Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Latest reading

A few things that have caught my attention lately:
  • Google generates $24 per user, Yahoo $8, and Facebook $4. ([1])

  • Paul Graham's most important traits in founders. I'd say they even are in priority order. ([1])

  • Groupon competitors suddenly are everywhere. Not surprising, there's no technology barrier here, and it is easy to attract people if you offer 50% off at a popular store. But, I wonder if this booming fad is sustainable. Particularly concerning is that only 22% who use a Groupon offer return to the merchant, which, combined with the steep discounts, make this look expensive. ([1] [2] [3] [4])

  • Google is accused of copying a bunch of someone else's code. And this isn't the first time. Back in 2005, Google was accused of copying much of the code for Orkut. ([1] [2]).

  • Great, updated, and free book chapters on how people spam search engines. I particularly like the new discussion of spamming click data and social sites. ([1])

  • A very dirty little secret: most AOL subscribers don't realize they don't need to be paying, and the revenue from hoodwinking those people is a big part of AOL's profits. ([1])

  • Best article I've seen on why Google CEO Eric Schmidt is stepping down ([1])

  • With this latest move, Amazon closes the gap between their low level cloud services (microleasing of servers and storage) and the higher level offerings of Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure. ([1])

  • The trends of abandoning TV and embracing smartphones have been vastly overstated. Most Americans watch more TV than ever and use dumbphones. ([1] [2]).

  • A claim that Facebook has resorted to scammy malware-type advertisements in an effort to drive revenue. ([1]).


Brit Butler said...

The situation re: Android patents has a bit more nuance than the Tom's Hardware article would suggest.


Great blog by the way.

Greg Linden said...

Thanks, Brit. And, here, let me repost the URL as a link:

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "Facebook has resorted to scammy malware-type advertisements" article, please notice this update in the article text:

"Further update at 11:20 PM PST: A Facebook spokesperson contacted us and said that the company looked around inside its system and concluded that "make-my-baby is not an advertiser at all on Facebook and any affiliates that try to push people there we would shut down. Those ads would not be allowed as part of our policy."

So Facebook denies it, and as far as I can tell there is no evidence that Facebook has been running these ads. The Comscore chart that contains the original data that started this controversy doesn't attribute ad impressions to Facebook or MySpace or anyone else so it's not possible from this data to say "make-my-baby ads ran on Facebook".

Greg Linden said...

Thanks, Anonymous, but that is a classic non-denial denial. It seems the problematic advertiser was coming through an aggregator and was not immediately shut down.

Facebook merely states that the advertiser was not on Facebook directly and that their policy would be to shut them down immediately. That's the classic PR trick of answering a different question than the one that was asked and making your answer technically true but potentially misleading.

By the way, Danny Sullivan, as usual, has a good write up with more of the details on this story:

"Bing Terminates Relationship With Publisher Doing Tricky Home Page Switch"

In the end, we don't have complete information on how big this problem was for Facebook, but it appears it was a problem. And the lesson here is one that Facebook should have already known, that the common problem with using liquidators to try to sell excess inventory is that you get really bad advertisers on your pages.

Anonymous said...

"Google generates $24 per user, Yahoo $8, and Facebook $4."

I could track this down, or you could state if that is per search/transaction, week, month or year. In all cases 24USD sounds too large. I am in the upper quartile of Google users' income groups, and have certainly not given Google 24USD in the last one year, while sending it at least 10,000 queries.

Greg Linden said...

Or, Anonymous, you could follow the link after the statement for additional details. The citation is right there.