Google Base Comments

Gbase google launching a classifieds aggregator and listing service is big exciting news for web 2.0. for me it just hastens the world of free data that we’re inevitably headed for. if you go back one of my posts from a few days ago (forgetting which) i talked about exactly this or was that an email to a vc (it’s late and i’m not sure).

my point was that google started with news. they aggregated it and became the first place to look. if your news wasnt crawled – ie. your data wasnt free – it now doesnt exist for 30% of net users. this will play itself out with every category. ask google for bmw’s for sale. you wont find ebay’s because they dont allow crawling. i dont think you’ll find either. you will find craigslist. lets see, who has the better economic model…ebay and cars pay huge marketing dollars to get us to remember to check their site while craig just lets you list for free and then google show it for free. he doesnt make money on that transaction but i’m guessing he could make a ton from every car advertiser and leadgen company out there if he wanted to.

i’m not sure whether i believe that people will have much incentive to list with google, especially if they decided to charge you like adwords. but i do believe that people will be happy to search on google and thats all they need to monetize this traffic. in fact adwords is already set up to enable this but will just get more specific and valuable.

here’s an ironic comment from craig donato in arguing that google shouldnt be going into the classifieds aggregation business.

"As soon as you start competing with some of the people that you are indexing, it creates a completely different dynamic," said Craig Donato, chief executive of, a search engine that pools listings from dozens of classified advertising sites.

now i have a ton of respect for craig and the companies he’s built directly and indirectly, but craig, this doesnt make sense. i must be missing something. arent you running a service that scrapes other classifieds sites but doesnt allow your own to be scraped?  arent you competing with the sites that you are ‘indexing’?  isnt the hope for oodle that people will go to you first and then click on ads you sell while looking at classifieds from other sites.  i get that you’re not allowing users to create listings but seems like a small diff.

7 thoughts on “Google Base Comments

  1. Hi Mark,
    I wasn’t trying to make a value judgement on what Google is doing. I only wanted to note that they’ve crossed a line.
    Up until this point, Google has take the role of the “pure” search engine (v. portal) and maintained a neutral stance with respect to the content in their index. I admired that they wanted to get users off their site as quickly as possible.
    Now they will be in the business of generating content and competing with the publishers in their index. Not an evil thing to do, just very “portal-like”.
    To directly respond to a few of your open questions…
    “arent you running a service that scrapes other classifieds sites but doesnt allow your own to be scraped?”
    Nope. We are heavily crawled by google, yahoo, msn, etc.
    “arent you competing with the sites that you are ‘indexing’?”
    Nope. We’re not in the business of selling classified listings. Our aim is to focus on the needs of buyers who want to quickly see all the listings that are out there.
    “isnt the hope for oodle that people will go to you first and then click on ads you sell while looking at classifieds from other sites.”
    Yes, we want to be the first stop for buyers. I think the classified experience for buyers stinks (which is why I started Oodle). If we can better serve buyers by making it easy for them to find what they’re looking for, we in turn help sellers and those in the business of selling them advertising.

  2. Mark, this is good point, though I personally feel its tough to comment on Google Base without really knowing it a little more than from a screen shot.
    The points you raise about Oodle and if I relate them to the Freebay post, an important thing for vertical search engines is value-add. (in light of Craig’s response) If Oodle is merely search a bunch of classifieds, I am not sure there is enough value for me a user. The classifieds pain points is multi-fold
    (1) searching all listings from 1 place
    (2)organizing the listing based on parameters that are not just algorightmic but understand the users need. I most likely won’t click through to the 2nd or 3rd page. So how do you decide the first 10 listing?
    (3)decision making in where to buy from (if the item I want is listed in multiple market places by multiple seller)
    This search result: is really confusing to me!

  3. Mark, in this post and in your freebay post you repetedly say that eBay don’t allow others to crawl its listings . Its not true ,infact there is a active Search engine optimization team in eBay which does everything it can to make the eBay listings rank well on Google .
    Also with their affiliate program anyone can display eBay listings in their website and also get paid commissions for the leads/sales they generate (kinda adsense but paid for performance not click)

  4. Google Base, Ebay Such

    I want to point everyone to an interesting conversation about google base. It started with comments by mark pincus about google base and how he thought players like oodle were soo off-base (sorry, just couldnt resist that). Craig Donato of oodl…


  6. does anyone reading this know where i can find someone to set my inventory up on google’s what my web pages look like.ACC Football Championship Tickets
    American Idol Tickets
    Arizona Cardinals Tickets
    Atlanta Falcons Tickets
    Baltimore Ravens Tickets
    Boston Red Sox Baseball Tickets
    Buffalo Bills Tickets

  7. We are in a similar market as Google Base but our product gives structure (while still not imposing any set of predefined categories) to our index and therefore makes it possible for users to not only perform keyword search but also browse hierarchically with the ability to specify unlimited number of filters to refine their search.

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