Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
Can't we all just get along?
Apparently, we can.
Mashable is reporting that Photobucket and MySpace have now kissed and made up, with Photobucket video embeds once again working on MySpace pages after being forced to stand in a virtual corner for the past two weeks.
But Mike Arrington wants to know "who blinked first and why," explaining that Alexa data suggests Photobucket got a PR boost from the controversy as opposed to what many would have expected to be a significant traffic decline.
Bad news is apparently better than no news at all.
Speaking of PR, DoubleClick is going on a rebranding offensive with an excellent example of new media communications online via a site called "Nervecenter," complete with chic video interviews with CEO David Rosenblatt, who speaks about the new new DoubleClick and the opportunity ahead for "redefining the digital space."
Alas, the redefinition does not seem to have been redefined prior to the announcement of Google's intended acquisition of DoubleClick, which means there's no lipstick to be found anywhere on the "Nervecenter" site about the looming privacy pig...or was that an elephant???
In any case, the "Nerve Center" is (mostly) very well executed -- long on style, shorter on substance -- but struck a nerve with me by not having any RSS feeds in sight?
What does one have to do to get a subscription around here? Drop a cookie?[Read More]
The Google Mint continues to demonstrate steam in its latest earnings, with net income having climbed to $1B in the latest quarter, reports Bloomberg.
CEO Eric Schmidt explained that "We overspend relative to what people think we should capital..." and ..."underspend on people in, say, customer service because we're automated."
But the Google $$$ printing machine ain't the only thing being automated out in Mountain View.
Search swami Danny Sullivan has also outlined some new changes to its search history system. The feature formerly known as "Search History" has been renamed "Web History."
The feature allows Google to record each and every single search and Web site you visit.
Google is being purposely transparent about the move, but the level of personal data associated to individuals is greater than it has ever been with this move.
On the other hand, the personalization of search brings great user benefits, allowing the consumer to reach back and easily find previous searches or Web site visits (search the searches!).
It's a mixed bag. Become a more informed and educated Googler. Read Danny's post and decide if the privacy tradeoff is worth it for you personally.[Read More]
Hey, what happened to Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien??!! Bring them back!
I turn on the telly this morning, and there's Larry King live on "American Morning" interviewing Kiran Chetry and John Roberts!
I knew the cancellation of "Imus in the Morning" caused some disruption in the mass media marketplace, but c'mon, ya didn't have to bail on the O'Briens, now did ya?
Well, the ploy backfired in the Turbo household as I immediately showed "American Morning's" Nielsen representative out the back door.
Then, I dusted off my remote for the NBC channel to check out "The Today Show" after who knows how many weeks (months?? years??).
Looking real good in HD, Matt and Meredith, I must say...Long as you give me some real news between your cooking packages, ya'll will do just fine.
Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that Microsoft has called for government intervention in Google's announced acquisition of DoubleClick.
Turnabout is fair play, I guess.
GigaOM's Om Malik does a deeper dive on the merger in his interview with Organic CEO Mark Kingdon, highlighting the weekend flurry of Google news, including the partnership with Clear Channel Communications to sell radio ads.
This just in time for a possible private equity buyout of Clear Channel from Bain Capital and Thomas Lee Partners.
(Is it just me, or is it the M&A bankers and lawyers cleaning up with all this dealmaking??)
As Mr. Malik explains in his post, "If there was any need for proof that Google considers advertising its core competency, then last few days provide ample testimony to that fact...The DoubleClick acquisition showed that Google is willing to spend any amount of money to defend its advertising turf."
Boy howdy and then some.
I think it's probably a little too soon to tell if the free marketplace will be a winner or loser -- it could easily be argued that Google and DoubleClick businesses are sufficiently distinct enough not to merit warranted antitrust complaints.
Alas, logic has never stopped the inclination to drive antitrust suits, particularly by competitors and incumbents whose businesses could be negatively impacted by major mergers.
Me, I still maintain that consumer privacy is the big loser (Go head, hold a big "L" against your forehead) in the deal, and hope and pray that Google and DoubleClick can convince me over time that those concerns are unwarranted (in deeds, not words).[Read More]
What a way to end the week. Google is buying DoubleClick, says the New York Times, for $3.1B.
The press release from Google is here. (It includes a call taking place now that will be available for replay).
That's a pretty penny to pay for a company taken private in 2005 for $1.1B...then again, Google keeps DoubleClick out of Microsoft's hands. As an analyst in the Times' piece observes, "Keeping Microsoft away from DoubleClick is worth billions to Google."
Gonna be lots of blogosphere spin on this one over the weekend....
After sleeping on it overnight, and now having listened to the full conference call with the chief executives and leadership teams from both Google and DoubleClick, let me throw in my two clicks...er, cents.
Though some are saying that Google bought itself a Web 1.0 company (with cash, mind you..."Hey Sergey, it's Eric! Could you run into the Google vault and grab a few pallets of gold so we can pay for these DoubleClick guys, please?! Thank you!!"), what they fail to follow up with is that we're now living in a Web 2.0 world in which massive amounts of advertising dollars are fleeing the old world and sailing off in search of the new.
The new world promises even more gold on that great shiny adserving city on the hill, including mounds filled with data and the ability to integrate, which in turn provides more accountability to advertisers and publishers.
To do all that, search and display advertising must become more synergistic, and what better way than for the world's largest search advertiser to hitch its boat to the world's largest online display advertiser?
According to the press release announcing the intended acquisition, the primary beneficiaries were three-fold:
All that is basically difficult to argue with. The idea of having more accountability and more synergy is a positive. It brings efficiencies to advertisers and publishers alike, and can help provide consumers with a better advertising experience.
As to the observations about this deal being a "brazen attempt to take away Microsoft's future air supply" for its software-as-service model, there are other plenty other adserving vendors on the seas separating the old world and new, just none the size of DoubleClick.
No, I believe the big elephant swimming just offshore in this deal is consumer privacy.
As much as Sergey Brin attempted to play offense on the privacy question during the teleconference, we are about to find ourselves with two companies bringing lots of personal data (via cookies, existing ad profiles, search data, etc.) together in a thick soup of admittedly very powerful new world marketing mix.
Back in 1999, DoubleClick was taken to task (and ironically probably made this deal much cheaper than it would have been due to the pounding its stock took in the process) in the privacy spotlight for something it never even actually did (merging its Abacus offline sales data with online profiles of its adserving adherents).
This time around, the potential for misuse and abuse is much greater -- merging very personal search profiles which are probably already too invasive with those of the users' extensive clickstream across the Web -- than it was back in 1999 -- there is much decreased transactional friction with most of the data now being online, requiring much less calories for a massive merge and purge.
And yet hardly anyone has mentioned the word.
True, it is a vastly different world we live in than 1999, and folks are much more freewheeling with their personal information, particularly the younger set.
And yet we're also finding that there are prices to be paid for such frivolity with one's digital image, reputation, and personal information -- employers conducting online digital dossiers of new hires, scanning everything from Facebook profiles to newsgroup postings before making hiring decisions.
As a recent New York magazine article about young people and privacy observed:
"Every street in New York has a surveillance camera. Each time you swipe your debit card at Duane Reade or use your MetroCard, that transaction is tracked. Your employer owns your e-mails. The NSA owns your phone calls. Your life is being lived in public whether you choose to acknowledge it or not."
So sure, why not throw in their merged Google and DoubleClick clickstreams while they're at it? Who needs thoughtcrime when you've got a perpetual clickstream?
Then again, Julia and Winston got over it all...after a little convincing...eventually, I suspect, so will we.[Read More]
Holy Web conferencing, Batman! Cisco's buying WebEx for a cool $3.2B U.S., according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, back at the Google search ranch the Googlers have gotten that privacy religion, announcing that they will now anonymize server log data after 18 to 24 months (well, which is it? 18 or 24??)
Though the U.S. Department of Justice wouldn't necessarily agree, to my mind this was a step in the right direction.
I've thought for many Internet years that Google was sitting on a virtual personal data nuclear bomb with respect to the storing of users' search data -- remember the AOL search snafu from last year when several heads rolled down the hill in Virginia?
My feeling has always been this: Why should I be any less anonymous using a search engine than I am walking into a public library or bookstore and browsing the stacks?
And yet, until this announcement, the policy was that the log data was kept "as long as it was useful," which seemed to suggest that my search data with Google could be directly tied back to my IP address and, therefore, to my ISP, and, ultimately, to me at anytime.
Now, that data will be anonymized every 18 to 24 months, except where Google could be required to keep it longer for legal reasons (there have been several bills floated in the U.S. Congress that would require ISPs to store search data by law for various requisite periods of time).
Noted search expert Danny Sullivan has a full run down on this important policy change here. If you have any interest in becoming more educated about how Google works and what data it collects, I highly recommend you read Danny's post.
It's especially noteworthy that the log changes will not alter an individual user's personalized search history. As Sullivan points out, this information will NOT be destroyed or anonymized over time. So, proceed using Google's personalized search with caution.
You can then decide for yourself whether or not Google has gone far enough. Personally, I've long been a big fan of Google, and I'd hate to see privacy become their ball-and-chain. [Read More]
Just last week, I made a panel submission for next spring's SXSW Interactive conference here in Austin.
With die-hard interactive spirit, the SXSW conference team has opened up the development of the conference agenda this year to the Internet masses. Simply go to the SXSW Interactive Panel picker to help mold the agenda by picking your favorite session topics. Giving the people what they want, and a voice in the shaping of the conference. Gotta love it.
While I won't go into great detail as to my own panel submission, it generally revolved around Web 2.0 technologies moving into the enterprise. So I laughed out loud this morning when I found this story on social networking technologies in the enterprise (subscription required) in the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition.
The article does a nice job outlining how such technologies are being used in BBs (Big Businesses), also highlighting IBM's own "Dogear" social bookmarking tool, for which inside our own Big Blue Firewall we've already garnered some 100K bookmarks, according to the account.
There are also some nice mentions of Socialtext software being used inside SAP, as well as blogging at Honeywell. Worth a read if you're trying to stay on top of how all this blossoming innovation is filtering into big companies.
Meanwhile, while we're in the orbit of the Wall Street Journal, in yesterday's announcement of the Wall Street Journal Innovation Awards, IBM's "Clipped Tag" RFID technology was feted for its privacy protections, a technology which allows consumers to "opt-out" of RFID tracking by tearing or scratching off the RFID antennas.
This eliminates the tag's ability to communicate with other devices or systems -- just in case you were worried about anyone tracking your package of Charmin out of the Big Box store, into your SUV, and back to the homestead!Read More]
IBM announced the acquisition of Internet Security Systems, Inc. (ISS) earlier this morning.
ISS provides security solutions to thousands of companies and governments around the globe, helping to proactively protect against Internet threats across networks, desktops and servers.
With increased concerns regarding data and identity theft, regulatory compliance, and cyber security challenges, addressing IT security has become one of the most complex challenges companies face, regardless of size, location or industry.
The acquisition of ISS will augment IBM's position in the rapidly growing area of Managed Security Services, combining ISS' complementary automated security platform, services, software and expert consultants with IBM's broad security portfolio, innovative research and global reach.
"Companies recognize that rapidly evolving security threats and complex regulatory requirements have turned security into a mission-critical priority," said Val Rahmani, General Manager, Infrastructure Management Services, IBM Global Services, said of the announcement. "ISS is a strategic and valuable addition to IBM's portfolio of technology and services. This acquisition will help IBM to provide companies with access to trained experts and leading-edge processes and technology to evaluate and protect against threats and enforce security policies."
ISS has more than 11,000 customers worldwide including 17 of the world's largest banks, 15 of the largest governments, 11 of the top public insurance companies and 13 of the world's top IT organizations. ISS also brings to IBM a network of business partners skilled in selling the ISS product line and an expanded product set to the IBM Business Partner channel.
You can read more about the deal here.
Meanwhile, if you feel like reminiscing about the early salad days of the Web, long before pervasive cyber attacks, SPAM, and worms, check out our developerWorks' podcast featuring World Wide Web consortium director Tim Berners-Lee.
In a wide-ranging interview, Berners-Lee talks about his early history with the Web, opportunities and challenges at present, and his current project: the semantic Web.[Read More]
I just got back from Silicon Valley...in fact, just yesterday afternoon I was standing in the glorious northern California sunshine outside the San Jose Convention Center yesterday as the Search Engine Strategies conference was about to get underway...but alas, I had to catch the Nerd Bird back to Austin and didn't get to stick around for the festivities.
Too bad, so sad, as I suspect the festivities got off to a rocking start with AOL's search privacy snafu, for which Jason Calacanis now apologizes profusely and indicates that he wishes AOL would "NOT KEEP LOGS of our search data."
You'd have thought AOL would have learned from the Google/U.S. Justice Department search fishing expedition last year, but alas not. It's yet another indicator of the increasing friction between Big Business' opportunity to leverage search marketing information for marketing advantage and the consumer/citizens' right to privacy.
Former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy told us several years ago to get over it, that "you have zero privacy." I'm starting to think he was right, even though I certainly didn't agree with him at the time.
You can catch the latest and greatest here on CNET, and to AOL's credit they have issued a whopper of an apology. Meanwhile, I think it's high time, if they already have not, that more of these companies appoint a Chief Privacy Officer or even a Chief Customer Data Protection Officer...it's long overdue, and until this issue is put higher up the marketing agenda, these kinds of ridiculous breaches are going to continue to occur.[Read More]
IBM Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) Harriet Pearson recently sat down with ComputerWorld for an interview to discuss what CIOs and CEOs need to understand about data privacy and protection, the role of the CPO, and other relevant risk management topics.
Harriet has been a key thought leader in the data protection and privacy space for some years now, and I had the opportunity many Internet dog years ago to work with her on a number of Internet-related privacy issues on behalf of IBM. It's clear from this interview that the privacy space has matured since that time.
In the interview, Harriet also discusses ever more practical considerations, such as the optimum reporting structure for privacy officers and the characteristics that make up a good CPO.
Feel out of the next generation Internet loop? Dazed and confused by all those new new thangs sprouting up across the Web Two Point Oh landscape?
I sympathize...I follow this stuff as closely as I can and as my schedule allows (refer to previous post about multitasking), and my head is still spinning like a Turbo Bobblehead. A person could spend all day just trying to keep up!
CNN's Money.Com/Business 2.0 team has done some VA (value-adding) in this area. While it's hype-ladenly billed -- (Sound the Trumpets)...."The Next Net 25"...(Could someone find me Don Pardo?) -- it does a nice job of calling out some of the key emerging players in the "next net" landscape, crisply dividing the companies into the following categories: "Social Media," "Mashup and Filters," "The New Phone," "The Webtop," "Under the Hood."
Turbo says check it out, especially if you're just looking for the 50K flyover.
Phone Me the Money
Meanwhile, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch asks us if we can keep a secret...SHHHHHH!....by sending us to the beta of Ether, a super top-secret site going live tonight at midnight (No, I don't know which time zone...but I'm sure it's midnight somewhere!).
The pitch? Oh, you're gonna love this...Got some advice you want to give (call yourself a "service provider.")? Set up a toll-free number with Ether, provide your personal info and a phone number to refer your toll calls to, set a rate and schedule when you're available, and go to town. Buyers go through the Ether space to find Sellers, and once they've agreed to the terms, the deal is done, they make the call, and the cash register starts to ring...or not.
Think phone consultation eBay and you're on your way into the Ether.[Read More]