Google Facing Problems?

Scott Kessler of Standard & Poor’s recently downgraded Google from hold to sell. In this Business Week article, he explains many of his reasons, including:

When it comes to the building competition, part of what they’re trying to do is diversify beyond Internet search advertising, but they are also trying to make their offerings more inviting and sticky to users. One of Google’s shortcoming is that even though users like its search offering, they don’t spend a lot of time on it. We’re seeing Google trying to provide more personalized services — enabling users to sign in, use e-mail, and access content that’s preselected and determined by the user.

A Look at Google’s Sales Team

BusinessWeek offers a glimpse of a typical sales meeting between Google and one of its larger clients.

The meeting with mutual fund company Vanguard offers an interesing insight and shows how aggressive Google is in grabbing as much of a the marketing budget they can.

Channel Sponsors

Two New Podcast Ad Networks

ClickZ has details of the launch of two new advertising networks for podcasts – Kiptronic and Podtrac.

Google Fights for Your Privacy

According to the Mercury News, the Department of Justice has filed papers to try and force Google to comply with a subpoena issued last year which includes a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.

Why does the DOJ want to get its hands on this information?

The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.

Forbes on Vertical Search Engines

Forbes takes a look at the growing trend of vertical search engines. Oodle, Jobster, and LookSmart are among the many featured in the story.

The biggest challenge for vertical search engines?

“With vertical search, by definition, you need to go to one engine for jobs, another for travel, and another for business supplies,” said Rosenberg. “I think the results at these vertical search engines have to be significantly superior to Google and Yahoo! for consumers to overcome that inconvenience.”

MSN Adds More Instant Answers

MSN Search’s Weblog announces the addition of 1 million new facts you can now get “Instant Answers” to.

Here’s an example: premier of russia

Now, where have we seen this type of thing before? ;-)

FyberSearch Adds Keyword Statistics Tool

News from Nathan Enns. His search engine, FyberSearch, has added a keyword suggestion tool to assist its advertisers in selecting the right terms.