Just Say No to Google IPO

By David Coursey  |  Posted 2004-07-27 Print this article Print

Opinion: As the price goes up, Google's value goes down, argues David Coursey. Plus the terms are so bad, buyers won't really end up with much of anything.

Much has been made of the seeming unwillingness of Googles founders to take the company public. Its like they are being dragged kicking and screaming into a multibillion-dollar payday. The lead Googlians say theyre doing the IPO so investors can cash out, but as soon as that happens they will run the company without regard to the quarterly numbers that made Wall Streets heart go pitter-patter.
Google feels MyDooms blow. Read about it here.
So Google will be just like a private company that isnt. And the people who buy the 9 percent of Google thats hitting the public market will be treated like … well, it could be like they dont own anything! That should make for really fun annual meetings. For more than $100 a share, I say we should let Google keep its overpriced stock. Mark my words: Google is the Netscape of the new millennium. Well, the fall wont be so dramatic—Microsoft only sort of wants Googles head on a stick—but the selling shareholders are getting out while the gettings good. Its possible all the "odd" aspects of the stock offering are just PR stunts intended to more efficiently part fools from their money. Click here for more on Microsofts search plans. Something else Ive noticed is the closer we get to the Google IPO the less useful Google has become. The bad guys have clearly learned to spoof the search engine, so much so that sometimes the first page or two of results are liberally salted with pages from other search engines claiming to be search results. Its also not as easy to find what I want on Google. I cant say why, but I am starting to look at using multiple search engines again. Maybe you really cant decide the relevance of a particular page based on how many other pages are linked to it. Even the previously useful Google advertising of old now seems, likely as not, to be fill-in-the-customers-search-term-here ads from eBay and other vendors who really dont have much to offer me. Unless Google can do something quick to dramatically improve the quality of the results it presents, the search engine is in real trouble. But not to worry—most people wont pay attention during the IPO hype-storm, and no one will understand the real mess Google seems to be in until after a cool $3 billion has left investors pockets. Nice work if you can get it. And speaking of work, for the past few years the best and the brightest havent been going to Microsoft or to other startups (what other startups?) but to Google, where the promise of riches awaited. After the IPO, Google will become a company of haves—new houses, new cars, early retirements—and have-nots—everyone else and most future hires. Next Page: Post-IPO atmosphere.

One of technology's most recognized bylines, David Coursey is Special Correspondent for eWeek.com, where he writes a daily Blog (blog.ziffdavis.com/coursey) and twice-weekly column. He is also Editor/Publisher of the Technology Insights newsletter and President of DCC, Inc., a professional services and consulting firm.

Former Executive Editor of ZDNet AnchorDesk, Coursey has also been Executive Producer of a number of industry conferences, including DEMO, Showcase, and Digital Living Room. Coursey's columns have been quoted by both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and he has appeared on ABC News Nightline, CNN, CBS News, and other broadcasts as an expert on computing and the Internet. He has also written for InfoWorld, USA Today, PC World, Computerworld, and a number of other publications. His Web site is www.coursey.com.

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