Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Google’s On The Way Down?

April 3, 2008

A while back I wrote that Google should stay out of the content business and focus on organizing content instead (their stated goal), perhaps because they are spreading their talent too thin. This is worrying investors, considering the growing amount of employees they are hiring.

Recently, especially after the discovery that Google’s paid click volume is sliding, I figured I’d amend my previous statement and write that yes, the people at Google should focus on search, but they should also finish what they start. Satirist Daniel Lyons, on his Fake Steve blog, has a great (read: funny) list of things that have been started, but remain poorly executed.

Now Google is losing talent; people who really matter. It was announced that Douglas Merrill, Google’s Chief Information Officer, would be leaving. This follows other exits:

Salman Ullah, the respected mergers and acquisitions chief, left last October to set up in venture capital. The former head of Google Health, Adam Bosworth, is forming his own start-up. Last month, Sheryl Sandberg, vice-president for global sales and operations, left to become chief operating officer at privately-held Facebook, taking with her Ethan Beard, Google’s director of social media.  

And more:

Other former Google execs to take gigs at Facebook include YouTube’s CFO Gideon Yu and Google Checkout product head Benjamin Ling.  

So what’s up? Why is this internet giant bleeding out?

I think a small passage in an unrelated news story hit the nail on the head: 

‘The fundamental concern still is that they’re getting all their revenue out of paid search, and they’re fooling around with a lot of other things,’ said Kevin Landis, chief investment officer at Firsthand Capital Management in San Jose, California. The firm manages $600 million, including 23,413 Google shares. ‘They’re still a one-trick pony.’  

I used the “one-trick” pony comment a few days ago when describing my concerns about Google and search marketing to my boss (impression levels are going down across some of our accounts). I’m glad someone who’s paid a lot more than me feels the same way (yeah, it’s stuff like this that keeps the Branding Me blog going: validation… even if it is few and far between).

So my analysis: Google needs to come out with something new that can kick butt and take names (where’s Android, for instance?) because bleeding executives like this is writing on the wall.

Advertisements

Winners of the FCC Airwaves Auction

March 20, 2008

I’ve been following the FCC auction for a while now (exhibit AB, and C), especially because it appeared Google may have been positioning itself for some new service that had yet to be disclosed. Well, I was wrong… Verizon Wireless is the big winner in the airwaves auction. So it looks like the analysts interviewed by Bloomberg were right (duh!): Google gets the open airwaves they wanted while not having to commit tons resources to branch out as a wireless service provider + search engine.

Yawn.

 

P.S. 

Dear United States Government:

Please enjoy your extra $19 billion; please don’t spend it all in one place.

More Difficulties Monetizing Web 2.0

February 7, 2008
A Branding Me First: I Was Right About Something!!!

It’s a bittersweet day for those of us who keep repeating over and over and over again that advertising on social networking sites is not effective. I think I have been spouting the same line since I started this blog: advertising, although it may create revenue, is not the most lucrative way to monetize Web 2.0.

Google’s stock tanked recently, falling 8.6%, which is the sharpest fall since it went public. As many of you already know, this is in large part due to the recent “bear hug” Microsoft gave Yahoo. But another key reason for the dive was the (semi)lack of revenue growth: although the net income rose 17% compared to a year earlier, that figure fell short of analyst expectations, and may represent the peak of continued growth.

So how come Google did not meet expectations? CFO George Reyes said, “We have found that social networking inventory is not monetizing as well as we would like.” Translation: we bought a helluva lot of advertising inventory for a helluva a lot of money, and it’s not performing. How bad is this problem? the reporter for the NY Times continues: “People involved in [the MySpace deal] said that Google never assumed that it would earn its $900 million back from that deal, but it appears to be losing even more than it had expected.”

Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t think advertising is worth throwing out completely. I just want more creative business models for Web 2.0; there has to be other, more profitable ways to monetize these services.

Anyways, so much for me being a “naysayer” (the link back to me is in the last paragraph of this other blogger’s entry).

EDIT

Also check out AU Interactive’s rundown of a Facebook Social Ad experiment. 

Blogging For Money – The Illegal Way

January 22, 2008

Well, I’m not aware of any laws against it… but it still violates many blogging platforms’ Terms Of Service. It seems that Google can benefit from the proliferation of these, and so I want to reach back in time and revive a ‘classic’ news article on the subject.

Google Losing Fight Against Splogs?

Last July The Guardian wrote an article about “splogging.” It discusses the fight against splogs -spam blogs that abuse the AdSense program for $$$- and Google’s (apparent) lack of interest. Unfortunately, it seems one of the bloggers that fights splogs has gone radio silent, since the last update on his site was in August of ’07; I hope he simply didn’t give up the fight 😦

What Won’t Google Do?; Lazysphere Blogging

January 17, 2008

“The Search Party”

Recently the New Yorker published an article about Google’s foray into, well, just about everything.
Kidding.
Anyways, here’s a great quote:

As Google expands beyond search […] the risk is that the company will come to believe that its engineers can master any business, solve any problem, and that Google will lose its focus.    

So, I don’t run a multi-billion dollar corporation, but even to me it seems Google is spreading their talent too thin; it’d serve them well to stick to their corporate mission: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” That’s quite a task… so why distract yourself with other things? Is Google running the risk of Starbuck’s, that of diluting the brand? Okay, that may be an apple to oranges comparison, but I think I’ll hold my ground on that argument. I.e., Google should stick to organizing content, not producing content.

Are You A Lazy Blogger?

Steve Rubel once again makes a good point: bloggers can be lazy, meaning bloggers are joining the “Lazysphere” instead of producing thoughtful, quality content. Interesting, because a while back Rubel stated that he’d rather post less on Micro Persuasion in favor of being “into the whole micro-blogging revolution”.

Now, my two cents: it’s hard to constantly produce good content. For some of the longer posts you read here, I can spend one to two hours simply doing research… yes, that time does not even include writing. My process is to go through all of my RSS feeds, hit up some of my favorite blogs and see if I can spot a theme; then I dig a little deeper through search engines in an attempt to find more articles. I read them all. I grab the url’s of the pertinent ones and then try to form a post that includes my analysis and opinion. That takes a lot of time. And what do I get for it??? About 3 pageviews a month.

So what’s my issue? Maybe I’m a horrible writer; maybe I don’t have original, quality, thought-provoking content; maybe I don’t post enough; maybe I might not engage in the blogging community enough to draw others to my blog; or maybe people are simply not interested in my ongoing thought process of how to monetize Web 2.0 sans advertising. Whatever the reason (I’m guilty of a lot of the things I just listed), it’s hard to keep it up when you can tell for certain that no one gives a $h!t about what you have to say…

FCC Airwaves Auction and Google Redux

December 27, 2007

So, per usual, I was wrong in my assertion that Google is cooking up something really special for the wireless world and, as such, was aiming to win the upcoming FCC auction. Here’s the pertinent part of a Bloomberg story that changed my mind:  

Google may choose merely to bid the $4.6 billion reserve price as a ‘token gesture’ to the FCC for imposing the open-access rule, Jason Armstrong of Goldman, Sachs & Co. said in a Nov. 28 research note. In that case, Google would probably lose the auction, the New York-based analyst said.  

Meaning, Google flexed its industry muscle to get some policies changed for the ways in which the airwaves can be used, but all they’re going to do is put up the minimum (losing) bid as a little thank you letter to the FCC. How polite.

What puzzles me though is that Google has only produced an under-whelming Android SDK (one developer said “Functionality is not there, is poorly documented or just doesn’t work”). Meanwhile, Google has been doing its research about wireless… literally: papers from their employees include A Large Scale Study of Wireless Search BehaviorBrowsing on Small Screens: Recasting Web Segmentation Into an Efficient Machine Learning Framework, and another paper that suggests a new model for testing wireless call reliability outside of the current “fewer dropped calls” method (A Statistical View of Transient Signals).

In other words, they’re spending a lot of time and money (research, software development, lobbying) to be ahead in the wireless game, but really have nothing yet to show for it. Sigh. 

FCC Airwaves Auction and Google

December 4, 2007

I love a good conspiracy theory.

Therefore, I want to know what Google is up to concerning their go-it-alone bid in the FCC auction for a piece of the wireless spectrum. Google may have to go as far as financing their bid because, despite their success, they don’t have the flow of hard cash needed to win. Moreover, a writer from the National Post mentioned that a Goldman Sachs analyst viewed “negatively a scenario in which Google wins the auction and decides to build and run a wireless network on its own.” I agree; I highly doubt they would want to take on the cost of maintaining the spectrum, and would most likely partner with someone to take over the nitty-gritty details. So what is there motive?

It seems many are parroting this section of the press release by Google:

Consumers deserve more competition and innovation than they have in today’s wireless world. No matter which bidder ultimately prevails, the real winners of this auction are American consumers who likely will see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet.  

Eric Schmidt is correct in stating consumers want more innovation. Thing is, besides the AdWords gold mine, this company has yet to make a successful foray into, well, anything else. So far search advertising is their one trump card (although that is a damn valuable card to be holding). I think the second card they hold is their staff. Google allows their engineers time to work on their own side-projects (read: you have free time, but we own anything you think up…) and works hard to keep their people happy (have you been to the NYC headquarters? Their cafeteria has an incredible view of Manhattan, and some kick-ass sushi). Thus Google has a great stronghold on housing the potential for innovation.

What’s ironic about the press release is that Google is trying to position themselves as an advocate for openness. I about died laughing when I read that line.

But then again, Elizabeth Woyke noted that others agree: Amol Sarva argues that “simply publicizing its involvement [in the auction] should help achieve Google’s goal of liberalizing the wireless industry.” Google is the starting point of more than 70% of internet searches, and now they are bidding to control another key access point to the Internet. In addition, they are developing Android to further control that access point (assuming they win the bid). They are working hard to ensure the wireless industry is liberalized in their favor; any company would do the same, but for a company that has yet to produce any solid wireless gizmo (be it software, hardware, etc.), the question becomes, “Are they simply building structures to be ready for the future, or do they already have something up their sleeve?”

John Fine put it thus: “The eternal story line in media is ‘Google is moving into [fill in the blank].'” True. His byline reads that Google “sticks ads all over. But to maintain growth, it may need to own the places it puts them.” Are they really betting that expanding the reach of their advertising program onto the mobile phone is worth two years of their earnings? Does that much growth potential exist in that sector? I doubt it. For example, Woyke and another writer pointed ou that “Google lobbied hard to change rules governing use of the spectrum and was able to get lawmakers to ensure an open standard for part of the spectrum.”

They’re up to something. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s there.

Google Cellphone Software

November 6, 2007

Everybody in the tech realm knows about the announcement, and I don’t really have anything to add to the conversation… except a chance to vent. Yesterday when I read a brief summary (it was that short, hence the reason for my reduntant terms), I had one, and only one question. But first, a key quote that I read this morning in the Times:

“John O’Rourke, general manager of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile business, said he was skeptical about the ease with which Google would be able to become a major force in the smartphone market. He pointed out that it had taken Microsoft more than half a decade to get to its current level, doing business with 160 mobile operators in 55 countries.”

Now back to my vent. In all honesty I can say the first thought that popped into my mind when I read the announcment was: when the hell can I put Android on my Motorola Q? Seriously, I’m almost to the point where I believe anything could be better than Windows Mobile 5.0. And no, I don’t want to upgrade to 6.0.

Google, are you taking beta-testers? I’m a big fan. Please help me. Please.

Google Ad Products

September 11, 2007

I can’t give details, but I will say this: Google is going to rock the advertising boat next week (supposedly on the 17th of September).

I was in awe. It made me want to cry. It was that beautiful. I can’t wait.

Google Education Courses | New York City

September 5, 2007

Yesterday my boss received an invitation to attend search engine marketing courses from Google’s New York Agency Education Team. I’m actually fairly excited to attend (I RSVP’d for all four), but mostly because I have a ton of questions. Such as why you are not allowed to use the ” | ” symbol (the symbol I used in this entry’s title) in creative for AdWords. Or why on some of my accounts the ads with lower click-through rates are being served more. Or why… or how… and then…

You get the idea. Anyone else going to be there?