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Summary:

Jim Spanfeller is president and CEO of Forbes.com. He is also treasurer of the Online Publishers Association and chairman emeritus of the In…

imageJim Spanfeller is president and CEO of Forbes.com. He is also treasurer of the Online Publishers Association and chairman emeritus of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

After years of debate about the value of the near monopoly owned by the folks in Redmond, it would appear that this particular discussion is quickly moving south to the Googleplex. And from where I sit, appropriately so.

For some time there have been murmurings about the relative value generated by Google (NSDQ: GOOG) vs. the parasitical nature of its business model. In short, is Google being disproportionally compensated for what is fundamentally other people

  1. John C. Smith Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    This is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever read.

    It's hard to know where to begin.

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  2. invitedmedia Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    i clicked through comment hoping to ask "who the f is this guy who wrote this thing?" … but the previous comment seems to sum it up better.

    sheesh!

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  3. Hmm..

    "After years of debate about the value of the near monopoly owned by the folks in Redmond, it would appear that this particular discussion is quickly moving south to the Googleplex. And_from_where_I_sit, appropriately so."

    No need to read any further…

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  4. Jim,

    I am a fan of Forbes, have read it for years and you guys bought my first professional magazine article.

    That said, could you please spell out what Google features violate fair use? If you want them to stop, you have to be specific. I hear media companies complain about this all the time, but I can't get a straight answer on what exactly you want Google to stop doing.

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  5. Amen, John!

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  6. By Jim's calculation, if you figure Google has been indexing Forbe's news content for 5 years making $5MM, $10MM, $20MM, $30MM and $40MM from Forbes content– they owe Forbes about $110MM; however, I don't think that the retro-active payment solution is viable but Jim's 3 recommendations seem to be reasonable asks for Google, at a minimum as the beginning of a dialogue.

    It is worth noting that Yahoo & MSN have been successfully collaborating with content partners, making money, supporting the partners media ambitions and creatively solving for user demands. Both MSN & Yahoo refer measurable & agreed upon traffic. Last I checked, Yahoo! Finance was still a larger business than Google Finance — they have a strong & long relationship with Forbes.

    <I guess John is accustomed to reading the ridiculous things that come before premium, established, well-written content and doesn't see the value of editorially produced content…>

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  7. The horse has bolted and isn't coming home. Brands will in future be defined and affirmed socially. The good news is that content providers who learn how to be profitably portable (kindle, article banks, tailoring etc.) will survive and Google's relevance will gradually erode.

    My search activity is down by 75% this last year in favour of canvassing opinion across my social networks. Unless Google buys Facebook and/ or Twitter, which would be a horrible thought, I suspect it's growth curve is flattening.

    In terms of Forbes, I know how they could stop getting mad and get even. But that would cost….

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  8. Jim Spanfeller seems to be prone to oral malfunctions. He might want to take a harder look at Forbes.com if he wants to clean up the online cesspools.

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  9. Few people know the web and the web business model, both from a content and advertising perspective better than Spanfeller.

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  10. Oddly enough, I go to http://telegraph.co.uk frequently, and http://economist.com, and the like – and I *never* use Google to get there! Seems like Mr. Spanfeller is condemning his errant flock for their bovinity – they get a browser (doh! – probably IE, with it's default settings..) never alter anything, and believe that the way to get to a site is to type the URL or the search term into the 'big thingie' in the middle! It is amazing to me how many users persist in this misconception, but try it – ask your pa, or grandma, how they find stuff on the Intertubes. I'll bet you'll be amazed at how many people believe that the default Google (or MSN) search form is in fact the browser's address bar.

    If you are more interested in repeat visitors than one-shots (I would imagine your advertisers would be, wouldn't you, Mr Spanfeller?) perhaps your programmers could come up with a clever way to discover where the user originated *on his browser*. Perhaps a high-tech thing, like a survey! And perhaps you could design a fix!

    Or perhaps, like some of the more creative investors out there, you could own a piece of a fix, much as bit.ly is owned by O'Reilly, and Mitch Kapor (among others.) So much more Forbes-like than whining..

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