Google & FeedBurner: Double Whammy

23 May
2007

So it seems like Google is acquiring FeedBurner for a smooth $100 million.

I like FeedBurner. They provide a useful function. Their support is fantastic. Even had the president email me when we had a few issues. The site exudes charm that is missing from most companies (including quite a few of ours, I will be honest).

So everyone has covered how Google is acquiring a very large audience. Just like Yahoo! locked in Flickr into its ad-network, Google is basically doing the same.

But while that is all obvious and what not, the other benefit is the ton of data that Google is getting (again – similar to what Yahoo did with MyBlogLog, but on a larger scale imo).

Google’s two big pushes in search have been relevance [removing spam] and personalization [give people what they want]. This is why products like Google Analytics and Google Reader haven’t been directly monetized – the entire point is to find out what people find useful and what they like. Google Analytics especially is scary – they know what pages people are visiting, what links they are clicking on, etc. Lets say someone is searching for ‘food’ and two pages come up with near identical relevancy internally. Using Analytics, Google knows Page 1 is on a domain people find more sticky, and that people spend 3x the time on Page 1, while also clicking on 2x the links. So what is better for the user? (both can be argued – Page 1 in terms of longevity of user on the page, Page 2 in terms of user coming back quicker).

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I’m still surprised Yahoo beat Google to the punch when it came to Del.icio.us.

So the acquisition of FeedBurner gives them a ton more information. They know clickrate. They know the subscription # of a lot of sites. They can find information/data they previously did not know existed (which I touched on briefly).

I talk about covering the A to Z process for our properties – Google has done the same. They know what end-users are doing (via Google Analytics). They know what end-users are reading and finding interesting (via Google Reader). And now they know how popular blogs are, and what people find interesting on those specific blogs (via Google FeedBurner). And don’t forget they can trick your ad habits now – not just via AdSense/Adwords, but also through DoubleClick now.

Scary.

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