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Google 10-K: &lsquoWe&rsquore a Media Business&rsquo and Other Tidbits

Google finally declared in its SEC 10-K filing that it was certainly a media business. &ldquoWe began as a technology enterprise and have evolved into a computer software, technology, Web, marketing and media organization all rolled into 1.&rdquo

Google reported that it created just over US$3 billion in revenues final year and warned that it wouldn&rsquot Rosdorf Park have the kind of very first quarter that it had in the fourth quarter of 2004. There&rsquos lots and lots of intriguing stuff there. Among the products that have been intriguing to me:

* Google mentioned that 99% of revenues were from marketing. (I expect Google to try and diversify sooner rather than later.)

* 66% of Google revenues have been from U.S.-based advertisers, with most of the international revenues coming from (as you could count on) Europe and Japan. (The fact that a single-third of Google revenues came from outside the U.S.&mdashand this is where more rapidly growth is taking place&mdashmakes the litigation in France all the far more substantial.)

* Google mentioned its &ldquoprimary competitors&rdquo are Microsoft and Yahoo. The company further said, &ldquoMicrosoft and Yahoo also may possibly have a greater capacity to attract and retain customers than we do since they operate Online portals with a broad range of content material solutions and solutions.&rdquo (That sounds like a bit Rosdorf Park of a suggestion of where Google is going.)

One more statement:

&ldquoWe believe that the brand identity that we have created has substantially contributed to the achievement of our organization. We Rosdorf Park also believe that preserving and enhancing the &lsquoGoogle&rsquo brand is crucial to expanding our base of users, advertisers and Google Network members. Maintaining and enhancing our brand may demand us to make substantial investments and these investments may well not be profitable. If we fail to promote and preserve the &lsquoGoogle&rsquo brand, or if we incur excessive expenditures in this work, our business, operating final results and financial condition will be materially and adversely impacted.&rdquo

All of these things taken together recommend that Google expects to lose some share, recognizes by implication that it needs to diversify revenues and perhaps broaden into a portal of sorts (they&rsquove mentioned
they&rsquore not a portal in the previous).

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Google expects to invest significantly additional on technologies and headcount in 2005. We could also see advertising and marketing dollars lastly getting spent to maintain brand strength. MSN and Yahoo! have clearly been spending for some time to boost their brands and search industry share. (BTW: I was told by MSN that the US$150 million was &ldquoway also higher&rdquo.)

Could 2005 wind up becoming even a lot more frenzied and competitive in the search space than 2004? Quick answer: Yes.

Pass the Tums and the aspirin.


Greg Sterling is managing editor of The Kelsey Group. He also leads The Kelsey Group&rsquos the Interactive Neighborhood Media system, focusing on regional Rosdorf Park search. Greg came to The Kelsey Rosdorf Park Group from TechTV&rsquos &ldquoWorking the Web,&rdquo the first national television show devoted to e-company and the Online.

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