Due diligence


Wow! Was this explained away to American Capital’s satisfaction? Or did the crew from Palo Alto manage never to look at it? Can anyone explain to me what triggered the drop? Was it a Geosign decision to stop buying AdWords after the big blab-off? Were they scared a Google clampdown would throw the upcoming deal away? Or did Google actully clamp down but only on True Local and not the other properties?

9 thoughts on “Due diligence

  1. You ask a lot of questions, Ann, but not so many answers… I always thought investigative journalism was supposed to be the product of investigation, not the method.

    Geosign’s business model and operations are not a secret within the industry – the answers you seek would have been available to you had you not started off by alienating your highest-potential sources.

  2. Ann is clearly using a good cop/bad cop, smart cop/dumb cop approach to this story.

    Oh, that reminds me, isn’t goodcopbadcop.com a great domain? And I just checked and found out no one’s taken it.

    I’m going to register it right away and get rich on the direct navigation traffic.

    Oh, whoops, did I say too much? You all stay away from my domain name. It’s mine, mine, mine.

    Shit, why did I have to go and shoot off my mouth.

  3. Actually, in all my years in this business, I’ve never done so-called investigative journalism or covered a story like this before.

    No one drove me to this. I discovered it myself by asking the very simple question — why on earth would anyone pay so much money for those crappy websites.

    I knew there had to be something else going on but had no idea what until, yes, deep throat let me know.

    To the anonymous poster in the number one spot, I did indeed phone Geosign shortly after the layoffs but the company was in lockdown mode. Kim Harrison, who I believe used to deal with the press wouldn’t even tell me her last name.

    Believe me, I know how to get interviews; these people weren’t talking. It had nothing to do with me alienating my highest potential sources. I hadn’t written one word when I approached Geosign for an interview.

    As for other people in “the industry,” SES world is a kind of bizarre place where the the players seem to like to mystify what they do and portray it as being too complex for normal mortals to figure out.

    If I write, “Ottawa is the capital of Canada,” someone will invariably respond, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. York ws the capital of Upper Canada.”

    In any case, if Geosign or anyone else thinks I’ve misrepresented the facts or any of the people involved I would be happy to print in full on this site any statement they e-mail me.

    That’s all for now.

  4. You are an ignorant fool. How dare you try and cover this story, which can only be comprehended by a bunch of super smart SEOs like me, me, me, even though I’m now out of a job and unlikely to find another one given my (lack of) skill set.

    Anyone who knows anything knows that Quebec was the capital of lower Canada, you poor imitation of an investigative journalist.

  5. “I always thought investigative journalism was supposed to be the product of investigation, not the method.”

    Huh???!!!????

    You have to ask questions to get answers.

  6. That plummeting drop in early December was the day Google banned Truelocal from buying traffic for their arbitrage pages; it coincided with Jake speaking about effective arbitrage at an industry conference. The myth is that there were Google people in the audience listening to him preach about how to essentially fool and humiliate Google, and they “called home” and put a stop to his crap with extreme haste.

    The Jake Baillie story is an interesting one. He’s a fascinating character, and his rise and fall at Geosign is reminiscent of a Greek tragedy.

    The myth is plausible. I suppose it might be true. But the effect was real – that Alexa graph shows how TrueLocal popped its artificially inflated traffic numbers.

  7. Jake B. was indeed leaving Geosign very very fast, according to his own farewell mail

    “Last week the opportunity to do something that I’ve always wanted to do was presented to me […] On January 1, myself and several employees from TrueLocal will be forming STN Labs, which will do exactly that.”

    That mail was apparently sent on 19/12. I think Geosign did not try too hard to keep him.

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