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Old 12-16-2005   #1
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Google to Hold onto AOL

Gary says sorry Bill the WSJ reports

Quote:
A person close to the situation says the deal being negotiated would allow AOL to sell advertising among the search results provided by Google on its Web properties. Google is also likely to promote AOL's Web properties among the sponsored links in its search results.
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Old 12-16-2005   #2
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Could it be?

Toung in cheek:

Could it be that Parson's saw this?
http://www.ntk.net/media/dancemonkeyboy.mpg

Might scare any potential suitor off
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Old 12-16-2005   #3
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Prediction;
This deal never makes it out of the Time Warner BOD meeting next Wednesday.
It's a lousy deal for AOL, they must have had junior associates or interns running between the rooms.
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Old 12-17-2005   #4
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Google will be doing SEO for AOL?

From New York Times:

....Google will also provide technical assistance so AOL can create Web pages that will appear more prominently in the search results list.

I'm still skeptical of the story but NYT clarified the comment as effectively true when questioned by http://www.battellemedia.com who seems to be one of the few people getting the implication of this statement.

There's not much buzz about this - are people missing the huge implication here that Google sold it's soul....to AOL no less? Incredible.

MSN (that's right, Microsoft Search, refused this aspect of the deal since it would hurt integrity of results. If this is all true MSN may not have lost here after all.
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Old 12-19-2005   #5
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John does provide some interesting insights into the AOL event.
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Old 12-19-2005   #6
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So part of the reason for outcry -- and then lack of it -- is that we're getting pieces rather than the full picture.

It sounds like AOL is going to get promotion on Google through ad areas. AOL content will either be promoted via AdWords or a new special ad section will be created.

Think back to when Yahoo had a deal with Amazon. Remember how you used to always see those damn Amazon boxes on Yahoo search results pages no matter what you searched for. Google might be planning that with AOL. If so, if clearly marked, won't violate the church-and-state label paid stuff rule but would still be annoying.

If it's more about giving AOL free AdWords space, less annoying to users but more annoying to advertisers forced to compete for space.

As for the help with showing up better, pretty sure that's more of this: Google SEO Support Given To Advertisers, which is Google giving basic SEO advice but no real secrets or guaranteed rankings. Still, that raises issues -- and really has been raising issues for some for months. However, it remains relatively little known.
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Old 12-19-2005   #7
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Carl has been pushing Time Warner's buttons for large change for quite some time and has a long history of winning tough to win battles. Carl is rumored to be talking to a number of hedge funds in an attempt to wrestle power from the current rulers of Time Warner. This is not the first letter like this he has written, but due to the fact that it involves the subject Google it is quite likely to A) get more attention than his previous letters and B) shine a bright light on some issues that had been beneath the public radar previously. How this will turn out is anybody's guess...but it might raise more issues than it now appears and it might take longer to settle as well.
Gary's blog entry if you missed it
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Old 12-20-2005   #8
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WSJ report

Here are the parts of the WSJ article that scare me:

Quote:
AOL content is to become more accessible to Google's Web crawlers
Quote:
Google and AOL said they would collaborate on video search and showcase AOL's premium video service within the Google Video product
I'm curious how Google is going to promote AOL's content. Will AOL get special treatment on all Auto, Celebrity, City, Diet, Fitness, Food, Home, Games, Health, Jobs, Money, Movies, Music, Real Estate, Small Business, Sports, Television, and Travel searches? Another thing to note is that much of AOL's "content" is paid for.

Now that Google has a $1billion stake in AOL's success I'm curious as to how they will own up to "do no evil."
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Old 12-20-2005   #9
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AOL ad promo only

Quote:
It sounds like AOL is going to get promotion on Google through ad areas.
I hope you are right Danny. Ad space doesn't bother me much. Natural search placement does.
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Old 12-21-2005   #10
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I've checked, and some of the AOL message boards (like ones related to news items) are now open to the public for viewing. And while they run advertising on those, the adverts are not impressive. Google's Adwords would provide quite an advertising enhancement for those areas, aesthetically and otherwise.

And Adwords would certainly be an improvement over the ads that now run on AOL's IM that hog system resources and bog things down. I often close IM altogether because of how those ads slow down the system.

It's what relates to the organic search results that concerns me.
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Old 12-21-2005   #11
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Obviously the Google people that help AOL with their marketing will go for both AdWords as well as SEO.... now will the SEO have an insider track.... possibly.... but what can you do?
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Old 12-21-2005   #12
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Et tu Google? The slippery SEOslope

Quote:
It's what relates to the organic search results that concerns me.
Thanks Marcia, after many of the posts in WMW and some blogs I was starting to think nobody even cared about the implication.

I didn't even realize this was already an offering to big advertisers. I thought I kept up with this stuff and need to read Danny's earlier posts about it.

I'm surprised how many think that manipulation of Google results is already standard practice. I remember when Inktomi "crossed the line" back in 2003.. They dropped our organic listings only to call us a few days later offering to put us back in as "paid inclusion" and .15 ppc. They said the drop was a "coincidence". We did not recover the organic traffic until Yahoo took over and stopped the "extorsion" - at least in our case.

Google wouldn't do this, but to me any insider help needs to be universally available and giving special help of any kind is a slippery slope.
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Old 12-21-2005   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeduck
Google wouldn't do this, but to me any insider help needs to be universally available and giving special help of any kind is a slippery slope.
Agreed. Take a look at this quote from ClickZ today that talks about natural search:
"Other AOL content will likely get better exposure on Google because the search giant has agreed to help the portal optimize its Web pages for search."

Of course, no matter how well AOL optimizes their content, savvy users tend to ignore AOL. For those of you who compete with AOL in a content area (like I do), it will be interesting to see how AOL changes their pages. I'm glad the statement says Google will help AOL optimize their pages rather than "Google will give AOL content a boost in rank."

I've often wondered if Google favors sites with Google Ads on them. It isn't the ethical thing to do, and I'm sure the engineers would fight it, but I've seen enough cases to make me wonder if it is more than a coincidence.
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Old 12-21-2005   #14
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I don't think the Ads have an impact.... just that the people trying to monetise their sites using them are skilled and work their sites into good SERPs
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Old 12-23-2005   #15
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I'm interested to hear what people's opinions are on the TRUE value is to the end-user...(if any)?

Personally, I'm not looking forward to Google forcing AOL ads and content down my throat.
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Old 12-23-2005   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerformanceSEO
I'm interested to hear what people's opinions are on the TRUE value is to the end-user...(if any)?

Personally, I'm not looking forward to Google forcing AOL ads and content down my throat.
I don't see them advertising AOL... they want the AOL users who historically have been the best converting traffic online
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Old 12-23-2005   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieWebmaster
I don't see them advertising AOL... they want the AOL users who historically have been the best converting traffic online
This was a quote from the NY TImes article:


"Google, which prides itself on the purity of its search results, agreed to give favored placement to content from AOL throughout its site, something it has never done before."
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Old 12-23-2005   #18
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Will Google helping AOL make Google an A__OLe?

Sorry, couldn't resist...

Danny's earlier post in supporters about Google offering large advertisers technical support is excellent and shows that this is a gray area they need to clean up - probably with a paid support service as Danny suggests.

Perhaps naively I still trust that Google is NOT sharing insider secrets and has no plans to do so. However, as publishers and SEO people know all too well, it's the *defects/quirks* in the algorithm that make insider help so valuable.

It's NOT that Google is going to say "Hey, AOL, use 15% keyword density and repeat the keyword 2ce in the Title". Rather simply through water cooler chat between the AOL reps and search engineers AOL finds out something along the lines: "we've been giving unusually high weight to lots of content with keywords in the technology reviews niche to combat growing spam that has little content".

This is all it takes to create a fundamentally unbalanced playing field, and effectively give an artificial organic boost to AOL / large advertisers.

Reminds me of the affect lobbyists have in Washington. Rarely do they literally "buy" votes, but they get forms of access that lead to friendships and inside info and forms of pressure that are not healthy.
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Old 12-28-2005   #19
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Battelle pretty much says "this smells like bullsh*t to me"
http://battellemedia.com/archives/002158.php
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Old 12-29-2005   #20
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AOL and Google - a match made in ?

Marissa Mayer's clarifications of the deal make me think that it's not so much the possibility that Google is planning to give new and fundamentally different treatment to AOL ads and content, rather that they are heading further down that slippery slope of having favored relationships with the big players.

I can't speak for Battelle but I think he's also seeing this as a questionable move by Google, especially because everybody in tech knows the many limitations of AOL as a company and a web empire.

As a small publisher this inclines to move towards working with Yahoo and MSN. I can't put my finger on it yet, but somehow the very high level of trust I had in Google is diminishing these days.
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