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Archive for April, 2004

Whew!

by henrycopeland
Friday, April 30th, 2004

Having spent most of the week on Godless dialup and cell phones, I’ve loved being back on broadband. Whew! Have a good weekend. And be glad you are you and not her.

Google this

by henrycopeland
Friday, April 30th, 2004

As Google bares its soul to financiers so the VCs can cash out, one key metric to examine is this — how many searches a day?

Today Google claims to serve “more than 200 million searches a day”… the same number it was claiming a year ago. We can assume that is a lowball, but by how much? Is the real number 300 million or 800 million?

(God forbid it is only 225 million, which would mean Google’s core business is underperforming the Internet’s own core growth rate.)

This searches per day number should be central in Google’s IPO documents. If you have time to read ‘em and find the number, please drop me a line.

The only thing more astonishing than Google’s reluctance in sharing this number over the last few years has been the press’s reluctance to actually ask for an accurate number.

This is an old story, btw. To read more on the history of Google’s intense reluctance to pubicly update this crucial number — and the press’s inability to probe for the number — read this 12/02 Blogads post.

(Funnily enough, you can still find the Google claim “Today, Google responds to more than 200 million search queries per day.” on this “press overview” page, but I can’t find the same page when you drill down through Google’s navigation system via either the press center or the corporate overview page.

Am I missing something, or is Google actually burying this metric, one that its prospective investors (and competitors) should find crucial to evaluating the company’s health?

Temporary phone number

by henrycopeland
Monday, April 26th, 2004

Just moved Blogads West and the Vonage VOIP phone line isn’t working for a day or two. Call 919 698 0117 if you need to reach me.

Henry

Now selling blogads

by henrycopeland
Saturday, April 24th, 2004

One of the oldest political sites around, predating Drudge even, is Ron Gunzberger’s belovedPolitics1.com.

And one of the newest is Wonkette, written by that “foul-mouthed” “vixen” Ana Marie Cox. She’s also brilliant.

(Ron is going on vacation May 7 and has underpriced to reflect this outage.)

Pirates — the secret strategy

by henrycopeland
Friday, April 23rd, 2004

Aided by an honest-to-God computer program concocted by assistant coach Ed, the Pirates t-ball team won its first game 20 to 19 Wednesday night. Sabermagicians, beware!

Here’s the backstory: Nobody else stepped forward, so I volunteered to coach a team of first and second grade t-ballers this season. The Pirates. Confessing that I last played baseball in a sandlot in 3rd grade, I asked Matt for advice — he grew up in the intensely competitive baseball culture of SoCal — and he told me, “don’t worry about anyone else’s kid… just focus on your kid’s stats.”

With that in mind, I showed up at the first practice and discovered — thank God — that five or six other fathers were happy to pitch in with the coaching. So Ed helped with throwing, Rod helped with batting, Mitch and Ken offered tips on baserunning and fielding.

So what was the secret of Ed’s computerized team jiggering for the first game? Randomness. Our randomly generated batting order and fielding positions helped us shuffle players around the field. Completely short-circuited the opposing team’s strategy. :)

At the next practice, we’ll work on a) hand slapping (a good proxy for hitting the ball), b) lobbing the ball to first, and c) not watching the fielders while running to first.

And yes, Matt, the Copeland slugger was 4 for 4 at the plate.

Link roundup

by henrycopeland
Thursday, April 22nd, 2004

VC Fred Wilson mentions blogads. Thank you for the plug Fred. In the words of Clayton Christensen, too many VCs are patient for profit and impatient for growth, whereas most huge (fun!) businesses usually grow out of the opposite mentality. Poor VCs.

Online ad sales were up 21% in 2003. Given that these buyers are a lot savvier than the $33,333 a second super bowl advertisers of 1999 and 2000, the $7.3 billion figure is especially impressive. (Thank you Taegan!)

Robert Cox gives an exhaustive analysis of the problems with figuring out what kind of traffic bloggers generate. (Thanks Hylton!)

Funnily enough, traffic can be a distraction for advertisers — community spirit seems to be the essential metric. Do your readers identify with each other? Do they share a passion? If not, you probably won’t make money selling ads than the average vendor of the trillion other page impressions currently flooding the web. If web analysis tools like Webalizer and Webtrends and can’t come up with the right answer for traffic, imagine the challenge the “community spirit” will bring. I was reading the kids The little prince the other night and chuckled at this:

Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: “What does his voice sound like?” What games does he like best?” “Does he collect butterflies?” They ask: “How old is he?” “How many brotheres does he have?” How much does he weigh?” “How much money does his father make?” Only then do they think they know him. If you tell grown-ups, “I saw a beautiful red brick house, with geraniums at the windoes and doves on the roof…,” they won’t be able to imagine such a house. You have to tell them, “I saw a house worth a hundred thousand francs.” They they exclaim, “What a pretty house!”

Blogads in Washington Post and New York Times (and Wired News)

by henrycopeland
Monday, April 19th, 2004

NYT: Many Started Web Logs for Fun, but Bloggers Need Money, Too. Thank you to reporter Julie Flaherty for using the word “Blogads.” Programming genius Dan Bricklin, who also attended the Bloggercon session Flaherty covered, has “pictures of the event being covered by a reporter being photographed by others blogging it.” (And here are even more photos.)

WP: Some Candidates Turn To Blogs to Place Ads: Sites are Low-Cost, Reach Thousands. Brian Faler finds another candidate who has matched Chandler’s 20-fold ROI. And he courageously notes, “Moreover, while the price of the ads has increased with the candidates’ demand, ads on blogs still cost only a small fraction of what it would cost to advertise on more prominent Web sites, such as WashingtonPost.com or NYTimes.com.”

Sadly, neither article gives our full URL.

P.S. Writing this morning from Australia after receiving his monthly Blogads payout, Tim Blair says “Man, this is sweet. I owe you a drink.”

Update: Wired News also mentions blogads in its coverage of Bloggercon.

Boston Bloggercon

by henrycopeland
Sunday, April 18th, 2004

Breakfast this AM at the EXCELLENT Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown. Diners in the south just don’t hop like they do up here.

I’m in Boston at the Adrenzone behind the Harvard Coop. ($5/hour.) I did a terrible job booking the flight for this trip, and so don’t fly home until 10PM tonight. So I’m wandering around Harvard square, which has a uniquely ramshackle vibrance.

Yesterday’s Bloggercon was great. The opening Take me out to the Ballgame and National Anthem, accompanied by accordian, touched me.

Jay Rosen’s session “what is journalism?” chiseled away much of the artificial distinctions between journalism and blogging. Although Jay can be verbose in pixels, he’s an excellent Socrates in person. (Here’s me at Jay’s session.) The thick with nuggets of insight. Dave Winer reminded us that the Internet unbundles lots of industries. Matt Stoller said editors, at least in their roll of choosing and prioritizing stories, are most at risk of being made redundant by the blogosphere. I’d add to that the Talkingpointsmemo, Instapundit, DailyKos et al are, de facto, the new editors for many readers.

I missed chances to talk with Brian Reich and Zephyr Teachout — carpe diem. And I missed John Perry Barlow’s session on “what blogging means to me” but told him afterwards that I hope his blogging will encourage one of my college roommates (a Deadhead) to get on the blog bus. “Tell your friend hello, and to keep on truckin, regardless,” Barlow said.

Before dinner, I rapped with Hylton Joliffe for twenty minutes on a street corner with Cambridge swirling around us. Overheads, phones, sponsors, disintermediation. Hylton has been trying to wring money from blogging as long as me — … I love talking to someone smart who lives in the same weird dimension as Blogads.

BTW, the bottom right photo by Dan Bricklin onthis page offers a great synedoche of the state of the session title — “making money from blogging” — lots of latecomers in the doorway and standing room only.

Dinner last night at the Bombay Club. Rebecca MacKinnon gave our table a stark overview of the unhappy outcomes in North Korea. The entrepreneur to my left explained the RSS reader. Paul Frankenstein, who is moving to Hong Kong Friday, noted that unemployment insurance in NY pays $405 a week, versus $490 in NJ. I quoted Clayton Christensen at every opportunity.

I was lucky to stay with Lisa and Evan Williams in Watertown. Lisa, a former Yankee group manager, had some good advice on software pricing strategies and I enjoyed swapping entrepreneurial war stories with Evan. Thank you Lisa and Evan!

Actforlove.org loves blogads

by henrycopeland
Monday, April 12th, 2004

This morning’s inbox brings a raging testimonial from John Hlinko, founder of ActforLove.org, a personals site for activists, and also creator of DraftWesleyClark.com, which led the charge to get Wesley Clark into the presidential race.

We’ve advertised online before, but when we started using blogads — our traffic literally tripled overnight. Normal banner ads let you reach a mass audience, but blogads put you in front of Net ‘influentials’ — the people who love to dig deep into a subject, and tell others all about it. With blogads you don’t just get click-throughs, you create evangelists. The blogads for ActForLove.org not only got massive click-throughs, the bloggers themselves started talking about ActForLove.org on those same blogs — and on a number of others throughout the Web. You simply can’t get that kind of ‘amplification’ benefit with normal banner ads.

Mediapost magazine included Blogads in its roundup of new trends in online advertising.

Last drops of Budapest

by henrycopeland
Sunday, April 11th, 2004

We spent Friday brainstorming. Friday night, we took the bus out to Miklos’ village, deep in the Matra hills. Miklos explained his intricate wood/gas heating system. Marie-eve talked about her work with nuclear waste. Yesterday morning, we hiked around with Zalan (2) and Delia (4) and went to lunch at the local csarda. I took the bus back, had dinner with my inlaws, then more dinner with soon to be blogging
Erik D’amato.


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