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The Internet

Google, History, Profitability 373

sashae sent us a story about google. Google has been my search engine of choice for years now, and this is an interesting window into what's happening back there. I find it interesting that people angrily submit stories constantly about Google "selling out" whenever something that looks like it might generate revenue appears. That means more than a lot of people realize: it means people care. So many Web sites are so bloated with ads that already can't be taken seriously. Google is special: I'm not opposed to seeing ads on it (frankly I'm amazed they made it this long considering the kind of bandwidth and hardware they need) I just hate seeing ads the way the vast majority of mainstream sites do it (hundreds of little banners everywhere blurring the lines between content and commercials). And hell, they run Linux.
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Google, History, Profitiability

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  • is appealing. The results are better than any. It is my first choice.

  • Not to mention their use of Python. That's also free software. If you don't have the money to pay your OC-48 connection then that's your only option is to advertise. I just wish there was some other way to make money on the web than just advertising.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:20AM (#827782) Homepage Journal
    Not far back Yahoo dumped Inktomi for Google as their search engine. I hadn't used Google before, but and convinced Yahoo made the right choice.

    IMHO the only real problem is that Google, also, continues to point to non-existent web pages.

    Vote [] Naked 2000
  • I've preferred meta-searching, for a while now. (I have to ask myself though, how long it'll be available as an option, given that it's really taking advertising revenue away from the 'real' search engines.

    Anyway, my point (yes, I'm getting there) is that I've also gravitated towards an austere look. I have learnt to hate AskJeeves with a passion, with all it's colour and adverts and such; I always use

    Recently, even Infind have put up an advertising banner, but they've still got that uncluttered look (and good, clear and consise results) which brought me there in the first place.
  • by The Queen ( 56621 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:21AM (#827784) Homepage
    ``Google may not be good on a particular query. If you wanted to find multimedia or audio-visual files, Google wouldn't be helpful at all.''

    Very true. I use Google 99% of the time, but if I need images I find that Altavista's image search is absolutely the best. Outperforms no contest.

    The Divine Creatrix in a Mortal Shell that stays Crunchy in Milk
  • by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:21AM (#827786) Homepage Journal
    I really see no problem with a small number of banner ads on a site anyway. Even /. has them and we all know that they aren't a big money-grabbing corporation ;)

    Google on the other hand provide a truly excellent service. Admittedly it's fast loading pages are a big bonus to modem users but they deserve to be sucessful.

    To many people seem totally opposed to commercialisation on the internet and expect companies to provide for free. Certainly i'm not best pleased with sites like altavista that take ab out 20 seconds to load on a modem but one banner per page is perfectly acceptable.

    I just hope that when they see the cash rolling in they dont take the easy route to drive profits exponentially by having adverts everywhere (ala
  • by mav[LAG] ( 31387 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:21AM (#827787)
    One thing Google's executives say they will not do is transform their company into a Web portal. While the firm may add capabilities such as online image and music searches, according to its co-founders, it will stay away from calenders, news and chat.

    This is probably the major reason why Google has succeeded - focus. If your technology is good enough in its own right, there's no need to clutter it with so-called "content" to keep bringing users back.

  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:24AM (#827789)
    "I find it interesting that people angrily submit stories constantly about Google "selling out" whenever something that looks like it might generate revenue appears. That means more then a lot of people realize: it means people care."

    Let's be precise: It means people cared. Just because Google still gets used doesn't mean that it still gets used by the people that complained. In Google's case this is still true. But in Slashdot's case I think a lot of us "founding members" have drifted away (or tried to).

    For instance, I remember protesting when the color scheme went from...brown and yellow? white and green. I also remember protesting when comments when from "all flat" to "all threaded". (I should also take a moment to apologize for kicking off the "First Post!" phenomena).

    In those years, Slashdot's stories have definitely changed. I used to read because everything was so interesting. Now I read in order to keep up with the daily news. Slashdot has changed from a "cool site" to a "news site" (not as bad as CNN or ZDNet, granted). That's not necessarily bad, but I do miss the old Slashdot.
  • Another sure sign that the company is getting larger is that they recently reduced their associates' compensation from $0.03 per impression to $0.01 per impression. It doesn't really bother me as its definitely not a major source of income for me - rather I figure I might as well get paid to use a search engine that I normally use anyway. But when they slash your payout by two-thirds, it says that they're trying to bring their expenditures into line more.
  • by Xentax ( 201517 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:24AM (#827791)
    I doubt they even considered the possibility of their current level of success when they said that. Who else can say they provide the search engine for the most-visited site on the internet, and a dozen others (more probably)? To get to where they are now, and stay there, they have to be fast and accurate. They need LOTS of hardware and lots of bandwidth for that. And they need lots of money for THAT. Web-only companies don't have a lot of options when it comes to revenue, and a little advertising is probably the best solution -- low overhead, no outsider VC's to siphon off the profit that might be down the road...lots of good reasons.

    Of course, my biggest concern is that these ads might affect those response times. If they can add banners to their site in a nice, ignorable way, i.e. not too much clutter and no image-loading delay, I think it'll be a smart decision.

  • by Misch ( 158807 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:25AM (#827793) Homepage
    Here's another good article [] that covers Google [] from Inter@ctive Week. [] The article talks about their new advertising scheme, how it is text -only based, and the relative effectivness it has.

    And the best part about google is that they haven't spent a penny on advertising themselves since they started in 1998. (They've spread through word of mouth and shameless plugs like the one I just gave ;-)
  • I made the switch from Altavista to Google right after it was announced on slash []. It took a bit to pull me away from but for me it was that google returned good results with searches for Linux information. Good results are something that has been key to google's success, some may say that google is selling out by selling placement in their results but often that helps out a lot when you're looking for something.

    For example I remember when a search for "Crappy Software" on google would return Microsoft and Netscape as the top two hits, now that's funny.
  • The coolest feature of Google is the cached pages. The output is somewhat cluttered though. For regular searches I use

    Founder's Camp []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:28AM (#827798)
    I'm wondering how many people know this..

  • by 1024x768 ( 113033 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:28AM (#827802)
    Search results sorted by how much money was paid... Bad!
  • by phaze3000 ( 204500 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:30AM (#827805) Homepage
    If you find banners annoying (as I do), simply filter them out with something like Junkbuster [], or my favoured solution, Squid [] and sleezeball []. All those annoying flashing ads get replaced with a nice transparent gif. And so the advertising companies still pay my favourite sites, I occasionally click on those transparent gifs too.

    If google wants to add banners, I say good luck to them. I won't be viewing the adverts, but they'll be getting revenue that will keep their service going. As long as the banners don't get in the way of the service, as they have on search engines such as Altavista [], then that's fine. It's only when the websites become oriented around products rather than the service that there's a problem. IMO, this is far more likely to happen if they don't display adverts, revenues will no doubt be sapped and may force them into a position where a buyout is necessary. I somehow doubt any company which would buy them out would run the service half as well as the current google owners.
  • by ruud ( 7631 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:30AM (#827806) Homepage
    the only real problem is that Google, also, continues to point to non-existent web pages.

    You can use Google's cache feature to look at pages that have disappeared or have changed since they were indexed.

  • This really is not a problem if you examine their user interface. For example, this search on Google for "slashdot" [] returns 220,000 results. If you look at any one result, they have a "cached" link. For example, this is Google's cached version of Slashdot []. It is a nice feature for advanced users. The site has such good usability, it makes me sick!

    John S. Rhodes [] -- Industrial Strength Usability
  • IMHO the only real problem is that Google, also, continues to point to non-existent web pages.
    But Google allows you to see its cached version of the now non-existant page, and it highlights your search words in the process.
  • it's fast loading pages are a big bonus to modem users but they deserve to be sucessful.

    Yes, they do, but do you want to see them turn into another (ugh) deja []?

    OT: I'm disgusted I can't search new prior to 1999, is there another site with USENET news archives, back 5 years?

    Vote [] Naked 2000
  • There was an article about Google in last week's Time (the dead-tree edition), which was pretty good. The best part, though (besides from telling me things I already knew) was seeing its two founders in the lobby with "GOOGLE" in their bright primary collors on the wall behind them.

    I stopped using AltaVista when it went portal. I applaud Google for going slowly, making sure to keep searching and user experience first, then worrying about how to fund it all. Too many "dot coms" plaster their site with bad, complex html, unusable interfaces, and thousands of ads (although nothing is quite as bad as your average warez/porn site, not that I would know...), making their site hard to render, hard to read, and worst of all, hard to use.

    Does anyone have any real numbers on the effectiveness of banner ads? I subconciously tune out all ads, especially the big, obxnious blinking ones (Rob! I hate blinking ads!), or even worse -- Flash ads -- but Google's small, text-based ads are far more plesant, being far less obnoxious. It would be interesting to see the clickthrough rates on Google's simple ads versus everyone else's ugly, blinking annoying ads.

    One thing I especially like is Google's sense of humor. They change their logo for every holiday, and even ran a five- or six-part series of logos featuring an alien landing on the "GOOGLE" and flying away with it. In a world filled with "my portal is better than your portal", it's gratifying to see that at least someone has maintained their integrity and withstood the popular opinion.

  • by mirko ( 198274 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:35AM (#827820) Journal
    I recently switched to Google, not because somebody said they had indexed Zillions pages but simply because it happened more and more often to me that my Altavista queries got biaised by these search-engines-registration-freaks (IE, guys that put tons of META in the headers + twenty lines of blank, hidden text, preferable off-topic words at the end of the welcome pages)
    I tried Metacrawler [] but I wasn't that satisfied.
    What I love in Google is :
    • Its light entry page : one picture, one light form and you get it. Compare with the hell that pours your modem whenever reloading's index page.
    • It is damn quick.
    • It thinks like me : I mean it really returns me the web pages I want.
    • It supports the same syntax as Altavista, at least the + and the - that make my life soooooo much easier...
    Now, seeing ads on Google pages wouldn't disturb me provided they are light enough. But until then, I am just the happiest guy ever with their current engine.
  • Am I the only one bothered by the tone of this article? That "growing up" means going commercial? Not that I necessarily oppose this but I don't like the inplication that Google as a company is "immature" just because they don't have banner ads or ambitions to be the Net's Best Portal...
  • Dang! I had no idea they even offered such a thing. I've had a link to them on my site for months. I could've made a dollar by now!
  • by mosch ( 204 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:40AM (#827829) Homepage
    10^100 is a googol.

    10^googol is a googolplex.

    And this site [] can help you imagine that.
  • In an article I read (TIME Magazine) they basically charge other sites for using their engine _per query_. Considering Yahoo is/has switched to them you gotta think that brings in some serious cash.
  • by segmond ( 34052 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:41AM (#827832)
    How many of you will pay $5-$10 bucks a year for google? Be honest!

  • That's the one thing that annoyed me with searches on

    It always assumed you wanted to buy something, so you could do searches and get a response on "Click here for books on KILLING YOUR PARENTS on!"
  • by Vassily Overveight ( 211619 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:42AM (#827835)
    One thing that's endeared Google to me is how they dress up the logo for occasions like St. Patricks's Day, Christmas, New Years, etc. (My favorite was the necktie on the logo, signifying Father's Day. I stole the idea for one of my sites. The customer loved it.) I always click on those dressed-up logos to see the message it leads to. Perhaps ads could be done the same way, and remain tasteful and non-obtrusive. Make the logo pour a glass of Coke, or whatever. If it were done right, it would be funny, get the message across, and lead the viewer to 'click-thru' on the logo.
  • by stuyman ( 46850 ) <> on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:44AM (#827837)
    The title of this post is misleading, as I'm going to rant about many things relating to google. I'll try and keep repetition from the article down to a minimum.

    First off, I'd like to say I absolutely love google. In case you didnt know, not only do they have a big mega-search, but they also have a Linux search [] and BSD search []. That makes it very easy to use them to find information on all sorts of software, because if you use those subsearches you can often enter a chunk of an error message verbatim and get back truly relevant results.

    I think google has a great look-and-feel. While spartan, it's truly functional, and I love the way they change the google logo to relevant holidays and events. They have great contests, and on fathers day I actually won a T-shirt! While they do have ads, they dont have many. Their ads are no more invasive than slashdot's, and if they want to try and keep the site funded and themselves comfortable, that's cool with me. Note that they also have a number of different options for sites who want to use their search; the more customizable ones are googles other revenue stream.
    I think that their page-rank technology is great; it gets you more relevant results than many other search engines, because people will tend not to link to the pages that aren't very good. What google isnt always good for is searching for something in joe-random-company's tech support, because people tend not to link to those pages, and so altavista can sometimes return the better results. Nevertheless, google is a great search engine. I'd say you should put the google Slashbox [] on your slashdot page and never look back!!

  • I have no objections to Google using small ad banners to bring in revenue. I can always filter them out. What I don't like, though, is their recent changes to the way the site works. If your initial search didn't find what you were looking for, you used to be able to repeat the search, with a larger number of results displayed. You can't do that anymore without going to their cumbersome advanced search page. That would be OK, but their page rank technology isn't quite good enough yet. You'll usually find what you're looking for in the top 10 results, but not always (and I find, increasingly less so with time -- I was getting more accurate results 6-9 months ago, for example).
  • by pjrc2 ( 193148 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @05:48AM (#827841) Homepage
    I am an analyst at a Big 5 Accounting firm. I spend a great deal of my day doing research on the Internet. I am usually search for information on somewhat obscure industries, such as kidney dialysis. I have found that Google is consistantly the better search engine for my needs. I particularly like that it is so much faster that the other sites, it seems primarily because they don't have any of those obnoxious banner ads. More and more sites I visit are littered with ads from Double Click.

    While I love the fact that Google has stayed away from advertising, I've also done enough research on Internet content providers, Internet Portals, etc. to know that they won't be around that long if they don't start generating positive cash flow. Because they are selling anything tangible, this means to generate incoming cash flow they have to sell services. For an Internet company, selling services most likely means selling advertising. Let's face it, people generally belive that information should be free on the Internet. I work for one of the largest accounting firms in the world, and I spend a great deal of time looking for free research and information on the internet because the belief is that if it is on the Internet, it should be free.

    The point is, I would rather see Google start selling ads, staying away from the obnoxious Double Click banner ads, and stay around as one of the better search engines. Not enough people will pay for search service to generate enough cash flow to keep Google around.

    Incidently, if you looked through the 10k filing of Andover.Net (use Edgar Scan [] a data base by a comptetive firm or Free Edgar []), and go all the way into the notes of the financial statements, all the way to page 61 of the report, you will find the pro forma financial statement on Slashdot. For the year ending September 1999, Slashdot was profitable. All of the revenue was generated from advertising.
  • Thanks for the tip. I had been doing my searches thru Yahoo, which doesn't show the [cached] option.

    Looks like I'm another Google convert.

    Particularly good, since many servers now don't return "404" they send back "Are you looking for something?", etc. Not exactly telling that the page no longer exists, unless the software is up to the task of recognition (tricky of itself: Are you looking for something? ? 404 : We have dedicated our page to Natalie Portman [])

    Vote [] Naked 2000
  • The same thing happened to Metacrawler and that wonderful search engine began is slow but steady downhill fall.

    I have been using metacrawler for more than 5 years, when it was still a university research project. I use to say it was the smartest of all the search engines because it was the laziest: it simply forwards the requests to the other search engines, analyses their work, and returns the 10 best results. During five years, it never failed me. I use to think "If it can not be found on Metacrawler, DejaNews or FtpSearch, it is not on the net." Well, this is not true anymore, because now Metacrawler gives me more and more garbage, though, not (yet) as much as the other search engines.


    The thing that I really enjoy the most is the Search as a Phrase feature. I used to find everything with it. For example, to find

    • lyrics: search for " we sailed unto the sun till we found the sea of green [] " as a phrase, and you will find the lyrics for Yellow Submarine by the Beattles
    • .
    • acronyms: search for " KGB stands for [] " as a phrase, and you'll discover that it means Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (try to find the same thing on another search engine! No way)
    • specific definitions: search for " CORBA est un [] " as a phrase, and you'll be able to explain your work to your French cousin who is visiting you next week.
    Ain't that cool? If someone out there knows a search engine as powerful as this one, please let me [mailto] know. I'm ready to switch.
  • Compare with the hell that pours your modem whenever reloading's index page.

    Try []

    I use google almost exclusively, but AltaVista is still useful sometimes. And when I do use it I prefer text mode (originally created for text-based browsers like Lynx)

  • FascDot Killed My Pr wrote:
    (I should also take a moment to apologize for kicking off the "First Post!" phenomena).
    Oh my god, you killed slashdot. You bastard!



  • Articles like these are so pretentious. Quotes like these:

    So goes business at Google, a company trying to emerge from adolescence into maturity.

    But like many Internet companies these days, Google is grappling with very adult issues such as revenue and profit.

    In another sign of its maturing process...

    Is it just me, or does "Corporate America" typically see the Linux movement, or anything involving herds of geeks, as "immature". Why should the focus of everything good and powerful and cutting edge always be relegated to a bottom line of financial gain? Isn't that part of the core of Open Source? Of Linux? Of Geekdom in general?

    I'm certainly not opposed to making money. I make fairly good money, and want to make more. But it's like homework. The more I was pushed to do it, the more I tried to get out of it. But "bonus projects" and "extra credit"--I was always all over that.

    To Corporate America: Stop trying to squeeze the techno-culture into your stiff, boring, and decaying business model. We're free/Free because we want to be. If everyone had the same mindset and started giving things away, we wouldn't need so much money in the first place.


  • It will be really hard to organize this with 14M hits per day.
  • Well, they still don't serve ad banners on pages, which keeps low-bandwidth and portable web servers happy. The paid ads that they have for selected keywords are clearly labeled with colored backgrounds and separated from the rest of the links. I can live with that.

    What really impressed me in the article was the quote "If we wanted to sell ad banners, we could call DoubleClick and be profitable today." But they're not calling DoubleClick, to the rejoice of privacy-paranoid Slashdot readers everywhere. It's refreshing to see a company provide a useful service without intrusive advertising methods.

    I signed up to make my page o' forms [] a Google Affiliate site, meaning I get three cents (soon to be just one cent) for every time I use it. Google also reserves the right to post ads on the searches from my box, in exchange for them paying me. That's another idea -- people are voluntarily "opting in" to get ads served on their pages in return for a trivial amount of cash. Unfortunately, companies like AllAdvantage [] [look Ma, no referrer tag!] have been bleeding cash by doing nothing but paying for eyeballs.
  • I love Google and have been using it for a period of time now. But I also use Dogpile, Yahoo!, Alta-Vista, SavvySearch, and on occasion when I just don't care what sites come up, Ask Jeeves (which has never once given me the site I wanted but has given me hours of fun).

    The point here isn't to list every search engine that is out there but to demonstrate that not one search engine will meet each and every need you have. If I am looking for something obscure, then I use Alta-Vista. AV has the most indexed pages (as of August 2, 2000) and I may have to dig, but I'll usually get what I want. Google is great for broad topic searches. Dogpile is a great shotgun approach as is SavvySearch.

    Google is doing the right thing by staying focused on being a search engine and I have to say that ever since I first used the site (back when it was a logo, text box, and two buttons) I appreciated the simplicity of the site.

    I recently read a report that the Search Engines are barely covering the web. Should search engines be sub-divided into 'web regions' in order to more thoroughly cover what is out there? Is there better technology we could be using?

  • If you like Google because it has a lite image load and a few adds you should try All The Web []. Working as a programer for Lexis-Nexis as a programer I have become VERY familiar with search engines.
    Some benifits and cool things of All the Web are:

    The low number of images(two small ones)

    FAST search time ( my average search time is .12 sec(it tells you)

    All the web tells you how many documents/web pages it finds

    I have found that All the web is superior to google.

  • OT: I'm disgusted I can't search new prior to 1999, is there another site with USENET news archives, back 5 years?

    Altavista used to have them. I have no idea if they still offer this now.

  • by hawk ( 1151 ) <> on Friday August 25, 2000 @06:05AM (#827863) Journal
    When dilber first started showing ads, Scott Adams included a little comment about the ads, and why they were there. It boiled down to something like:

    1) they offered us lots of money
    2) we like money

    I really don't know where the attitude that the world is obliged to offer us whatever we want for free comes from. Keeping your software ideologically pure, and then providing free hardware for the world to use it, doesn't feed the kids.

    I don't mind ads. I do mind things that blink at me. OK, they can blink once, but once they repeat, I edit my junkbuster file to block them. Then again, very view bother to make their ads readable in lynx, which I usually use. The top of *this* page says "Click Here!" in the blue letters indicating a link; I've seen others that tell me what they're about (and have followed a couple).
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @06:05AM (#827864) Journal

    I think people are confused about greed and money. People often misquote the biblical "money is the root of all evil". The full quote is "the love of money is the root of all evil".

    So, wanting to get wealthy is not wrong. Wanting to get wealthy to the exclusion of all else, placing the desire for wealth at the center of your life, screwing people over just to make a buck. That's what's wrong.

    Morality is in the attitude, not the bank account. After all, if there were no money, we would be reduced to using an inefficient barter economy, or breaking society down into little self-sustaining collectives that would never be able to unite and produce the way the free market does.

    Plainly, money is a good thing. Here's a challenge to all those who say money is evil: take a vow of poverty. Find a monestary or some similar sort of collective society that will allow you to live without money. You might have luck with this at Intentional Communities []. What? No takers? I didn't think so.

  • Or, as I've done once or twice, recover a page that was accidentally deleted. It's nice to have a passive mirror like that...

  • From deja:

    "Old Usenet messages - Starting May 4, many messages posted over two years ago will not be accessible on a temporary basis, and after May 8, all messages posted over a year ago will not be accessible on a temporary basis. We will be taking this opportunity to reconfigure the service that provides messages posted prior to May 1999. Therefore, these messages will not be accessible on the site for some time, possibly a few months. Have no fear: We're committed to bringing these messages back online as soon as possible."

    The sooner the better.

  • In a recent article and interview [] with Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, in Time Magazine they freely admit that:

    "The whole point of Google is to get you on and off the site as soon as possible."

    Considering that Google has introduced the concept of democracy to ranking the prominence (or relevance) of sites is revolutionary thinking, and they deserve to reap the rewards of their thinking. Google know that by refusing to offer the top-heavy extras of other sites, they too will rule supreme on the democracy of the Internet as one of the most popular search engines.

    Google will continue to offer speedy search engine results, and they will probably do all they can to preserve their unique status. By cutting down on advertisements and extras, combined with their Linux-operated rack systems of off-the-shelf motherboards and spaghetti wiring, Google is also making enormous savings compared to conventional search engines.

    Sure Google is going public next year, but they won't need massive ads and extras to draw in revenue. Unlike conventional search engines, Google doesn't charge a flat rate, but based on per search basis when other sites link it to, and the revenue will keep pouring in, without killing both the principle and advantages of Google.

    MashPotato - Mobile Array of Support Helpers for Potato

  • As a webmaster for several websites, I have always found the backlinks checking option on Google to be one of the neatest features of the site.

    For those not familiar with how Google works: in part it measures the relevancy of a site based on how many other sites contain links to it. So it tracks these links, called Backlinks, and you can check them using Google search.

    For instance, to see a list of webpages which contain links to Slashdot (and which are also indexed by Google of course, so its a subset of the web as a whole), we enter the following search in Google:

    links: []

    The results displayed are the pages that contain links back to Note that this is by individual URL, so this list does not contain links to for instance.

    Omphalos [] - The Directory and Search Engine for Paganism & Witchcraft!

  • I'd pay way more than that. Probably $0.02-$0.03 per search. The time savings of using Google is worth it.
  • How many of you have learned to filter out any image in the 400x60 profile. Some? Many? Just about everyone? The latter, I think.

    The problem with banners -- not just for Google, but for all sites -- is that no one pays attention to them, and marketeers are realizing that. They're invariably [a] ugly and [b] a waste of time, so no one cares and everyone filters them out, either mentally or, if they're savvy enough, in software.

    This can't last. Sooner or later, marketeers are going to have to change their tactics and find a way to get people to pay attention to them. Rather than polluting an aesthetically pleasing site like Google with dancing gif banners, advertisers should try other methods of promotion there -- text based ads, for example, or low-key images that fit in other profiles besides 400x60.

    The emphasis should be less on clickthrough rates (which will always be trivial at best) and more on brand reconition. In other words, the ad itself is the point, just as it always was in print & broadcast media. If a small handful of people actually click on the thing then that's great too, but the point isn't to draw people in as much as it is to promote the quality of a brand by planting the idea in people's heads.

    This isn't anything new really -- like I say, this is how things have always been done in traditional media -- but I think marketeers got distracted by the interactive nature of the web and tried to get people to do something that no one is really interested in doing.

    I don't care what you're selling, I want to do a search. If you want to subsidize that with your ad revenues, then thanks for that -- I'll admit, I don't feel like paying for it myself, but I realize that someone has to -- but please don't expect me to leave this useful site to go look at yours instead. I'll appreciate your contribution more if you don't tell me what to do.

    Google has an opportunity to, once again, point to the way forward here. If they can work with the mentality described above, they might set a trend that (I can hope) the rest of the web may come to follow.

  • After your advice, I just visited AllTheWeb [] (funny joke :-) and launched a query on Google (891000 docs found, 0.13 seconds).
    This therefore lacks a functionality (that Google also lacks BTW): usually gave a last checked/changed date for each URLs, I just loved this.
    BTW, I am now back from and it seems they also got rid of it...
    What a pity.
    Is this an implicit way to explain it was too much data to handle? :-(
    Could somebody tell me how to display dates in Google ?
  • Finally! After hearing a song for months on the radio (never never never never never count on dj's to ever tell you what that really cool tune was they just played, they'd rather dislocate a shoulder, patting themselves on the back for being extremely funny and clever) Google found the title and performer (at illiterate, who can't seem to be bothered with telling you who sung it, either, but gave me the full title, misspelled!)

    Um, Google with cache rocks! =)

    I sincerely hope they generate revenue as a provider to portals, such as Yahoo, but reserve an uncluttered home page, as it is now. is interesting, but more often than not returns completely irrelevant info.

    Vote [] Naked 2000
  • by jfrisby ( 21563 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @06:26AM (#827889) Homepage
    When they see the cash "rolling in"? Frankly, you don't understand the economics of the web.

    Banner ads provide very little revenue. Let's do the math... We'll say a $10 CPM. (the amount Google gets for every 1,000 ads they show) Google had 6.6 million unique visitors in July according to PCData Online. Since it's a search engine we'll assume about 2.5 page views per user. (although that's probably a bit on the high side)

    (6,600,000 * 2.5) * (10/1000) = $165,000/mo.

    Even if you make more favorable assumptions you don't wind up with much money:

    (7,000,000 * 3) * (20/1000) = $420,000/mo.

    Keeping in mind that Google's operating cost is probably pretty high if you just consider colocation (they are hosted at AboveNet), bandwidth, and hardware. Then there is the cost of employees -- Google goes to great lengths to attract and keep top talent, even going so far as to hire an on-site gourmet chef.

    Banner ads alone are insufficient to keep all but the lowest-overhead companies going. Google has partnerships involving licensing of their engine or cobranding of it but if that is all they did it would not make sense to keep the end-user site (the one you and I use for searches) going -- it would be a money pit. Banner ads reduce the loss incurred from the end-user site.

    Anyone who talks about Google "selling out" is, frankly, an idiot. To run their search engine, Google needs hundreds, perhaps thousands of servers (you don't think a desktop PC running off a DSL line indexes 1 billion pages and serves the searching needs of 6.6 million distinct people I hope?) using tons of bandwidth and space at a pricey colocation facility. Do you honestly think that they started this company with no intention of being *profitable*? Do you honestly think they threw all this money, time, and energy into making Google out of some sense of philanthropy?


  • I made a typo: I mean to say that this list does not contain backlinks to (without the "www"), but my fingers have a mind of their own when I have not had enough coffee in the morning.

  • Or do what many other people (including myself) do:
    Put the adbar sites in /etc/hosts (or C:\WINDOWS\HOSTS, for Windows users like myself) to resolve to, and then run a program to listen on port 80 (have it accept connection and then immediately disconnect; that way, you don't have to wait for connection to time out in your browser). All you get in your browser is an empty box with either an "image not loaded" icon or a "broken image" icon.

    -- Sig (120 chars) --
    Your friendly neighborhood mIRC scripter.
  • > But don't you think one of the biggest reasons
    > for their success was their affirmation of "no
    > advertisements, ever"

    No. I, for one, never knew about that.

    > and simply but effectively designed UI (=fast).
    > At least I started using Google because of those
    > reasons.

    Yes, Google is great because they have the best search engine. Personally, I don't mind ads (for banner ads I use junkbuster anyway). As long as they are fast and work, I am happy.

    That main reason I stopped using altavista was well 2 reasons. i

    1) They announced that they would start allowing companies to "Buy position" ie pay for keywords so that they could get ranked higher (thus allow companies to pay money to make my search results less relavent...nice) - whether they did this or not...well their search results are bad enough now that it seems they may have

    2) Google was better, ffaster, and more likely to come up with relavent hits. Thats gone slightly downhill. Maybe because I search for different things than I used to, but I no longer "Feel lucky" these days. On the whole...usually google has good results.

    Ads I don't mind. Allowing companies to buy keywords such that they are at the top is fine...if they put them in a box that shows clearly "these arn't really search results" (I believe they do that or did that for a while? was that someone else).
  • If people are this upset about Google taking banner ads, how will they feel a year or two from now when all the IPO money for highly speculative Internet ventures dries up, and all the good "free" stuff on the web either disappears or gets absurdly commercialized, portalized, and Time-Warnerized? Look around you; it's happening already.

    We've gotten used to good stuff free, but it can't go on forever.


  • I tend to agree with this.

    The problem of making a living providing free content or services on the web is pretty much the same as figuring out how to make a living writing free software. Even the most altruistic programmer, writer, artist, or musician still has to put food on the table and pay the bills.

    Micropayments, despite the support they get from web gurus like Jakob Nielsen [], would probably kill off most web sites. Imagine how popular TV would be if you had to pay a nickle every time you flipped channels or a new show came on. Wide-scale micropayments for general content would kill the web -- people would get sick of being nickeled & dimed to death very quickly. Like broadcast television, most web content will continue to be advertiser-supported for the forseeable future.

    This is not to say that micropayments are a bad idea -- they do have their place. Reusable electronic content like MP-3's or video clips are obvious candidates for a micropayment system.

    Besides advertising and micropayments, the only other really viable method for generating revinue for content producers is a subscription model. Red Hat is a good example of a subscription web site -- paid subscribers get access to their priority FTP web servers. You can get the same content from the public servers, but the priority servers let you get it faster and you get tech support if you have problems with the stuff you download. In order for a subscription web site to be successful, it must do two things: offer substantial free (probably advertiser-supported) content, and offer paid subscribers a tangible premium (no ads, faster servers, tech support, etc.) Subscriber-only content is generally a bad idea; if a prospective subscriber can't get a pretty complete picture of the content the site offers, there is no real incentive for him to become a subscriber - particuarly if you have a competitor that offers similar content for free.

    "The axiom 'An honest man has nothing to fear from the police'

  • by danish ( 60748 ) <> on Friday August 25, 2000 @06:53AM (#827906) Homepage
    with the two guys that founded Google? There's a rather interesting Time article [] about them.

    Dear my! What are those things coming out of her nose?
  • Hmm. I was always taught that 'democracy' was a form of government in which the people managed their government, as opposed to an oligarchy or any other sort of government. How do you equate a search engine with the democracy of the internet? Nice job using feel-good buzzwords to help push your message across. Maybe you could get a job with Microsoft ("America is great. Microsoft is great. Therefore, Microsoft is great for America. You don't hate America. Do you?").

    You are more than the sum of what you consume.
  • No av still has the search with date. Its just that their site designers were on crack when they made the new horrible interface to their search engine.

    To get the powerful controls, go to the left column area and there's a web search heading and then under that go to power search.

    It's too bad that someone couldn't have designed a better front end for av when they modified it (I was actually much happier with the old version). It's a shame because the search engine is pretty good (although not revolutionary any more) when you use the force and exclude (+ -) and it has a long history in internet time.
  • In addition to creating the 'First Post!' phenomenon, it seems you also created the first instance of karma farming by pulling rank. Congrats. :)
  • Maybe I should have explained this concept better for those who don't know how Google works by "democracy".

    Google is unlike other search engines that rank sites as being relevant to a user's search request by counting how many times a keyword is used within a page, or by domain names. This system can be commonly abused, and it has been demonstrated time and time again by pornographic and celebrity fan sites.

    Google on the other hand, works on the principle of democracy, not in political terms, but by the definition derived from "the majority of the people". Google ranks sites as being relevant by counting how many other sites link to it.

    It is a democratic search engine because it counts each external link to a page as a vote by other users who have linked to it because they think it is important and or useful. Hence a popularly linked site, in Google's eyes must be also relevant because it has been judged to be so by the Internet community as a whole.

    This is what is so unique and revolutionary about Google and hence why it has an almost uncanny ability in providing search results containing both the official sites and the most popular/relevant third party ones at the same time.

    MashPotato - Mobile Array of Support Helpers for Potato

  • I find it interesting that people angrily submit stories constantly about Google "selling out"


    And hell, they run Linux.

    Yeah, but they run Red Hat Linux--



  • So how are they going to make profits? They've managed to get this far through private funding, when their funding comes from internal, interested sources.

    The instant the IPO opens, investors will clamor for profits. The press will start ranking on them for not turning profits. In essence, the full pressure of non-profitability will come to bear.

    Personally, I'd love to see a revenue stream that doesn't require covering every inch of the screen with banner ads, or the stupid linking crap that deja is now pulling...
  • Maybe you can fill us in on why you think its better? I personally have two criteria for judging search engines.

    1) How well I can find stuff about myself by entering my name.

    2) How well it can find websites I've worked on by typing in the websites' company name.

    Google performs flawlessly on both counts whereas All the Web falls short. But then my criteria are entirely selfish and subjective.

    Any suggestions?

  • I skimmed over the article, didn't see any mention that they were about to start selling banners. It said they are making a change to actively solicit advertisers, where before they let companies come to them. Did I miss the part where they were actually going to change from text ads to banners?

    "``If we wanted to sell ad banners, we could call DoubleClick and be profitable today,'' said Brin, referring to the dominant online advertising placement company. ``But we can be more successful in the long run if we grow our user base. I've been happy with our progress.'' "

    Sounds like they are on the right track. They are building up the base of people who use their search, apparently getting most of their revenue from their partner program and from licensing.

    Yahoo will undoubtedly continue to shag everyone with banners on their site, even though they start using google the search engine. The type (text vs graphic) of ads on google the search website is not changing apparently, only Google's stance of letting advertisers come to them vs actively pursuing them. Sounds like status quo from the end-user standpoint.

    Frankly, I don't care as long as it still loads as quickly. When I start to see gif files that take long to load coming from some banner farm, then I'll be worried.
  • "Certainly i'm not best pleased with sites like altavista that take ab out 20 seconds to load on a modem but one banner per page is perfectly acceptable."


    Until recently, it had no ads at all. Now has a single banner, but it is still much better than the main page.

  • if I do a search for buying Saabs online, I will get hits that look like the page was just that, but in reality it is some sort of company that makes it look like a site has content like that, then when I click on it, it sends me to something unrelated... like a gambling site.

    Even then the cacheing function is useful, as it will show you the page exactly as the googlebot saw it, and so you can see why it's being indexed this way.

  • by Fishstick ( 150821 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @07:39AM (#827939) Journal
    >So how are they going to make profits?

    The answer can be found here [] where they take money in exchange for letting you use google on your own site through their partner programs. For $1,999 you can have 4 million hits a year and they customize it somewhat. There is an example given of a site like this at []

    We've looked into licensing google at our company for intra-net searches. I would imagine other companies who have large document repositories would also be interested in an efficient search engine that can be had for a fraction of the cost of something like Inktomi.

  • Ads aren't the *only* revenue stream Google has. But they are a neccesary one. Partnerships, licensing, and cobranding (click "Everything Else" on their main page) are another strong source of revenue.

    I suppose it's possible also that they can increase their CPM beyond even $20 due to the targeting they do (read their advertising pitch) but I don't know enough to be sure about that.

    Essentially, if they *didn't* leverage this revenue stream, investors would question why they were wasting money on something (their end-user site) that didn't make any money. The benefits (exposure for their B2B products primarily) would seriously outweigh the costs.

  • Google *does* have a search within search! It's at the bottom of the page, to the right of the serach box. Just click on "Search within results".

  • Google is for primary search site. But I rarely use "I'm Feeling Lucky" because I'm such a ninny. Are there any he-men (or she-women) who use it on a regular basis? How often do you find it works? Other thoughts on getting lucky?
    D. Fischer
  • 2.5-3 hits per month?! I think that's a big underestimate. My usage (in terms of searches done, not even page views) is more like 10-30 per month.

    If Sergy Brin says "If we wanted to sell ad banners, we could call DoubleClick and be profitable today," I'm willing to believe he's actually done the numbers...
  • I think some people need to learn what "selling out" means. Just because a business becomes profitable or popular doesn't mean the owners are selling out. One of the great tragedies of open source zealotry is the mindless bashing of anything that makes a profit. At the same time, any topic about The Simpsons, The X-Files, or any mass market Hollywood movie generates huge discussion threads. Similarly, many people have no problem buying new video cards twice a year. Food for thought.
  • I see no reason why micropayments would be compulsary even if they were available. Pay per view has not killed non-ppv tv, because the TV stations realize that even if people are prepared to pay $30 for a sports event, or $5 for a movie, they're not prepared to pay even $0.25 for friends.

    I'm sure that if micropayments were available in a generally accepted way, then only those sites which would benefit from them would adopt them, and other sites would remain on either free or subscription basis.

  • by Wah ( 30840 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @08:30AM (#827983) Homepage Journal
    I am a google affiliate []. I just got this letter the other day from google. Time to grow up indeed...

    Dear Google Affiliate,

    Beginning September 1, 2000, Google will change the reimbursement
    policy for our affiliate program. We will be offering one cent
    instead of three cents for each search from your site to us. This
    letter outlines the reasons for this change as well as some
    enhancements we will be adding to the program.

    Cutting that cost by 2/3 just might help a bit. I'm not complaining, just saying. And today I got laid off from work, so I guess the real world is calling to folks all over. :-)

  • by evilpete ( 26941 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @08:32AM (#827985) Homepage
    Copy this into your location bar (snip out any carriage returns...) and when you hit "go" it should instantly render a minimalist google search form.

    javascript:with(document){write("<html><body><fo rm method=GET action=><INPUT type=text name=q size=31 maxlength=256 value=\"\"><input type=\"hidden\" name=num value=100><INPUT type=submit name=sa VALUE=\"Google Search\"><br><font size=1><i>nitro powered google search © pete setchell 2000</i></font></form></body></html>");void(close( ))}

    I've got it as my browser home page so a fresh browser is instantly ready for a search. You can get to it quickly by clicking the otherwise useless "home" button that seems to appear on most browsers.

    I wrote it myself, so feel free to send hate/fan mail if it makes your life easier etc.

  • by Webmonger ( 24302 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @08:34AM (#827988) Homepage

    Do you honestly think that they started this company with no intention of being *profitable*? Do you honestly think they threw all this money, time, and energy into making Google out of some sense of philanthropy?

    No, I honestly think that the founders are in this for the joy of hacking. They're not doing it for us, they're doing it because they love it. From their perspective, the company's purpose is to pay them, not make money.

  • Try Deja News Classic []. (Yes moderators, this is -1, Redundant)
  • by Art Tatum ( 6890 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @08:36AM (#827991)
    I refuse to follow ads that simply say "Click Here!" My time is worth more than that. If you give a description of what you're selling, and it's something I'm looking for, I'll give it a look. Why can't advertising people figure this out? Tell me what you're selling!
  • by TheDullBlade ( 28998 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @08:38AM (#827993)
    Services like google have to be paid for. Who do you want to do it?

    Your initial answer might be "someone, anyone else!" which makes sense, in a way. I'd rather have the dollars come out of someone else's pocket, too. But then whose interests will google be serving? If they're being paid by advertisers, they're working for them, and they will strike the most profitable balance between flooding you with ads and keeping you coming back. It's happened to every other search engine, and it will happen to google.

    However, divided amongst all us users, the cost of google is next to nothing. If everyone who uses it sends them a few bucks per year, they'll have plenty of money to keep things exactly the way we want.

    But isn't there an advantage to being a freeloader and being the only one who isn't paying among a group of millions? Don't you get all the service with none of the cost? Perhaps not.

    If only some of the people are paying, and this money is their sole revenue source, then google should ignore the wishes of all the people who don't pay. So payment buys you a privileged position as a relevant person.

    This is the logic behind mass market busking []. Take control by paying your fair share.

    Despite rumors to the contrary, I am not a turnip.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... try Topclick []. It uses the Google search engine but without the use of cookies, profiling, banner ads or any kind of tracking. Excellent searching and privacy protection...

    Anonymous Coward? Or just cautious with my privacy? What's it to you anyway?

  • An interesting flip side to this argument is that the fast loading of pages that users find so handy implies that their bandwidth usage is probably lower than you might expect. After all, the reason the pages load so fast is because they're quite sparse and don't contain that much information. Some quick math suggests that their bandwidth usage probably isn't as high as you'd think: 2e7 pages per month times 1e5 bits per page (rough guess) gives about 2e12 bits per month. Since a month is about 2e6 seconds, that's of order 1e6 bits per second, or roughly T1 speed. Putting banner ads on their pages could wind up greatly increasing their outbound bandwidth.

    Actually, though, their big bandwidth usage is probably their web crawler. Indexing a billion pages, even if it's not monthly, probably consumes several orders of magnitude more bandwidth than serving the search pages does. That actually suggests that they should be able to grow their business pretty easily; if indexing the web is the major cost, every added user is a win. That suggests that their business model (work on growing customer base first, then worry about making money on each customer) makes a lot of sense.

  • If it were done right, it would be funny, get the message across, and lead the viewer to 'click-thru' on the logo.

    One problem I have with ads (tv, web, anywhere) is that they basically suck. Show me something cool. Yeah, that's hard to do, but you better do it if you want me to notice, 'cause you've got a lot of competition out there for my attention. I remember way back in 93 when Wired was still new -- they had the coolest ads I'd ever seen before. I read every one. Those guys probably rejected ads that weren't cool enough. Give me ads that are worth my time!

  • Oh, so they are now making money from presenting other people's copyrighted materials? Nice...
  • The article states in just the second paragraph that they get 40 million queries a day. So the math really is:

    40,000,000 * (10 / 10000) = $40,000 per day

    assuming ~30 days in a month:

    40,000 * 30 = $1,200,000 per month.

    Now I don't know any startup that wouldn't mind getting an extra $1.2 million a month. Not to mention that google's banner ads could be very targeted based on the query the user submitted, so the CPM would most likely be much higer than $10. I could easily see them getting closer to $30 CPM for targeted ads with the kind of traffic they get.

    But of course I along with every other user hope they don't go this route and add banner ads to their site, but if it comes down to banner ads or shutting google down forever, I would not think twice about what I would prefer.
  • I love to use google to get to pages my proxy's web filter won't let me view!

    Just click on the cached google link and you are good to go.


  • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @08:50AM (#828004)
    google made it's money by letting other portals/search engines use it as a back end. So it's hidden.

    If you want to put up 'Bob's 'leet search page' and run a huge bob portal.... and use google's search engine as a backend, you can... you just have to pay google.

  • Actually, user IDs have nothing to do with it. I read Rob's Chips and Dips and I've been with /. since it first went live; however, my user ID is 6890. You see, when user accounts first came along, I was too lazy to get one. In addition, I was rather busy with other things at the time and it was several months before I finally started reading /. again. At that point, I finally got a user ID. In FascDot's case, I think he was somebody else first, then got a new account for some reason. Not sure, though.
  • The full quote is "the love of money is the root of all evil".

    At least in my copy, the quote is the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil which is not the same thing at all.

  • by Art Tatum ( 6890 )
    I miss MEEPT. I remember thinking, "what the fu...?!?" And the responses from Bill Gates were usually pretty funny.
  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @09:06AM (#828016)
    This is the type of adverstising I wouldn't mind: when you search for something that is obviously a product or service, Google would put up an ad in your search results for that product or service or related products or services. Keep the main page clean and ad-less for those who are searching for generic things. If you are doing a specific search for some product or service, or some page concerning a product or service, then, like Deja, stick in a *relevant* ad. I don't mind that all too much. What I mind is totally irrelevant garish ads distracting my eyes with flashy colors or half-nude women. I think they could do targeted ads tastefully. For example, like Slashdot has Open-source on-topic sortof ads.

    The next thing that I might allow, is customization of google...say, create a *simple* profile that allows google to track the *general* type of searches you do, and organize a custom subtree of more relevant sites that it can use to search first or give more priority. I find myself searching for the same things over and over, so this would actually be useful.
  • Furthermore, this phrase was mistranslated (or perhaps, the King James english is not understood). The original Greek meaning of the oft-quoted phrase is "all evils," which is to say, "all kinds of evil."
  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @09:39AM (#828035) Homepage Journal
    The only reason I don't use Google more and Altavista less it that AV allows more precision in searching by the "near" keyword and the not keyword:
    Linux near Slashdot and not (Portman or grits or "ick your as")

    I do wish Google would get these, as they really let me thin out the garbage: I usually append "and not (homepage or jumppage or links or "link page")" and remove about a zillion wastes of my time from any search.
  • by Alternity ( 16492 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @09:50AM (#828041)
    I would be curious to see how many people added the google slashbox to their /. homepage after reading this article. Not that I did it of course...
  • by gradji ( 188612 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @10:18AM (#828055)

    Recently, I participated in an inteface study for, where they tested out some beta features. I hate to say it, but more and more it looks like google is going portal. The feaure they tested during my session was a "web directory" that looked a whole lot like Yahoo's main page. Furthermore, in a previous session in which a friend was participating, one of the test items (though they tried to make it seem minor), were text ads that came at the top of the search results list. Thought you might be interested in these developments.

    But really, I'm not complaining. They're still the best site for my search purposes (quick and reliable). Heck, they once cached a web site of mine that I didn't want be public (unfortunately, was housing the web site at a Stanford server for I swear a total of maybe 2 hours) .. .asked them nicely to take it off and they responded promptly. And they gave me $20, a T-shirt, some stickers, and pizza for participating in the 1 hour session! I got a (albeit very small) piece of their VC money :)

    By the way, they seem to be really interested in hiring people (like most SV firms). We spent a lot of time during the study going over their recruitment links/homepage.

  • by cowboy junkie ( 35926 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @10:25AM (#828059) Homepage
    "When a cartoonist licenses his characters, his voice is co-opted by the business concerns of toy makers, television producers, and advertisers. The cartoonist's job is no longer to be an original thinker; his job is to keep his characters profitable. The characters become 'celebrities,' endorsing companies and products, avoiding controversy, and saying whatever someone will pay them to say. At that point, the strip has no soul. With its integrity gone, a strip loses its deeper significance."

    - Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbes

    I agree with the above statement, and it's been demonstrated many times with strips like Peanuts.
  • by John Miles ( 108215 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @10:32AM (#828063) Homepage Journal -- same as it ever was.
  • by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Friday August 25, 2000 @10:50AM (#828069) Homepage
    I really don't like that -- I appreciate having the ads obviously separate from the site and from the site's content.

    Think of how annoying the in-movie commercials are getting these days. Did you see the pepsi-ad scene stuck in the midde of The Thomas Crown Affair?


"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H.L. Mencken