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Johannes Maepa <jmaepa @gmail .com>
GigaOM <info@gigaom .com> Fri, Sep 14, 2007 at 3:57 PM
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It’s All In The [Search] Packaging
Posted : 13 Sep 2007 10 :15 PM CDT
Back in the 1990 s, searching for something on the web was like looking for a needle in a haystack . Then
Google (GOOG came along , and it was as if someone had handed us a magnet with which finding the good
(and the relevant ) became downright easy .
The post -bust social media boom , however , is bringing an end to the good times . The explosion of content
on the Internet is making searching for information difficult once again . It is one of the reason we are seeing
a sharp increase in the number of companies — vertical search engines and wiki-based collaborations , for
example — that want to help us find the information for which we’re looking . This trend – lets call it smart
content aggregation – is something I wrote about back in March for Business 2.0.
These companies are trying to insert themselves into the proverbial three -page paradigm that has been
popularized by Google : page one is the search box ; page two , the search results page ; and finally , page
three , the final destination that holds the coveted information . It ’s the “second page ” that’s getting crowded , and it’s forcing average web
surfers to look for simpler options .
One option is Jason Calacanis ’ Mahalo, which uses wiki-software to create specialized topic pages , aggregated by editors , that quickly
point searchers to the best web resources available . (Of course , from an advertiser perspective these topics are also amongst the most
sought -after “keywords ”) He isn’t alone in trying to insert his company in between the searcher and the original content source ; Yahoo
(YHOO) has been experimenting with aggregation mashups as well .
Earlier this week , Kosmix , a Mountain View , Calif.-based startup that is taking an algorithmic approach to aggregating content , launched
two beta versions of specialized topic -based pages , RightAutos and RightTrips ; it also formally launched its health -focused property ,
RightHealth . The company builds specialized start pages on topics within topics , (such as osteoarthritis in its health section ), that include
everything from videos to news to special reports , all supported by advertising . Kosmix claims its beta version of RightHealth currently
gets more than 2.5 million visits and generates 9 million searches a month .
Wikia, another company that is aggregating content , is now doing about 250 million page views . Wikipedia, the biggest such operation
(and a not -for-profit org ) had become the 9th-largest site on the web in terms of unique visitors , according to comScore .
These traffic trends reflect a desire on the part of web surfers to find information smartly aggregated for them . But those surfers still want
to start with Google . Hitwise tells us that in August , 47 .2 percent of Wikipedia’s traffic came from Google , up 8 percent over the same
month last year . Meanwhile , Mahalo, which launched in May , saw 53 .3 percent of its traffic come from Google in August , a 49-percent
jump from July . For the same month -to -month timeframe , Google sent over 8.37 percent of Wikia’s traffic .
While the jury is out on the success of the aforementioned startups , the need for smart aggregators is only going to increase as more
content starts to come online . As I wrote in the March issue of Business 2.0:
Hyperaggregation is simply a way to do in the new -media world what old media has done for centuries : neatly package
information . The value of a newspaper , after all, is not the information inside as much as the carefully considered layout of the
front page . At a glance you can see what’s important . Smart new companies are finally figuring out how to do this online , where
there ’s too much content and not enough packaging .
The aggregation is going to pose a challenge for some of the traditional content sources . A lack of finely tuned information sources is one
of the reasons content publishers get “wasted ” clicks . The aggregators can take away some of that sloth by making seek -and-search more
efficient . Wikipedia’s pages , for example , are incredibly detailed and often include enough information that obviate the need to search
any further . That should be a scarier prospect than Google adding news wires to Google News and subsequently taking a bite out of
newspapers ’ online traffic .
X-Googlers Ready To Start It Up
Posted : 13 Sep 2007 10 :00 PM CDT
http://mail.google.com/mail/?ik=d9504d5a37&view=cv&search=inbox&th=115052d0b1a53766&ww=1019&cvap=0&qt=&zx=w14bsnkqoi0n 2007/09/14 08:24:43 PM
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have details on two more companies started by former eBay -Skype folks.
If you have heard of any other members of the ex-Google Slid , let us know .
Verizon Sues, Google Expresses Dismay Over 700 MHz Auction
Posted : 13 Sep 2007 05 :31 PM CDT
Verizon Wireless , a division of Verizon Communications (VZ ), was unhappy with the way things were turning out for the 700 MHz
auction and as such has decided to use the legal system to try and block the open -access provisions that were tacked onto the hotly
debated auction by the Federal Communications Commission .
Verizon called the rules “arbitrary and capricious , unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law.” The legal action
can be roughly translated into this: Verizon thinks it can outbid even Google , win the auction and basically lock out all open -access
backers . Nice block -and-tackle move by a veteran of the Beltway who knows how to really work the system . Google (GOOG isn’t thrilled
about it, and has posted a fiery response on its Policy Blog.
Google was all set to bid for the spectrum :
The nation ’s spectrum airwaves are not the birthright of any one company . They are a unique and valuable public resource that
belong to all Americans . The FCC’s auction rules are designed to allow U.S. consumers — for the first time — to use their handsets
with any network they desire , and download and use the lawful software applications of their choice .
I have not been a fan of the FCC plan either , but not because I don ’t like more wireless broadband options . As I wrote earlier , “The lack of
mandated wholesale access on this network makes it a non -starter from competitive perspective .”
Anyway , let ’s see what Verizon comes back with in response to Google ’s comments .
Vanity Fair (Re) Discovers Tech
Posted : 13 Sep 2007 04 :15 PM CDT
You know things are getting downright frothy when Vanity Fair rediscovers technology and starts giving way too much attention
to technology titans by including them in its annual New Establishment list. The bible of frivolous has out done itself this time ; it has also
included a new micro -list, The Next Establishment . Perhaps it couldn ’t fit in more tech types in the big list .
The New Establishment ’s top three are : Rupert Murdoch , Steve Jobs and the The Google Boys , in that order . Bill and Melinda come at #
10 , which makes you wonder : How many billions does a guy have to make and how much does he has to give away before he can top the
list ? The King of Latin Telecom and Fortune Magazine’s richest man in the world , Carlos Slim, (worth about $59 billion ) ranks a cool #11 .
Other tech notables : Larry Ellison (20 ), Jeff Bezos (23 ) Peter Chernin (24 ), Michael Moritz (56 ) and Vinod Khosla (62). As an aside , the
New Establishment non -Caucasian representation : less than 5 percent .
The Next Establishment , however , is chock full of techies . Chris & Tom (MySpace ), Janus Friis and Noklas Zennstrom (Skype ), Brad
Greenspan (ex -MySpace ), Joi Ito , Markos Moulitas , Elon Musck (Paypal , Tesla ), Evan Williams (Blogger ), Danny Rimer (Index Ventures )
and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook .)
Vanity Fair’s list is an apt reflection on what is in vogue . Curmudgeons call it a market top , but I happen to be in good spirits these days .
PS: If there is a kind soul out there who has access to previous issues of Vanity Fair’s New Establishment , maybe they can give us a
statistical breakdown of technology ’s representation over the past seven years .
Austin, Traffic Delays, Last.fm, & Excel Tips
Posted : 13 Sep 2007 04 :04 PM CDT
The real green mayor , and no not Gavin Newsom . (Earth2Tech )
Getting the most out of Microsoft Excel (Webworkerdaily )
2007/09/14 08:24:43 PM