Facebook, Google & Beyond: Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz & Ben Elowitz of Wetpaint Debate the Future of Information and Relationships
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Googley approach, where I will develop a machine system of bonusing based on our ability to create machines that achieve human connections, right?”
RF: “Sounds pretty smart to me.” (Laughter)
BE: “It is smart, and I’ll make fun of him for it, but its very Googley. Even better is to really understand it. They’ve got to do some hiring, they’ve got to do some acquisitions. They should buy Color. [The social photo-sharing startup that recently turned lots of heads by raising $41 million in venture capital before its service even debuted to the public.]
RF: “They should buy Color?!”
RF: “How many users does Color have?”
BE: “It’s not for the users, it’s for the DNA. They should buy Quora.”
RF: “Oh, I see. …
BE: “At whatever the price. Because they don’t have the DNA. Because they think about everything so mechanically. And that’s what’s been rewarded by people in their system, so they need it to be a fresh start.”
Elowitz pointed to relationships as the new valuable currency online, particularly for media producers like his company. Fishkin points out that, instead of being left behind by the rise of social media, Google is assembling a wide array of sources to make search stay relevant in a socially connected world.
BEN ELOWITZ: “Google is an antisocial world with no relationships. It’s purely transactional. And so for media companies, there’s no question that Google has been a giant fragmenter of media, and saying the album no longer matters, and it’s the single piece of content … I don’t care who it comes from, all I care about is give me the ‘most relevant story.’ Google, you decide.
Which is a very scary trend in media, because how do you figure out what the relationship is between you and an author, how do you know who to trust? And on the other hand, Facebook is this environment that says, ‘No, no, let’s rebuild relationships, starting with relationships between you and your friends, and then you as a source.’
And then Facebook can start to do things like say, ‘If you trust these sources, I know who else might, too.’ And it can be useful, with real people behind it all. For media that’s incredibly valuable. You’re getting rid of Google as the intermediary.”
RAND FISHKIN: “And it puts so much more value in the brand, which Google’s talked about for years but never been able to implement truly successfully, because the relationship—there’s no platform for the relationship.”
BE: “Google’s a wrecker of relationships. It’s ‘Where do I get the lowest price? What’s the most relevant topic for this query, for this transaction?'”
RF: “I have built a great relationship with eHow, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” (Laughter)
BE: “I’ve built a relationship with eHow based on my back button.” (Laughter)
RF: “You don’t need to know how to drink a glass of water?”
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