Posts about google

Google and splog fraud

I can no way to report fraudulant splogs to Google — and that’s a scandal that will affect Google’s own reputation and the value of its advertising. Like others, I’m victimized by a limp-dick spammer copying my text to put up ads and get paid from Google. I’d tell Google about it to protect both them and me. But I can find no means to do that. Come on, Google, you don’t want to make money off theft and fraud. That would be … evil. And besides, it will make you far more vulnerable to the distributed ad networks based on trust that are coming …. soon.

Beware the Googeyman

Business Week media maven Jon Fine sent me a link to his latest column and said I wouldn’t like the idea presented there. He’s quite right. He proposes a vision of the future that is really just a long-dead dream of the big-media past, back before the internet and before big, bad Google, when the big companies controlled content and thought they controlled the world:

What if 2006 is the year big media players take aim at Google’s kneecaps? No, not with more lawsuits; the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers — on behalf, in part, of BusinessWeek’s parent company, The McGraw-Hill Companies — and Agence France-Presse have already sued the search behemoth. Rather, picture this: Walt Disney, News Corp., NBC Universal, and The New York Times, in an odd tableau of unity, join together and say: “We are the founding members of the Content Consortium. Next month we launch our free, searchable Web site, which no outside search engines can access…. From now on we’ll make our stuff available and sell ads around it and the searches for it, but only on our terms. Who else wants to join us? Membership’s free.”

Well, that would be hugely stupid. And though huge companies can be stupid, I don’t think they’d be that self-destructive. For the truth of life today — like it or not, lump it or not — is that Google is everyone’s front page. And, yes, that can make life difficult. Google kills brands; Google commodifies everything. But that’s not Google’s fault. That comes part-and-parcel with this new, distributed world where we control the entry to the content we want and where there is no longer a scarcity of content that lets a few big players control it and us. Wishing this weren’t so won’t make it not so.

So when AFP sues Google to stop it from quoting and linking to its stories, it is cutting off its nose to spite its face. When newspapers put content behind pay and archive walls, they are killing their own Googlejuice and thus their audience — that is, the audience are not now attracting to their print products and their brands. When book publishers try to stop Google from indexing books so they can be found, they are killing the words and thoughts in them and cutting them off from the world.

Meanwhile, the smart guys are hiring search-engine-optimization experts and trying to figure out how to get more people to their stuff thanks to Google. See the post below: Walled gardens are no more. Or, if they do exist, they are lonely places populated only by their few, cranky proprietors.

Fine raises the ghost of the last effort at a content consortium: The newspaper industry’s New Century Network. I had the bad fortune to have witnessed and suffered through that clusterfuck. It was a disaster not just because newspaper people can’t get along, as Fine hints, but also because they tried to solve their problems, not the public’s.

: At the same time, we have the self-annointed usability “expert” Jakob Nielsen (didn’t anybody ever tell him that reading lines of text three feet long isn’t very usable?!?) also goes after Google and search engines, calling them leeches because they create an open marketplace that suck more profit out of transactions as they get bigger and more efficient. His sequence sounds right but not his solutions. What we need is competition. What we need is an open ad marketplace. More on that in time….

: LATER: James Robertson has a blunt response. Mark Evans says Google-trashing is just jealousy.

: Seth Godin understands what Jakob is really saying:

Jakob, on the other hand, inadvertently explains why keyword advertising is such a brilliant invention.


Bill Burnham has a good post about Google Base, insisting that it will change the world, or at least part of it. He says it’s all about RSS feeds into a gigantic XML data base that will extrude all kinds of neat new sausages. I await Part II.

Meanwhile, Olivier Travers says that surely Google will open up Base:

…it’s very early to make a call about Google’s intent. I’d say they want to give themselves a headstart in terms of surfacing Google Base content across their services (e.g. Local) but they’ll probably expose it to the outside world sooner or later. Not doing it seems not only at odds with their roots but more importantly it would leave them vulnerable to a more open joint effort by Microsoft and Yahoo, not to speak of countless smaller competitors.

My issue is: Why not open it up now? Why not publish the data format and API? Why not let us in on their intention? Instead, by playing the mysterious hard-to-get game, Google is mimicking Microsoft, the borg: You’ll do what we say because we say so. Once again, Google has succeeded thanks to the very openness of the internet. It should be open, in turn.

Google Base v. microformats

I’ve read the little background material on Google’s Base and still can’t see whether the material you put there can be found by other search engines. I also cannot find evidence of an API that shares any standards for tags and structure. Is Base open or closed? So far, closed.

What we need instead is a means of letting you tag and structure your data so it can be found reliably by any search engine no matter where it is on the internet. That would stay true to the distributed internet Google has so masterfully exploited.

I wish I were hearing more noise from the microformats guys to act as competitors — or at least as pressure on Google for openness and standards.

Imagine if you could go to a page that lets you put in your resume or house ad or job ad and it spits out tagged XML you could put on the web anywhere to be found by anyone.

Or imagine putting tags on restaurant reviews you post on your blog so anyone could aggregate or search for, say, all the cuisine=mexican restaurants in location=chicago. Well, you don’t really have to imagine that. If you aggreed on the tags, you could start doing that today via and Technorati.

And imagine if you could go to Google or other services — e.g., Indeed and SimplyHired for jobs or Baristanet for three Jersey towns — and see the tags they use so you can swarm around those tags and find and be found. That’s the openness we need. If Google spearheads that with a truly open API that can be adapted by the community, then great. That is our distributed marketplace. But if not, then Google is only trying to recreate the centralized marketplaces of old — otherwise known as newspapers. That worked for newspapers when they had monopolies. They don’t anymore. Does Google think it has a monopoly?

: Mark Pincus hopes Google is not trying to recreate Walmart. It’s a heartfelt, practically tear-wrenching ode to what Google coulda shoulda been:

my other big question is whether google is opening this service to the same crawling it has benefitted from to the tune of $108 billion? …

my take is google has chosen between two paths. one which i thought they were on was to be a platform to enable great things on the web. google could have powered everything with its search engine, ad infrastructure, massive crawling and computing power. it could have been a democratizing force, enabling small services to flourish in being found and in serving them a platform on which to innovate.

instead google has chosen to be merely another big corporate titan. like microsoft, it’s choosing to go for the gold, enriching their shareholders rather than enabling industries….

like msft, google is now going after every other oppty around it, taking advantage of its trojan horse position. suddenly every company is at risk. companies as far away as walmart have to have a ‘google strategy’. today, vc’s ask every new startup how they will compete with google. (at least we dont have to answer the msft question any more.) …

in fact, google feels a like walmart today. once the excitement over trying out their latest release wears off we are left with the realization that they are going to ultimately put the corner grocer (being craigslist) out of business, and suck value out of an economy not add back. …

one last thought to all those ‘web 2.0’ers’ listening. WHEN ARE WE ALL GOING TO WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT NONE OF US COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER? WE ALL COMPETE WITH GOOGLE, MSFT AND YAHOO. the only chance we have of enabling an independent industry is to come together, leverage s resources, create and protect a level playing field. otherwise, we are all in the business of creating great products in the hope we can sell to them before they build it. how fucking boring is that?

Right. That is precisely why some of us are working on figuring out open ad marketplaces and why I wish the microformats guys were getting more ink pixels.

The answer to any monopoly — water to wicked witches everywhere — is openness.

: I’ve been meaning to link to this PC4Media post on microformats for months; now I have the excuse and the memory to do it:

MicroFormats Enable Distributed Applications!

Exactly. Microformats could be as big an innovation as databases were.

If databases let us store information. Microformats let us access the world’s databases. Potentially!

Yes, APIs do this too. But, microformats make the database (or data store) distributed. Not controlled by one entity.

This could be as big as “http”.

If you don’t get how microformats can change your business, prepare to be outdone.

: See also Fred Wilson on base.

: And see Umair Haque:

There’s only one question that matters, strategically: is Base the AOL-style walled garden of the 00s?

That is, are returns to info owned by Google going to be lower than decentralized info? …

What that means is that Google keeps indexing the world’s information, albeit at increasingly costly factor prices; while superior returns begin flowing to reconstructors and smart aggregators. This scenario devalues centralized mechanisms/walled gardens, like Base – because they’re not part of the attention ecosystem; they’re part of GoogleWorld (we really do need a name for all the info Google owns)….

But I think what it does do is begin to point to a growing vital point competitors can strike….

Then there’s Amazon, eBay, VCs, and media – all attention economy players, who seem totally intent on missing the tectonic shifts right under their feet, which are eroding all their returns.

The key question for any company today is: How do you play in the distributed world? How do you stop the 1.0 insistence of having to control and own and how do you instead make money by enabling others? That was where Google’s own gigantic growth was. But sometimes it’s hardest to learn the lessons you yourself teach.

Umair adds:

Another, marginally related point – it also points to the uncooling of Google. I mean, Base? Can you get more Orwellian, lame, sinister, connected to all the wrong stuff?

EG: Al Qaeda means “the Base”.

See also: base instincts.

: SEE ALSO: The comments. Good notes there from ROR and SimpyHired.

The price of thought

The WSJ reports that Google is toying with the idea of renting books that can be read, not downloaded or printed, over a week. They say Google would charge 10 percent of the cover price. Thus, they believe that the ideas and thought are worth one tenth the paper, distribution, and retail markup. And, of course, not all that would go to the guy who had the thought; she’d get a fraction left over after publishers, agents, and Google itself. Content is devalued yet further. [via Paid Content]