Poster for Gennaro Cuofano and Jason Barnard

Gennaro Cuofano talks with Jason Barnard about looking at Google’s SERP as a product.

Gennaro Cuofano is an international MBA, and creator of FourWeekMBA, a blog about business modeling and growth marketing. He is the head of business development for, where he works closely with small businesses and publishers across Europe and America to help them grow their business via digital marketing and SEO. He is also a contributor to various industry publications and runs a blog where he focuses on dissecting business models.

Google knocked down the walled gardens of the major players on the Internet in the mid-nineties. But now that they have billions of people in their garden, they seem to be going full circle and are rebuilding the walls they have onced wrecked?

In this episode, the rather groovy Gennaro Cuofano starts by taking Jason Barnard back to the 1990s to give him the historical context of business models of the major online players. At the end of the last century, access to the Internet was controlled by a small number of major players such as AOL, Netscape and Mosaic. He shares the strategic thinking behind these companies and explains how they were able to monetize at the time, then how the players and the business models evolved through the noughties… and what that now looks like from a Google perspective. He also gives us a glimpse into the future: what might happen next.

Along the way, Gennaro shares some astonishing knowledge nuggets: how to differentiate a freemium platform from an asymmetric one, and how Google handles the data they collect from users to create new products while finding the balance between free and premium experiences.

This episode contains a stunning array of insights about Google’s monetization of their products, an incredible analysis of the business models of the Internet giants over the years… and much more! This is a must-listen-to episode!

As always, the show concludes with passing the baton… Gennaro passes the virtual baton to next week’s brilliant guest, Simon Cox.

What you’ll learn from Gennaro Cuofano

  • 00:00 Gennaro Cuofano and Jason Barnard
  • 00:45 What is FourWeekMBA?
  • 01:35 Gennaro Cuofano’s personal Brand SERP with “Kalicubed” images
  • 04:56 The historical context of how Google business model developed
  • 08:06 Netscape’s freemium business model
  • 10:03 The beginning of Google Ads and Google AdSense
  • 12:30 How did search engines get the right balance in engineering an advertising business model?
  • 16:01 Google is growing fast, but the balance is fragile. 
  • 18:41 Is Google’s SERP a freemium or asymmetric business model?
  • 21:30 How are we, as users, paying for using Google?
  • 24:56 Will Google trip up and fail at some point?
  • 26:59 How might Google make money through vocal search?
  • 29:16 Google building a product knowledge graph using Google Shopping
  • 31:16 Will Google continue its walled garden approach?
  • 35:19 What could kill the symbiotic relationship between publishers and Google?
  • 38:26 Gennaro’s diversify or die advice to search engines
  • 43:00 Passing the Baton: Gennaro Cuofano to Simon Cox

This episode was recorded live on video September 28th 2021

Recorded live at Kalicube Tuesdays (Digital Marketing Livestream Event Series). Watch the video now >>

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