Revenge of the F'd Companies
BusinessWeek has a satisfying cover story this week (E-Biz Strikes Again!) that contends that the surviving "dot coms (doesn't that term sound so... derogatory?) are not only up off the mat, but they're landing serious punches on other industries ripe for conquering, like jewelry (Amazon just opened a jewelry store), hotel reservations, telecom, and others. Get this:
"Nearly 60% of the remaining public Internet companies made money in the fourth quarter of last year, based on standard accounting measurements. Those profits are luring investors back to the market. Venture-capital investments topped $5 billion in the first quarter for the first time in nearly two years, while 14 Net companies are registered to go public."
Sixty percent is a darn impressive number. Well, I hate to say we told you so, but... We told you so!
I've probably said this before, but I have to say again that it feels damn good to prove the following people wrong (these idiots are in no particular order):
Naysayers; F'd Company website creators; nattering nabobs of negativism at media outlets who wrote gleeful stories ridiculing Internet companies; stupid investors; stupid venture capitalists; and, um, if I'm forgetting anyone -- you know who you are.
Friday, April 30, 2004
New Traffick Article
By the Numbers: Google IPO Filing Tells Story of '03
By Andrew Goodman, April 30, 2004
It may be awhile before the stock actually trades, but forced disclosure now gives us access to the key numbers for how the company did in 2003. Answer: pretty good.
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Cultural Amnesia: Google Didn't Invent Search, People
For the next year or so, I suppose we'll now have to resign ourselves to hastily-written glosses on info-retrieval "then and now" -- with the "now" being the Book of Google and "then" being mere pre-history.
Check this out:
"Information before Google was a tough and often dull business before Stanford graduates Larry Page and Sergey Brin came up with an algorithm that searched and ranked Web pages on the basis of "importance" value to determine their usefulness.
"Students trudged to libraries, journalists rifled through dog-eared contacts books and computer neophytes struggled with search engines that required precision spelling, hyphens and slashes in the right order."
I hope Danny Sullivan has some fun with that one in his monthly newsletter.
Precision spelling! Like spelling things correctly! Imagine that! And imagine "trudging" to a library. (I really hope students still do that, even if it's only to fire up Google or make out in the stacks.)
Also, she misspelled the word "wacky" in the story. Kooky.
And the Winner Is... Eric Schmidt
Google has indeed filed for a public offering today since they couldn't legally delay disclosure any longer.
The filing shows that CEO Eric Schmidt holds 38.4% as many shares as either of the co-founders, Page and Brin. Phew! Not bad.
So when the inevitable envious talk turns to some smart engineer becoming a millionaire "because he happened to work at Google," put it in perspective. Think about Eric Schmidt.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
White-Hot Search Sector Pleases Meckler, Befuddles Terra
JupiterMedia CEO Alan Meckler reports that the upcoming Toronto SES show is "significantly profitable" out of the gate, unusual for a first-time show. Canada, Sweden, Japan... Mr. Meckler's becoming more popular than Celine Dion (and better-dressed, too).
I like it, too. I just finished up an interview for Berlin Public Radio. You might call me the David Hasselhoff of Search!
In not-so-good news, Spanish-owned Terra Networks is trying to unload Lycos, a company it never should have bought in the first place. Maybe Barry Diller will get his chance after all, at a deep discount. With the right buyer at the right time, a Lycos-linked web conglomerate could add some spice to an already rejuvenated portal war.
John Battelle has recently commented on this issue as well. With an impending Lycos fire sale, suddenly Ask Jeeves doesn't look like the only major potential acquisition target in the search/portal sector.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Moreover's Free Webfeeds to be AdSense-Supported
With little if any fanfare, Google has gained a new partner for its contextual ad listings: Moreover, the news aggregator. The tens of thousands of webmasters who use the free webfeeds from Moreover are being asked to sign up for a new feed service at a Moreover division called FeedDirect.
Given the uneven quality of Moreover's feeds these days (it seems unsure whether it's a free-for-all blog feed or a carefully-chosen feed of articles from trusted news sources), this could be the catalyst some publishers need to explore alternatives such as startup Topix.net, which also offers feeds.
There is considerable demand amongst publishers for better-quality custom news aggregation out there, but many got used to not paying for the services. Few would pay steep fees since numerous free options are available. Many won't accept the idea of showing ads, either, especially if Moreover, and not the publisher, gets the part of the revenue that doesn't go to Google.
A middle-ground solution would surely be some kind of compromise that offers better customization of sources, look, and feel, with no requirement to show ads. Since we currently use Moreover on Traffick.com, but would love to try something new, we're open to ideas.
Sunday, April 25, 2004
New Traffick Article:
The Book on Amazon.com's A9 Search Engine
By Cory Kleinschmidt, April 25, 2004
When Amazon.com last year announced they were going to launch their own search engine called A9, many search engine observers thought they were nuts. I was one of them. Now that it's here, however, I'm singing a different tune.