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Sunday, August 01, 2004
MSN has launched it’s news search and aggregation service in the US. This new service, christened newsbot, is very similar to the service offered by Google except that it offers greater personalization. The site learns what content interests you as you use the service and designs the homepage to show you topics relevant to your interests based on your historical behavior. This personalization is very similar to Findory, which adapts its layout to the types of news stories that you read, providing a personalized view of the day’s headlines.

As mentioned previously in my blog there are several sites that pull posts from various blogs to create a service similar to Google News, except that the content is entirely derived from blogs. Most of these sites only show blog posts covering the most popular topics are or are keyword driven. In other words you have to search for what you are looking for - this gives no great advantage over using Yahoo other than it displays only blogs. Findory has now released the Blogory which uses the same personalization techniques as Findory.

Someone recently remarked that there really are no great blogs that one can go to for content on a broad range of issues. There is no BBCi or CNN of the blogworld, only specialist sites such as Marketing Vox or Slash Dot. However sites such as Blogory can aggregate blogs based on your own interests to create such a well-rounded site for you. Blogs are mostly set up by people who want to say something they can’t find in other media publications, and also appeal to disenfranchised audiences. Sites like Blogory appeal to this freedom to read about "stuff I can’t find elsewhere".

MSN always says it is not a Media Company, instead it is a company that helps people find the media they are looking for. By that same argument a TV channel that produces none of it’s own shows is not a media company. Thus Blogory is not a media company, but I am sure it will be as valued by its audience as MSN or a TV station.

Sunday, April 25, 2004
Purge The Mavericks
The Internet economy is booming – Internet Advertising accounts for more than cinema in the UK, and grew by 62% year-on-year in 2003. An acquaintance recently remarked to me that getting a job in the industry is pretty difficult today. This beggars the question: “Why is it so hard to get a job in a booming economy?”

Before I attempt to answer this, let us first take a trip back to the nineties. The big boom and resulting bust was caused by a gold rush phenomenon – too many prospectors came along that were only interested in how to make lots of moolah very quickly.
These people were only identified as maverick during the bust-times. During the lull we were able to sit back and purge the mavericks from our system. AOL is going through this process rather painfully with the help of the SEC. We had so little history of best practice there were no benchmarks to judge them by in the boom era. The industry was so obsessed with revenue, that little attention was directed to the methods of gaining revenue.

Recruitment Consultants had little time to screen candidates, due to the urgency of the need to hire. This meant that the mavericks slipped through the net. Hiring managers got their fingers burnt as a result. They are now more wary of all candidates.

Hang on – shouldn’t the recruitment consultants be vetting for us, using all that they learnt from the previous bust? My friend made the following observation: “When I got my first post-grad position – the consultant screened me – “do I know this, how would I handle that, etc.”. In his recent job-hunt the screening he was subjected to was almost done as a formality, with little depth in any case. Instead he found himself in the opposite position more recently where he screened the recruitment consultants on these very same questions. In order to help the recruitment consultant understand him better. Those that he did not screen directed him to jobs he had no reason otherwise to interview for.

Hiring mgrs use consultants to help source suitable candidates, thus reducing their workloads. As a result they tend to prefer candidates use the recruitment agencies, than apply direct. If they cannot rely on the consultants to do their homework – what is their value in the hiring process? Is it about time the consultants went back to basics screening candidates, and maybe “purge the mavericks from their system too”?
Friday, January 30, 2004
Google to delay IPO
According to reports on Google, they look to be delaying their much anticipated IPO. One of the reasons for this is reckoned to be an upcoming lawsuit on copyright infringement in their AdWords program, although I also suspect this has a lot to do with the fact that Yahoo will be dropping Google as their Search partner. This massive dent in their distribution will be a big loss to Google and will only serve to devalue the company.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Why Yahoo dropping Google could be a Bad Thing
Fredrick Marckini is betting that when Yahoo! drops Google, it will cost website marketers more money to get found in Searches. It is speculated that Yahoo is introducing Inktomi to its search listings to provide a large market share for Inktomi, that it can exploit to force users to pay for listings on Inktomi on a CPC basis. The article makes a lot of sense, although this may be just a temporary issue until MSN finally launches its new search engine and drops Inktomi.
Monday, January 12, 2004
AOL Ad Sales Chief Steps Down
Only eight months into her new position as interactive media executive vice president, Lisa Brown is leaving AOL. Brown claims reason for resignation were "health and personal reasons." WSJ quotes unnamed sources as having said Brown was under investigation for questionable expense reports in excess of $40,000.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Ask Jeeves gains on Google's loss
The news that Yahoo! will soon be dropping Google as a search partner has led to Ask Jeeves shares jumping in value on expected gain in leverage over Google as a result.

"Anything that improves Ask Jeeves' ability to retain Google as a partner and to continue to get the same type of economics from that relationship is good for Ask Jeeves," said Mark May, an analyst at Kaufman Brothers. "Investors are basically saying that Ask Jeeves' negotiating leverage with Google will improve as a result" of the loss of Yahoo.

Yahoo! set to drop Google by Q2
Reports are circulating that Yahoo! will ditch Google as its search provider and use its own search technology as early as the first quarter. This is certainly no spuprise, but could put a big dent in Google's IPO impact, which is expected to happen in April this year. Yahoo! has already started using their own search technology in their Shopping channel, and as their senior vice-president in charge of search and marketplace services, Jeff Weiner comments, "We're not going to beat the competition by being the competition. We're going to beat the competition by being Yahoo.", it certainly makes lot of sense.

Monday, January 05, 2004 to Expand Keyword Matching
FindWhat is following in the footsteps of Google and Overture by adding a new feature, Intellimap, to their keyword advertising products. Starting this month FindWhat will match advertisers' keywords with similar search queries, including misspellings, plurals and different word order. This very similar to what Google and Overture have rolled out late last year. However, FindWhat does not allow you to opt-out of this feature, unlike Google. Many advertisers have been dissatisfied with the expanded keyword matching capabilities of Google and this could mean that FindWhat will be making their clients spend more for irrelevant referrals and face a similar backlash.

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