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Are Google's Best Days In the Past?

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  • by intellitech (1912116) * on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:00PM (#35280704)

    ..does not mean they can't still turn a profit.

    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:14PM (#35280854) Homepage

      Google is clearly lacking in some key areas, most obviously social.

      Google is still untouched in search. A core internet technology.
      The glorified RSS feeds that are facebook and twitter have no relevance to that market.

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:27PM (#35281028) Homepage

        but their search is getting useless. link farms are still not being squashed, and they are allowing SEO scumbags to move results up the list for their clients who 9 times out of 11 dont have anything to do with the topic.

        Google needs to do the Iron fist thing on search SEO's and put any SEO trickery or linkfarms at the BOTTOM of all search results. My exclude list for Google searching is getting ridiculously long.

        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by somersault (912633)

          My [censored] is getting ridiculously long.

          All those penis enlargement ads are good for something at last

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @02:01PM (#35281498)

          You clearly don't understand the fundamental problem with "SEO trickery".

          Allow me to enlighten you.
          Google uses an algorithm to determine the relevance of pages. The problem is that SEO firms have reverse engineered that algorithm to the point where they can manufacture site rankings. As such Google's page ranking system can't tell the difference between a super relevant site, and a site that is lying about it's relevance but has the right answers to all the questions Google knows to ask.

          It is similar to how a Rorschach test doesn't work on someone trained in evaluating the test (they know how their answers will be interpreted and can therefore give the answers that will lead the tester towards the conclusion they want to get). Another analogy would be a spy attempting to seduce a mark. Assuming they spy has done his/her reaserch they should know what the mark looks for in a partner and since they're lying they can appear to be the perfect date, while an honest person would likley have some flaw that compared with the fictional persona of the spy will seem less desirable.

          There is no solution to that problem. At best Google can change their algorithm thus forcing the "SEO scumbags" to start over, but they will start over and they will again succeed. In truth the fact that it's taken this long for it to happen in the first place is rather commendable.

          • by 0123456 (636235)

            At best Google can change their algorithm thus forcing the "SEO scumbags" to start over, but they will start over and they will again succeed.

            Then Google will become less and less relevant as people move to other search engines with different algorithms, until they are also polluted to death by 'SEO scumbags'.

            A few years back I could actually find something useful by searching in Google, now I have to wade through so much crap that it's often easier to go to the closest Wikipedia page and follow some links from there.

          • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @02:28PM (#35281874)

            There is no solution to that problem.

            There are solutions to that problem. A human being can spot a link farm within seconds.

            And when seo can produce websites that I can't tell are link farms, good, because that means they'll have the useful information that I want on them.

          • At best Google can use its billions to employ real humans to identify bad sites. But that's anathema to Google's flawed technocratic ideal and would lose them loads of ad revenue from the squatters and the scrapers.

            Remember, if you're searching with Google then you're the product, not the client.

        • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @02:05PM (#35281558) Homepage

          People need search engines. You can bitch about it all you want, but unless there's a different company that can squash SEOs better than Google, they'll still own the market. And looking at hitslink they have a very stable 85% of the market. Unless you're seriously suggesting it's so bad that people will not search the Internet at all?

        • by ADRA (37398)

          And yet Google still remains my #1 used web site online. Some may only ever browse what others point you at, but I actually go out and find things. farms and SEO and the like may make searching more annoying, but it doesn't reduce my need to do so. Facebook or the like will never supplant that need.

        • by blair1q (305137)

          Apropos, I just this morning heard a commercial on the radio for a company that offers to ensure that positive results for searches for your company name appear in the upper results on Google, and negative information disappears into the nether pages.

          This war is on.

        • by symbolset (646467) *
          It's a continuous fight. For every system there is, there are a bunch of people trying to game the system. Google has to keep up the good fight, and they are. But this press thing is paid attacks - a PR campaign with low-level astroturfing. There is no reason not to love Google. Their whole job is to search the whole Internet for everything we want.
      • Sure, Google is still king of search, but it hasn't been able to get much traction in other areas (e.g. social networking). The article was written from an investment point of view not technological. As an investment GOOG has been disappointing for the past few years compared to other tech leaders. So this begs the question whether or not its "best days", as an investment, are past. It still remains to be seen whether Android will be able to contribute significantly to the company's revenue growth. The
      • by blair1q (305137)

        RSS is a broadcast medium.

        Twitter and facebook are direct person-to-person communications media. More like glorified email than glorified RSS. Email was core internet technology long before search existed.

        And don't underestimate their import. Neither of these companies has really commercialized its operations. Neither is public. Recent news indicates facebook just started a revolution in the middle east. I'm pretty sure search, even instant search, never did that.

    • Doesn't mean that their competitors wouldn't want to refer to google as dead or nonexistent.

      In the meantime, google has had it's screwups, and had it's successes, and is doing far better than it's competitors because competition is fucking lazy and doing a bad job. Surprise? Not really.

    • Speaking as somewhat of an expert on the subject there is no question that Google has changed from the hypergrowth, exciting, quasi utopian place it was. But similar to an adult reaching maturity its best earning years are still before it. Google's vaunted ethical standard has, ahem, issues, but to suggest these problems are on the scale as Microsoft would be deeply wrong. Google's corporate DNA still includes ethics as a driver, unlike some other companies I could mention (Sony, Microsoft, I'm looking at y

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Can we have a show of hands? Who believes this story is a little bit suspicious and might be part of an organized effort to spread FUD about Google?

      It could be competitors, it could be a hedge fund manager who just put on a huge spread of put options going out into June, or somebody with an iPad who's bored sitting in a waiting room waiting to get radiation treatments.

      Anyone who believes that this handful of stories, out of the ocean of press that comes out daily in the financial and tech media, comprises

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:00PM (#35280708)

    My perception:

    They are no longer the cool new guys tearing up the internet and being a company for the people. They are big, diversified, making money hand over fist, and have attracted the requisite controversy, criticism, and bad press that comes with being big and diversified and making money hand over fist.

    Despite everything, I still see them as one of the good guys. I think there’s always a severe whip back when you suddenly discover something that you thought was awesome is now merely ok. Google looks terrible when compared to what it was, but compare it to everything else and it looks pretty damn good.

    And (flamewar time) I continued to be baffled over all the flack they got over the stupid wifi thing. They came clean, admitted everything, co-operated with the investigations and people still tore them 12 new ones. Personally I think they should have been commended for admitting they made a mistake rather than going into full on cover up mode.

    To get back to the topic, it really required a definition of “Best”. Are they ever going to be the cool trendy upstart they once were: probably not. Are they going to continue making money hand over fist and growing like a spider until you shave with google razor blades: entirely possible.

    As for not innovating I still think they’ve got it in them. They’ve had a string of bad luck, and they’ve failed in the social area but I suspect they’ll pull something killer out in the next little bit.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:14PM (#35280856)

      And (flamewar time) I continued to be baffled over all the flack they got over the stupid wifi thing. They came clean, admitted everything, co-operated with the investigations and people still tore them 12 new ones. Personally I think they should have been commended for admitting they made a mistake rather than going into full on cover up mode.

      Maybe that reaction is why companies tend to go into cover up mode. If they really did make an honest mistake, what do they gain by fessing up and cooperating vs trying to hide it? The answer is nothing, and I think Google probably learned a bad lesson from the whole ordeal.

      I hate to say it, but most consumers and voters are short sighted idiots.

      • by Anrego (830717) *

        I think Google probably learned a bad lesson from the whole ordeal

        Yup. And anyone watching as well. I have a feeling no one is going to be as open as they were about a mistake again for quite some time.

    • by dstyle5 (702493)
      You had me at fried potatoes...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I agree with a lot of what you said. Especially the part about Google not being as great as when it was a start up, but still being pretty good. At least for me, I still have positive thoughts when I think of Google as opposed to some other tech companies, like Microsoft. Maybe it's just carry over from older days or because they talk a lot about open source, but I still like Google.

      Also I feel like this article was solely written to attract attention. The title and beginning of the article paint Google

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:24PM (#35280994)

      Bad press means, they kick the ass of competitors willing to pay persons to smear them. In the beginning they had no real competitors.
      Just look at the Smartphone. For Google that is just a trick. For Nokia it was vital.

      If they want an open confrontation with Microsoft they can, just for fun. Put 30 Mio annually on Wine development [winehq.org] and Windows is obsolete within 5 years. Or 50 Mio annually on Libreoffice [libreoffice.org] and the Microsoft Office cash cow would get slaughtered.

      • by AvitarX (172628)

        But neither of them are that helpful to Google.

        Mucking around with Office was a huge waste for Sun. Google is doing similar, but with a real chance at gaining from it (their docs). Perhaps if they could get truly seamless integration with the desktop app, and their cloud, it could be a win. But, I would think it's unlikely OSS is going to want to do that.

        Wine could actually be something for them, as at least for now, Linux tends to default towards google searches (usually through the distro). Still, the mon

        • by mrrudge (1120279)
          I think Google's OS plans are to replace the need for Windows on a lot of devices and for a lot of people completely.

          A perfectly working Wine extends the life of Windows by (not) emulating it, and Microsofts biggest customers are still likely to buy the 'official' version, especially when the FUD starts ?

          I'd rather spend my millions working towards my customers using my product than an approximation of a rivals.
    • by BuR4N (512430)

      I agree with much of what you say, but diversified is not something I would label Google, they sell ads, and it accounts for +90% of their revenue, then they have a small cloud operation going, but if anyone would eat into their ad business they would be toast.

    • I could hardly agree more.

      In addition, as a heavy Google user (Android and about a dozen non-Android Google services), I've got to say that they're still innovating at a pace that's dizzying at times. Hell, 2-step-verification nearly gave me a nerdgasm... the latest Android version of Google Maps... Honeycomb...

      I can't wait for more...

    • Google Razor, the fast shave available.

      Try new Google Instant Razor (beta), it starts shaving as soon as you pick it up.

    • by Solandri (704621)

      And (flamewar time) I continued to be baffled over all the flack they got over the stupid wifi thing. They came clean, admitted everything, co-operated with the investigations and people still tore them 12 new ones. Personally I think they should have been commended for admitting they made a mistake rather than going into full on cover up mode.

      Because what they did was still wrong. If someone admits to robbing a bank and returns the money and says sorry, you don't pat them on the head, tell them how good

    • by bloodhawk (813939)

      And (flamewar time) I continued to be baffled over all the flack they got over the stupid wifi thing. They came clean, admitted everything, co-operated with the investigations and people still tore them 12 new ones. Personally I think they should have been commended for admitting they made a mistake rather than going into full on cover up mode.

      What is there to be baffled about? They broke the laws in literally dozens of countries, laws that send other people to jail. They are supposedly one of the best technical companies out there yet they blundered so incredibly badly from a technical standpoint. Do you let a murderer or thief off just because they came forward and are incredibly sorry for their actions? While intentions do allow a certain amount of lenancy, ignorance has never been an acceptable defense.

    • by syousef (465911)

      Despite everything, I still see them as one of the good guys.

      Do you believe in Santa Claus and The Tooth Fairy too? Companies aren't a force for good. They're a force for making a profit.

    • by TheEyes (1686556)

      They are no longer the cool new guys tearing up the internet and being a company for the people. They are big, diversified, making money hand over fist, and have attracted the requisite controversy, criticism, and bad press that comes with being big and diversified and making money hand over fist.

      Specifically, they're taking fire from all sides these days. It's been revealed that Microsoft is astroturfing against Google by paying "partners" to shill against it; no doubt other companies are doing the same. At the same time, media companies are scared of Google TV, Google News, Google Books, and other initiatives to increase customer choice in the media market and weaken the stranglehold that media conglomerates have over the US media landscape, and so are quickly joining on the anti-Google bandwagon.

    • I agree with you but wanted to add and maybe emphasize a point: open standards. I can't think of another big company that is pushing open standards in the same way with the same enthusiasm as Google is. They are helping to foster diversity in the browser market in a way that no other for profit company has done before (if you can think of a better example, let me know, really). Whether or not Chrome takes the lead in browser market share doesn't matter to them. What mattered to them, and me, is that they
  • Gee! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hjf (703092) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:03PM (#35280752) Homepage

    Gee! Some attention-whore journalist/blogger (I think that's redundant) claims google is dead, it MUST BE TRUE!

    I won't believe it until Netcraft confirms it.

    • Tragedy today, as former leading search engine Google was eaten by wolves.

    • by idontgno (624372)

      Really.

      Is this the first time the "Steven King is dead" slashtroll got onto the front page? Seems to me it isn't, but I may have mercifully forgotten specifics.

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      It's a troll, and not a particularly clever one.

      Google is still untouchably dominant in search (their bread and butter). They're still the number one in online advertising (their juicy, profit making sandwich filling). Their mobile OS is now outselling most of their rivals (er... their sturdy lunchbox? yeah, I'm going to leave this analogy now). One of their executives arguably just triggered the overthrow of the Egyptian dictatorship (how many Silicon Valley firms can say that?). They're incredibly wealthy

  • oh rly. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:06PM (#35280780)

    You expect me to take a google critique seriously from someone running asp.net?

    • Re:oh rly. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SQLGuru (980662) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:14PM (#35280852) Journal

      Actually, it look more like Classic ASP. I don't see much in the source that would indicate otherwise. (ASP.NET tends to be -- isn't required, but tends to be --- .ASPX, not .ASP).

      So, not only is the guy running on the Microsoft stack, he isn't even that current in it. I'm not sure I'd put too much creedence in any topic he discusses.

  • by Reapman (740286) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:08PM (#35280800)

    To answer the summary: No

    I'd elaborate, but decided to go with the same depth this "summary" provides.

    • I think this was actually more informative than the article. Let alone the summary. "People in Egypt are not naming their babies "Google" therefore it is dying." ?!?

  • Marketshare (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:09PM (#35280812)

    Not to rip on an article that's just a bunch of one-sentence summaries of other articles and a saucy eyebrow-raise, but the 1% drop cited in the article is in search marketshare. The total value of search ads went up by about 10% in the same period, meaning that Google's revenues almost certainly grew over that period. It's just that they grew slightly more slowly than the newcomers.

  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by doubleplusungodly (1929514) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:09PM (#35280814)
    A pretty large majority of the article went into arguing that just because Google lacks good social networking tools, it is declining. What kind of logic is that?
    • Hell if I know. When I found out that was his "reasoning", I stopped listening to him. Oh noes, only social networking sites can run a successful business! Because people aren't raving in the streets about how great Google is, they're on death's doorstep! This author is an idiot.
    • by kiwimate (458274)

      If you see social networking as being a genuine paradigm shift rather than just a segment of the market, then it's pretty solid logic, actually. It's the same kind of logic that said Microsoft had no choice but to bolster their game when it became apparent they were lacking on the internet side of the game, back when Netscape Navigator was king.

      * And yes, I used the word paradigm because it's appropriate in this context. Don't attack the supposed buzzword; respond to the argument I make, please.

    • (begin all caps) zomg social networks are going to replace email, search, im, subversion, ssh, and dynamically loadable kernel modules!!! singularity lol! (end all caps)

      Social networking is clearly an important and growing field, but let's try to keep things in perspective.

    • by pz (113803)

      A pretty large majority of the article went into arguing that just because Google lacks good social networking tools, it is declining. What kind of logic is that?

      Especially since Google owns Orkut, a, um, social networking site.

      http://www.orkut.com/About.aspx [orkut.com]

      And, actually, it was one of the first, and I understand it to be big in India and Brazil. According to the Wikipedia article on Orkut [wikipedia.org], the social networking site that the author of the OP's article is ignoring is flirting with the top 100 most visited sites in the world.

      The conclusion? Poor journalism. Again. What is up with Taco these days? He knows better.

  • by aplusjimages (939458) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:10PM (#35280820) Journal
    Never mind I'll just Yahoo it.
  • Google is successful and will continue to remain successful both in a quality product sense and a fiscal sense because of one thing, they continue to think like a startup instead of a conglomerate. Things like 20% time have been major assets to their success, and as long as they keep that focus on fresh ideas from within, Google will continue to be successful. A few stumblings here and there aside.
  • by Mr.Fork (633378) <edward...j...reddy@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:14PM (#35280862) Journal
    ...when you have the best search engine, tied to the best internet ad support, tied to great free thought-provoking-industry changing office products, map tools, tool bars for your browser, chat tools, phone tools, and it all comes from ONE company. What else can you do when everyone is watching every move, ever senior management comment, every action?

    Then again, it does beg to ask, is this typical media bullsheit with typical negative stories that are solely geared towards making money rather than a balanced approach to news reporting? When does the news cross the line when it starts focusing on areas that it's owners have a vested interest in ensuring their 'enemy' is bashed at every opportunity? Is this really a sponge-worthy story?
  • Google's bad press? Well, they do want to be like Apple. It comes with the territory.

  • Not a great article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jim Hall (2985) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:18PM (#35280892) Homepage

    I read the article (it's not that long) but let me save you the trouble: it's not a great article. In fact, it's pointless. You don't need to read very far before he presents his conclusion:

    While Google is still clearly riding high in the general consumer market, it seems to have lost its innovative edge, the one variable that always seemed to help it stay ahead of the market. But whether the company has peaked or not is still an open question.

    Emphasis mine.

    So the tech writer (Ron Miller) doesn't know either. He presents both sides, and seems totally unsure about what he's talking about. To summarize the article:

    • Facebook and Twitter got the tech attention during the Egypt riots, not Google. [Not sure what his point is, here.]
    • JC Penney's tampering with their search results
    • Google might lose ground to vertical search in the future
    • Google dropped 1% in comScore

    But:

    • Google still controls 2/3 of the market, and 1% not a trend.
    • Google doing well with Android
    • Bing not a threat
    • It's all about perception, anyway.

    So yeah, this was a pointless article.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:18PM (#35280904)
  • Google's not dead yet, and as long as they continue to dominate search and a few other niches(Maps, email), they'll be alive.

    This would be like asking if Apple's best days are in the past when they were going through their revolving door of CxOs. If asked then, the answer would've been overwhelmingly "yes."

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:27PM (#35281018)

      Google's not dead yet, and as long as they continue to dominate search and a few other niches(Maps, email), they'll be alive.

      The problem is that they're trying to dominate search by making it 'smarter', with the end result that it increasingly sucks. Most times I look for anything out of the ordinary using very clear search terms I end up with 90+% of the results being crap I don't want because it 'intelligently' decided that I wasn't looking for what I was asking it to search for.

      So I'm definitely looking for a better alternative for searches which isn't trying so hard. Yeah, I know I can put magic characters in the search thing so it actually searches for the thing I asked it to search for, but I shouldn't have to do that.

  • isnt this why sergei and larry sacked schmidt recently ? because he was taking google away from the principles, and causing anti-consumer scandals ?
  • The insane privacy violations, hand-to-mouth relationship with the Feds, crappy search results, blah blah blah. There are a lot of corporations run by douche bags that I'm forced to interact with every day. Will I still use Google? Yes? Do I have my Applehead loyalty to them any more? No!

    • by Tuan121 (1715852)

      Will I still use Google? Yes? Do I have my Applehead loyalty to them any more? No!

      Well, will you still use Google?

  • Turned to gold, eh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LeoZ (1180331) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @01:45PM (#35281254)
    So everything that Google's touched has turned to gold? Like Gmail where you can't sort emails by sender or by subject? Where emails whose subject lines match existing label filters still end up in the Spam folder? Where searching doesn't always work in the spam folder? Or Google Groups where (last time I checked about a year ago) you couldn't integrate a Google Calendar into your Google Group and, instead, had to use an external link? Or Google Documents where you can't create columns in a text document? Or Google Maps where, up until this year, you couldn't clear your search results without having to refresh the page? My point is that Google starts projects but doesn't finish them. When Google actually decides to focus on completing existing projects then they'll start turning things to gold. Until then....
  • by kwishot (453761) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @02:00PM (#35281476)

    The numbers speak for themselves:

    Chrome release: September 2008
    Chrome market share; Dec 2009: 4.63%
    Chrome market share; Feb 12011: 10.7%

    Android release: September 2008
    Android smartphone market share; Q1 2010: 9%
    Android smartphone market share; Q4 2010: 33%

  • Many year ago, I used to bookmark various search engines. Everyone knew Yahoo, Google was only for the "in the know" crowd. If you didn't find it there, you went to Alta Vista, or Excite, or lycos, or some other engine that I bookmarked because I never used it enough to remember the name. I don't bookmark search engines anymore, I just Google it. Even even if I need a Babelfish translation, I Google "babelfish".

    Gmail beats yahoo mail. While yahoo seems to do a pretty good job of filtering spam from my yahoo

    • Oops, I left out Android. From 0% to ~33% market share in 2 years. Yep, Google is definitely on the way down.
      • by EpsCylonB (307640)

        interesting that none of those things by themselves would generate much money

        would you pay to do a google search or would you just use a free alternative instead?

        • interesting that none of those things by themselves would generate much money

          Google's bottom line suggests otherwise.

  • A site that has an article telling us how "nosql databases go mobile" isn't one that I take too seriously.
  • by PinchDuck (199974) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @02:18PM (#35281738)

    in 2 years. Yeah, they're moribund.
    Whatever.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @02:53PM (#35282230) Homepage

    The article is from some clueless blogger type, and reads like something from a content mill.

    Google does have problems. The biggest one is that most of their "products" lose money. YouTube finally has become ad-heavy enough to make money, the first product other than search to go into the black. Google buys market share by giving stuff away, but revenue usually doesn't follow. Being #1 in giving away mail service isn't a business. Android, as a business, loses money. Google has never had a second killer profitable product, and not for lack of trying.

    On the search front, Google's defenses against spam are weak. That's technically fixable, but fixing it would cut into the 30% of revenue that comes from AdSense sites, most of which are junk. Google's recent bad press stems from their addiction to revenue from junk sites.

    As for "social", that looks like a bubble. Facebook is way overpriced as a company. Facebook already has so much obnoxious advertising that it's hard to see where they can generate more revenue without becoming even more annoying. Facebook tried a phone once; it was called Helio. Didn't work.

    Google does have a "social" system, Orkut, It's #1 in Brazil but nowhere else, much to the annoyance of Google executives.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @04:14PM (#35283136)

    Culturally, Americans seem to have a problem with leaders. They have a strong inclination to rally behind the underdog, or at least whoever manages to continue effectively marketing themselves as such.

    The perception is that Google is a leader, so it's inevitable that we're starting to hear that their best days are supposedly behind them. I don't know how the hell Apple pulls it off, but they continue to maintain this perception that they're an anti-establishment underdog.

    I can appreciate the desire to root for the small guy, but people sometimes take it to the point of being irrational, especially when people are completely ignorant about the reality behind all the marketing.

  • by hesaigo999ca (786966) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @05:00PM (#35283632) Homepage Journal

    Ok, how much is M$ crapola paying you to come up with these stupid articles, I mean come on, really?
    Think to write some stuff to slam google even though there is no credible thing you are saying in your article, just makes you look plain dumb!
    And citing a website that is owned by an former M$ employee that is now self employed as a blogger sure amounts to wishwash if you ask me...do you know how to WHOIS? Of course I will get blasted by all those who favor M$ but then again, guess what.....IDC

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