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.

Digg the Wikipedia Editors: a Bunch of Flamers!!!

Since running Threadwatch I realized I am probably not the strongest community leader, generally having a hands off mentality. I tend to find the most entertaining threads at Threadwatch are very flamy in nature. As the person running such a site it is hard to derail flames while they are causing active heated discussion. While Brett Tabke has never done anything wrong to me personally (in fact he has generally been rather cool with me multiple times) TWers roasted Brett pretty bad in this thread and it even caused the following comment love this thread, everyone can sigh in relief, the old TW is BACK baby!

I think in small niche communities flames cause more people to cite more resources and better information to try to prove their points. Sure it is easy to get irrational, but that thread linked to above has links to and quotes from so many useful topical resources. But as decentralized communities widen out it seems it is easier to get more irrational quicker. Things seem to become more of an overgrazed commons fast.

My old roommate tended to view information on the web with a sense of purity, but when you look at Danny Sullivan needlessly getting flamed on Wikipedia and then again at Digg it makes you wonder if leaderless community sites only obviously fail in topics you know well, or if they are bad across other topics as well.

Without flames and emotions can communities exist? Can people debate without occasionally going after each other? Can people get past their differences if the communities are rather broad in scope? If communities get too broad can we get past our lack of trust?

Surely the controversy offer link opportunities that should have their motives questioned, but when the Wikipedia editors flame Danny Sullivan and naturally cite this site as a resource for their Free Republic page (which is a political ideology that is not mine) and do not cite it for the SEO topic isn't something screwed up? How pure is the information? How well does THAT scale?

And I am not whining about not being able to get a link, I already have a few and know some of the workarounds, but the point is more that if they drive away people like Danny Sullivan (a guy referenced by Larry Page & Sergey Brin when they were founding Google) then who - other than novices or self promotional spammers - do they expect to contribute to the Wikipedia search section?

Links Links Links

Here are links to a bunch of resources I recently found interesting.

Google's Matt Cutts Confirms Traffic Power Ban

Matt Cutts has confirmed that Traffic Power and some of their clients were banned from Google:

I can confirm that Google has removed traffic-power.com and domains promoted by Traffic Power from our index because of search engine optimization techniques that violated our webmaster guidelines

That is likely a major blow to Traffic Power's legal claims.

Traffic Power Case Updated: Your Help Needed!

Your help is needed in the Traffic Power case...

I was looking for the latest updates to my case, and while I was looking through the court cases in the United States District Court, District of Nevada I log into the Pacer Service and saw that the TrafficPowerSucks.com case has recently been updated.

I still have not had any specifics handed my way, but it would probably be fair to assume that the Traffic Power strategy is going to be fairly similar with how they handle my case and the case of TrafficPowerSucks.com.

If you log in to pacer you will see that on 01/25/2006 Traffic Power's new lawyer Mark S. Dzarnoski added document #17 to the Traffic Power Sucks case, a Docket Text Amended Complaint. As far as I am aware this is the first point in time Traffic Power has offered anyone they have threatened or sued any specifics as to the reasons behind the threats or lawsuit.

These claims are not against me, but are against another webmaster being sued by the same company that is suing me. I don't want conjecture or noise comments like "I think xzy are ..." but if you can help the webmaster of TrafficPowerSucks.com gather evidence about any truth to these alleged defamatory conditions it would help both of us greatly.

Some of them may be easy to refute while others will likely be harder.

Keep in mind that some clients who hired Traffic-Power.com may not be internet savvy and probably do not read my website, so if we can spread this message far and wide we will have a better chance of many people seeing this and hopefully helping to get this situation resolved for everyone.

In document #17 of 2:05-cv-01094-RCJ-LRL SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT OF NEVADA v. DAVID BAARDSEN, et al. under the defamation cause of action Traffic Power's new lawyer asserted the following:

The false and defamatory information includes but is not limited to the following:

a. Claims that the search engine giant Google has banned and is banning from its search engine listings websites of Traffic-Power.com clients because of the search engine optimization strategies used by Plaintiff.

b. Claims that clients of Traffic-Power.com run the risk of being banned from Google search engine listings if they use Traffic-Power.com services;

c. Claims that Traffic-Power.com plagiarizes its web page optimization work;

d. Claims that Plaintiff has started several new businesses under different names to hide its identity;

e. Claims that two new businesses started by Plaintiff are under investigation by several agencies;

f. Claims that and/or innuendo that Plaintiff is engaged in extortion of its clients because of the techniques used by Plaintiff in optimizing search engine listings;

g. Claims that Plaintiff's business constitutes a scam and that clients of Plaintiff are "victims;"

h. Claims that Plaintiff stole from defendants;

i. Claims that the business practices of Plaintiff constituted some kind of actionable violation of the rights of its clients and that the filing of a class action lawsuit against Plaintiff by its clients was imminent; and

j. Claims that Plaintiff formed and operates fake Internet forums on search engine optimization to promote its services.

Time is of the essence. If you have any evidence that would prove any of these claims factual please step forward.

If you would like to contact the webmaster of Traffic Power Sucks you can do so at webmaster@trafficpowersucks.com. You also can contact me at seobook@gmail.com if you would prefer to speak with me.

Andrew Goodman Interviewed

Lee Odden interviews Mr. Google AdWords. Of particular interest to me, Andrew speaking on creating his guide to AdWords:

The first one, of course, came out in ebook form in March 2002 and really took off the moment I started selling it. A bit later, MarketingSherpa and many others helped to publicize it. Believe it or not, I'd been working on a comprehensive SEO document for eighteen months by that point, but I kept feeling like the subject was too broad and no one would get excited about it, so I never completed it.

I think I sorta proved there would / could be demand for an ebook about SEO, as many other SEO book authors have, but I would bet that Andrew has made far greater profit by targeting a niche that is prequalified to have money to spend on ads.

Many people want SEO because they don't have a functional business model and are looking for a free ride. Sure there are probably more searches for SEO than AdWords, but probably less buyers. And another thing that hurts the SEO Book concept is that many of the people looking for SEO believe that there is some automated solution that will make them gobs of money. I know I personally bought a bunch of junky SEO software before I bought any books on the topic.

While he did not discuss organic search in deep depth in his book Andrew Goodman's ebook was the first legit book covering the search space that really helped me better understand some of the limitations of SEO as a service. I think his ebook was the first ebook I read where I didn't feel that the author wrote it to up sell me some sleazy garbage software or put me on a list to spam my inbox.

Matt Marlon.net

Matt Marlon, CEO of Traffic Power, who was recently profiled in the WSJ:

Mr. Marlon, 61 years old, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy-court protection in 1996. In 1997, Mr. Marlon was indicted on charges of conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, related to possession of a chemical used to make methamphetamine, and was sentenced to three years of probation, including six months of home confinement. The court record for his drug offense said he also had an alias, "Jimmy Ray Houts."

He recently had a fan site created at Matt Marlon.net. I wonder if he will send them a bogus lawsuit like he sent me.

Dreamhost: Free Advertorial

So Nick recently sold me ThreadWatch. While transferring the site there was an issue with my account settings. At about 230am I sent a help request into Dreamhost. By 3am a Dreamhost rep called me up and sorted it out.

They don't normally do call backs on the graveyard shift, but the guy hooked me up. I just wanted to give them a bit of free marketing for having kick ass customer service.

Monetized Eyeballs...They're Back!!!

Om Malik writes on The Return of Monetized Eyeballs

Web content deals are on the rise again, and Internet ad spending should reach $12 billion this year, meaning Jupiter’s once-ridiculed forecast wasn’t far off the mark. ... Of course, there are new metrics for valuing audiences. "Not all pageviews are created equal," cautions David Hornik, a partner at August Capital. Hornik and other VCs say the most prized traffic comes from sites that leverage "viral" content to acquire users who are intensely loyal.

If you do what is out of favor, when it comes back in favor you end up growing far quicker than me too companies that are always one step behind.

On a related note, here are 10 rules for startups

Egalitarian Effect of Search Engines

John points at an Economist article that mentions The Egalitarian Effect of Search Engines, which is based upon a thesis that search engines tend to send more traffic than expected to lower popular sites.

The study is under scrutiny, but it is a bit counter to the commonly held thought of the rich get richer effect of linkage often mentioned in the SEO sphere.

It is a bit hard to isolate any one factor to determine how search interacts with it. You also have to consider the effects of most popular lists and how those build more linkage at things that are already popular. You know it is getting out of hand when their are aggregators like Diggdot.us that mash up the most popular items from different bookmarking channels.

I believe that as you go to more competitive fields generally competition scales faster than profit, and there is great value in being in a number of smaller niches. Perhaps the single best reason to have a high profile site in a competitive market is to make it easier to launch other channels.

When starting a new website it is cool to look at the power laws that guide the web and try to understand them and use them to your advantage, but I think it is far more important to:

  • see how they apply specifically to your sector of the web

  • think of other sectors near your topic that may be able to give you broader coverage
  • pick topics that would be easy to dominate
  • learn how to become an exception to the rule