Thursday, April 7, 2005

Google Comes out as a 'Media Company' in 10-K Filing, But 'Blogger' is no Clue to That

As noted by Search Engine Journal and other outlets earlier this week, a careful persusal of Google's latest 10K annual report filing with the S.E.C. indicates that the Mountain View crew have come out and declared themselves to be a media company. Given that 99 percent of their revenues are from advertising that certainly makes sense, but sometimes you'd hardly know it from the assemblage of pieces that comprise Google's capabilities. Long resisting the media portal approach to integrating in the content value of its various capabilities, the company suffers from a lack of awareness of users as customers with whom they may interact, as opposed to sources of development feedback and ad clicks. This shows through most clearly in their Blogger weblogging facility, which rolls around with no integration whatsoever with other Google holdings and nary a hint of a marketing or product plan to the outside world save for being another spot to place AdSense. Add on recent outages and performance problems highlighted by Wired News today and you can hear the sound of goodwill from leading sources of weblog content being sucked down the drain.

While early reviews of Yahoo!'s beta weblogging and social networking tool are tepid at best, at least we can be sure that Yahoo!'s mature attitude as a media company, with more than a decade of managing individual content users and producers as clients, will be a welome relief for many who trusted the "G" word with their personal content. For those who want more sophistication, there are other capable free and fee-based weblogging services available. We hear a lot about the importance of supporting personal content, but for all of its commitment to content egalitarianism Google has a lot to learn about the human side of the publishing business.
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