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Posts from the ‘google’ Category

The Gloves are Coming Off — Viacom sues Google

March 13, 2007


According to the Wall St. Journal, Viacom filed suit today, and released the following statement:

“YouTube is a significant, for-profit organization that has built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others’ creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google. Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal and is in obvious conflict with copyright laws. In fact, YouTube’s strategy has been to avoid taking proactive steps to curtail the infringement on its site, thus generating significant traffic and revenues for itself while shifting the entire burden — and high cost — of monitoring YouTube onto the victims of its infringement.

This behavior stands in stark contrast to the actions of other significant distributors, who have recognized the fair value of entertainment content and have concluded agreements to make content legally available to their customers around the world.

There is no question that YouTube and Google are continuing to take the fruit of our efforts without permission and destroying enormous value in the process. This is value that rightfully belongs to the writers, directors and talent who create it and companies like Viacom that have invested to make possible this innovation and creativity.

After a great deal of unproductive negotiation, and remedial efforts by ourselves and other copyright holders, YouTube continues in its unlawful business model. Therefore, we must turn to the courts to prevent Google and YouTube from continuing to steal value from artists and to obtain compensation for the significant damage they have caused.”

The gist of the suit is that, while YouTube takes efforts to filter and remove certain “inappropriate” content, YouTube deliberately does not take similar efforts with respect to copyrighted materials, (since keeping that content up is in YouTube’s interest) instead leaving the onus on copyright holders to find copright violations and then request that they be taken down.

The complaint itself is included below.

Will be interesting to hear GooTube’s response…



Tom Evslin’s Advice to Google re: Local Advertising

March 12, 2007


Local advertising is a tough nut to crack. Not sure how many hundreds of millions of venture dollars have been lost chasing the local pipe dream, but it is several.

Even Google seems to have broken a pick here, with the widely reported failure of its dMarc acquisition and the recent departure of the dMarc founders.

Tom Evslin has a good post on would Google could do with local:

My suggestion for Google (which has done pretty well in most things without my suggestions) is to turn the thrust of this business around to play to their own strengths and the strengths of the radio stations.  Give the radio stations a platform on which to build their online presence.  Help the radio stations to serve their advertising customers better by selling ad campaigns which include both radio and online – particularly online pay-per-click triggered by search with local keywords or national keywords mapped to local outlets.  Let the radio stations share in Google revenue for Google inventory rather than trying to take a share of the station’s existing revenue.  Let the radio stations be the local SEO experts (with Google’s help).

It may well be true that distributing national ads to local stations will become a commodity business and the fat share that ad agencies get now will be whittled down.  Could well become an auction business with only a platform provider as a middleman.  But this isn’t the main opportunity in local advertising.

Delivering web benefits to local markets means building from local strengths and giving local organizations an opportunity to use the web to serve their own needs.  Local ad salesman won’t be disintermediated nearly as easily as their national competitors.  But helping local radio stations strengthen their service to their local customers is a national business worth of Google.”

Microsoft Lawyer Lamely Slams Google

March 7, 2007


I am far from a Google apologist. Nor am I a Microsoft hater.

Well, OK, I’ve had some “interesting” experience with Microsoft (for those of you who don’t know the details I am not going to share them here) and have forever sworn off Windows, but the latter is just because it is crappy software.

That said, Microsoft’s widely circulated attack on Google’s copyright policy was a pretty lame combination of pandering to the audience and a PR stunt.

I am not sure what they thought they were accomplishing.

I am not a copyright law expert, so I won’t opine on whether or not Google’s book search efforts fall within the “fair use” exception.

But this I will say: Google isn’t hiding what it is doing, and argues that its initiative here both complies with copyright law and serves the public interest.  Google VP David Eun (full disclosure, Eun is a buddy from college days) lays out the argument on Google’s blog.

Frankly I don’t think I buy all of Google’s spin, and as an investor in early stage Internet ventures I have the exact same concerns about Google that VCs in the 90s used to about Microsoft.

But I think it is more than ironic that it is Microsoft calling Google to the carpet. I was intimately involved in the Senate’s Microsoft hearings, and know way more than I care to about the business practices at issue.  It would be innapropriate for me to get into those practices in this forum.  What to me was the most amazing part of my Microsoft experience wasn’t that they crossed the line — lots of companies have and will.  Rather it was the cavalier attitude the company had to understanding where the line was drawn and whether or not its employees made a good faith effort to stay on its right side.  In its hubris, Microsoft felt from the very top down through the ranks that it genuinely was above the law.  I found that deeply disturbing.

Say what you will about Google — I will too — but I am pretty sure that Google management is pretty attentive to complying with legal requirements, copyright or other.  The Microsoft legal department evidently has a short memory.

Google + AdScape + Virtual World = ??

February 20, 2007


I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the last 18 months exploring both the in game advertising space (Massive, IGA, DoubleFusion, AdScape) and the virtual world/MMO space (my portfolio company Turbine Entertainment).

Evidently so has Google. They just acquired in game advertising firm AdScape.

And, reports are bubbling around out there that Google is working on creating a “virtual Google Earth.”

Pretty interesting stuff.  As I’ve posted before, there is a pretty clear trend line where online communities/expression and 3D avatars/virtual worlds seem to be colliding. Second Life is, I think, a harbinger of things to come. As with most emerging trends, it probably will take longer than most of us imagine, but I’ll put a stake in the ground to say this is one of the big opportunties over the next few years…

Are You the Next Google?

January 10, 2007


Great cartoon post by my favorite cartoonist, GapingVoid.

Chris Pirillo Interviews Greg Spiridellis

October 22, 2006


Here is a really fun Chris Pirillo podcast with Greg Spiridellis on the history of JibJab, Goog-Tube, turning down a Hollywood movie deal and the promise of digital media.

Google PPC Video Ads

May 23, 2006


In the '90's venture guys were afraid to back startups that would compete with Microsoft.

Today's Microsoft is Google.

For those of us who invest in consumer internet ventures, the "why couldn't Google do this and crush you?" question is a pretty common refrain.

I recently (like, this morning) had a very close encounter with the Google factor.

Over the past couple of months I've spent some time with a very talented entrepreneur who is building a self serve network for video ads, or, in other words, an "adsense for video" product.

I have to say I found the proposition pretty intriguing, though at the end of the day (last Friday, actually) we decided to pass on the opportunity. The Google question was one of a few factors that pushed me over the edge.

And what do I read in TechCrunch this morning? Sure enough, Google has come out with a PPC video ad product or, in other words, adsense for video.


TechCrunch has a good description/discussion on Google's move, and lots of comments worth crusing through. Michael Arrington and the bulk of the comments don't think Google's move was a good one.

Personally, I am predicting that, over time, this is going to prove to be a pretty successful play. The biggest question I have is not whether Google's PPC video ads will work for advertisers and generate revenue — they will — but rather what content will prove most fertile for this genre of ads. It is not clear to me that run of the mill text content will prove to be a good medium for a video ad product; however, as the web itself goes multimedia, it only stands to reason that ads will to. Google might be early, but I for one think they are on to something.

Microsoft Search beats Google

April 3, 2006


I spent about an hour this morning with the head of marketing analytics for a major ecommerce company (he preferred to remain unnamed) whose company does alot of business with each of the major search engines. And guess what?

Based on the analysis he has done, Microsoft search beats Google, hands down, both from an end user and an advertising effectiveness perspective.

Just one guy's view, but that is what he gets paid to figure out.


Love to hear comments from readers.