Okay, okay. This Steve Jobs presser parody video was too hard to pass up

The weird thing is, despite Steve Jobs being the butt of the joke below, most of my Apple-fan friends will see this as a “tribute piece.” I guess that’s why it’s called irony.

As a reminder to those just catching what has accidentally become “a series” of posts, I’ll not that my recent rants have not complained about Apple products — even the iPhone 4, which I own — but on the surreal way in which the company responded to the complaints about the antenna, specifically the way in which the company first denied and ignored the complaints for 22 days. And then, when they called a press conference for hand-picked friendly journalists, they used it to mock those who complained about the antenna (the opening video) and point fingers at competitors and use profanity to describe the media in such a way as to invite the following:
Steve Jobs iPhone 4 Press Conference: The CollegeHumor Version:

Google collects a 32% sales commission on ads it sells for non-Google websites

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Today, “in the spirit of greater transparency with AdSense publishers,” Google posted a message on its AdSense Blog that 68% of the revenue that Google collects for ads appearing on AdSense partners websites (i.e., websites that are not owned by Google) is “shared”‘ with the publisher.*

In the past, Google has never reported such a “publisher share” of revenues. However, in this January 16, 2006 article in the New York Times, such a figure was used without citation of a source:

“Google.com and the company’s foreign search sites contribute more to Google’s bottom line than AdSense, because for every dollar the company brings in through AdSense and other places that distribute its ads, it pays roughly 78.5 cents back to sites…that display the ads.

Again, there was no citation for the 2006 78.5¢ figure that the Times characterized as “a shadow payroll.” I, however, did characterize it (as I have since about 2003) in this post on that same day as not being a “share” or “shadow payment” or, as Steve Baker called it, “a payback”, but described it as a classic advertising sales agency commission model — one in which Google was collecting a 21.5% commission.

While I continue to characterize that portion of the revenue Google retains as a “commission,” Google never will label it such, as doing so would dramatically lower their top-line revenue number. In their quarterly and annual reporting, they treat the total amount paid by the advertiser as gross revenues and label the publisher portion as “Traffic Acquisition Costs” or “TAC.” As I have said regularly for years, calling it “traffic acquisition costs” is akin to your realtor describing the 94% of the sale price you pocket on the sell of your house as their “buyer acquisition costs.”

I feel, without a doubt, Google’s lawyers and accountants are spectacularly savvy and I’m sure there are very sound reasons they can accurately call the publisher portion of gross revenues as something Google “shares” rather than describing the portion they extract “a commission.” And, to be clear to any and all such savvy lawyers and accountants, I’m in no way remotely suggesting Google is doing anything that is mis-applying names of century old business practices. I’m merely suggesting that water fowls who quack and waddle are called ducks.

Also, for the record, (despite the New York Times’ 2006 ten-percentage points higher figure of 78.5% going to publishers vs. the transparently reported 68% that actually flows the publishers’ way) I think the one-third commission rate is fair as it includes all of the marketing and sales-support costs typically incurred by the publisher.

*The post also revealed the “publishers’ share” on “Adsense for Search” that originate on a publisher site is 51%. The 51% “search” share is, in my opinion, not a commission as the revenue is being generated on incremental advertising inventory created by content provided by Google.

Googling the meaning of open

The official Google Blog has a long, long Bill Clintonesque essay on the “meaning of open” that goes on and on with nuggets like this:

“The topic of open seems to be coming up a lot lately at Google. I’ve been in meetings where we’re discussing a product and someone says something to the effect that we should be more open. Then a debate ensues which reveals that even though most everyone in the room believes in open we don’t necessarily agree on what it means in practice.”

It’s a long essay and, frankly, a bit dense for such a topic as “open.”

So, here’s my attempt to translate the essay into what they “meant” to say:

1. Open means whatever Google says it means, just google it if you don’t believe us.
2. Open means what Google’s competitors don’t do — read the open space between the lines.
3. Open means what Google’s detractors don’t want. Rupert Murdoch, for example. He’s un-open.
4. Open means un-closed. (See: “closed”)
5. Open means something Google can give away for free but still control.
6. Open means something that Twitter isn’t.
7. Open means something that Facebook isn’t.
8. Open means something that Microsoft isn’t.
9. Open means something that Apple isn’t.

In the spirit of openness, I am confessing: I didn’t actually read the essay.

No, Virginia, the Apple Tablet is a big fat Fairy Tale

Dear Rex:

I am 8 years old.

Some of my little friends say that Apple will be coming out with a cool device that’s like an iPod Touch or iPhone, but only bigger — you know, like the rumor you started spreading in 2006 and lots of times since then. Something like what Chris Messina called an iPad Touch back in 2007.

Papa says, ‘If you see it on RexBlog.com, it’s so.’

Please tell me the truth; is there a going to be an iPad Touch next year?

Virginia O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street


dear virginia

Sorry, kid. Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the reality distortion of Mac fan boys and Apple rumor site bloggers jittered-up on Red Bull. Your friends sound like the type who would believe any rumor or photo-shopped concept — anything they see (i.e., if they blogged, they’d be on Techmeme every day). They think that nothing can’t be if they can make it up in their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be Apple bloggers or CNet or stock analysts who follow Apple, are little — well, except maybe for John Gruber’s. In this great universe of ours, Mac fan boys have imaginations that are as boundless as the world about them, unfortunately they don’t have the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

No, Virginia, there will be no Apple iPad Touch. Not this Christmas. And, face it, sweetie, maybe never.

Unfortunately, in a perfect world, Steve Jobs’ love and generosity and devotion to those fan boys would mean he’d provide them the device they believe would raise their life to its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary the world is because Mr. Jobs went years believing no one reads books, so why would anyone need a device that some idiotic reporter will surely describe as an “ebook reader” Kindle-killer. I hate to tell you, Virginia, as creative a man as Mr. Jobs is (he makes Santa and his elves look like slackers), he can sometimes be rather dreary about ideas that other people come up with — especially if they remind people of the Newton.

Frankly, Virginia, it’s time for you and your little friends to grow up. Apple doesn’t always do what customers want, despite all the hype. Kids like you and your friends need to grow up and drop that childlike faith in Apple. If you’d quit worshiping them so much, it might make it easier to tolerate their existence.

Virginia, learn to enjoy Apple products, but stop worshiping the company. The eternal light which Apple products fill is pretty cool, But you need to unsubscribe to RSS feeds of all Apple rumor blogs.

Believe there will be an iPad in February! You might as well believe Tiger Woods has stopped cheating on his wife. You might get your papa to hire men to go out to Cupertino and threaten Apple to go ahead and launch the damn thing, or, if not, just go ahead and put out an announcement that they aren’t really going to come out with such a device because they’re afraid of the Kindle, or some device called the Nook-e-book reader or JooJoo or the SI Tablet.

But what would that prove?

It would prove that nobody gets to talk with Steve Jobs, because those guys your papa would hire won’t make it past the Cupertino city limits. Face it Virginia: The Apple iPad is one of those things in the world that neither children nor men can see — but a Mac fan boy with Photoshop can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may create the greatest iPhone app and send it to Apple, but there is a veil at Apple covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart — and for no reason whatsoever, you won’t get your app approved. So what makes you think Apple is going to grant your little friends’ wish for a Tablet, much less one that is affordable to a bunch of 8 year olds. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside the Apple curtain and view the supernal beauty and glory beyond its walls — or so believe your friends. Is the Apple tablet for real? Sorry, Virginia, in all this world there has never been such vapor as the Apple Tablet iPad myth.

Your pal,
Rex signature

An Apple iPad in February? Thank God! it won’t happen. Thank God, because that means the rumor can live on forever.

A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, Mac fan boys will still be predicting there will be an Apple tablet in three months.

[Illustration: H. Caldwell Tanner]