Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Ben Ling Lands (Back) at Google–This Time, at YouTube

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

Ben Ling–the high-profile Facebook platform exec who came from Google less than a year ago and then up and left the social-networking site earlier this week–is about to head back to Google, this time taking a job leading monetization efforts at YouTube, according to several sources.

On Tuesday, BoomTown reported that Ling (pictured here) was leaving his job at Facebook, where he has been director of platform product marketing.

At the time, Ling would not be specific as to his reasons for leaving, saying in an interview: “Facebook is a tremendous organization, and I would not leave it if it were not for a great opportunity.”

And that opportunity apparently entails returning to his previous employer, where Ling once worked on Google’s Checkout product and other e-commerce platform efforts.

Ling’s is a move that will surely spur many to rev up the Facebook-versus-Google (GOOG) stories, given that several top Google execs–such as COO Sheryl Sandberg and PR and Platform head Elliot Schrage, as well many others–have been recruited by Facebook over the last year.

Apparently, the Empire does strike back.

Interestingly, Google CEO Eric Schmidt addressed the YouTube monetization issue in an appearance on CNBC’s “Mad Money with Jim Kramer” yesterday.

Here’s a transcript of the section where they discussed YouTube:

CRAMER: LET’S SPEAK ABOUT A QUESTION THAT, AGAIN, I’M TRYING ADDRESS THE QUESTIONS HOLDING THE STOCK DOWN. YOU HAVE TREMENDOUS DOWNLOADS IN YOUTUBE ARE EXTRAORDINARY.

SCHMIDT: IT’S UP TO 1.3 MILLION MINUTES EVERY TEN MINUTES OF UPLOAD? IN OTHER WORDS EVERY MINUTE WE ARE PUTTING THAT MANY VIDEOS IN. IT’S UNBELIEVABLE.

CRAMER: BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WHAT ADVERTISER WANTS TO PUT A 30-SECOND ADVERTISEMENT IN YOUTUBE, WHO WANTS TO LOOK AT THAT VERSUS THE ADVERTISEMENTS WE ARE DOING FOR THE OLYMPICS WHICH ARE JUST GIGANTIC 1.7 BILLION IN REVENUE. ISN’T IT TRUE THAT PEOPLE DON’T LIKE ADS ON YOUTUBE?

SCHMIDT: WE HAVE NOT FIGURED THAT MODEL OUT YET. YOU’RE COMPARING A 50-YEAR-OLD MATURE MODEL THAT WORKS REALLY WELL ONCE EVERY FOUR YEARS IN THE OLYMPICS, VERSUS SOMETHING THAT’S JUST STARTING. WE HAVE LOTS OF TRAFFIC.

CRAMER: SO YOU ARE JUST SAYING SOMEONE WILL JUST FIGURE IT OUT.

SCHMIDT: HOPING IT’S GOING TO BE US THAT FIGURES IT OUT. WE’RE TRYING DIFFERENT THINGS WE TRIED PRE-ROLL AND POST-ROLL NOT ANYONE ONE IS REALLY, WE HAVE A COUPLE NEW ONES COMING OUT.

CRAMER: YOU’RE MAKING SO MUCH MONEY YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT. IT ISN’T LIKE IT IS GOING TO HIT YOUR BOTTOM LINE.

SCHMIDT: IT DOESN’T HIT OUR BOTTOM LINE.

CRAMER: SOME ARE SAYING IT WILL.

SCHMIDT: BUT EVENTUALLY WE’D LIKE TO MAKE MONEY OUT OF IT, BUT IF WE DON’T, THE FACT THAT SO MANY PEOPLE COME TO YOUTUBE MEANS THEY ULTIMATELY GOOGLE AND DO GOOGLE SEARCHES AND CLICK ON ADS. SO DON’T BE TOO WORRIED ABOUT ALL THAT TRAFFIC GOING TO YOUTUBE. I’D BE WORRIED IF PEOPLE WEREN’T USING YOUTUBE. SINCE IT IS AN ENORMOUS SUCCESS GLOBALLY WE KNOW WE WILL BENEFIT.

Valleywag ran an item earlier today speculating that Ling might be on his way back to the mother ship, noting he was spotted having lunch there recently.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald