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Why AOL and MSN execs need to be mathematicians

Or how to torpedo the Google juggernaut

1:48 am on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's becoming very clear that Google is increasingly dependent on DMOZ for its intellectual property leeching source. Remind yourself that Google's Pagerank calculation all has to start with initial rank vectors and right now that somewhere includes primarily government and education institution sites and some human-edited directories. The human-edited directories it has used in the past has included Looksmart, Yahoo, DMOZ until Looksmart wisely shut them off for their leeching activities. Now it might be Yahoo's turn as it positions itself more firmly in competition against Google.

What's left? DMOZ? An idea now fully controlled by Netscape and in turn by AOL. Consider a scenario in which AOL decides that the licence for use of ODP data does not extend to public companies, or companies exceeding a certain amount of traffic with commercial purposes, or to any organization which intends to use ODP data for any commercial use. Licences for such uses need to be negotiated separately with AOL/Netscape.

If I was an AOL exec, I would be rubbing my hands with evil lust thinking about Google's exceedinly heavy dependence on ODP data. If I was an Microsoft exec I would be clandestinely courting AOL to secure some more exclusive arrangement for DMOZ. Unfortunately AOL management seem to be a little "old school" these days. Oh I am sure Google has something worked out with AOL but I doubt AOL execs realize just how critical Dmoz is to its accuracy in the face of its never-to-end anti-SEO war.

This is a huge opportunity for AOL. It would take years for Google to achieve the momentum of DMOZ if it started its own directory effort even if they bought a directory like Looksmart. I wonder how long it will take them to wake up from their slumber.....

10:14 am on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just a thought, but if you had 1000 editors processing just one directory submission every two minutes (that's all it ever took me in Zeal and Dmoz) working 8 hours a day then you would have 240,000 sites being processed a day. It would therefore take Google 19 days to reach the size of Dmoz.
Even if you halved that taskforce to 500 and got 250 people to review directory submissions and 250 to seek out good informational sites that wouldn't normally think of submitting then:

Within two and a half months the 250 editors would have reached Dmoz size.
Within the same two and a half months the other 250 researchers could have obtained (at one site every 15 mins) an extra 608,000 quality sites.

If I had Google's financial resources, I wouldn't hesitate to hire 200 or so people and set out on creating a directory. Within a few months it would be ready to use as part of the algorithm. It would break their current headlock with spam and their user base would grow fast and be more loyal.

(By the way Google, I expect a couple of million if you act on this suggestion! Heh!)

[edited by: WebGuerrilla at 5:33 pm (utc) on April 5, 2004]
[edit reason] TOS #16 [/edit]

11:15 am on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Another thought on MSN's possible future, (I don't really think AOL will get their own search engine, they're in debt enough and rumours are they're being sold to microsoft anyway) currently they use several channels rather than just a search engine the same way Yahoo was before dumping Google. Their search engine doesn't have to beat Google, it doesn't even have to equal it, it just has to come pretty close and people will put up with it because all the other information is close at hand in their channels:

Credit Cards, Loans, Stocks and Shares, Shopping, Music, Film, etc. etc. all have dedicated pages. They only have to provide a decent selection of informational pages for those types of searches and no-one will bother going to Google from MSN. Right now, Google seem to be trying to head the way of MSN and Yahoo with their big push of Froogle.

[edited by: WebGuerrilla at 5:35 pm (utc) on April 5, 2004]
[edit reason] TOS #16 [/edit]

11:29 am on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Of course the whole thing could easily be solved if Google would simply buy up AOL with ODP as part of the package after they go public.
3:18 pm on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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BTW- Thanks for the maths lessons guys, I actually find this stuff interesting, although I think I probably need a 'Page Rank for Dummies' guide.

And here's my 2 cents. Just a gut feeling and nothing to do with maths, purely personal (and business). I don't think G has hedged all it's eggs in the DMOZ basket. There are many other places to 'seed' results from if it wants to do so (if it needs to, of course).

[edited by: WebGuerrilla at 5:36 pm (utc) on April 5, 2004]
[edit reason] TOS #16 [/edit]

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