MicroSoft Eyeing AOL Partnership?

From Bloomburg:

Shares of Time Warner Inc., the world's largest media company, rose as much as 2.4 percent after the New York Post said the company is in talks to sell a stake in America Online to Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft, the world's biggest software company, would pay New York-based Time Warner an unspecified amount of cash for a stake in AOL and combine it with its Internet unit, MSN, the newspaper said, citing two unidentified people familiar with the situation.

Currently Google powers AOL search and provides AdWords ads to Google's stock is only down a few points on a day with their secondary public offering and this story spreading. I can't explain why the stock is not dropping further.

MSFT might be spending some of their 37 billion to buy the pieces they need to be a search contender. LookSmart's stock has been inching upward all month long as well.

With Ask developing their own in house ad sales network and MSN potentially gobbling up AOL it looks like Google may end up losing a huge amount of their ad syndication. Lucky for Google they have built into such a large destination site. In The Search John Battelle mentioned the biggest problem with the Overture business model was their heavy reliance upon partners.

One thing MSN has to look out for is their own walled garden approach, which was a large part of what was the original demise of AOL.

The original New York Post article [sub req] also states:

Talks are most advanced with Microsoft - Time Warner management's preferred partner - but the media giant has also had discussions with both Yahoo! and Google over a sale or venture with AOL, according to a source close to Time Warner.

Not sure if Google is just trying to raise the price for MSN, but the WSJ reports [Sub Req]:

Google approached Comcast about participating in a bid for AOL last week, according to a person familiar with the matter. But Google may end up making a bid on its own, another person said.

The deal would put a value on AOL, as a whole, of about $20 billion, the people said. Any bid would be worth considerably less, however, as AOL's dial-up operations generate lots of cash and would account for much of its value.

Interesting times ahead.

Bill Gates full of Crap on Robust MSN Search API?

Gates on Google:

With Google, there are rumors about them being interested in that services piece, but they really haven't done that much. Our search API is way better than their search API. Clearly, they are working in that area. They haven't done as much on the server piece.

My friend Mike:

This is just a pathetic excuse for an SDK.

FYI Microsoft, just because you don't own Java and PHP, doesn't mean people don't want to use them.

Mike continues his rant:

Yahoo! and Google have both had sdks that included java and php for what...a year? I thought MS was trying to compete here?

Think Microsoft still don't get this web thing, eh?

[update: I keep getting redirect limits, so it appears as though MSFT may have removed that support thread.]

MSN Search News

Neural Networks, Genetic Algorithms, & Benchmarking

Apparently MSN search is using neural net ranking system and is adding a few new commands.

I mentioned this to Kali tonight and he brought up a bit about genetic algorithms and how some older algorithms suffer at finding the optimal points on relevancy curves because the improved relevancy might not be easy to reach since some of the algorithm get stuck on smaller peaks.

I think Jon Glick told me that Yahoo! Search used self mutating genetic algorithms at the Las Vegas WebmasterWorld conference.

Do you have any favorite readings on genetic algorithms and the like?

MSN also dipped their toes into local search.

Other recent search stuff of interest...

MSN Toolbar with Desktop Search, Boston Globe Selling Offline Ads Online

MSN Toolbar Suite:
With desktop search
SEW has more information about the release


somehow still alive, offers up a rebrandable version of Furl?

LookSmart is taking the bold step of private-labeling for publishers within its strategy of licensing tools, content and technology so they can own search advertiser relationships, develop a larger search audience and retain their audience more effectively with sticky tools like Furl.

I think LookSmart needs to get in check with reality a bit. I mean, why should I trust their network when they use AdSense instead of LookSmart on some of their own sites. To me that just goes to show that the value of their ad network has eroded to next to nothing.

Mental Models For Search Are Getting Firmer

Print Ads Sold Online:
The Boston Globe is going to be selling an offline ad through an online auction process.

SEO Bestiary:

.JOBS & .TRAVEL Domain Names, Spam Research Papers

to come late 2005

Cheap Promotional Technique:
throw some political ad on Google. after you get a ton of press coverage say it was an accident.

Direct Answers:
Google adds direct answers to SERPs.

Keyword Research:
Statistically Improbible Phrases (found by Ploppy)

Words which rarely occur in a search index likely are more likely to be more descriminant than common words and thus likely have greater term weight.

Search Research & Spam Papers for AIRweb:
Intallment #1
Gary Price also stated that A Taxonomy of Web Spam (PDF) was recently updated, and they covered that in the forums here. Here is a list of some of the newer Stanford research papers.

Tailoring Technology:
Jeff Weiner, VP of Yahoo! Search, chats about search and customizing software.

Webmaster Radio:
Audio archives now online. thanks to StuntDubl

Good Forum Thread:
about Google's new patent.

accepts user feedback and editing, although I can't imagine it is as appealing to add content next to their ads.

Oil & You:
The Long Emergency

Stor Troopers are back :)

Lots of Various Links

Spainish Ask Jeeves

Lycos to use AlmondNet to target contextual ads

Who Owns Culture?
Webcast at 7pm Eastern tonight. Steven Berlin Johnson is one of my favorite writers, and he will be chatting with Jeff Tweedy and Lawrence Lessig.

Like Search Research?
DG's Desk links to a bunch of research papers.

this looks like a cool new blog about eBay, but why not spend the $8 /yr to buy a static domain name?

also, Gawker media lagunched Sploid. I think they come up with some pretty cool names.

Try Again:
Google alternate searches being tested? that or spyware...

Gel Conference:
April 28-29, 2005 New York City. Looks pretty cool.

of MSN Search.

Across the Ocean:
apparently in the UK Online ad spend trumps airwaves

A Good Blog:
about social, legal, and economic issues.

Dirty Words:
Marcia. hehehe

Paris Hilton:
still looking for that video? view the Paris Hilton porncast podcast. you KNOW stuff is overhyped when a megacorp has Paris doing something.

Yahoo! Shopping:
rss feeds

AOL tries to be undead, launching a VoIP service. pricing structure hosed from the word go?

The Business of Search

MSN PPC powerpoint - states their PPC product is expected to launch later this year.

Google Outlines Plan To Spend to Expand

Yahoo! Poaches MSN Content Exec, meanwhile Aussie is still pounding on the table questioning their API motives.

Google News Getting Sued, MSN Shopping Beta, Google AdSense Conference

This Just In:
Google News being sued by Agence France Presse for displaying subscriber only images

MSN Shopping:

Google AdSense:
Publisher Conference, reviewed. They highlighted a few sites and I think I know some of the people who may do some of the ads for some of them.

When my friend initially set up his personals page on AOL a long time ago (before he knew what a landing page was) he got so many leads that he was sending girls to his friends. Unfortunatly, I was not a friend of his at the time :(

Yahoo! to Blog, MSN to Sell Ads, World to Get More Exciting

Yahoo! to join blogging fray

MSN adCenter is apparently being tested in France and Singapore first. they will be giving people more demographics and search details than the other engines do. more at
Cnet Asia
Investor's Business Daily