So it seems open-source advocates get lambasted when they sue nonprofits for using terms like "Web 2.0" because said advocates' companies have registered "Web 2.0" as a servicemark. How doubly ironic when said nonprofit has invited you to speak at their conference.
Already, the reaction has outstripped commentary on the O.J. Trial. Next we'll probably be downloading video of Tim O'Reilly doing a slow getaway in a white Bronco, with a horrified look on his face as he hops "back on the grid" and checks his Blackberry...
I'm sure you don't need my take, so here's a meta-take. I looked at all the blog comments on the Radar O'Reilly blog and I'd like to vote for this one as my favorite:
Sara: Hi Tim, how's your vacation going?
Tim: Pretty good. What's up Sara?
Sara: Um, well, remember that idea I had to sue non-profits for cash?
Tim: Yeah.Sara: And remember how I told you I was good at PR?
Sara: Yeah, well...hmm, let's see, how to put this? There's a bit of a "situation" developing here.
Tim: Don't worry about it, Toots, I'll have facilities fix the coffee-maker first thing Monday morning, as soon as I get back.
Sara: No, no, it's not about the coffee-maker.
Tim: So what's this about?
Sara: Well, remember when Michael Brown got that FEMA job for which his only qualification was being a colossal failure at raising Arabian horses?
Sara: And remember how I told you that I had some PR experience but you never checked my references because we were sleeping together at the time?
Sara: Well, I've never actually "done" PR. My most recent position was cleaning the Arabian Horse stables for Michael Brown.
Tim: Are you saying you've Katrinaed us?
Sara: Yes. And I've done a "heckuva job" of it.
Posted by: JP at May 26, 2006 03:51 PM
It's funny, because it's not true.
Except for the part about CMP Media registering Web 2.0 as a servicemark, and suing a nonprofit. That happened!
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Shoptoit.ca, Canada's leading shopping engine, has inked a partnership that will place its merchant listings on the MSN-Sympatico portal. That's major! I heard the unconfirmed plan last month, but today, a press release from the two companies confirms it. The listings go live June 1.
I'm guilty. I pump up Yahoo's market share in things like calendar, mail, and finance. But I also use Gmail regularly, eventually will switch to GCal (maybe), and really think Google Finance is cool (but only use it 20% of the time).
New Hitwise data bears this out. Google has a huge lead in search, but lags in many other areas.
Still, something's not quite right about how this is being reported. Take, for example, Google Maps. Supposedly, it has 8% share, well behind Mapquest and Yahoo Maps. 8%? Really? Something's off here, isn't it? Am I the only one who can't believe it?
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Ever notice how many Wikipedia entries show up prominently in Google search results? Here we go again.
Depending on the type of search query, over the years, certain large websites have been so good at offering the "definitive" or at least leading resource page for a given subject that Google searchers have found themselves clicking through to the same major portals again and again. In short, these are the perennial SERP's winners, the ones that seem to have a reasonably good answer, solution, or chunk of content for just about anything.
Lately, Wikipedia's been all over the place. But over the years we've seen this with:
But it's patently obvious that those situations can't stay static. Either the large site in question directly competes with Google, or it's just not a level playing field to let them mop up so many SERP wins at the expense of their competitors.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, it seems that many such perennial victors fall back into a more normal range, where they share SERP wins and losses, like everyone else.
One possible reason that some of these sites do so well is that Google has to take such an aggressive stance against spam and rules violations, that it weeds out a lot of pages that once ranked. The remaining sites may be "backfill" in a sense -- unspectacular but reliable pages from sites like yellowpages.ca, which might show listings several times throughout the first few pages of SERP's on a localized query like "furniture toronto".
In other cases, perennial victors are taking advantage of the poor quality of results on long-tail local terms. A Canadian site called fabuloussavings.ca appears in the top five listings on a huge number of queries, such as "marble flooring toronto," no doubt irritating more established businesses that weren't built around optimizing for search engines.
It seems we're a long way from the "perfect search" held up as the ideal in the final chapter of John Battelle's The Search.
One reason is the adversarial nature of a public search index; the effort to weed out spam weakens results in unforeseen ways. The search companies do have clever workarounds, like highlighting other types of results (like local search) that work differently from the main index, to give them credit for moving in the right direction.
A second point to ponder, though, is that the major search companies are, yes, portals. Media compnaies. Would-be monopolists. They want good search -- yes. But perfect search? Even fair search? I doubt it. If a definition of "fair" as search scientists saw it meant that a lot of pages from a competing local listings company wound up in the top three of SERP's across millions of queries, do you think Google or Yahoo would let it ride, or would the definition of fairness keep changing? Would they, as Page and Brin wrote in "Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine -- Appendix A: Advertising and Mixed Motives" (2000), "add a small factor to search results from 'friendly' companies, and subtract a factor from results from competitors"? Overtly, no. Subconsciously or indirectly - almost surely.
How does this relate to Wikipedia as today's SERP Staple? It's neither a "friendly" nor "unfriendly" entity, so, like "too much dmoz," it'll likely fall out of SERP favor over time on the basis of users feeling there's simply "too much Wikipedia in there."
GLOSSARY: SERP = Search Engine Results Page
Monday, May 22, 2006
Google is now making a market between publishers and advertisers with a new ad product: Video Ads. AdSense publishers may choose to display these ads, and some advertisers, especially larger ones short on rich media inventory, will likely seek to experiment with buying them through Google.
The method for advertisers to upload the ads is similar to the current system for uploading display ads in content targeting, but a new "upload video ad" option is now available. Advertisers must upload both a "starter static image" and a video ad in any of the major streaming video formats. They'll be available to advertisers who choose site targeting (on a CPM basis) or classic content targeting (CPC).
Google's Product Management Director, AdSense, Gokul Rajaram, told me that the format will be less intrusive than typical video ads, as the user can choose whether to play the ad. Otherwise it sticks to the static starter image. In addition, some advanced metrics will be offered to advertisers, including "playback rate" and "playback length."
Google kicks the product off having beta-tested it with several test sites such as socialitelife.com and purevolume.com. They are hoping for uptake from advertisers such as movie studios, automakers, and travel providers, who may already have video available for promotional purposes.
Danny Sullivan is world-renowned for his donut expertise, only slightly behind his search engine expertise. We're proud to learn that he thinks Tim Hortons donuts are the best in the world. I have, thus far, refrained from telling Danny the entire history of the company. Nor have I told him about my friend Steve, who holds a PhD in History (and wrote a dissertation that included lengthy sections on, yes, donut culture in Canada and the history of franchising). But I will, if he has a spare hour.
This news is a bit old, but I thought I'd take the time to tell people who don't know that yes, in addition to all the other writing he does, Danny's been quietly publishing a personal blog, Daggle.com, for some time now.