The future of Google Video search

From the Official Google Blog, we learn that Google Video searches will now include links to videos hosted at YouTube, but in the future, Google Video will index “the world’s online video content” whereever it exists.

Starting today, YouTube video results will appear in the Google Video search index: when you click on YouTube thumbnails, you will be taken to YouTube.com to experience the videos. Over time, Google Video will become even more comprehensive as it evolves into a service where you can search for the world’s online video content, irrespective of where it may be hosted.

This actually makes a ton of sense. Google will focus on indexing all the world’s video content, regardless of where it exists, and not try to host it all. There are scores of “YouTube” like sites cropping up everywhere, so one of the major challenges for Google will be how to manage duplicate video content. Many marketers/advertisers will upload their videos to all the video sites they can. It will be interesting to see how Google will rank the results when the same video is hosted in dozens of places. I suppose Google Video and YouTube results might appear first.

The biggest challenge of all may be to avoid indexing all the UGC (user generated crap) that millions of amateur video producers will be posting online.

I was in Las Vegas recently when the CEO of CBS took the stage at CES and showed us a glimpse of the future. As they presented a totally lame video produced in Second Life using some CBS Star Trek content, I began to worry that the future of television will include millions of home-made poor quality video clips with all the intelligence and redeeming value of South Park or Beevis and Butthead, or the kind of fake porn or near porn that Mark Cuban says exists in so much abundance on YouTube.

Mark recently blogged about the the top 20 most played videos on YouTube in December.

Go through the list. Only the StarWars PSA, the Christmas Tree Jump and PowerTool Racing are really user generated content. 3 out of 20.

From there you have a contrived 12 days of christmas that is one of thousands of promos for Youtube users themselves trying to build a following. Is this social networking at its best?

From there we have commercials or promos for movies, tv shows, blenders, knives, music videos and for a phone company. Then we have the most popular of Youtube videos these days. The fake Porn thumbnail with headlines of: Britney, Paris, whoever, nude, in the shower, wherever, doing whatever. 5 of the top 20 are fake porn.

This is the future of TV and entertainment ?

Thats what Youtube has become. Fake Porn and Commercials. Sure there is still some fun stuff on there and being uploaded, but how long before fake porn just takes over? It was 9 of the top 20 for the week as I write this.

At CES, Michael Dell showed a historic cartoon showing what might have happened if ancients had access to personal computers (Dell computers of course), and he wondered outloud what Spielberg would be doing now if Shakespeare had been producing action movies in the 1500s.

I worry when we start thinking that video is more important than text.

If you haven’t read Neal Postman’s book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, you should.

I hope Google or someone can figure out a way to index all the good, wholesome, uplifting, educational, informative, appropriately entertaining and useful video content and filter out all the rest, at least for those of us who don’t want to fill our minds with garbage. Some of us still believe in the “law of the harvest”–that what you sow, you shall also reap. And some of us want to have all the positive benefits of technology without all the negatives.

Think about it. Stanford hosts the most successful investors and entreprenuers of all time and posts the full video interviews on their entrepreneur education web site. This is really valuablel stuff. Probably get a few thousand views each, if they are lucky. Meanwhile, YouTube gets millions of views of the fake porn videos that Mark Cuban refers to.

Makes you think about the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire and other civilizations that lost their bearing and got corrupted by entertaining themselves to death (sometimes literally).

Recent polls show that about a third of young people in the U.S. read the bible weekly, but a third have also watched a particularly violent TV show in the last month as well as a violent movie. If you add “a violent or raunchy” web video to the poll, I bet the numbers are much higher.

So if the Bible and Shakespeare and the classics keep fading from popular culture, and our minds become more and more filled with lousy UCG, what will our country look like in the next few decades, and how will we respond to the incredible economic and educational energy coming from China and India and elsewhere in the world?

As a social entrepreneur, I like to look for opportunities to counter the negatives that I see in our culture with new positive things that can be done with modern technology. My focus for the next few years will be on genealogy and connecting families using technology. But I admire other social entrepreneurs who find ways to use modern technology to improve our minds and solve all kinds of problems.

I’m especially excited about Google Book Search and the other projects that are underway to digitize all the books in the world. I haven’t seen any Hitwise or Comscore stats showing the usage of these online projects. But I’m interested to see how many people will use them. I fear that it will be only a fraction of the people who use video search.

Online video ad spend to grow from $410 million in 2006 to $2.9 billion by 2010

From E-Commerce Times:

Spending on online video advertising will soar throughout this decade with sales predicted to break the billion dollar barrier in 2008, according to a report released this month by research aggregator eMarketer.

This year’s outlay for Net-based video ads grew more than 82 percent over 2005, to some US$410 million. The forecast for next year’s growth is even higher: 89 percent, to $775 million, prevised the report, a copy of which was obtained by the E-Commerce Times.

It showed growth peaking in 2007, but sales continuing to climb for the rest of the decade, reaching $2.9 billion by 2010.

Does anyone know if there are any upcoming conferences that will focus on online video advertising, such as how to produce and place ads effectively? Who are the individual experts (speakers, bloggers) that we should be learning from?

Grudgingly Accepting Defeat, Utah Fan Devin Thorpe Sings BYU Fight Song on YouTube

Move over, William Hung!

Utah’s own Devin Thorpe has posted a video of his incredible rendition of the BYU Cougar Fight Song.

I think you’ll enjoy Devin’s video even more if you first relive the excitement of the final seconds of the BYU victory over Utah. Check out this YouTube video that someone show from the stands.

Better still is this television broadcast video showing the final play of the game. (It has more than 15,000 views already!)

Devin has more talent than I anticipated. And he went the extra mile by travelling to Provo to shoot the video adjacent to BYU Campus. Nice effort, Devin!

Devin and I had a public challenge going about who the winner of the recent BYU-Utah Football game would be. He promised what he would do if BYU won; and I countered with a couple commitments of my own.

Thanks to the last second touchdown pass from John Beck (#2 rated NCAA passer) to Johnny Harline (see this amazing photo of Johnny on his knees waiting for the ball to arrive–as a gift from heaven) in the best BYU-Utah game of all time, Devin gets to blog about my blog every day for a week, take me to a restaurant of my choice, and upload this video.

Please visit Devin’s post and Digg it (if you aren’t a registered user of Digg.com it takes only seconds to sign up) so that more people can enjoy the singing talents of Devin Thorpe. Make it a favorite on YouTube as well. Let’s see how many thousands of people all over the world can enjoy Devin’s public humiliation.

Go Cougars!

Internet stock investors: Bambi on Google

If I were an active investor in internet stocks, I would read everything that Bambi Francisco has to say, especially about the large internet companies. She has amazing prescience. I’ve been reading her for columns for years. Today she has an excellent post at AlwaysOn.

She has so many connections and so often has the inside story; but it’s her analysis that I like the most. Something she can do because she has been covering the industry for so long. She’s the Mary Meeker of internet journalism. If Mary blogged, I’d read her religiously too. (Mary was the #1 rated investment banking analyst of internet stocks for several years running. She wrote a report two weeks ago about the future of online advertising and how Google will benefit from the purchase of YouTube.) On Oct. 13th, the Wall Street Journal said Meeker values Google at $500 per share.

So back to Bambi. In her post today, Bambi explains how revenue follows eyeballs–even now, even years after the bubble burst.

Audiences and ad dollars always meet. I recall years ago, when search was considered a commodity.

Companies like Inktomi moved into the caching business, while others — Yahoo (YHOO), Lycos, Excite, AltaVista, etc. –quickly morphed into portals or were buried in other entities. The ad dollars would flow abundantly to portals, and transaction fees to online retailers, so most believed. Back in 2000, nearly $3.8 billion went into display ads vs. $109 million in paid search in the U.S., according to eMarketer.

Last week Google’s stock went on a tear. It hit a 52-week high this week. The market cap today is $145 billion. Compare that with Yahoo’s $33 billion and eBay’s $44 billion.

Bambi told 8,000 investors last Wednesday that she had turned bullish on Google only after it bought YouTube, because now it would be a leader in the social networking and video space, which has huge traffic share online but a very small percentage of advertising revenue so far. Like search back in 2000.

Social networks are estimated to attract $280 million in ad dollars this year, according to eMarketer. Online video-sharing sites are estimated to attract about $385 million. EMarketer estimates that $15.9 billion will be spent in online advertisements in the U.S. this year. That means social networks and video-sharing sites only attract about 1.8% to 2.5% of total online ad spending.

Investors who paid attention to Mary Meeker’s report two weeks ago or Bambi Francisco’s comments last Wednesday might have gotten into Google before the recent run.

But more importantly, since I’m a firm believer in the Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger approach to investing (make only a few bets in your entire life after reading and studying all you can and getting to know the company as if you were its owner, and then stick with those bets over a long period of time), I would keep an eye on Google for the next 5-10 years. I believe it will be worth more than Microsoft within a few more years.

In May 2004 I predicted Google would be worth more than Microsoft within 10-15 years.

In February 2005 I updated my forecast and listed 7 reasons why it wouldn’t even take 10 years.

Today I would guess that it will take less than 5 years and perhaps even only 2-3 years before Google is worth more than Microsoft. Acquisitions may play a role; but more importantly, each project that Google has launched (and has often been criticized for because they don’t become #1 overnight with them) is maturing. The pace of innovation at Google still exceeds all the other internet companies combined.

For the last decade, PC owners have found hardware prices plummeting but the cost of Windows and Office staying rather steady. It isn’t uncommon to pay as much or more for software than for hardware when you purchase a new PC.

But with Google’s recent moves in the spreadsheet and word processing space (when are they going to offer a free Powerpoint killer?), it won’t be long before we can buy a $300-500 PC without any Microsoft software on it and be as productive or more productive than ever before.

I’m not necessarily down on Microsoft. It will reinvent itself. Think about it. IBM is still worth $137 billion. It’s just a totally different business than it was 20 years ago. Microsoft will find its place in the post-Windows world, but it just won’t be making all the rules like it has for the last 10-20 years.

How many of you can live without Microsoft products today? And how many can see the time coming soon when Google will provide the OS as well as the free software applications that you and your team need to succeed? (And it will all be monetized through their most-efficient advertising engine.)

What do you think? And does it matter or not?

Since I write primarily to entrepreneurs, I’m especially eager to hear what Google’s strategy and success means to you as you make investment and business plan decisions.

Better than Rocketboom!

I heard about Rocketboom last year, a simple, short-format daily news video broadcast that has attracted millions of views. They have a growing archive, of course, and they use a simple web 2.0 tagging system to identify the topics that are covered in each broadcast. (See the Rocketboom Alexa chart.

When you visit Rocketboom, your first reaction is, anyone could do this. But the fact is, they did it, and they did it early in the online video revolution, and they are still doing it. Unfortunately, Amanda Congdon, the original Rocketboom news anchor left the site earlier this year. Now the anchor is Joanne Colan.

I swear that when I originally saw Rocketboom I thought about my friend Lindsay Campbell, an actress in New York with a degree from Stanford University. She was my assistant at “Infobase Ventures” (the predecessor to Provo Labs). After graduating from Stanford she got an MFA from a very fine acting school in Colorado.

I actually thought she would make a better news anchor than Rocketboom’s. I tried to figure out something that worldhistory.com or one of my other companies could do that might put Lindsay in front of a daily online video news broadcast. But I didn’t figure anything out and never approached her about it.

So imagine my surprise yesteday when I got an email from Lindsay saying that she is quitting her day job to become the news anchor for a new online video news site called WallStrip.com.

It’s a better concept than Rocketboom because it has a more narrow focus, but it will appeal to millions of people who owns stocks and who want to know how changing trends will affect the companies they have invested in.

It’s about the stock market. It’s about highlighting one stock each day that is close to a 52-week high and then going behind the scenes to figure out what is powering the growth of that stock. They will interview people, figure out what is going on in pop culture that is fueling each company’s growth. Then, on all the Wallstrip blogs, professional investors and others will debate the company’s prospects.

Today’s Wallstrip news story is on Apple Computer, whose growth is fueled by the iPod as well as the retail stores that Apple is opening.

So the bottom line is: better concept than Rocketboom. Better anchor than Rocketboom.

I’ve never hired a news anchor before, but I can tell good ones when I see them. I was a huge fan of Soledad O’Brien early on, back when I watched MSNBC’s The Site, one of the programs that fueled the internet revolution.

I am extremely happy for Lindsay and the founding team of Wallstrip.com, and I wish them well. I think their format is excellent. I think Lindsay is perfect for this job. Her career is going to take off. I always knew she would go places!

Howard Lindzon, the founder of Wallstrip outlines one of his goals on a recent blog post:

One of my goals out of Wallstrip is to create a deeper conversation, a better MEME for stock bloggers, market investors and enthusiasts.

The tech nerds have MEME

Free Seminar

My friends at Copper Rain Productions are offering a free seminar on how to use video to generate more leads, more customers, and more sales. Here is the info from their web site. Click here for more info and to RSVP.

What: Seminar: Show More. Tell More. Sell More.TM

When: Thursday, October 19th, 2006 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Where: Orem (Specific location will be provided to those who RSVP)

Who: Business Owners, Marketing Managers, and Sales Professionals
(Those responsible for filling prospect pipelines, converting prospects to sales, and gaining repeat sales.)

How Much: Complimentary (Thanks to our sponsors!)

I recently wrote a Connect magazine article about how everyone, IMHO, should be jumping into online video. I’ve watched what happens when videos get uploaded to YouTube and Google Video. I’ve seen web site conversion rate jump dramatically when online video is used.

This seminar would be a good way to learn more about how to use video if you are a marketing manager or business owner in Utah.

Jumping into Online Video

I wrote an article for Connect Magazine’s September issue about skating to where the puck is going, not to where it has been, and I specifically addressed online video. I encourage companies to rush into online video, to take advantage of this new trend, and gain a competitive advantage by being an early adopter.

There are so many ways to take advantage of the low cost of producing and distributing online video: marketing, PR, training, recruiting. The conversion rate of video can be much, much higher than of traditional online text or banner ads.

Yesterday at the Provo Labs open house, one of my friends told me that Current TV — the cable TV channel that plays only user generated content — is now paying producers of video content. Current uses its web site so internet users can vote on the best video segments. Then the company plays the best ones on its cable TV channel. This is a remarkable business model!

A couple months back Revenue Magazine had an excellent article written by its publisher about how affiliates are starting to use online video to increase conversion rates. That is the trend 10Speed Media is trying to lead.

It works! This past week 10Speed Media launched several test campaigns and achieved an overall result that thrilled me. Our team met yesterday and decided how our test campaign results are going to affect our strategy moving forward. The results suggest we should launch more campaigns (I think we have 35 more planned) so that we can determine which industries and merchants to focus on first.

Last week, a MarketingVOX article reported that at OMMA a panel of advertising executives agreed that 15 second online video advertisements are most effective.

Today, a press release reported on a survey of more than 2,000 consumers, which among other things explored the length of video advertisements they are willing to endure based on the size of the screen they are watching: cell phone, iPod, computer, vs. television. Here’s an excerpt.

For the first time consumer receptiveness to advertising by device and screen size was explored. Applicants were asked what the maximum length of an advertisement they

Mark Cuban on Becoming a Billionaire

Last night I caught part of Big Idea with Donny Deutsch on cable. Donny was interviewing billionaire Mark Cuban, who is one of the smartest entrepreneurs I’ve ever followed.

The best written article I’ve seen about how Mark turned Broadcast.com into a multi-billion dollar company is the chapter in Net Entrepreneurs Only, published around 2000, to highlight a dozen or so successful online entrepreneurs. The work ethic that Mark and his partner Todd had back then is nicely described there. Mark talked about it again last night. He described a typical work day.

He works from home most of the time. Never lets anyone call him on the phone (except his wife). If they want a phone meeting or if he needs to have a meeting in person, he arranges it through email. His wife has 2 girls, including a 6-week old girl, so Mark describes a typical day as involving playing with his girls, feeding them in the morning, he even mentioned watching the Wiggles and Stanley with his older daughter. He had a great daddy-gleam in his eye as he talked about his girls. He seems to care more about his family than anything else.

I think there are at least three major lessons we can learn from Mark Cuban. (I happen to have almost the exact same approach to work that he does, and is has taken me places, but not nearly as far as Mark. Not even close. So we’ll use Mark as the reason why internet entrepreneurs should adopt these practices.)

1. He reads like crazy and uses email like crazy and has access at his fingertips to all his correspondence for the last 15 years. The way he described it on the Big Idea was really cool.

(I have used Folio VIEWS for 16 years as my full-text database, and now I use gmail for my email archive. Someday I’ll combine the two into a single seach engine.)

Mark dives in deep to any new technology. He learns everything he can about it and talks to all the pioneers in developing it. He knows his stuff.

2. He is willing to do the blocking and tackling to build a business, even if it means thousands of hours of what others might think is tedious work.

He described launching AudioNet (the precursor to Broadcast.com) and working crazy hours doing nothing but posting on forums and emailing and doing everything possible to generate interest and usage of his internet sports radio channel.

3. Like Warren Buffett, who claims that being an investor made him a better business man, and being a business man made him a better investor, Cuban obviously does both, does them a lot, and loves them.

The reason he was able to sell his internet company at a peak valuation of $5.7 billion is that he had seen the hardware industry, the networking industry, and the software industry all go through bubbles. He sold a computer software company for $6 million in 1990, and started investing. So he knew some of the macrotrends in the investment industry and saw the internet bubble for what it was. He got out when he could.

He said, and he is 100% right, that most entrepreneurs aren’t willing to do the required blocking and tackling to build a successful company. John Bresee, at BackCountry.com, describes pretty much the same approach in the first few years of BackCountry.com. It was mostly going online all the time, trying to get links to your site, posting in usenet groups, on message boards and doing email. Same thing for the 2nd person at eBay. I remember reading that he used to answers something like 1,500 emails per day.

Most of the internet millionaires I know and the internet billionaires I’ve read about were completely willing to work 12-16 hours a day doing the most tedious possible things, like email and guerilla marketing, in order to get their companies in a position to win in their market.

How many of you are willing to do that? Have you ever spent till 2 or 3 in the morning working on your web site, visiting and posting on message boards, looking for the hundreds of online directories that should be linking to your company, finding email lists to advertise on, and visiting thousands of sites looking for the ones that ought to be your affiliates?

How many times have you done that? Would you be willing to do it many times a week, for several months, or even a year or two, to get your company in a position to succeed.

For some people, it might not be worth it. There is definitely more to happiness than financial success. And sometimes the pursuit of financial success costs people their health, family, friends, and peace of mind.

So it’s definitely not for everyone. But it is an essential ingredient in most entrepreneur success stories.

Another lesson I’ll point out, is that Mark Cuban is an avid blogger, and probably has one of the most interesting and controversial blogs in the world. He is never afraid to say what he thinks, no matter what fine the NBA might throw at him. He is incredibly smart and outspoken.

I have said before that every CEO should blog. It is so healthy for CEOs to be in touch with customers, employees, and to get feedback from everyone. And I love the transparency of blogging. That is healthy for companies.

If you are an internet entrepreneur, definitely check out the Mark Cuban blog regularly. He talks about trends that most people ignore. He got into HD TV when so many people ignored it, partly because he saw computer pricing drop over the years which led to a huge adoption rate, and he saw the same thing coming with plasma screens. He knows that we will all have amazing high-definition screens in multiple places in our homes in the coming years, and so just like with Broadcast.com where he and Todd went on a rampage and signed hundreds of licensing deals for audio content on the interenet in the first years in business, he repeated that approach with HDNet, and he is a leader in that marketplace now.

He has more ideas that he can handle himself, so sometimes he’ll throw things out that he won’t be doing personally, like this post about “3 ideas that are all yours.” Not well received by some of his readers (he has a TON of comments on his blog.)