Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
First off, I am only selling 6%, which is a drop in the bucket. It's enough to buy myself a little home upgrade, and a lifetime supply to shop at Woot.com. But, hey, I'm not the only one. Don't forget, Sergey and Larry also recently sold a ton of stock (about 17% over the next 5 years).
But let's be honest, any economist will tell you that Google won't last forever, because no company can. In fact, we may be well at our peak, and here's 8 reasons why:
1. Do No Hardcore Evil: Google is getting a lot of negative feedback which I can't stop; including myself. I am often portrayed as an evil villain, while Larry Page is still a young, suave, vivacious, techno Facebook-hippy. It probably doesn;t help that we are putting newspapers out of business, while they can simply promote negative PR against us. Who would have though? Such negative perceptions of us will hurt the brand over time, and our bottom line; why you ask? Check out point #2.
2. We are a monopoly: Not just in France, but according to countless others (1, 2, 3). With the precedent in France, it's a downhill slide. Sure we push a lot of people around, buy out our competition, promote our sites above other companies in Google to steal their traffic, tell people they cant create empty, value-less sites while doing it ourselves; all while putting countless companies and industries out of business, etc.... Getting broken up would not be a surprise, but we got a lot of backlash when we tried to buy ITA. As a result, all the big travel sites will eventually go out of business, like Kayak, Travelocity, Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, SideStep, Priceline, Orbitz, CheapFlights, CheapTickets, Travelzoo, BookingBuddy, and 1,000's of other travel comparison shopping sites--remember we control the SERPs, and like to push our own sites above the paid listings of businesses; but I got no qualms with that.
3. Market cap reached: Who doesn't use the internet by now, and who doesn't use Google? Right, nobody! And it's not like we can squeeze more money out of users--read on...
4. Users are wising up: They are already starting to realize that the entire top part of the search results are paid ads, and clicking less on them. It's no longer true that 56% of search users do not recognize the difference between a natural and a paid ad. We tried forcing more down their throat with Google Suggest and Google Instant, so that all they see are paid ads, but the effect is already starting to wear off. Additionally, advertisers are starting to get smart and do SEO, cutting out some of their ad spend with us.
4. The middle-man effect: People are increasingly going directly to sites, skipping Google search. Facebook overtook us in being the #1 visited site last year, and Groupon is taking away much of our local advertising revenues. Social websites are taking up people's time. The more time people spend on Google properties, the more money we make, and social sites like Facebook are hogging people's time up. I find myself shopping on Amazon.com almost exclusively since they have everything, at good prices, and good service. Why search for most products on Google anymore? Niche sites are being replace by the big players, due to customer loyalty, and big brand growth online.
5. With the failure to buy Groupons for 6 billion dollars, Travelocity blocking our reviews, I smell the beginning of hard times for us.
7. Mobile phones are not as exciting as we had hoped. It's hard to convince users to click on paid ads on a regular computer, let alone a mobile browser. As you know, mobile was our big investment in recent years.