Archive for 29th May 2007

How to Get on Techcrunch – Step 1, Steal a Trademark, Step 2: Spam…

Techcrunch is a major IT news blog. It is increasingly difficult to get your startup covered in it because of its popularity. But a funny thing happened today. The owner of Techcrunch wrote an article about the most bogus stealth start up I’ve read about all year:

The only word that describes what happened to our inbox tonight was “spammed” – no less than eleven links were sent to this Australian article which talks about new stealth startup MyLiveSearch.

 

MyLiveSearch? It’ll be fun times when Microsoft sues for trademark infringement over MSN’s own Live Search. That alone should be reason for concern, but apparently not today.

We’ve heard of countless Google killing startups over the past five years, and none have come even close. In fact, its two biggest competitors in the market – Yahoo and Microsoft – are losing market share every day. And yet Arrington, a veteran in the industry, took the bait.

He wrote up an article about this start up, eating up the press release “news article” as if it were a juicy steak:

and goes on to quote founder Rob Gabriel as saying his startup “gives better, more relevant results” than Google and “this technology could be snapped onto any of the major search engines and improve them.

If they are so great, why are they already talking about being bought out? Nevermind the trademark issues! This is exactly the mentality of companies in the dot-bomb era: make a company that someone else will buy out — who cares about a product! If I discovered a technology that could unseat the current reigning 100 billion dollar champion, the last thing I’d do is sell out for a few million dollars. I mean, if my technology could be 1/100th of Google, that’s still 1.27 billion dollars.

And the claims they make are completely unsubstantiated. Faster than Google? More relevant? Supposedly it will be indexing 4/5 of the web that Google currently misses (so Google is only indexing 20% of the web, supposedly), which when I hear that, I think “spam blogs” or “banned from Google for a reason.” And the whole “live” thing is bogus now that Google does smart indexing, where it indexes dynamic content – such as news sites – more frequently.

Clearly, this company is full of crap and Techcrunch didn’t smell it. Why didn’t Arrington ask critical questions in his post? Why did he simply regurgitate the article without further research? Why did he just tip his hat to this obvious PR ploy? I don’t know, but it’s a shame he did.

So when you want your start up covered by a high-traffic blog, just get ten of your friends to send an email with a link to an article about your vaporware. It worked for MyLiveSearch.

Google Buys GreenBorder – Maybe for Google Pack?

Google made a strange acquisition today. Google bought GreenBorder, a security application that sand boxes browsers. Basically, it ensures that when you close your browser, you destroy any potentially malicious viruses and trojans along with your session. It is a “sand box” as in stuff that happens in your browser stays in your browser, keeping the rest of your system safe.

This is weird on multiple levels:

  • It has nothing to do with their core business
  • Computer security is a highly competitive and saturated market, leaving little room for massive unchecked growth
  • Browser security is a tiny niche of computer security and leaves other major Internet based attack vectors open, especially through Outlook (ugh, huh?).

One potential use for this application is the ability to keep competing search engines from changing a user’s default home page. This normally might exist to fight off spyware, but one can see the additional competitive edge.

Google’s aim may be to make the Internet experience much safer. But I can’t see this gaining wide adoption unless they give it away. Google Pack currently has Norton and an anti-spyware scanner, and this would make a cozy fit for a browser-centric solution. It would keep the computer clean where the scanners may have failed. Thus, in my eyes, this is all about bolstering the software offering of Google Pack.

Google Pack is a free software suite given away by Google (click on link below to try it out). It is a collection of free tools such as Firefox, Skype, and Picasa.

Google Pack is an important pawn in Google’s strategy. In giving away the software suite, they are also increasing the market shares of:

  • Firefox
  • Google Desktop
  • GTalk
  • Google Toolbar

These are all very important components in keeping Microsoft at bay. So my prediction is that we should see this (or a re-branded version of it) in Google Pack within six to eight months.

Update: Techcrunch has their own theory that this purchase is for enhancing Google Desktop.