Early Interview With Google’s Page & Brin

This week was Google’s 10 year anniversary. Can you believe Google is only 10 and yet one of the largest companies in the world? Anyways, there was a lot of noise about this anniversary and the media covered really well where Google is at right now and where it’s going to but we’ve seen very little about where Google is coming from.

Below is a snipet of an interview that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin gave in January 1999 to Karsten Lemm, a correspondent for the German newsmagazine Stern. The full interview can be found here.

Do you generate any revenue at the moment?

Sergey: You caught us at an interesting time. Right now, we’re thinking about generating some revenue. We have a number of ways to doing that. One thing is we can put up some advertising. The key there is to put up advertising that will be really useful to our users and not slow down our site. That way we won’t push people away from our site, but we’ll still take in some revenue. Another way would be co-branding. Provide the back-end search engine to other sites.

How do you see Google develop? At some point, do you see yourselves on par with AltaVista, Excite, all these other established search engines?

Sergey: I would say no. We want to be on par with Yahoo, or Amazon, AOL. AltaVista, Excite and [the others] are by no means viewed as the winners. There’s no question, we want to be number one in market share in terms of search. And I think we can do that in not so long. Past that, it’s really hard to predict. There’s really no reason to set our sights low. If you do things right you can make a big jump over everybody else.

Boy, these guys were right on! As much as I hate Google, I have to admit the business model is impeccable!

Finding out the hard way that linking to infringing content is illegal

For the last month or so I have been listing cracked iPhone applications and games on my iPhone website, thinking that what I was doing was totally legal. After all, I was not the one cracking these iPhone applications and I was not the one making them available online. I was simply linking to them in order to let people know where to get them.

Everything was doing pretty well. I was averaging 1,600 visits per day (and growing fast!) on my iPhone blog. 90% of my traffic came for one reason: finding out where to get all these cracked iPhone apps. That was until 1.50pm today…

I checked by email inbox and saw an email from DreamHost, my hosting company. The subject line was: “URGENT: DMCA Takedown Notification”. That didn’t smell good…

Here is the body of the email I received:

Hello Sebastien,We have received a formal DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice regarding allegedly infringing content hosted on your site. The specific content in question is as follows:

http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com/the-ultimate-list-of-cracked-games-for-iphone/

The party making the complaint (Ian Ramage, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Phone: 415.984.8783 ,e-mail: iramage@omm.com), claims under penalty of perjury to be or represent the copyright owner of this content. Pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512(c), we have removed access to the content in question.

http://www.loc.gov/copyright/title17/92chap5.html#512

If you believe that these works belong to you and that the copyright ownership claims of this party are false, you may file a DMCA counter-notification in the form described by the DMCA, asking that the content in question be reinstated. Unless we receive notice from the complaining party that a lawsuit has been filed to restrain you from posting the content, we will reinstate the content in question within 10-14 days after receiving your counter-notification (which will also be forwarded on to the party making the complaint).

In the meantime, we ask that you do not replace the content in question, or in any other way distribute it in conjunction with our services. Please also be advised that copyright violation is strictly against our Terms and Conditions, and such offenses risk resulting in immediate disablement of your account should you not cooperate (not to mention the legal risk to you if they are true).

http://www.dreamhost.com/tos.html

We also ask that if you are indeed infringing upon the copyright associated with these works that you delete them from your account immediately, and let us know once this has been done.

We also ask that you delete any other infringing works not listed in this takedown notification, if they exist. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Glen,

I was wondering who this “Ian Ramage, O’Melveny & Myers LLP” law firm was. It didn’t take me too long to find out it actually is Apple’s law firm!

At first, I emailed Ian Ramage, the Attorney that filed the DMCA notice to tell him I was not doing anything illegal, that I was just pointing to cracked applications, but I didn’t crack them or uploaded them to servers.

In the meanwhile, I did some research. I read part of the US copyright law and didn’t find anything relevant. All this legal jargon is Chinese to me.

Then I stumbled upon an article that states that linking to infringing content is probably illegal in the US.

Here is what this website says:

Summary: There have been 3 court cases in the US where sites were forced to take down links leading to infringing material on external sites. The sites were found guilty of ‘contributory infringement’ for simply linking.

Although unclear the law leans in favor of content owner so if you linked to copyrighted material and don’t take it down you could very well lose a legal battle and face huge legal fees. Even blogs are at risk!

Lock and ChainA large number of cases never reach the courts where sites are served with takedown notices and dare not risk ignoring them as they may otherwise face liability.

Are copyright laws out of control and infringing our own right to share information and discuss what is available on the web?

Is Linking to Infringing Content Illegal in the US? Like it or not the short answer is yes. I don’t agree with it or like it but its true. The law currently leans towards the concept that linking to infringing content is illegal.

At first, I was pissed. After thinking about it, I am really pissed! It is not like I am linking to kiddie porn or something.

DreamHost did an outstanding job at helping me out with this issue. Glen, the CSR at DreamHost, was on top of it, replying to my emails within minutes to advice me on what to do. The $140/year I pay them is very well spent. Although they have downtime every once in a while, their service is just first-class.

Oh well, lesson learned.

How many domain names do you own?

Here is a list of them all with a little description of what I do with them.

  • www.AforAndroid.com is a blog that aggregates news about Google’s (not so) new OS’ Andoid. I am a firm believer that Android will kick the iPhone’s ass some day soon. I still love my iPhone but I will switch to Android in a heartbeat. This blog has no purpose but sitting around. One day it might be worse millions, who knows… Just kidding.
  • www.FforFranchise.com is the same as A for Android. It just aggregates franchise-related news from various places. Why a franchise site? Because that’s the industry I’ve been working in for the last 4 years…
  • www.FranchiseBrief.com is also a site about franchising. It lists over 500 franchise opportunities, making it one of the largest franchise directories out there. I haven’t touched this website in months and it went from a PR 4 to a PR 0 :(
  • www.iForiPhone.com is, once again, a news aggregator for iPhone. Nothing really creative about it. It’s just sitting there and I have nothing to do with it to maintain it as it is auto populated with content.
  • www.iPhoneDownloadBlog.com is my main iPhone blog. It actually is the blog on which I spend the most time. This blog is about hacks and cracks for the iPhone. If you’re an iPhone owner and you still rely on Apple for your applications, well, sorry, but you’re missing out. Jailbreaking your iPhone is the best thing that can happen to it and it will set you free from Apple’s evil claws.
  • www.iPodMediaSelection.com was my second domain name and it made me a lot of money last year. I don’t do anything on that site anymore. It’s just sitting here, generating an affiliate sale every once in a while.
  • www.Podpaganda.com redirects to iPodMediaSelection.com. I am not sure why I bought this domain name in the first place but I remember finding the name pretty cool. I don’t know if you noticed how I am playing with words: podpaganda = propaganda. Yes? No?
  • www.SebastianPage.com is my name misspelled and it redirects to SebastienPage.com.
  • www.SebastienPage.com is the blog you are currently reading. Mostly nothing really interesting to most people. Some people might like it though as I get decent amounts of traffic.
  • www.YogaZee.com is a yoga blog that Tina works on. The goal is to make it a large yoga class directory, with news and articles that are related to yoga.

Some of these domain names are pretty ugly… To my defense though, I think the domain name doesn’t matter much. As long as it doesn’t contain hyphens or numbers or as long as it’s not more than 15 letters, it is good. After all, I am not trying to create an online empire here…

My latest thing is domain names starting with a letter + the full word, such as “F for Franchise”. Such URLs are short, easy to remember, and they are available!

What subliminal marketing can do to you

Studies have shown that everyday, each of us is subject to about 10,000 marketing messages, brands, logos and product offers. 10,000? Yes, that’s a huge number but when you think about it, it’s probably close to reality. Let’s see for a minute.

You wake up and turn off your SONY alarm clock, go to the bathroom and brush your teeth with your BRAUN electric toothbrush and use some COLGATE toothpaste. While you’re brushing, you look unconsciously look around you and see your HUGO BOSS cologne, your NIVEA lotion. You turn on your LG TV or your PIONEER radio and hear a commercial for Mossy NISSAN, another commercial for PAPA JOHN’S, and another commercial for BANK OF AMERICA. You get a SMS on your APPLE iPhone; it’s actually a special offer from MCDONALD’S because you agreed to receive SMS alerts from them. You make some STARBUCK’S coffee in your BODUM French press. It’s time to go to work. You grab your keys and walk through the parking lot. You walk by a FORD, a TOYOTA, a BUICK, a KIA, an AUDI (that’s mine;-). You get in, turn on the radio and hear 5 commercials for BUDWEISER, GEICO, BEST BUY, TARGET, and T-MOBILE. You drive off the parking lot and that’s when the marketing hammering really starts. You drive by hundreds of different cars (different brands), some of them with stickers for various brand names, you pass hundreds of billboards. OK, let’s stop here. I think you get it.

How much do you think you saw of all this? None? Guess again. Reality is you saw most of it, even if you’re not aware of it. Scary, huh!? But that’s what marketing is all about. It’s not because you didn’t read the billboard that your brain didn’t register the information. When you drive by this billboard, your eyes just lay on it without reading it, but your brain is smarter than you (haha) and takes a picture of the billboard, processes it in the background and register all the information without letting you know. Then you go to the store and without thinking about it, you grab some Gatorade. Why Gatorade? Maybe because it’s your favorite drink? Or maybe because you heard 21 commercials about it within the last week, saw 15 football teams with the Gatorade logos on their bottles, or maybe you just really like it… No! You don’t just really like it. You’ve been somewhat brainwashed by marketing genius to think you really like it.

I am writing all this because I read my friend’s blog post about subliminal marketing and there was this amazing, yet scary video about subliminal marketing. When marketers get caught at their own games, you know it’s solid!

These are some of the basics of marketing. I remember my first class of marketing in Business School. The teacher asked: “what is the goal of marketing?”. Most answers were: “advertising a product”, or “selling products”. The right answer is that the goal of marketing is to create a need! Do you really an iPhone? I mean, your old BlackBerry Pearl pretty much does it all. Well, marketing creates this need for the iPhone. And they’re so good at it they even make you wait for hours in line to get it…

Microsoft Issues Statement Regarding Yahoo!

Microsoft and Yahoo are back at the table according to a press release Microsoft issued today.

In light of developments since the withdrawal of the Microsoft proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc., Microsoft announced that it is continuing to explore and pursue its alternatives to improve and expand its online services and advertising business. Microsoft is considering and has raised with Yahoo! an alternative that would involve a transaction with Yahoo! but not an acquisition of all of Yahoo! Microsoft is not proposing to make a new bid to acquire all of Yahoo! at this time, but reserves the right to reconsider that alternative depending on future developments and discussions that may take place with Yahoo! or discussions with shareholders of Yahoo! or Microsoft or with other third parties.

There of course can be no assurance that any transaction will result from these discussions.

Windows and Windows Live chief Kevin Johnson sent this letter updating his team on an updated online and advertising strategy.

From: Kevin Johnson
Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2008 1:30 PM
To: Platforms & Services Division; APSP FTE – Adv & Pub Solutions Platform; Employees.all.corp.adf@main.corp; Employees.all.adf@main.corp
Subject: Online Services Strategy Update

We have been executing against the core strategy I first presented at our Financial Analyst Meeting in July 2007 to go after the growing opportunity in online services and advertising. Four pillars have formed the basis of our strategy:
1. Consolidate ad platform and win in display
2. Innovate and disrupt in search
3. Deliver end-to-end user experiences across PC, phone, and web
4. Reinvent portal and social media experiences We have many options that support acceleration of our strategy. As announced earlier today, we are also considering new alternatives for a transaction with Yahoo! which do not involve a full acquisition. At this time, we have not made a new bid to acquire all of Yahoo!, but we reserve the right to reconsider that alternative depending on future developments and discussions that may take place with Yahoo!, shareholders of Yahoo! or Microsoft, or with other third parties.

Regardless of the outcome of any new discussions, it is important that we continue to move forward to strengthen our online services business. The fact is that we are not where we want to be in this business yet and we’ve been in this position longer than we’d all like. To that end, we will be accelerating elements of our core strategy, and breaking ground in new areas.

On Tuesday, Brian McAndrews is hosting advance08, our annual advertising conference here in Redmond. Over 400 leaders from across the media, technology and advertising landscape will be here for two days to engage in dialogue on industry trends and opportunities. These leaders are some of our closest partners in the digital transformation of the advertising industry, and they recognize the increasingly important role Microsoft plays in this transformation.

We are very excited to have these customers and partners on campus.

Brian’s keynote will highlight our unique position in the advertising industry. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come with the aQuantive acquisition in differentiating our advertising platform. This foundation is paying off, with Q3 advertising revenue growth of nearly 40%, a rate that has accelerated over the past two quarters while growth rates at Google, Yahoo and AOL have slowed.

On Wednesday, we will be announcing a major new initiative that our search teams have been driving. We are getting better and better with our core algorithmic search, and at the same time, we are investing to differentiate in vertical experiences and to disrupt the current model. You’ll hear more about our plans Wednesday.

advance08 will underscore our commitment to search and online advertising, and you’ll continue to see announcements demonstrating our progress in this space. Earlier this week, I spoke to leaders across our online services business about our core strategy, the importance of acceleration and a set of actions we are taking, including:

1. Innovate and disrupt in search – We will disclose some elements of our plans with this week’s release of search and sharpen our focus on user experience and business model innovation. The work we have done over the last 4 years on search has established a solid foundation to build upon.
2. Win targeted distribution – With this release of search, we are now ready to throttle up broader distribution initiatives.
3. Reinvent portal and deliver new experiences across PC, phone and web – We are building our new releases of Windows 7, Windows Live wave 3, Windows Mobile 7, Internet Explorer 8, Search and MSN with an eye towards optimizing and unifying experiences and scenarios.
4. Fix our online branding – Our brands are fragmented and confusing today, and we recognize a need to clarify and align our online branding. We are now driving forward to address this opportunity.
5. Win in display advertising – We have an advantage in tools, agency assets/relationships and a team laser-focused on capturing the display ad platform opportunity. As we build from a position of strength, we will increase engineering resources to drive even more innovation.
6. Build on our strengths in Europe – As measured by comScore in March, our online business in Europe is doing well. We have over 3 times the page view volume and nearly 7 times the minutes of usage compared to Yahoo!, and 68% reach to internet users throughout Europe. We will double down on our investments in Europe and expand on this strong position.
7. Expand strategic partnerships – In addition to our organic innovation agenda, we will expand strategic partnerships that increase inventory on our display ad platform, enable new paradigms in search and accelerate growth in key geographies.
8. Pursue small, targeted acquisitions – Looking forward, we will focus on small, targeted acquisitions that support our work in search, complement our value in the ad platform and help us grow scale in key geographies. Recent acquisitions including Rapt and YaData are examples of these types of acquisitions.

The PSD leadership team is actively working on the FY09 budget, including resources and investments to support the actions above. Additional elements of our work will be revealed in the coming weeks, leading to our Financial Analyst Meeting in July where I will share more details on our strategy and business/financial outlook.

As we move forward, I want to remind everyone that we are well positioned to compete. We have some of the industry’s best assets on our side: technical and business talent, global scale, a culture of self-criticism and tenaciousness, a healthy balance sheet and an unparalleled product portfolio. It’s time for us to seize the opportunity.

Thanks again for your continued leadership and focus on our business. If you have any feedback or thoughts, please feel free to send me mail.

Regards,

Kevin Johnson

Increasing online registrations

Patricia Hursh wrote a good blog entry at SearchEngineLand.com about online registrations and downloadable asssets. Online efforts are designed to generate leads and a good way to generate those leads is to give an incentive to people to enter their contact information. Most of the time, the incentive will be a downloadable eBook, or white paper, or report; call it whatever you want.

Patricia presents 3 proven method to increase registrations:

  1. bundle information – you may want to mix what you’re offering. It can be a white paper plus the recording of a webinar. Or a report with a podcast. By doing so, you create a much higher perceived value.
  2. offer multiple media formats – you want to leave people the choice to either read, watch, or listen. Various formats can be, video clip, podcast, webcast, product demo or a simple text document.
  3. test names and descriptions – you can improve response rate by testing names and descriptions. By doing so, you might find out that “product demo” generates much more registrations than “virtual tour”

CraigsList sues eBay

A few weeks after being sued by eBay, CraigsList is now suing the auction giant, alleging eBay had used its minority stake in Craigslist to steal corporate trade secrets.

Craigslist’s complaint alleges a plan by eBay to use its position as a minority shareholder in Craigslist and its position on the Craigslist board to gather competitive information that led to the launch of eBay’s rival classifieds business. The suit claims eBay code-named Kijiji its “Craigslist killer” in internal strategy discussions.