Web 3.0: Google as the Web

Peter D thinks Google = web.

The basic web unit is no longer a site, or even a page. It's a piece of data. And that piece of data can appear anywhere.

Like in Google Base.

Or at least I chose to literally interpret his post that way.

If your sites don't have any of the following:

  • access to a specialized database that is hard to compile or gain access too

  • a strong brand
  • tools that save people hundreds or thousands of hours a day
  • a human voice
  • original ideas
  • a history of creating and sharing value
  • a reason to visit your site or channel daily

and make your living off the web, you may want to read this post to see the trend, and look to quickly develop one or more of the above.

The trick for Google as they consume verticals is for them to find the balance of what they can take while fostering relevant efficient business models (ie: turning legacy publishing business models into always on web friendly models). Until legacy models are reformed or displaced Google will promote some trashy stuff as a casualty on the way to their end goal. Each new market Google creates will have holes that act as a marketing mechanism to market the marketplace.

Some articles highlight that content ads should have more value since they are around for more time than search, but the quicker you can solve my problems the more value you create. That is the point and power of search.

The problem with the traditional ad model is that most content ads are still a distraction. Yahoo! remains clueless on this front - optimizing ads for earnings instead of relevancy - which will only work until stupid advertisers stop overpaying for ads and calling it brand spend.

Most quality content is not produced to let ads become an important part of the content. Writers do not trust the ad networks well enough, and there is a long standing belief that ads and content need to be separate. Heaven forbid the ads are allowed to become actionable content. Advertisers are scared at the idea of integrating ads into active channels.

Think of Google as a market maker with search being at the top of the market, and most of their secondary goals and markets being based around making their primary goal better. With Google's cheap computer cycles and their ability to organize information they have the ability to make many markets far more efficient, then take a cut of the profits from the efficiency they created.

Google Base will make the real estate market more efficient, then as categories grow Google will charge for listings a la Craigslist. Google also plunged into the financial market.

As consumers become engaged content creators they will become more educated about the world not being sustainable and will demand more corporate accountability. Many business models will shift from one time sales to recurring subscriptions based largely on relationships. Items, relationships and outcomes will become easier to track.

As more of the offline world goes online they will be the default inventory management system for many consumers, retailers and wholesales.

Think of Google as the ultimate CRM system. Sure my business is web only, but I have regularly used Google's search, email, chat (easy to use - free voice to anywhere), advertising, contextual, and tracking systems. That is pretty much everything but hosting, payment, packaging and order fulfillment. They also offer hosting via Blogspot and Google's page creator, and payment via Google Base. For electronic content they will also do order fulfillment. Given enough time they will probably create extensible hosting and operating systems that allow you to create and store ideas and software.

They don't take any money off the value add from many layers because they are not yet dominate enough in them and they want to take more value off search...and vertical search. Many of Google's other layers are about keeping competing models honest to keep business costs low.

I think that within 20 years they will become the default commodities trading platform worldwide. Not only do they tie historical performance to news, but they also have the largest database of intentions and allow anyone to look at historical performance or compare brand strength and trends at the keyword level. What sort of bets, spreads, and prices could Google offer compared to others when so many people are willing to share their dreams, desires, consumption habits, needs and fears with them.

Published: March 22, 2006 by Aaron Wall in internet


March 22, 2006 - 12:04pm

I just want to comment on one detail in your post.

It's interesting to me that most content-based ad units (Adsense for example) are designed to stand out from the content. Some publishers go to a lot fo trouble to try to blend their Adsense (I personally like the borders between my Adsense and my content) but generally that "Ads by Goooogle" plus the format gives it away.

March 22, 2006 - 12:10pm

Hi James
Looking at the format and placement of your AdSense on this page
they look like they sorta undermine your credibility, and odds are visitors to your site there are fairly astute.

Do you get much traffic or a very high CTR on that site?

I know TW was kinda spammy with the AdSense for a while, but I took the ads off just because I thought it took away way too much site credibility for the income opportunity it offered.

March 22, 2006 - 5:39pm

Well, Peter D is right, as he's basically quoting me in numerous posts througout the past year or two. I'm the guy who first introduced these thoughts in SEO circles, but that was way too early for anyone to grasp it, as usual. So, do you get credit, a link from that blogger, or can you even comment? nah... Bad blogging style Peter, bad. I'll post here at Aarons in stead.

Here's an overview of the history and development of web-publishing posted on my own site in September 2005:


- that's not my earliest writings on this topic. I have some on WMW that mention it even earlier, but I haven't been able to find them (got 2K of them to look through).

March 22, 2006 - 5:42pm

BTW: Very nice new graphical design on the blog Aaron :-)

March 22, 2006 - 6:41pm

I think my first reference to the concept of "the web as data" in SEO circles may have been in this post on webmasterworld, on Sept 19, 2004:


It's post #5 - you will need to read the whole post to get it. But then you don't really need to read a lot more on SEO at all.

Yeah, 2004. I know it was early, but the W3C started working on early drafts of thoughts like this back in 2000, so it's actually pretty late it's spreading to SEO circles.

March 22, 2006 - 11:06pm

The concept is nothing new. It has been talked about in computing circles, both on the web and off, for quite some time.

I'm being a little facetious when I suggest that all web data will be aggregated. My main point is that Google is making inroads into the conent space, and that the people who really need to adjust are those who publish aggregated, generic data - such as share prices, real estate for sale, etc. Those who add value to the data, by way of community or otherwise, aren't really threatened.

Claus - I am not aware of your blogging or webmasterworld posts. I think it is fair to say that many people may hold similar ideas at the same time without being aware of each other. It is wrong to suggest I am knowingly quoting you directly.

March 23, 2006 - 3:49pm

The CTR is not particularly high or low. Over the past year or two it averages out to exactly the same as my SEO blog. Sometimes I wonder if CTR has more to do with industry than people generally think. My sports sites see lower CTR than webmaster sites, which are lower than education sites, which are lower than travel sites...

Regarding credibility, of course my readers will recognize the ads for what they are but in my opinion making them stand out is a better practice than trying to make them blend in (which is all the rage these days).

Also, I don't do SEO work for people and I don't sell anything on that blog so my "image" is not something I feel I need to worry about. My philosophy is that people can take the information or leave it as they choose.

Regarding the kind of spammy TW, I have no idea what that is. Maybe I should remember from somewhere or sometime but I don't. I do remember many of the things you taught me about SEO back on the old internet marketing forums and I appreciate that!

March 23, 2006 - 3:58pm

my "image" is not something I feel I need to worry about

If only your thoughts and opinions you are always selling something, asking people to pay attention. If the ads were less prominent more people would likely pay attention / trust the content, IMHO.

spammy TW

I had aggressive ads on a site. I made them less aggressive.

March 24, 2006 - 5:13pm

I see your point, but if people don't pay attention to the opinions on my blog, that's OK with me. I suppose I'm not even asking people to pay attention. Not on that site, anyeway.

Maybe I will try making the ads white border/white background and see what happens to CTR. I imagine that it would increase thanks to the better blending. However I (and maybe there are other people like me) would consider that more spammy. Then again, I just finished talking about how I don't care...

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