• Ross Fadner, Jan 31, 2008, 11:30 AM
  • Amazon Falls On Profit Outlook New York Times Read the whole story...
  • 5 Disruptive Technologies For 2008 Information Week Read the whole story...
  • Google, Others Want The White Spaces Forbes Read the whole story...
  • Google Guys To Stay 16 Years or More The Wall Street Journal Prior to the company's 2004 IPO, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt made a pact that would keep them at Google for at least 20 years, according to spokesman Jon Murchinson. Good news for shareholders: that means that Page, Brin and Schmidt have another 16 years at the helm of the world's most popular and powerful Internet company. Sandeep Aggarwal, analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., says the pact was "very, very positive," as "this tells me that the opportunities for Google are immense, and that they've just cracked the surface."

    Despite the trio's long-term commitment, Google's stock has been punished so far this year, falling 22 percent, as investors worry the Web giant could spend as much as $4.6 billion to acquire radio spectrum in the current FCC auction. Even if Google wins the portion of spectrum it desires, building a wireless network would cost billions more. "To the extent that Google appears to be a bidder in to win, we expect greater uncertainty and investor anxiety," said Rob Sanderson, an analyst at American Technology Research.

    Page, Brin and Schmidt made it clear in the Google shareholder's "Owner's Manual" that they were willing to sacrifice short-term results for long-term gains. "We will have the fortitude to do this. We would request that our shareholders take the long-term view." Read the whole story...
  • Yahoo's Panama Loses Search Revenue Share Adweek The positive effect of Project Panama, Yahoo's year-old search advertising system, is on the decline, according to a new report from SearchIgnite and RBC Capital Markets. After exhibiting year-over-year growth in the third quarter of 2007, Yahoo's share of search revenue slipped by about 1 percent in the fourth quarter. Google, meanwhile, saw its share climb by one percent over the same period.

    According to the SearchIgnite data, market share shifted very little among the top three search engines throughout the year, which is interesting considering that search spending increased by 27 percent from 2006. This was partly driven by a robust 72 percent increase in spending on retail search terms during the fourth quarter holiday season.

    The SearchIgnite data runs contrary to other reports that online spending waned towards the end of the fourth quarter. "Fourth quarter was a great quarter," says SearchIgnite President Roger Barnette. "We didn't see any real drop-off." He said any slowdown in online holiday spending was probably due to an early Thanksgiving and more efficient shopping on the part of consumers. Read the whole story...
  • Social Networking Use Shows Steady Declines Creative Capital After peaking in October 2007 with 71.9 million users, MySpace's unique audience trailed off to 68.9 million in November and stayed that way in December. However, member engagement dropped off an alarming 8.5 percent from November to December, the biggest month-to-month drop of 2007 for MySpace. For the full year, engagement fell 24 percent.

    The problem isn't specific to MySpace, either, as comScore shows that time spent on Bebo has been cut in half in the past four months, while Friendster has plummeted 75 percent over the same period. Even Facebook, despite doubling its year over year audience in the U.S., saw a paltry 13 percent growth in time spent per user.

    Advertisers certainly won't be too impressed by the engagement figures, which social networks have trumpeted as one of their core competencies. Is this a sign that the Web's fickle users are getting bored with social networks? The slowdown in time spent per user certainly places more pressure on advertising programs to perform, but it also pressures social networks to innovate in order to retain users. Read the whole story...
  • UK Universities Start Anti-Facebook Movement London Times A new anti-Facebook movement is spreading across the UK. Known as the "Facebook refusenicks," the network of students are founding chapters at universities across Britain. The group's chief complaint is that Facebook compromises user privacy in gathering user data and selling it to advertisers.

    Of course, "refusenicks" often find themselves out of the loop when it comes to student events, as most promoters have turned exclusively to Facebook to get the word out about parties, clubs, etc. "I felt like a complete stranger," said one of the group's members after her first week at school. "I had to find out from other students what nights were being held, and still do." Another student, who fancies himself as the nonconformist type, added, "What happened to the good old posters and flyers? Now it's just Facebook this, Facebook that. I'm sick of it, which is why I refuse to create a profile."

    The group's main message is that Facebook's decision to open itself to the public and then open its users' data to advertise has alienated members who originally joined the social network for its small, private, student community based structure. Nowadays, Facebook even broadcasts profiles to Google.com. Read the whole story...
  • Google, Dell Rumored To Launch Mobile Phone Marketing Week First WiMax, now the Gphone: Indeed, the hot rumor of the day is that Google and Dell are planning a mobile phone that will be unveiled during next month's 3GSMS telecom conference in Barcelona. Last year, there were widespread rumors that Google was building a "Gphone" to rival Apple's "iPhone," although the company later quashed those rumors with the introduction of Android, a Linux-based mobile operating system.

    Google said its goal, rather than entering the handset business, was to put Android, with its suite of free ad-supported services on phones, which would help subsidize the cost for consumers.

    Google insiders denied the report. However, computer maker Dell revealed last year that it was planning a move into mobile phones with the hire of former Motorola exec Ron Garriques to run its global consumer group. Dell already makes PDAs, although analysts claim the effort has "pretty much flopped." Read the whole story...