A decade or so ago, surfing the Web for most people didn’t actually involve a whole lot of surfing—unless you count bouncing back and forth between AOL and Yahoo. The search engines that were around at that time (AltaVista, anyone?) were dissatisfying directories at best. Then came the Silicon Valley company with the goofy name launched by two nobodies from Stanford. Sergey Brin and Larry Page surely didn’t realize it when Google launched in 1998, but the two had founded the most powerful direct-response marketing vehicle ever created (people tell Google they want specific stuff and Google delivers ads offering that stuff). Google’s game-changing, pay-per-click ad model helped pull the left-for-dead online advertising business out of the post-Web 1.0 recession. And over the last brutal year, it’s just about the only media company that’s been consistently growing its revenue. Google’s sites now represent the largest single property on the Web, reaching over 164 million monthly unique users (comScore, October 2009). But more importantly, Brin and Page’s algorithm is much more than a media property; Google essentially 

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