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YouTube Wars Enter Third Stage

It’s official, we are definitely in the middle of a massive multi-industry war on the level of the RIAA/filesharing and other major technology wars of recent memory. Today, the war entered its third major stage, with many of the opposition joining forces to announce a YouTube competitor, coming this summer.

The chronology:

Pre-war ops: Various companies and startups enter the video sharing arena. YouTube (2/15/2005), Revver (11/2005), Break(1/2006), Blip (5/2005), Metacafe (7/2003) and many others form, hoping to gain the user base to eventually make money. Google Video (4/13/2005), MySpace Video (1/23/2006), MSN Soapbox (10/2006), and other major companies try to gain a foothold into the emerging market, and other small players get bought up by large companies trying to gain a share of the pie, including iFilm (acquired by MTV 10/15/2005) and Vimeo (acquired by IAC 8/2006).

Catalysts: December 17, 2005: Saturday Night Live presents Lazy Sunday. Spurred by the popularity of the video, which NBCU later demands be removed, YouTube gains many new users and media attention. YouTube has hit the mainstream, and has never looked back.

Stage I - The Alliance: November 13, 2006: Google annexes YouTube. Mere hours after both Google’s own Google Video and YouTube signed treaties with major music companies, Google trades $1.65 billion in stock for control of YouTube’s mindshare and army of loyal users.

Stage II - First Strike: February 2, 2007: Viacom demands Google remove over 100,000 videos, and March 13, 2007, Viacom sued Google for one billion dollars, striking at the popular YouTube, which is rapidly becoming a significant competitor for its audience. Viacom’s lawsuit, if successful, would open the door for similar lawsuits by every video copyright holder on Earth, burying YouTube and bankrupting the service. It is a battle YouTube cannot afford to lose.

Stage III - The Coalition: March 22, 2007 (today): NBC/Universal (NBC, General Electric) and News Corporation (FOX, MySpace), two of the largest forces in television, announce a competitor to YouTube. The service, a joint effort of the two, will launch this summer, will pool content from TV shows on NBC and FOX networks.

The joint service will give preferred access to those videos to Google’s main competitors, Microsoft’s MSN and Yahoo, as well as Time Warner’s AOL and News Corp.’s MySpace, shutting out Google from important content, and opening it up to more lawsuits if users upload NBC/FOX content to YouTube.

This mega-coalition, NBC/U-NewsCorp/FOX/MySpace-MSN-Yahoo-AOL, represents a huge threat to Google/YouTube. They have the media clout, advertising partners, web traffic, and money to beat back YouTube, which has not (and thus far cannot) developed the revenue streams for Google to use in this combat. While Microsoft and Yahoo have not found a way to beat Google at search, the keys to the internet, they can use YouTube to bleed Google dry, and thus making this a win-win for every single internet company that joins the fight.

The fact is, you may like Google, but Google is bad news for every large internet corporation. It is too large, too scary, too capable of being a threat in other companies backyards. Google has one hit, but in it holds the keys to creating future ones, by designing or buying companies and taking over verticals. It is in the best interest of every Microsoft/Yahoo/AOL/IAC/MySpace on the internet that Google just go away. Superpowers make competition difficult, while a splintered market is great for all to compete in.

Can Google win this one? Can Google outspend its rivals? Can Google someone not have to spend away all its cash on a defense? Was YouTube Google’s biggest mistake? We’ll see.

I can’t wait for Stage IV. My guess: YouTube wins a deal with the only remaining network, ABC. Google CEO Eric Schmidt uses his position on Apple’s board to leverage negotiations with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, a Disney board member, to put Disney/ABC content on YouTube. Possible future moves: An iTunes collaboration for Google, and a settlement with Viacom that saves Google from a dangerous legal precedent.

March 22nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Ask, Apple, YouTube, Google Video, Services, AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo, General | 2 comments

Lets Just Do This All At Once

I am so sick of the news on this blog being, on average, a week old. Its my fault. I let these tabs build and build and build, and I don’t have time to write because I’m too busy amassing tabs, and when I finally do write something, it’s a week old. Dammit! I am so not doing this anymore. I hate missing news, but it is beyond stupid to have late and irellevant news because you don’t want to miss anything.

And because of that, here’s everything I’ve got, leading up to just about today:

Google announced the 2007 Summer of Code. Wordpress is part of it, among others.

As part of the 50th anniversary of Gumby, all 200 episodes of Gumby are now on YouTube, absolutely free. Oh boy!

Scott Clark has a Google Doodle for Gumby he thinks Google should have used.

Google acquired video game advertising company AdScape, which everyone knew was coming. They are competing with Microsoft’s acquisition, Massive, which is far more massive and successful. Google will likely use an automated system and have the same success they had with dMarc, which is to say, none at all.

Google also acquired Gapminder, a data visualization firm that makes Trendalyzer. Looks like they are buying new features for Analytics.

Gary has the search engine logos for St. Patrick’s Day, mostly just Google’s. Barry has Yahoo’s and Search Engine Roundtable’s.

Google has added a feature for the Personalized Homepage that lets you customize the top portion of it with some cool themes. The regular homepage remains the same, but the Personalized one can now have some cool stylings.

Valleywag has a screenshot gallery of the Google homepage over the years.

There’s an easter egg in there. In most of the themes, just visit the page at 3:14 am (get it? Pi time!) and you’ll see something funny happen. Screenshots at Google System. has more spam, by far, than any other domain on the internet. I’m shocked!

Google AdSense is doing Pay-Per-Action ads, that pay out when the user clicking the ad actually does something, like buy something or fill out a form. The ads come with a rotating product format, and even embeddable text links, so you can write about a product and link to it as an ad, just like an Amazon affiliate link.

Arrington’s right when he says Google has crossed a line here. We’ll have to see if they’ve crossed the wrong line. Hopefully, unlike the Google referral ads, Google will never make this available to all AdSense publishers, instead holding it for trustworthy publishers.

Some bloggers just plain don’t like it.

Apply here.

The internet is so slow, Google is transferring data by FedExing hard drives!

Philipp has done this page that puts search queries from AOL’s privacy leak of last year with random images from Google Images, resulting in fun and poignant statement. My favorite is when the dog says, “I’m searching for ‘cute glitter myspace’”

The judge has thrown out the Kinderstart lawsuit against Google, saying Google is not liable for PageRank drops. Kinderstart lost so badly, they actually have to pay Google’s legal fees!

Google is classifying some “second class” employees as hourly workers, with compulsory unpaid lunch breaks and other breaks, limits on overtime, and the “threat of a black mark on the review of anyone who fails to punch in properly to the time-tracking window on their desktops.” Yoiks.

Yahoo has released a new version of Yahoo Widgets, the former Konfabulator. New features include a Widget Dock, auto-updating widgets, hidden widgets, 40% improved performance/memory usage, a FLickr widget, and lots of stuff for widget developers.

There’s a new look being tested on AdSense ads. Unlike some of the previous tests, these are pretty cool.

Oh, and holy crap! Lessig responded to an article of mine! I feel honored, and even more so since every point he makes in response to me is dead wrong.

March 22nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Spam, Culture, Blogger, Controversy, Doodles, Analytics, iGoogle, AdSense, Services, Humor, Advertising, Search, AOL, Yahoo, Google Images, General | 10 comments

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Google Phone: Yes? No? Shutup? Pizza!?

Oh, god. Why did Apple have to announce a phone? Why did they have to leave us all to speculate on a damn Google phone? Why can’t I just get some sleep?

If you haven’t heard, there have been rumors that Google is planning to release a phone, or at least a Google-branded phone made by some traditional phone manufacturer, loaded with Google software and presets. I’ll even go so far as to say that it is probably true, but could take months to surface, just like the years we waited for the iPhone.

But, no! Everyone has to speculate about it now! Download Squad said last week it had been confirmed by a Google Exec in Spain (name: Firedy McFiredman), but that it would not be a top-of-the-line iPhone competitor, but a cheapo phone for developing countries, and may never leave the labs. Although Google’s said it is not doing a phone, it also confirmed it may entire the mobile handset business on the software side, which would not eliminate a Google-branded third party phone.

Oy. My head hurts.

March 22nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 2 comments