Friday, December 23, 2005


find a domain: awsome list of resources

Need to find/invent a good domain name? I've been looking around a little of late and found a number of very helpful (and totally free) resources to check out. Post any additional resources you know of.

Other interesting domain links:

Thursday, December 22, 2005


new link: search engine journal

Added a new link to the sidebar. Search Engine Journal provides some really good daily coverage of the search engine marketing space. I've been watching it for a few weeks now with keen interest. Good work Loren!


google jumps the shark

For those of you who don't know, this Wikipedia listing explains that the phrase "jump the shark" refers to the episode, scene, or plot change that marks the rapid decline of a television series. It is based around a scene in Happy Days where a lead character "jumps" a shark on a jet sky, marking the very moment when most viewers began to turn the show off as unending and unbelievable.

To say that Google has jumped the shark may be a bit premature, but their recent dealings with AOL mark a noticeable change in direction for a company that was once both fresh and innovative. They new appear to be placing much more of their focus on maintaining market share rather than providing better products. This deficit of innovation could easily result in their rapid demise given the cut throat nature of the Internet. Bold statement? We'll see.

"But, what about Google Maps?" some would ask.

Google Maps (Local as it is now called) really opened a lot of people's eyes to the power of AJAX and what can be done on the Internet with a powerful back end a light front end. That said, there is only so far you can go with maps and at this point Google Maps has started to blend into the background noise of newer map offerings from the likes of Yahoo and MSN. You really don't need to use Google Maps if you don't want to. Additionally both A9 and Windows Live (of all companies) are pushing the innovations bounds in a way that Google really isn't. Google Local still does a good job, but only a good job.

"But, what about GMail?"

What about it? Email has been around for a while. Sure it is nice, but so is Yahoo's upcoming AJAX based mail system. While Google has shown its ability to create a very light and useful interface, almost every major competitor has been following suit. The simple fact is that, for the average user, changing email addresses is a far bigger deal than seeing your entire email discussion on one page. Gmail, and not to mentioned Google's personalized home page and Talk products, are great examples of where Google is coping market leaders, not innovating upon them.

Need proof? Consider that they are just now offering a way to collect contacts into groups. Very cutting edge '95 stuff.

"But, what about Search?"

Let me ask you a serious question, could your survive today without Google Search? Well? When Google came out it had such a radically different product that worked so much better that they were able to create an audience for themselves and get many of their now competitors (like AOL and Yahoo) to sign up, even without Adwords being in place. Now Google has to pay people to use their search product. More importantly: both MSN and Yahoo have introduced products that are very nearly as effective (even if they return different results) as Google's Web Search. The Search Engine Optimization crowd is also doing its best to kill Google with one out of every two searches I do resulting in meaningless spam for the first 10 results. Yahoo also has a better image search and Technorati a better (if slower) blog search.

To be blunt, Google's search platform is dead in the water.

"But, what about all the cool features like Weather and UPS code lookup?"

This swings back to Google's other ongoing problem. With every product or feature they add their search results page (already diluted with who knows how many ads) becomes more and more confusing. Their never ending self promotion (Google Toolbar ad on the bottom of every page?) is also getting to the point of being an embarrassment. Each time they make a change to their search results page they open the door a little wider for some young Google-want-to-be to come along and introduce a better web search product while keeping the team in Mountain View from being able to do anything about it.

"But, Google's motto is do no evil!"

Really? What do they do with the terabytes of information they collect from Google Toolbar users? What about the Search information they log? What about reading your GMail to show you relevant ads? What about using Google Analytics in an attempt to get every webmaster to attach Google tracking scripts to their websites in exchange for fancy reporting? Read more here. What about the the ongoing rumors that suggest Google is offering SEO advice to the bigger advertising firms while letting the little guy fend for himself? More significantly, what about Google's new strategy of monopolizing markets and becoming competitors with almost everyone under the sun?

Sounds to me like tactics closer to to the heart of Redmond, WA than Utopia, USA.

Google: unstoppable or on the verge of decline?

Google has a whole lot of things working for them. More so than any of their competitors. They have a reputation for rolling out useful, stable, and unbelievably cool products. They have very good mind share and strong relationships with websites and advertisers. Despite their size they still "feel" like a small company on the surface. From a consumer standpoint Google can do no wrong. So what is the problem?

Well Google has a lot of cash on hand and a severely over inflated stock price (they don't deserve $400 a share when Yahoo provides a comparable search product that most users could switch to without a hitch). This means that anyone Google does business with is more likely to be interested in a fat check than an innovative feature or better mouse trap. This doesn't mean they still can't be Walmart, but it cuts into their ability to be Apple. The simple fact is that their tactics of late are clouding the young, hip, do-no-evil image they've worked so carefully to create.

It would take an awful lot to dethrone Google, but it is certainly doable. It was done to Sony (iPOD), Atari (Nintendo), and IBM (Microsoft, PCs) back in the day. Why not Google? The real question is how. What do you think it would take to take Google down? Please post your comments.


P.S. It is also possible that Google isn't about to fail but instead is just starting to “grow the beard” (2 points if you can figure that reference out).

UPDATE: Looks like Google is reacting. Read their post about the AOL deal and why it isn't a bad deal here.

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