networking can help with organic optimization as well as straight traffic generation to a site that gets “dugg” or creates a compelling (including stupid but popular) YouTube video.
Jim at Microsoft apologizing in a very web 2.0 way. Scoble would be proud of this “naked conversations” approach to corporate blogging. Too bad Microsoft didn’t see how making Robert the semi-official corporate blogmeister with the huge salary increase he deserved for “getting Web 2.0” before the suits did (most MS suits don’t even get it now) would have returned 100x on the investment.
… and speaking of “getting Web 2.0”. Yahoo does but can’t seem to get the mileage they deserve for retooling the corporation as a community internet extravaganza. This set of leaked Yahoo internal documents about the potential Facebook aquisition provides a fascinating glimpse into how big deals are analyzed. As a Yahoo shareholder I think they should save the billion and just get their stupid ass in gear with the excellent social network stuff they already own like Flickr (which should be the template for other social applications, Del.icio.us (OVERHAUL the INTERFACE and yes, you can rename this URL monstrosity! ), Yahoo Video, Yahoo 360, Answers, groups, etc, etc. As I’ve noted before Yahoo suffers from giving people so many options they tire of the decision making and go to Google’s simple interfaces, search, and simpler suite of choices. Google expects us to act like the sheep we are. Yahoo expects us to do too much mental work choosing how we relate to the internet.
Like many frothing at the mouth online analysts and social networking ravers, Pete Cashmore suggests that Zuckerberg is right to act like he’s in no rush to sell Facebook, but this is silly. Zuckerberg is playing high stakes poker and he has a LOT to lose – certainly hundreds of millions if Facebook hits any major snags or if some newer and hipper online community takes root. I suspect he knows this but is loving the game, and I certainly admire this young whippersnapper for that and for creating such a magnificent web community. Magnificent, but only “worth” a fraction of the 1+ billion Cashmore suggests Facebook is now worth as an independent business.
But then what do I know, I traded my Apple for WCOM back in the day.
I do think Google will now scarf them up as part of their “empty the lake of big fish” marketing strategy, and I predict they’ll pay about 1.1 billion, but this is the luck of timing by Zuckerman, not a market based assessment of the value of Facebook as an independent entity, which everybody seems to be wildly overestimating. YouTube’s the same situation, where it’s value is not in streaming 100,000,000 crappy videos per day, rather in the fact that it helps Google, now awash in high valued stock, consolidate their position as the key online advertising leader.
The funny thing is that the *same rationales* used in 1999 are rearing their silly heads again, and only a handful of investors are noticing this. Unlike 1999 there are now many *real companies* out there with moderately long and profitable online histories, but ironically they appear to be very undervalued compared to the more speculative plays.
Slate’s got a nice article discussing how YouTube may have fewer legal problems than many think they’ll have. The gist is that YouTube and other user content is protected under “Safe Harbor” provisions demanded by Telcos to protect…themselves.
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?
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.
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.
Henry Blodget, in my opinion, is writing some of the most thoughtful stuff about Google’s share price and prospects. Ironically he’s precluded from working in securities or offering personal stock advice – I think forever – due to his and other irrational exhuberances of the internet bubble days. Bubble ONE, that is. Bubble two is not a bubble, it’s a YouTubleGoogle Zeitgeisty thing.
My Cicarelli test of a few weeks ago, where I blogged about the top Technorati search term, sent a few hundred visits total over the two week period. It’s not clear they were “extra” visits though I think they were, but it would take more analysis than I want to do to determine if placing high for that term meant I was lower ranked for the more common technology themes you’d find on this blog.
Technorati still shows that very interesting imbalance between readers and writers. In fact I’m again hard pressed to explain many of these top searches without looking them up:
See, these technorati top tags (below) are really different from the searches, reflecting the tech emphasis of most bloggers. In fact I find that I tend to blog about tech stuff in great disproportion to things I find more interesting simply because that’s the most common theme in the blog community and the conferences I blog about. I’m reading and living that stuff more than, say, political stuff which in many ways is more intriguing.
Blogs and tech sort of “go together”. I’d like that to change.
A few years back, when I was making more money online, PayPal was a great way to receive payments from advertisers, especially if they were out of the country which otherwise meant you had to wait a long time for checks to clear. But Paypal charged a lot for this – a $1000 dollar transaction from England would cost, as I recall, something like $60 in fees.
The New York Times explains where some of my hard-earned-by-the-sweat-of-my-online-brow money went. After hitting the pockets of Paypal insiders it’s now spreading the gospel of YouTube, LinkedIn, and other Web startups.
I guess that should make me feel better about my little part in feeding funding to the PayPal behemoth, but somehow…. it doesn’t.