I always try to link to products I mention here on Amazon, in order to earn a small referral fee if one of you guys buys something. However, if you click an Amazon link here, then go buy something else entirely, I get credit for that too, which results in me getting referral fees for some strange items.
So now, I want to know, who bought the “Mr. Beer Deluxe Edition Home Microbrewery System”? On August 23, last Thursday, someone bought this $30 home brewery thing after following one of my links, and I want to know who it was.
Also, I’d like some of that beer.
Seriously, if one of you guys bought a home beer kit from here, I’d love to see the final product. Let me know.
Other things people bought from here recently:
This one I wrote a post about, because $200 for what used to be a very expensive networked DVD changer was too good to pass up.
Another one I wrote a post about. This one is a peripheral used for navigating in Google Earth.
Ah, the Digital Rebel XTi…
Okay, who’s on a fitness kick and bought the body fat tester…
… and the pedometer?
Nine people bought that book? I don’t remember linking to it. Anyone want to explain how that happened?
Well, that’s been fun. Of course, if you don’t like paying for things, you could always get a free magazine or white paper thanks to our partnership with TradePub. Most popular there: eWeek, followed by Oracle, InformationWeek, Dr Dobb’s Journal and InfoStor. If you don’t like those, I’ve been reading TelevisionWeek lately, and it’s really interesting if you’re into insider TV stuff.
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ComScore’s latest search engine market share numbers use a different methodology, one which includes partner sites that use a company’s search technology (such as YouTube, owned by Google). The new number give Google a nice boost and cost Yahoo and Microsoft somepreviously hard-won market share. Here’s the market share comScore reported in June with the old system, and the market share under the new system, plus the new July numbers:
You can see how Google gains over five points, Yahoo loses 1.3 percentage points Microsoft loses one, Ask loses a third of a point and Time Warner gains a third. The new system counts the top five search sites, the top fifty sites with search technology (like MySpace), major search verticals (like eBay and Amazon), partner search sites, search tabs (Google News, Google Images), local search (maps), and searches on international portals.
A little under 1/6 of Google’s searches come from YouTube and other Google sites. Mapquest gets more searches than AOL Search. MySpace search counts for about 2.5% of the entire market, and should be counted under Google, since Google powers it. Craigslist and Amazon are just under 1% apiece.
Nielsen//Netratings released their July numbers as well. The details:
Table 1: Top 10 Search Providers for July 2007,
Ranked by Searches (U.S.)
||Share of Searches
|| Yahoo! Search
||MSN/Windows Live Search
|| AOL Search
|| Ask.com Search
|| My Web Search
|| BellSouth Search
|| Comcast Search
|| Dogpile.com Search
|| My Way Search
My buddy at The Hoffman’s Hearsay was one of the 1,200 lucky ones who got a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from DeepDiscount, so he’s posting spoilers over at the blog. I’m reading the book (thanks Bit Torrent!), getting in as much as I can until the book arrives tomorrow morning (it’s not stealing if you bought it). So far, I’m enjoying the book.
I won’t be a spoiler, just to say that it is probably already my favorite of the series. I’ve complained about previous books that Rowling tries to hard to pad them, and in this one, she breaks out of that bad habit. I’m shocked the book isn’t longer! It’s also more violent than you’d expect, and there are these subtle (and not-so-subtle) doses of sexual humor. If you haven’t decided whether to pick it up, please do. It’s worth it.
Anyway, I’m not giving away anything, so head over there and read about it.
You Gotta love the Webware 100 Awards. With ten winners per category, every multi-billion-dollar corporation can win multiple times, often in every category! Gee, it’s just like the Oscars!
Here’s what Google won:
Google Reader won in the Browsing category, Gmail won in the Communications category, Google won in the Data category, YouTube won in the Media category, GOOG-411 won in the Mobile category
*, Gmail Mobile won in the Mobile category, Google Maps Mobile won in the Mobile category, Google AdWords/AdSense won in the Productivity and Commerce category, Google Calendar won in the Productivity and Commerce category, Google Docs won in the Productivity and Commerce category, Blogger, won in the Publishing category, Feedburner in the Publishing category, Google Analytics won in the Publishing category, and Google Maps won in the reference category.
My Yahoo - Browsing; Yahoo Mail - Communication, Yahoo Messenger - Communications; Yahoo Search - Data; Flickr - Media; Yahoo Video - Media; Yahoo OneSearch - Mobile; Yahoo Maps - Reference.
Internet Explorer - Browsing; Windows Live Hotmail - Communications; Windows Live Messenger - Communications; Windows Live Search - Data; TellMe - Mobile; Microsoft Office Live - Productivity and Commerce; Silverlight - Publishing; Microsoft Virtual Earch - Reference.
Everyone else makes an appearance, and in most categories, every major player is a winner. I love award shows where everyone wins. It’s like those Little Leagues where everyone gets a trophy and no one learns to be an adult.
(via The Google Analytics Blog)
* - cough, bullshit, cough. It’s a brand new service, and unless it feeds the homeless, it deserves nothing yet. Category filler.
Fortune asked MBA candidates the places where they most desire to work, and Google topped the list. The top 10:
- 1. Google
- 2. McKinsey & Company
- 3. Goldman Sachs
- 4. Bain & Company
- 5. Boston Consulting Group
- 6. Apple
- 7. Microsoft
- 8. General Electric
- 9. Nike
- 10. Bank of America
Where do you want to work most? Me, I want to work in a candy factory. As long as they have good dental.
20.58% of all questioned listed Google in their top 5, compared with 10.78% for Apple, 7.82% for Microsoft, 4.8% for Yahoo (#22), 4.71% for IBM (#23), 4.24% for Amazon (#26), 2.96% for eBay (#42), 2.37% for Dell (#53), 2.13% for HP (#59), 2.05% for Time Warner (#63), and 1.78% for the CIA (#74). Glad to see a good number of the top 10 are soul-sucking investment companies.
(via MacNN > Findory)
Greg Linden delivered some news that just brings my whole day down: Findory, the greatest personalized news site the internet has ever seen, is closing down. Greg , the man who built Findory after an incredible run at Amazon, announced that development will slow, and Findory will last through most of the year, but eventually it will fade away.
Here’s the comment I left on his blog:
Wow, I am so sorry to see Findory go. It has easily been one of my favorite online tools since the day I discovered it, and I have no idea how I am going to live without it.
Thank you so much, Greg, for all the hard work you have put into Findory. You may consider yourself lucky to have worked on Findory, but I consider myself lucky to have used it. Findoy has taught me what we need to demand of personalized systems, and any company that enters this space will have no choice but to follow the rules you established, or fail by not learning.
I hope you consider ways for Findory to live on, maybe by giving back part of the codebase to the community, or letting the users fund the website’s basic upkeep. If you can’t, let me be one of many to say that I consider it a priviledge to have gained from Findory in many ways.
I’m not sure how I’ll get on without Findory. Findory was how I discovered new blogs and found great stories from blogs no one had ever heard of. Findory was a news junkie’s greatest gift, a site that let you read your news, and then learned how to bring you better news as you did so. I’ve read 2,617 articles through Findory. I have three Findory RSS feeds that give me hundreds of new things to read every day. It was a part of how I conducted my day, every day, for two years.
I’m hoping that the hard work Greg did on Findory does not dissapear, just because Greg is moving on. I’m sure there are many possibilities for the website. If I were at Microsoft, and had some purchasing authority, I would buy it in an instant, build it into Live.com, and watch as Microsoft wins awards for the great work started at Findory. Otherwise, I think the personalization code, put into the hands of the open source community, could revolutionize hundreds of sites across the internet, built into smarter web applications. Hell, I’d pay a fee to keep Findory up and running, and I’m sure other users would too, so even that’s a possibility.
Whatever happens in the future, I guarantee Greg has left his mark on the web, first at Amazon, then entirely through his own great ideas at Findory. He should be proud of the work he has done.
John Musser has compiled some stats on the mashups of 2006, with 1,404 mashups clocking in at year’s end. The number one mashup API of the year? Google Maps, with 51 percent of all APIs. Yahoo’s Flickr API took second place with 10%, while Amazon’s API ranked third at 8%, followed by (Google) YouTube mashups in fourth with 4%. Google Maps has a lot of buzz and geek cred, and it’ll be a challenge to maintain a lead of that size in the next year, especially with Microsoft’s 3D maps gaining steam.
Findory, the personalization startup that remains my favorite news source, has switched its ad system from Google AdSense to Amazon Associates. Findory had famously been running a form of personalized AdSense, by feeding to AdSense keywords based on the logged-in user’s account, but Greg Linden says that even with very well-chosen keywords, AdSense just didn’t deliver the results he hoped for.
In his blog, Greg says that AdSense’s targeting is too stubborn, insisting it knows best (like delivering ads about car parts when you use the keywords “search engine“), while Findory had hoped to use its detailed personalization history to make the ads more targeted. Since AdSense would not bend to the Findory database’s will, Greg decided to find an ad system that would, and it turned out to be one that maybe even has some legacy code Greg wrote back in his Amazon days.
According to Greg, Amazon’s system delivers slightly lower earnings than AdSense, since while books have higher payouts, but not only do you have to get the user to click the ad, they also have to buy the book. However, Amazon listens to Findory’s data more often, which means there is more of a chance they can tweak it to get better earnings, something that proved almost impossible after a year of tweaking AdSense.
One suggestion: While getting Amazon’s personalization data to play well with Findory’s might prove impossible (or not even a consideration), Findory could keep track of which users do and don’t click ads and buy books, and target the ad system by (a) if they don’t click ads, introduce some randomness to find some ads that work and (b) if they do click ads and buy books, target the ads more towards the books the user is likely to buy than the news articles the user tends to read. After all, I might read a lot of articles about Google, but what if the only books I buy are about Superman?
There’s a lot of room here, and I wonder if Findory can do a better job targeting ads than Google can. All they need to do is raise the eCPM a nickel to declare success, and it would make Google realize that it needs a broader set of data than just the words on the page to create an even more effective ad system.
Forbes updated their list of the 400 richest Americans, and the Google guys have climbed a few spots. Previously tied at 16th (and before that, 43rd), Sergey Brin is now the 12th riches man in the world at $14.1 billion, while Larry Page is just behind him, his $14.0 billion netting the 13th spot. Last year, they had $11 billion, so the extra $3 billion moved them past Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer. CEO Eric Schmidt gained $1.2 billion to jump seven spots.
#1 - Bill Gates - Microsoft - 53.0 billion
#4 - Larry Ellison - Oracle - 19.5
#5 - Paul Allen - Microsoft - 16.0
#7 - Michael Dell - Dell Computer - 15.5
#12 - Sergey Brin - Google - 14.1
#13 - Larry Page - Google - 14.0
#15 - Steve Ballmer - Microsoft - 13.6
#24 - Carl Icahn - financier (attempted overhaul of Time Warner) - 9.7
#32 - Rupert Murdoch - News Corp (owner of MySpace) - 7.7
#32 - Pierre Omidyar - eBay - 7.7
#38 - Sumner Redstone - Viacom - 7.5
#45 - Eric Schmidt - Google - 5.2
#49 - Steve Jobs - Apple/Pixar/Disney - 4.9
#70 - Jeff Bezos - Amazon - 3.6
#77 - Gordon Moore - Intel - 3.4
#117 - David Filo - Yahoo - 2.5
#133 - Mark Cuban - Broadcast.com - 2.3
#140 - Jerry Yang - Yahoo - 2.2
#189 - Omid Kordestani - Google - 1.9
#242 - Kavitark Ram Shriram - Google - 1.5
#297 - Barry Diller - InterActiveCorp (owner Ask.com) - 1.3
#322 - Margaret Whitman - eBay - 1.2
#374 - John Doerr - venture capitalist (Google) - 1.0
#374 - Charles Simonyi - Microsoft - 1.0
Paranoid has a great comparison of the $13 million a day Page and Brin have earned in the last two years, showing how much more they make than Tiger Woods, the Yankee payroll, and how much money they make while urinating.
A discussion at Niniane Wang’s blog particularly interested me. The gist: If we took their money away, which billionaires would be able to pull off a repeat and earn their money all over again? Give your opinions in the comments, but here are mine:
- Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page - Tough call. Google hasn’t pulled off anything since their initial success that is worth over a billion dollars, yet there is a good chance that if Sergey and Larry weren’t “stuck” running Google, they’d have created something amazing in their spare time.
- Bill Gates - Absolutely not. Microsoft has lost so much market share, and started only one billion dollar product in recent years (Xbox), and it loses billions! Now, if this were Bill Gates, circa 1995, I’d believe he could not only do it again, he’d beat Microsoft doing so.
- Mark Cuban - Not likely. Cuban has made smart moves since his big windfall, but they’ve all been smart investments of his sizable fortune. I would like to see if he could launch a new product/service at this point without funding, grow it, popularize it, and then get VC backing, but I think he’s had the big money for too long to go back to the startup mindset.
- NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg - Yes. Even though he used his money to get there, Bloomberg completely reinvented himself in his years as mayor of the toughest city to manage in the country. Keep in mind: He didn’t use one dime of his own in the city’s budget.
- Steve Jobs - Of course. Didn’t he already do it?
- Warren Buffet - Just give him one red paperclip and watch him go.
- Paul Allen - No. He’s rested on that Microsoft stock for far too long
- Michael Dell - Maybe not. His company has failed to move quickly as the industry around it changed, and Dell built the company originally on its speed and efficiency. This suggests he may have slowed too much to pull it off again.
- Larry Ellison - Ha ha. Ha. No.
- Steve Ballmer - Toughest call. Has as much energy today as ever, so maybe.
- Carl Icahn - No way.
- Eric Schmidt - Yes. He’d find another successful young company to babysit.
- Jeff Bezos - No idea. Amazon sure has some good ideas as it evolves, and he might find a way to hit it big again.
- George Lucas - He’d find a way to make millions within a year, and many millions after a few, but not billions.
- Donald Trump - I’m not even trying that one
Wired has released their latest Wired 40 list of the top technology companies, and, for the first time, Google has topped Apple on the list. Considering that Google’s top product (search) has such wide usage and appeal, and Apple’s (music players) can be topped at anytime by a better product, and that Google continues to innovate, with some rare success, while Apple has kind of rested on its Mac laurels for most of the last year, Google’s victory is unsurprising.
2005 Rank: 02
Less cuddly but more profitable than ever, the monster from Mountain View has rivals but no peers. Is it a search engine? A media company? A software provider? Who cares? Microsoft, for one. Get ready for the grudge match of the decade.
2005 Rank: 01
In the drama of Apple’s resurgence, act one was forging the iTunes/iPod axis. Act two was bundling the iLife suite of creative tools with new computers. Adapting the Mac OS to run Windows apps natively would make a triumphant conclusion.
Apple is a brilliant company, but all of its cool stuff, like its great software, sleekly designed computers and powerful operating system, did not see anything new in the last year. Meanwhile, Google has had hits with Google Maps/Earth, and an emerging hit with Google Video. While no one can discount the great work Apple has done, the company is virtually the same as a year ago, and you don’t deserve the top spot if it is hard to answer the age-old: “What have you done for me lately?”
Yahoo is number five, serving up 3.5 billion web pages a day, and releasing some top-notch products. Amazon is number six, due to a lot of R&D effort, that, if it doesn’t pay off, may tank the company. News Corp is number nine, new to the list, due to the purchase of MySpace. eBay is #19, falling from #10 as it rests on its revenue. Intel dropped five spots to #24, slipping to competitor AMD. Microsoft is at #36, dropping eight spots, as concerns over the desktop OS gold mine mount.
(via Chris Gilmer)
As a Searchblog reader (KK) discovered, the query “amazon.com” returns no results in the current Google service. It returns tons of results in Ask, Yahoo, and AOL, which uses Google to power search. Battelle thinks that’s odd, and we agree.
Battelle: A Google spokesperson responds: “This is a technical problem that we’re currently working to resolve. We’ve talked to Amazon and they’re aware that we’re working quickly to correct the issue.” I then asked: “How is this a technical issue? I mean, what kind of technical issue? Can you give some more details as to how a technical issue created this, just for Amazon? Or is it wider?”
Stay tuned for this one. I’d love to hear how the ‘automated’ and ‘rarely censored’ Google can skip one domain and call it a technical problem.
Head over to Battelle to keep updated
PC World has once again released its list of the top 100 products of the year, its always interesting and vaguely defined listing of “tech stuff that is good”. Google Earth is sixth on the list, with appearances by Google Search (#17), Blogger (#33), Google Desktop Search (#47). Oh, and Firefox, an open source project somewhat funded by Google and somewhat run by Google employees, is #12.
On the Microsoft front, the Xbox 360 shows all the way down at number 89. Ouch, and what? How is the hot and popular Xbox rated lower than the floundering and stagnant Blogger? Other Microsoft products: Windows Live Local (#39), and the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 Keyboard (#54).
Other products of note:
- YouTube.com (#9) - Google Video competitor. Google did not make the list.
- Apple Boot Camp (#10) - Yes, software to run Windows on a Mac is high on the list, while Windows is not on it at all.
- Ubuntu Linux distribution (#27) - So, operating systems are allowed. Are you telling me Windows XP doesn’t beat anything on this list?
- Yahoo Mail (#30) - Gmail and Hotmail didn’t make the list.
- TiVo (#31) - Okay, how about Windows Media Center?
- Opera 9 (#48)
- Yahoo Maps (#56) - Again, no Google Maps
- Yahoo Music Engine (#73)
- Yahoo Flickr (#78)
- Yahoo del.icio.us (#93)
- Amazon A9 Toolbar (#96)
Oh, and on their top companies of the year list, Yahoo was named Web Company of the Year, Apple the Hardware Company of the Year, while Sony was the Worst Company of the Year.
Hat-tip: Frank at the Google Earth blog, who writes about the list here.
Interestingly, Windows Live Local is listed number 39, Yahoo Maps is listed number 56. But, Google Maps doesn’t even make it on the list - which just doesn’t seem right.
Gary Price has a list of big net companies in the Fortune 500. Google is #323 overall, and #3 in the Internet Services and Retailing sector. The full top six in that sector are:
- #1 - Amazon (272 overall)
- #2 - IAC/InterActiveCorp (Gary’s parent boss) (313)
- #3 - Google (323)
- #4 - Yahoo (412)
- #5 - eBay (458)
- #6 - Sabre Holdings (683)
Who the hell is Sabre?
Microsoft is #48 overall, and #1 in the computer software sector, while Time Warner is #40 and #1 in the Entertainment sector.
Mahlon at BuyGoogle writes that, with their fresh stock offering money, Google could actually be in a position where acquiring Amazon isn’t the world’s craziest idea. Google has $8 billion in cash, and Amazon’s market cap is “just” $15 billion. An outright buyout is not out of the question, with the right financial wrangling, and certainly Google could become the controlling shareholder with all that cash to spend.
The reasoning: Unlike most companies Google could buy, Amazon is the real deal. They’re a cornerstone of the internet economy, great profits, huge traffic and sales, an incredible brand, and an enormous customer base. Amazon is good at the one thing Google is not: selling product. Google could immediately diversify and strengthen its business, and guarantee longer-term stability.
Google and Amazon may both be net powerhouses, but they deal in completely different arenas, so the two combined could erase vulnerabilities and maximize the successes they already have. Amazon has technology and patents Google could take advantage of, and their recommendation system could be used all along the Google product line.
If Google’s serious about beating both Yahoo and eBay, this could be the way to go. I’m not saying its gonna happen, but talk about food for thought. If you’re biting, read the article, it has a lot more.
Now’s probably a good time to watch Epic again.
Forbes’ list of billionaires has been updated, and it now contains 102 more names, including execs at many major search companies. Gary Price has singled out the search company players, and I’ve added a few names to it:
- Microsoft: Bill Gates, #1, $50 billion
- Microsoft: Steve Ballmer, #24, $13.6 billion
- Google: Sergey Brin: #26, $12.9 billion
- Google: Larry Page #27, $12.8 billion
- Google: Eric Schmidt: #129, $4.8 billion
- Amazon/A9: Jeff Bezos: #147, $4.3 billion
- Yahoo: David Filo: #240, $2.9 billion
- Yahoo: Jerry Yang: #317, $2.4 billion
- IceRocket: Mark Cuban: #428, $1.8 billion
- Google: Kavitark Shriram: #512, $1.5 billion
- Google: Andreas von Bechtolsheim: #512, $1.5 billion (invested $100,000 in the company in 1998)
- IAC/Ask.com: Barry Diller #606, $1.3 billion
- Google: David Cheriton: #746, $1 billion (Stanford professor, set up Google with Kleiner Perkins)
The full list is here.
Do you think the guys who have “only” a billion dollars worry about running out of cash when they see a list like this? I mean, Larry Page and Sergey Brin each have lost over a billion in just the first 10 weeks of this year!
And I have to wonder when their cut off date for compiling this list was. Did they do this before or after Google’s stock dropped 100 dollars?
Now, this is a real problem: Search engines are indexing wedding gift registries and having them show up in product searches. The result? People searching for the product go to the registry, see it, buy it, have it sent to their home (as they should), and the registry thinks the product has been purchased for the (previously) happy couple. The couple never gets their blender!
This hits close to home, because I’m slowly setting up my Amazon gift registry for my wedding (June 14!). I’ve only selected a bunch of TVs and camcorders I’d like (I only want one, duh!), because I figure Raquel can choose the dish pattern and all that crap. But if someone jumps in and buys something for themselves, I’ll be mad.
Oh, and if readers of this blog want to buy a gift, I would love it. Seriously. That would make me happy in so many different type of ways.
So, paging Matt Cutts. The registries should be more clear and stop these mistakes, but Google doesn’t need to show these results. This can be corrected with a ten-minute algorithm tweak (identify common wedding registry page elements, decrease the search ranking of all those pages, since they’re only relevant for one query: “blank and blank’s registry”). If you get a chance to help prevent a dissapointment for marrying couples, I say take it and feel good about yourself.
(via Andy Beal, discovered by Barry Schwartz)
Google has hired away Udi Manber, chief algorithms officer at Amazon’s A9 and former Yahoo chief scientist. Lately, not only is Google the resume delivering spot of choice for big brains with new degrees, but they’ve been scoring some of the top talent at their competitors as well.
A9, while not exactly threatening the big 5 search engines, has gotten great press (and accolades from myself) for innovations on interface and leadership in collaboration with other search engines as part of the OpenSearch program, and I’m sure the loss of Udi will hurt. He is replaced by Intel VP David Tennenhouse.