Google's going to start auctioning banner ads on affiliated sites that use AdSense. This is kind of surprising. Here's an interview with their advertising sales VP, which doesn't really explain much. Note that Google's machines decide which version of the ad get shown - graphic or text - based on which version gets the most response. So in the (increasingly murky) world of 'do no evil', this fits. Does it really? I don't think so - and I think time will prove me right.
This raises the interesting question about what the goal of a strategy in a situation of conflict really is. Leaving aside economics - which doesn't get us past the meaningless concept of 'equilibrium' - a much more interesting answer comes from psychology: a succesful strategy is one that makes your opponent begin to lose his or her identity. This is a fairly radical proposition - but I think it's also a powerful one. Note that by identity I don't mean 'brand', etc - I mean the coherence of strategic moves over time. Is Google beginning to lose it's identity? I think it's becoming less and less coherent. This begs another interesting question - is a radically succesful strategy dependent on losing your identity? Ok, end of fluffy stuff for today.