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Google’s tactic on vertical search: Simply buy em May 5, 2007

Posted by Daniel Gardner in alarm clock, Business Thoughts, Fox, Google, Internet, mashable, News Corp, TechCrunch.

Rumors this morning are spreading that Google may be positioned to acquire vertical job search site SimplyHired (see the Alarm:Clock, Mashable and TechCrunch stories), a vertical job search engine who’s business as a job search company has somewhat stagnated over the past year but has blossomed as an careers engine for third part sites, specifically MySpace Careers.

My take on this deal is that Fox Interactive (part of News Corp) will acquire SimplyHired, they last year invested 13.5m in SimplyHired and use SimplyHired to power MySpace Careers (owned by Fox), even if Google do decide to acquire SimplyHired, Fox will put in a counter  bid to buy the rest of SimplyHired (which I am surprised they haven’t already done). In the event that Google try to pay an exorbitant price (YouTube anyone?) Fox will pull away or damage the MySpace distribution deal and leave Google holding a floundering Job Search engine they could of built themselves.

Yahoo and Google in online advertising dual May 1, 2007

Posted by Daniel Gardner in Advertising, Current Events, Google, Internet, TechCrunch, Yahoo.
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Many companies (particularally conservative corporates) like the machine gun style of display advertising, taken from  traditional advertising mediums such as Print and Television and thrown into the 21st century by putting them online, basically this method of advertising involves finding websites that attract there target demographic, placing advertisements and opening fire, hitting many people with only a few being there actual targets.

For branding purposes this type of display advertising works well as many eyes view your brand, but for most companies advertising is done to increase sales and with the constant pestering of marketing to show ROI on there advertising campaigns the newer CPC style of marketing makes sense as it puts the onus of finding interested customers onto the advertiser and means the advertiser only pays for those who are interested in there message they want to convey.

I have been intently watching the evolution of advertising and in the past few years two search engine giants in particular that have two very different strategies, these being Google and Yahoo.

Over the past few years Google have been cashing in on there multi-billion dollar Adsense cash cow while Yahoo have sat back with there floundering display advertising model until it became too much and announced there very Google like Panama product  last year, which would force these rivals into a head to head match.

While the panama project I think was a necessary and good move for Yahoo they will not knock Google off there perch for quite a while due to Google’s huge customer base that was created due to it’s first mover advantage in evangelising the CPC model.

Google, intent to hold onto there crown as web advertising king acquired DoubleClick for $3.1bn recently, putting them right into the thick of Yahoo’s display advertising territory, with an already large customer base DoubleClick was a good acquisition to enter Google into this market.

Yahoo however have taken a different approach, already owning a significant portion of the display advertising market they have brought the fight to Google by acquiring Right Media for $680m, whilst the size of this acquisition is dwarfed by Google’s DoubleClick acquisition in monetary value they have it seem decided to out-innovate Google in revolutionizing this market by allowing customers to bid on the ad space they want in real time and awarding the space to the highest bidder, eliminating negotiating costs and allowing more revenues to be passed on to the company supplying the ad space.

I believe this is a particularly good move by Yahoo as it allows them to out pace Google in innovation in this sector and allow them to grow there own advertising brand organically whereas Google will have separate branding under both DoubleClick and themselves not to mention they saved themselves a mint!

Saying this though I do not doubt Google and there ability to capitalise in the online advertising industry, they will probably even have something similar to Right Media’s functionality in the coming months but Yahoo look to be keeping Google on there toes, maybe even taking there eyes off there Adsense goldmine just a little bit while Panama swoops in.

With all these acquisitions it’s an exciting time in the online advertising world indeed!

Is targeting Microsoft keeping Google’s eyes off the prize? April 18, 2007

Posted by Daniel Gardner in Business Thoughts, Google, Internet, TechCrunch, techmeme, Yahoo.
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Today at the Web 2.0 Expo Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced that Google will be releasing a PowerPoint like presentation tool for there online office offering sitting along there current Email, Word Processing and Spreadsheet tools.

Google is obviously serious about taking on Microsoft’s lucrative office suite head on as they now have the four most important applications of Microsoft’s Office suite despite Schmidt’s nonsense comment “We don’t think it’s a competitor to Microsoft Office”.

There is no doubt in my mind that Google are on to a winner here and will gain significant adoption if the product is integrated effectively into there existing office line-up though pricing pressures that Google and other online office vendors are putting on online office products will ensure that Google will never reach anywhere near the profitability they treasure in the Advertising space.

I think that Google needs to stick to there previous and most important strength which is leveraging off other companies platforms to perform advertising which means they need to stop building there own solutions and start growing there partner network, by utilising partners Google can mitigate the risk of moving into emerging product spaces such as online office products and can focus on increasing there advertising revenues (Kudos to Google on there Double-Click purchase), continuing to create these products just means that Google moves further away from being an advertising company and more like a product company (without the fat product revenues of companies like Microsoft).

I think that Google are still a great company and I don’t doubt there ability to grow though I just don’t understand what Google are playing at by expanding into things like Google Office, they are making the right acquisitions in the mobile space and are in a good position to capitalize on this as it emerges alongside the now Microsoft owned TellMe though Google might need to focus on these winners and keep the blinders on things like Google Office, as I have mentioned before in order for Google to win they need to bring the fight to there competitors, out-innovating them at every opportunity while protecting both current and future revenue streams particularly in advertising.

Google and Yahoo – Differences in media strategies April 11, 2007

Posted by Daniel Gardner in Business Thoughts, Current Events, Google, Internet, TechCrunch, Viacom, Yahoo.
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I don’t think anyone disagrees that video content is one of the most important and influential content mediums today especially with the advent of the Internet and the wide availability of fast always on connections we now have more choice of content providers and access to shows when and how we want them.

Two of the biggest announcements in video advertising have come in the past fortnight with Yahoo announcing there online advertising partnership with Viacom and Google announcing there foray into Television advertising.

There is obviously a marked difference in these strategies, Google has gone off-line to pursue television advertising whereas Yahoo is staying online pushing there advertising out to third party advertisers.

Google are currently in a sticky situation, they have brought the Video sharing website YouTube for 1.65bn late last year and are currently trying to establish it as the go-to place for consumers to watch videos online so by Google executing a video advertising strategy that drives users away from YouTube and allows them to monetize content elsewhere this would be a serious conflict of interest with there current offering though the current lack of effective monetization on YouTube means that YouTube cannot offer content providers enough incentive to host there content at YouTube (see the Viacom v Google 1bn lawsuit), a sorry see-saw story indeed.

So what have Google done? They have started to move some of there advertising off-line, last week announcing they will be moving into television advertising, I have covered this off in my blog post Will Google succeed in the Television advertising space?, I believe this is a poor move by Google, as there focus is pulled off-line and any messaging they planned to communicate to advertisers that they believe in online video is heavily diluted.

In the other corner though we have Yahoo choosing to advertise on other companies media properties (see the Yahoo Viacom Deal) online while keeping it’s own pay for play offering that offers a clear monetization channel for media companies, not unlike Apple’s iTunes music store.

By keeping all of there advertising and media properties online Yahoo will be able to continue to focus on and expand it’s primary advertising stream while building connections with large media companies as the online media space grows.

As I have mentioned before I don’t think Google will achieve the same domination in television as it has in online advertising unless they continue to innovate while there online video offering YouTube is looking to be sinking as they are currently losing content providers due to there blatant disregard for copyright and unless they change there policies quick they may taint themselves, I feel Yahoo however is going in the right direction, maybe it won’t have the same short term success that Google may get out of there move into television advertising though at least it will be sustainable especially as more and more video content moves online.

Salesforce.com should partner with Google April 10, 2007

Posted by Daniel Gardner in Business Objects, Business Thoughts, Current Events, Google, Internet, Read/WriteWeb, salesforce.com, TechCrunch.
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I was reading today on TechCrunch and Read/WriteWeb about Salesforce.com announcing there new Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform, stemming from there March acquisition of Koral.

This offering is great for Salesforce.com users as it will open up the door for greater integration with business data that is stored in offline documents but as Salesforce.com themselves are proving the enterprise is ready to move online so why not integrate with online document platforms and the potential 400lb gorilla and obvious choice Google.

Google acquired Writely in March 2006 and is currently building out there Google Office offerings merging Document, Spreadsheet and Email functionality into a single web based application.

Salesforce.com I think would do well by partnering with Google for 3 main reasons which I outline below:
1. Branding – Both companies want to get further into the enterprise software space and by partnering Salesforce.com would gain access to the branding of being an important partner of Google’s.
3. Compatibility – Moving CRM and documents online has the issue with integrating offline documents with online software, by keeping both online versioning of software no longer becomes an issue and streamlined processes are easier to achieve.
2. Shared customers – Both companies can cross sell into each others customers possibly using a seeding strategy were users of either piece of software get a number of free licenses of the other’s software, a perfect example of this working in the Enterprise space is Crystal Report’s being seeded into both Microsoft Visual Studio and SAP mySAP.

Now possibly either one of these companies may be planning to release there own version of there competitors products though without having any inside information I would say this would be unlikely, Salesforce.com doesn’t have the money to compete with Google in office and Google would move away from it’s focus of building mostly small applications though like most speculation we’ll have to wait and see.