Sunday, April 30, 2006

next tagworld, myspace...blahblahbox?

Girl, 15, Behind the Next Social Networking Success Story

Most teenagers are happy to spend time using Myspace. Stephanie Meagher, 15, wants to go one step further. Her ambition is to own a site as successful as Myspace, Tagworld or Bebo.

(PRWEB) April 29, 2006 -- Most teenagers are happy to spend time using Myspace. Stephanie Meagher, 15, wants to go one step further. Her ambition is to own a site as successful as Myspace, Tagworld or Bebo. “I love the idea of people all over the world connecting and making friends. It's what I did on Myspace and now it's fantastic to be doing it in a community of my own,” says Stephanie, who took a year out from school to realize her dream.

Her website, blahblahbox is already proving hugely popular. “I've got members telling me they prefer it to Myspace,” she comments. One of the biggest attractions for users is the choice of themes which allows members to change the identity of blahblahbox to suit their tastes. Users can also customize their profiles using a built in profile generator, a feature that Myspace does not yet have.

The teenager acknowledges that trying to compete with a site as big as Myspace is a momentous task. “I've still got to add a video upload service and also a bands signup function. But these are coming and when they arrive, blahblahbox will match all of the big social networking sites in terms of what members can do!” As it is, blahblahbox has some extra features that make it unique. Members can flirt anonymously and see who has recently visited their profile. Members can also create their own quizzes and polls and easily add streaming video their profiles.

The ambitious teen plans to sign up 100,000 members over the next six months. “It will be difficult with no money to invest. Big business spends millions on advertising. I've got to be inventive,” says Stephanie. She has already organized a lot free publicity at major festivals and events, through friends and people who want to help spread the word. She also intends to generate revenue from advertising.

Ultimately, Stephanie takes a long term view on the site and comments, “I've just turned fifteen. I'm curious to see how blahblahbox is doing when I'm 20. A few millions users would be a dream come true!”

Contact:
Stephanie Meagher
+353 86 0551006
www.blahblahbox.com


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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Viacom to Acquire Xfire for $102MM

MTV Networks just acquired Xfire, one of the fastest-growing online gaming platforms and communities. This seems like a great way for MTVN to enter the online community space - Xfire is the only instant messenger for gamers with an extensive, legal peer-to-peer file distribution system.

"Xfire is now backed by one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media. It means that Xfire will continue to grow and enhance your gaming experience. Xfire was created by gamers, for gamers. We will always remain committed to improving gaming with your friends. MTV Networks shares this vision with us, and they will help us to continue building Xfire into a larger and more exciting community, one passionate gamer at a time."

http://www.xfire.com/cms/xf_acquisition

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More on Microsoft-Massive Possible Deal | paidContent.org

More on Microsoft-Massive Possible Deal | paidContent.org

Saw this last night but PaidContent has an ongoing summary. After we spoke about Massive in class... Looks like Microsoft listened and is thinking of buying them for $200-$400 mm.

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is AOL becoming the next NBC

Despite the language barrier between Micheal Jackson and myself in class last week, I still believe that the opportunity for Internet Portals to take ownership of distibution channels of valuable properties will prove too valuable to deny...one example of reverting to old formula broadcasting is the recent AOL offering of old TV shows on web sites like In2TV...how far is this from NBC offering shows only on its network? Why would Expedia want to "host' a hot travel and control where the "viewer" would access the show, with the tag line " Expedia can get you there" . How can they resist? I welcome the thoughts of others on this subject....
http://www.nytimes.com/auth/login?URI=/2006/03/01/business/media/01adco.html&OQ=_rQ3D5Q26orefQ3DsloginQ26orefQ3DsloginQ26orefQ3DsloginQ26orefQ3Dslogin&REFUSE_COOKIE_ERROR=SHOW_ERROR

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Wired News: You, To, Can Right Like a Blogger

Wired News: You, To, Can Right Like a Blogger:

Great commentary on blogging. While some believe that blogging will somehow naturally cause people to learn and gravitate to better writing, as this writer points out, that presumes people have the sense to distinguish the two and choose between them. Sadly though, most people prefer People to the New Yorker. It's definitely an open question I think - does the easy access of blogs and other internet tools improve the general discourse, merely by allowing more people to gain experience in participating in it?
"As a mere stripling, I was advised that if I hoped to become a good writer, I should write every day. More than that, I should read good writing every day. This can be accomplished on the internet as easily as it can by reading a book or magazine. But if you're the sort who prefers People to The New Yorker, well, again, what's the point?
So my riposte to Topsy was, while the internet may be a nifty vehicle for delivering one's polished prose and penetrating insights to an impatiently waiting world, it can't help you become a better writer if you, pardon my French, suck."

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What Will It Take For a Web Hang Site to be the Next No. 1?

Will Facebook, TagWorld, Tagged, or VarsityWorld become the next MySpace?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114600135884335697.html?mod=mm_hs_marketing_strategy

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Big Music Firms Dealt a Legal Blow

Global musics companies are suspected of colluding over prices set for online music serives.

"Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, found that two of the four big music companies, Vivendi Universal SA's Universal Music Group and EMI Group PLC, deliberately misled federal investigators by obscuring the degree
to which they sought -- and gained -- information about their competitors' pricing agreements with online music services."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114583343293133617.html?mod=mm_media_marketing_hs_left


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For MySpace, Making Friends Was Easy. Big Profit Is Tougher. - New York Times

For MySpace, Making Friends Was Easy. Big Profit Is Tougher. - New York Times:

MySpace, in the NYT - an excellent summary of the current situation... How do you monetize with out pissing off the members? With a new social networking site launching almost every day, this is not an idle question. Friendster bought it by pissing off its core group of hard core users.

"FOR now, MySpace is charging bargain-basement rates to attract enough advertisers for the nearly one billion pages it displays each day. The company will have revenue of about $200 million this year, estimated Richard Greenfield of Pali Capital, a brokerage firm in New York. That is less than one-twentieth of Yahoo's revenue."

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Video Handsets Mostly Just Used as Phones - New York Times

Video Handsets Mostly Just Used as Phones - New York Times:

Bad news for proponents of mobile video... I have always been skeptical of what content people would watch on their phones. More to the point, I can't imagine why they woul dpay for it. Mobile video seems to be a nice to have for brief things that can be supported by 15-seocnd sponsors... News briefs, Sports highlights, soap opera updates, etc...

"'Many, many people just use their phones as a device to make and receive calls,' said Drew Hull, research director for mobile content at the NPD Group. Until the price of video service drops, he said, 'they still have no interest in paying extra for that service.' "

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Blogging at Work

This WSJ article will make you glad you did not become a lawyer.

"It's easy to understand why blogging attracts the J.D. set: Few professions combine as much creative talent with so much mind-numbing work."

There is an increasing trend of people blogging at work about their jobs. Some of the early bloggers with many readers have gotten book deals, many are just voicing frustrations with work, and a few have lost their jobs when their employers found out.


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TVGuide.com Launches Writers Blog Community

TVGuide recently launched a new blog section on its website - featuring over 65 blogs on various television shows, entertainment news and celebrities. Seems like a great way to retain customers and maintain a brand that has been deeply hurt by the slowly deteriorating print industry.

"We're trying to keep it simple," explained Jay Bryant, director of online communities for TVGuide.com. "This isn't aimed at a tech enthusiast; it's aimed at a much broader population." Bryant noted TVGuide.com plans to build content and traffic in the next two or three months, at which time a "much more robust user community" will be launched in conjunction with the start of the fall television season."

http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3600636

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Comeback of the Net Boom and Web 2.0


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2 articles on MySpace

This is exactly what we are talking about in class. It's easy for MySpace to attract memebers. it's so powerful that a Texas Community College has to ban its students from using it on campus. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-MySpace-Ban.html
But it's much harder to make a lot of money, for now. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/23/business/yourmoney/23myspace.html

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Friday, April 21, 2006

New media | Talking to yourself | Economist.com

New media | Talking to yourself | Economist.com:
"in the age of mass participation, new media will co-exist with old - indeed it is already increasingly hard to tell when one becomes the other. True, ever more people will upload short video clips to new websites such as YouTube.com, go to Netflix.com to rate their DVDs, to Amazon.com to discuss books and their own blogs for online debate. But that will not replace Steven Spielberg's blockbusters or the New York Times's network of reporters."


The Economist opines about blos and media proliferation.

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IAB release 2005 Online Advertising Report

http://www.iab.net/resources/adrevenue/pdf/IAB_PwC_2005.pdf

Chock full of lovely data...

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Ted's Take - AIM


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Thursday, April 20, 2006

MySpace for the Office

Could social networking help corporate American advance its business goals? Here is one recent attemp.

Venture capital backed "Visible Path" is hoping to use social networking to overcome the sixth degree of separation in the corporate world. So next time instead of making a cold call, you may be able to find someone within your or your friend's social network, who happens to know the CTO or CMO you are trying to reach, and make a proper introduction.

Details, see the Business Week article.

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/apr2006/tc20060418_044277.htm?chan=technology_technology+index+page_internet

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The internet - the place where decisions are made

Nearly 60 million people claimed that the internet has helped them make major decisions in the past two years. Major decisions include college, home refinance, mail order brides. Joking about the last one! This figure has increased by 40% since 2002. The implications of this only reconfirms why all Big Business has been pushing all of its resource into the net over the past decade. We , as people, love instant gratification. The internet is obviously the only place where you can compare across the nation without leaving your own home. As societal synaptic connections and our minds become more similar to that of a 40 year ritalin addict, that which needs constant stimulation, we will continue to turn to the net because it provides the most comprehensive form of information and the most of it. Naturally looking through US News for the best graduate schools just doesn't cut it anymore....we need to read all their is

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Did he really say that?

Scrambled Hackz is a new program designed to protect intellectual property rights does so with patented voice recognition software.

The concept is simple: Speak a sentence and choose the proper database of sound bytes. The user’s words are replaced with sounds from the database. For example: see a K-fed interview regarding his marital bliss and then make up your own words. Now he might say what we know he is thinking. “I am taking all her money and I ‘m rich, don't hate the playa hate the game!”

The way that it works is that it takes a an audio video and cuts it into 16th note pieces and gives each a voice recognition pattern and sequences them in a database. Then when a users says something it does the same exact thing and matches their 16th notes patterns to those in the database and reconstructs both the voice pattern and image. I suggest you watch the video clip.


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The Internet - a channel to the freedom of speech?

Few months after the big scandal involving big search engines in sharing customers' details in asia, more and more stories appear, creating a feeling of the Internet as a source allowing for more of an open-minded and free expression for people in these countries. The Internet is serving as a shelter and a source of liberalization for some silenced opinions in conservative countries. yet, with the level of stories about governments arresting Internet users in these countries growing, there is also a question of how much should Internet providers allow for these opinions to be heard, knowing that they might serve as a cause for legal acts. As an example, Skype has recently restricted the chat option on its platform in China, preventing users from posting 'wrong' expressions...

article

some more articles
1, 2

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

at the core of the issue

Is the French ruling against restrictive policies of copy-protection technology (fairPlay, ATRAC3, the beginning of the end for non-accesible exclusive file formats?

Probably just the beginning of a long effort for governing bodies to attempt to find a mutually satisfying common ground for both the consumer and the major forces now competing in the digital music industry.

hmt

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060317/ap_on_hi_te/france-ipods

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Bambi Francisco: Facebook funding

Bambi Francisco: Facebook funding:

They wanted a $2 billion acquisition price, but settled for $525 mm in post-money valuation? Hmm...

"Facebook received $25 million in funding for a $525 million pre-money valuation.
Nice work for Mark Zuckerberg, who in February 2004 started Facebook in his college dorm. Back then, he paid $85 a month for three months to get his startup going. Zuckerberg -- who turns all of 22 next month - told me once that if his idea failed, there's always Harvard"

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Porn Industry Again at the Tech Forefront - Los Angeles Times

Porn Industry Again at the Tech Forefront - Los Angeles Times:

Once again, adult media leads in experimenting with pricing and new channels for distribution...

"Hollywood has resisted burnable discs that can be watched on televisions because they fear piracy. It also doesn't want to alienate retailers, which sell most of its DVDs. But if history is any guide, the online experiment by adult entertainment giant Vivid Entertainment Group will be watched closely by mainstream studio chiefs.

'The simple fact is porn is an early adopter of new media,' said Paul Saffo, director of the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto. 'If you're trying to get something established - you're going to privately and secretly hope and pray that the porn industry likes your medium.'"

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WSJ.com - Can Bloggers Make Money?

WSJ.com - Can Bloggers Make Money?

The irony of blogging about bloggers discussing blogging does not escape me....

These two gentlemen discuss the economics of blogging and in a sense they are both right. Jason Calacanis(an acquaintance who unfortunately could not be a speaker this semester) runs (and sold to AOL) an aggregator of top blogs, and Alan Meckler, a longtime entrepreneur. Jason thinks blogs can make money; Meckler thinks 99.9% can't.

I believe they are both right. Generating good content, matching it with advertisers using the automated ad systems of Google et al (essentially outsourcing it), and making a reasonable journalism living is definitely possible - the economics work well enough as Jason points out, for a blog of a certain size.

Getting to that size is the difficulty, and even more so now that entrepreneurs like Jason have blocked out some of the obvious verticals (obvious in that there is an interested audience, ability to create valuable content, and a high values to advertisers) and become embedded in the blogosphere through branding, cross-linking, and indexing by search engines.

However, if one simply thinks of blogs as easy publishing tools for websites that allow the content producer to DIY it, then the only real difference blogs have made to the web is lower the capital cost of website creation and maintenance (barrier to entry) - the same problems of revenue generation and marketing the content developed apply.

Alan Meckler writes: Blogs are really diaries or microcosms of what is happening in millions of ways in daily life -- ranging from special interests to business specialties to whatever. Obviously there is money to be made with blogs, but very, very few will bring in more than a few hundred dollars per year.

Jason created a great business model in aggregating blogs. But here again the opportunities to replicate this model will be few and far between -- the reason being that such a model requires at least one or two anchor blogs that will be attractive to advertisers. Much like great magazine empires that offer magazine networks only a few of the magazines are big winners -- these big winners help support the weaker magazines -- same with blogs

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More Facebook!!!

What with all the mention of Facebook.com in our classes as such an admirable site, it might come to the relief of a few that they've raised an additional $25 million in venture capital from Silicon Valley investors, putting to rest rumors of acquisition offers.

http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/14377643.htm

"The company has risen to the seventh most-visited site, by page views, according to comScore Media Metrix, a consumer research service. It had 7.56 million page views in March, a 37 percent increase from February.... Late last month, Business Week reported the company had turned down a buyout offer for $750 million and was looking for as much as $2 billion, citing analysts saying that Viacom, owner of MTV, might make a good match."

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More social networking news!!

APRIL 19, 2006

News Analysis

By Steve Rosenbush and Timothy J. Mullaney


Social Networking's Gold Rush

The movement continues to defy doubters and draw big investments. The latest includes $25 million for a piece of Facebook


Just a few months ago, many experts and investors were inclined to dismiss social networking sites as a mere fad. Regardless of how many members sites such as MySpace (NWS ) and Facebook racked up, critics warned that supposedly fickle young Internet users were likely to rush away as soon as the next hot startup came along. And some advertisers were skeptical about the effectiveness of the medium, which features user-created content of a sometimes questionable nature.

Those fears could still turn out to be valid. The sky hasn't fallen yet, though. So with each passing month, investors, big media companies, and advertisers are being forced to seriously consider whether social networking sites can have a viable long-term business model. Whether or not there's a future for social networking, players that are high on the sector's prospects, or simply don't want to miss out on its potential, are pouring in serious money (see BW, 4/10/06, "Socializing for Dollars").

HOT PROPERTIES. These days, new deals are made almost daily. Facebook, a site for college and high-school students, plans to announce Apr. 19 that it has raised $25 million in its latest round of funding from venture-capital firms. That same day, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NWS ), is expected to announce that it is taking a minority stake in SimplyHired, a job-hunting site with a strong social-networking component.(Murdoch jumped into the sector last year with the acquisition of MySpace, the leading social-networking site with a large number of teenage and young adult users.) Meanwhile, on Apr. 17, social-networking site Visible Path said it raised $17 million in venture capital (see BW Online, 04/18/06, "MySpace For the Office").

Social-networking executives say the deals show that investors have increasing confidence in their business plans. "We think we have something really special here, and I think this investment confirms that belief," says Melanie Deitch, director of strategy for Facebook, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif. The company was started just two years ago by three Harvard students, who were sophomores at the time. It now has 7 million registered users, up from 1 million at the beginning of 2005. It ranks as the seventh-busiest site on the Web.

The company plans to use the $25 million in additional funds to add more features to its site. Deitch wouldn't disclose what the Facebook's management team has in mind, although she did note that just last week it launched a new feature that allows members to access the site from mobile phones. The investors include marquee venture-capital investors Greylock, Meritech Capital, Accel, and Peter Thiel. Accel and Thiel have invested in earlier rounds.

Facebook also offered no hint of how investors valued it. Just a few weeks ago, a media executive told BusinessWeek that the owners wanted up to $2 billion in an acquisition; the company didn't disclose how large a stake it had sold for $25 million. And Deitch said the company hadn't hired bankers or looked to sell itself. She did confirm that it had turned down multiple offers from companies that wanted to buy Facebook, though. "Our focus is to build the business for the long term," she said. Facebook already has attracted major advertisers such as Jeep (DCX ) and Microsoft (MSFT ). They can purchase traditional display ads or sponsor affinity groups. Local advertisers such as sororities also can purchase "flyers" to promote local events. "We think Facebook has a unique opportunity to reach a crucial demographic at a key point in their lives. And when a site has this much scale and brand recognition, advertisers will come," said David Sze, a general partner at Greylock.

REFERRAL FEES. The SimplyHired deal shows how social networking is being used as a lever for other kinds of Web sites. News Corp. is going in on a $13.5 million investment with Silicon Valley venture firm Foundation Capital. The deal marks the second round of venture money for SimplyHired, which is competing with established job services like Monster.com (MNST ), CareerBuilder and Yahoo!'s (YHO O) Hotjobs.

However, instead of selling advertising directly to firms looking for workers, SimplyHired searches the Internet for job listings at every place from competing job boards like Monster to the help-wanted section of hiring firms' own Web sites and aggregates them on its site. It gets its revenue from selling paid-search ads, both through Google and other ad networks and through its own sales force. Plus, SimplyHired gets referral fees for finding qualified candidates, including payments from larger job boards that need to deliver value to employers who pay them directly.

"We can deliver job seekers for destinations that have employer relationships, so in that sense it's complementary," CEO Gautam Godhwani says. News Corp put in $3.5 million, while Foundation Capital put in $10 million. Godhwani says there are active talks to make SimplyHired the beginning of a classified strategy for MySpace.

WHO YOU KNOW. Simply Hired's edge among other jobs sites is clever in its use of social networking, says Greg Sterling, founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm in Oakland Calif. Through a deal with LinkedIn, users can press a button marked "WhoDo I Know?" that is placed with each job listing. LinkedIn searches the user's network to tell them who they know at the hiring company, or who they know who knows someone at the hiring company.

Says Sterling: "That's really the value-added they deliver that sets them apart." Investors hope it's enough value-added to deliver a big return on their optimism.


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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

'Perv' This about MySpace

In severe cases convicted child sex offenders have been forced to undergo castration by the state to remove the physical component to a psychological implulse. But who said they should be given another chance! I say 'once gone, say, so long,' in response to a second chance. However social networks may see this slightly differently. Wired News ran the names of convicted sex offenders in the San Francisco area and found 5 that matched in regards to photos, age, height, and locations.

MySpace now faces the challenge of how to exactly go about cleaning up a site that has become home to 70 million users while still maintaining the lure of 'free content.' It appears that absolutely everything goes on MySpace from Spring Break kegstands to butterfly's 'twiterpating.' People can no longer say "Remeber, What happens in Cancun, Stays in Cancun!" Before they do something they may regret.

With a third of the 300 Myspace employees is it realistic they can really keep tabs on the 270,000 new users each day. Come on! The truth is, Myspace really can't do anything about it because it is not illegal. Sex offenders can be forced to stay out of internet chat rooms and out of playgrounds only until there sentence has been served. "Afterward, under typical state laws, the perpetrator's only requirement is to register with law enforcement agencies annually, and upon changing residences, for the rest of his life."

Is this fair or unfair? Do people deserve a second chance? This is after all the land of liberty and freedom? And jail is supposed to be for rehabilitation, it worked for Ol'dirty Bastard right! I am a firm believer in second chances but where do I draw the line. I think that MySpace should be able to ban a user if the crime was serious enough. A governing body at MySpace (dare I say impartial) should determine whether a crime was a one time mishap or a deeply embedded problem that has a chance of recurence.

Like R.Kelly should be ableto get a pass because it really looked like the girl in the Video was at least 19. Joking! But you should check out the 'RKelly trapped in the closet drinking game" on Myspace for a good laugh or great game.

The question remains: Can Myspace play the police without turning it into the next Friendster?
I really think that if they played there cards right and realized that they do not want to go the way of the Dodo it could be accomplished. I do believe that the administrative forces at MySpace do have a moral obligation to keep a site safe that has become the new 'it' place to be young children.

Maybe the way to go about it would be to place real age restrictions on photos. This could easily be targeted by a highly trained college student that comes to work in the same clothes he has worn for last three days because he got lost at the Phish Concert. "Oh look! He isn't 14 he looks 45!" Waala! instant problem alleviation. The next step would be to limit 12 years to people who are within 3 years plus or minus their own age. A special request button for older friends should be assigned that sends the request through a higher level of security. This feature may initself deter convicted sex offenders from approaching youngsters.

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For Travelers, a Way to Save More Dollars While Using Fewer Clicks - New York Times

For Travelers, a Way to Save More Dollars While Using Fewer Clicks - New York Times

Per our in-class disucssion of the travel industry and disintermediation, there is news in the meta-search engine space... For players like Kayak and Sidestep, ads and commissions next to the widest offerings of fares are a working business model. Is breadth the new asset for an intermediary?

The battle poses intriguing questions about whether users will expect the big search engines to deliver extremely refined results across all categories, or use those search companies merely to find a good specialty search company.

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WSJ Page 1 article on Internet advertising...

**feels like a very old-school, 'gee, whiz companies are online again!' type article but has some positive signs (and data) for online ad spends that seem worth noting...



Once-Wary Industry Giants
Embrace Internet Advertising

Packaged-Goods Companies
Boost Online Spending;
Sites Retool Sales Pitches
Pepsi Employs a Floating Yoda
By KEVIN J. DELANEY
April 17, 2006; Page A1

In their pursuit of advertising dollars, Internet companies are winning some important converts: the consumer packaged-goods companies that sell everything from cookies and cola to skin cream and soap.

After years of cautiously experimenting with Web marketing, powerhouse advertisers like General Mills Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. are cranking up online spending and increasing the range of brands they promote on the Web. General Mills, maker of Cheerios and Betty Crocker baking mixes, expects to nearly double online-ad spending in the current fiscal year. Kraft, home of Jell-O and Kool-Aid, plans to double its number of online-ad campaigns in 2006 and to increase the number of brands it advertises on the Internet by at least half.

The shift underlines the Internet's threat to traditional media such as television and print magazines. It suggests that the boom in Internet advertising that has already fueled rapid revenue growth in recent years at Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and other companies could continue as still other groups of more traditional advertisers step up online spending.

The packaged-goods companies say their customers are spending more time online and using the Web in new ways, such as watching TV shows and other video. "Our job is to invest in where consumers are engaging with media," says John Galloway, vice president of sports, media and interactive marketing at PepsiCo Inc.'s Pepsi-Cola North America unit. At his division, online spending is expected to rise to between 5% and 10% of the overall ad budget in 2006, from 1% five years ago.

[Bigger Buy]

Providers of consumer packaged goods accounted for more than 11% of the $145 billion in U.S. ad spending in 2005, according to research firm TNS Media Intelligence. But they spent just 1.6% of their ad dollars online last year, on average, compared with an overall average of 5.8% of total ad spending for U.S. advertisers, says TNS. These advertisers have been the most challenging targets for Internet companies, says Wenda Harris Millard, chief sales officer at Yahoo. That company has overcome some of their resistance by wielding new tools to show that Web ads can increase consumer spending.

U.S. consumers go to the Web for about 15% of the time they spend with all media, according to another research firm, Knowledge Networks Inc. in Menlo Park, Calif. Some Internet executives believe Web spending will echo the patterns set in earlier years with broadcast and cable TV, which both saw sharp growth in advertising once they reached a critical level of consumer adoption.

Others caution against extrapolating too much from recent jumps in online-ad spending by packaged-goods companies. Those companies generally avoid radical changes in the marketing techniques they have fine-tuned over decades, industry executives say. Wary of taking risks with their biggest money makers, managers of brands with big ad budgets have spent less aggressively online than their counterparts at smaller brands, and "it's unclear if and when this will change," says Jon Swallen, senior vice president for research at TNS.

So far, growth in online ad spending has been driven largely by industries like personal computers and financial services. These businesses can link consumers directly to sites where they can buy goods or services online. Spending by such companies helped drive online ad revenue up by about 30% to an estimated $12.5 billion last year from $9.6 billion in 2004, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Packaged goods such as beer, toothpaste and paper towels, in contrast, tend not to be sold online. Partly for that reason, even during the Internet frenzy at the end of the 1990s, packaged-goods companies generally didn't spend much to advertise on the Web. The collapse of the online-advertising market in 2001 made marketing on the Internet seem even less compelling.

When online advertising did start to rebound, it was driven largely by search-related ads, not the display-type ads that typified the previous cycle of Internet marketing. Search ads, which appear when consumers enter related keywords into search engines, weren't an obvious fit for packaged-goods companies, because consumers generally don't search the Web for information on items like paper towels.

Another obstacle: It was still hard to prove that online ads led consumers to buy packaged goods offline in stores. The packaged goods companies for years had used complex systems for measuring sales boosts from advertising in traditional media, such as TV and print publications. Without the equivalent for the Internet, online ads were a much tougher sell.

By 2002, Yahoo realized it needed to overhaul its sales approach to packaged-goods companies. The Sunnyvale, Calif., company began developing a way to prove to potential advertisers that online ads contributed to offline sales.

Working with research firm ACNielsen, Yahoo in June 2002 began testing a service called Consumer Direct that allowed advertisers to see the impact of specific Internet ads on sales. ACNielsen, a unit of VNU NV, has approximately 125,000 U.S. families who participate in its Homescan service by recording items they bring home from the store. About 36,000 of them have agreed to let Yahoo monitor what they do on its site as well.

With the ACNielsen data, Yahoo can track when the display of an online ad leads to an offline purchase. It can also give advertisers other useful information, such as whether consumers previously had been heavy users of competing products.

Pepsi North America, one of the first Consumer Direct customers, has used the tracking service five times since 2002. Last year the company used Consumer Direct to monitor and target its "Call Upon Yoda" promotion with a Star Wars theme. In one ad, a green, pointy-eared Yoda character floated across Yahoo's home page to land in a small box near the upper right corner. Users who clicked on the ad box were taken to a Pepsi site, where they were given a chance to win a $100,000 prize.

Using Consumer Direct data, Pepsi was able to place its ads on areas of Yahoo's site most frequented by heavy buyers of 12-packs and 24-packs of soda, its target for the promotion. Pepsi concluded that sales to that group rose in double-digit percentages as a result of the ads, says Pepsi's Mr. Galloway.

Other Internet companies also began offering tracking services. Kraft was another early user of Consumer Direct, and later enrolled its Jell-O brand in a three-month study conducted with Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Internet unit in 2003 and 2004. The study showed about 8% higher purchases by consumers who had seen the online ads compared with those who hadn't.

"The watershed moment was definitely when you could say there was a positive sales increase," says Kathy Olvany-Riordan, Kraft's vice president of global digital and consumer relationship marketing.

Striking Contrast

For Internet executives, the contrast in customer interest is striking. After she arrived at Microsoft in 2001, "I couldn't get an appointment with a Johnson & Johnson, a Procter & Gamble," says Joanne Bradford, corporate vice president of global sales and marketing at Microsoft. Now, she says, "I'm battling to give them as much of my time as they want." Ms. Bradford says ad revenue from packaged-goods companies at MSN is currently more than double the level of a year earlier. She predicts growth will continue to surge.

Packaged-goods companies now spend the majority of their ad dollars on TV. But the rapid spread of home broadband access, to more than 60% of U.S. Internet users today, has made it easier for people to watch video programming online. Use of online video has exploded in the past six months -- from downloads of TV shows such as "The Office" through Apple's iTunes store to user-generated shorts on YouTube's site.

Kraft now devotes just a third of its ad budget to broadcast TV, down from roughly two-thirds five years ago. Kraft executives, like officials at other packaged-goods companies, declined to provide specific totals and breakdowns for ad spending. But they said Internet advertising has been a beneficiary of the shift away from TV.

So far, the increased spending online has had a limited effect on advertising budgets for other media. Spending on TV and radio by packaged-goods companies fell slightly last year from 2004, according to TNS.

Unilever, whose brands include Dove soap and Hellmann's mayonnaise, has cut its global TV budget to about 65% of total ad spending from about 85% in 2001, while shifting the balance to online and to other areas.

One of Europe's biggest packaged-goods companies, Unilever was among the few in its industry to move aggressively into Internet marketing in the late 1990s. But it had trouble detecting an impact on sales, and by 2001 it had slashed the Internet's share of its ad budget.

Unilever began ramping up online spending again after getting positive results for its Suave shampoo, using Yahoo's Consumer Direct service, and participating in other research that suggested online ads for Dove boosted offline sales.

[Media World]

Unilever planned to spend about 4% of its 2005 U.S. ad budget online, a Unilever marketing executive said last year, up from about 1% in 2001. The company now declines to comment on any such breakdown. Noreen Simmons, director of strategic media planning at Unilever's U.S. division, says she expects online-ad spending will grow further in 2006 from 2005.

"We all recognize our consumers are online and we all continue to share the sense that the effectiveness of a traditional 30-second television ad is continuing to erode," says Ms. Simmons. With online ads, "we see our own positive results."

Leading the Charge

Unilever's Axe brand, a range of personal-care products targeted at young men, is leading its online charge. The Axe division spends the majority of its ad dollars on the Internet -- a shift from 2002, when Unilever launched the Axe brand and spent the majority of its ad budget on television. "Ultimately it comes down to where the consumer is," says Kevin George, a Unilever general manager for deodorants.

Besides advertising on sites for young people such as Heavy.com and MySpace, Axe commissioned an online game centered on techniques for picking up women called "Mojo Master." One Axe ad on Heavy.com promoted a cable-TV program produced by Axe about a fictional secret society called The Order of the Serpentine. The large ad showed a young man in a bathrobe with ghost-like women clutching at his legs. It took consumers who clicked on it to a site for the show that heavily promotes Axe's Snake Peel shower scrub.

The explosion of online video is also prompting Anheuser-Busch Inc. to advertise more online. The company spends about 60% of its ad dollars on TV. But Tony Ponturo, its vice president for global media and sports marketing, believes much of consumer video viewing could shift to the Web.

Three years ago, Anheuser-Busch's online ads were essentially limited to the sites of sports it already sponsored, such as Nascar. At the urging of company president August Busch IV last year, marketing executives looked more seriously at the Web. Research they consulted showed that their target 21- to 34-year-old consumers spent about six hours a week online, compared with just 10 minutes a week a decade ago.

Now the maker of Budweiser beer advertises on more than 25 sites, from Yahoo and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL to niche sites including Flavorpill, an arts-and-culture site aimed at urban residents. Anheuser-Busch this summer is sponsoring World Cup soccer content, including video highlights, on Univision Communications Inc.'s site and signed on as a major sponsor for CBS SportsLine's fantasy football season later this year.

Online ads this year will account for about 5% of Anheuser-Busch's ad spending, double the portion in 2005, and Mr. Ponturo says it will rise again next year.

Write to Kevin J. Delaney at kevin.delaney@wsj.com1

URL for this article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114523618204327274.html

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Nice preview on speaker Michael Jackson...

New job, new medium, same fundamentals

Michael Jackson says US TV giants have stifled creativity - but the internet will free it

Dan Milmo, media business editor
Thursday April 6, 2006

Guardian

Michael Jackson, the former head of Channel 4 turned US media executive, has predicted a leading role for the internet in plugging a "creative deficit" in American broadcasting.

In his new role role as president of programming at Barry Diller's $9bn (£5bn) web empire, InterActiveCorp, Jackson is charged with finding text and video content to sit alongside IAC websites, which include the Ask.com search service, dating portal match.com and Ticketmaster.

Jackson said the US TV industry had suffered from the dominance of media conglomerates such as Disney and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, but the sector was entering a new era as the web undermined the advertising-based business model.

A new generation of content makers is emerging, he said, able to screen shows on the web, bypassing Comcast's cable system or DirecTV's satellites. "Broadband will enable content to get around the old aggregators. That to me is the most exciting thing. In the US you cannot launch a TV show without Brian Roberts [chairman of Comcast] or Rupert Murdoch [owner of DirecTV] on your side."

In an interview with the Guardian at the MipTV programme market in Cannes this week, the former chief executive of Channel 4 said creativity had been stifled by media conglomerates that own broadcast networks as well as producing films and programmes, such as Disney, which owns ABC, or News Corp, owner of Fox. This was why independent production was not thriving. "In the US TV market there are no American independent producers, so we have ended up with a few vertically integrated players. That has been the single greatest reason behind the success of independent production from outside the US. Vertical integration has led to a creative deficit."

Jackson said growth in broadband, which is now in two-thirds of web-enabled American homes, had the potential to do for content makers what Channel 4 did for independent producers in Britain: create a new market and bypass monopolies. "If you create the conditions, people will invent new ways of working. This moment reminds me very much of the Channel 4 launch."

Although IAC's new programming venture has yet to make a statement of intent with a site launch or acquisition, its benchmarks are the Huffington blog - Huffingtonpost.com, which has become a lightning rod for liberal debate in the US within a year of its launch as a collection of contributions from people such as Warren Beatty and Tina Brown - and the blog empire Gawker Media, created by former journalist Nick Denton and described by Jackson as a "Web2.0 version" of the Condé Nast magazine group.

"There is going to be potential for new channels, new programming and new creative ideas," Jackson said.

Appointed to his new role in January having previously run Diller's USA Entertainment business, Jackson would not be drawn on IAC's programming plans. However, IAC is keen on comedy sites and has held talks with a number of companies about launching or acquiring ventures with comedy content. He added that it would not make a big acquisition along the lines of Viacom's recent $600m (£340m) takeover of iVillage, or News Corp's $580m deal for MySpace: "IAC has been very entrepreneurial but realistic. It has avoided the big mistake."

Having made his name as a TV executive, Jackson said IAC's programme content would not be radically different from what TV viewers were used to, and would concentrate on genres such as news, comedy and fashion. It would be content that "gets shared and talked about" but without the conventional network marketing budget.

"The fundamental needs of what people are looking for are the same. American Idol is a 1930s radio talent show with some new features, like the meanness of the judges and the audience voting," he said. "That's what I am doing now. It's about doing the things I already know about, such as narrative and storytelling, and adding to it those functionalities and tools that enable users to get to what they want with remarkable speed and precision."

Backstory

Michael Jackson began his career in independent production in the 1980s before the BBC poached him in 1988 to edit The Late Show. In the 1990s he became controller of BBC1 and BBC2, then director of television. In 1998 Channel 4 recruited him as chief executive before he joined Barry Diller's USA Entertainment, owner of the SciFi channel, as chief executive in 2001. A year later he became chairman of Universal Television after the merger of Mr Diller's TV interests with Vivendi Universal Entertainment. At Universal, Mr Jackson commissioned Monk and Dead Zone.


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Monday, April 17, 2006

Cell phones the new cyber leash

The federal investigators have recently lost two cases regarding the use of cell-phones to track the where-abouts of two citizens without showing probable cause. It seems that inevitable move from physical harassment to cyber-harassment has been hindered by ‘we the people.’ Dare I say it! God Bless the US government for holding up our rights in court.

The leap to constant surveillance posed by futuristic movies of decades past has finally become a reality. This is a very crucial period in our countries history in regards to ‘privacy issues.’ Our lives have become a cache of streaming data that seems to defy even Hiesenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Our exact position and velocity can be measured and documented with accuracy by triangulation and instant messenger.

At moment it seems that the government still believes that we own our lives. How long will this last? At what value will ‘Big Business’s of Web 2.0’ begin finding that our trust in their privacy clause is trumped by deep pockets of federal curiosity? The truth remains, in the long run, we are only as valuable as the highest bidder. The government may not be able to legally seek cyber warrants but they can outsource in the name of interest. Sprint doesn’t have to show the feds anything but will sell records to a private contractor.

The line is blurring, Cookies and accessibility will eventually have the same affair with the American Public that ‘greed’ had with Gordon Gecko. Hoo-Rah! Call to the Public we need to lobby for stronger privacy laws. We are upon an age where our privacy may be all that we have. What’s the next step, employers keeping tabs on all their prospective employees to ensure they are screening for the most efficient ‘bottom line.’
Well we tracked Martins day and found out that he first visited blockbuster where he played Doom for 8 consecutive hours. Then he went to the zoo where he got sidetracked by the gorilla exhibit.
He just isn't Goldman material. Now let's got to happy hour and Scores!

I moved out of my parent’s house to get away from the constant ‘eye’ in the sky and I want to keep it that way.

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Online casinos --fairgame or not?

In recent months as the U.S. attorneys office has began prosecuting online gamblers trafficking their bets through ‘offshore’ casinos they have also taken aim at ‘inhouse’ publishers who earn revenue from those illegal casinos. The online gambling world has become a $12 billion industry and can afford to pay handsome fees for loyal customers that know how to lose.

Many small publishing firms earn a substantial amount of their revenues from illegal casinos and cannot afford to lose the legal ability to advertise. The only casinos that are legal to advertise are those that do not take bets for real money and places within the U.S. where gambling is legal.

Why should U.S. companies be penalized for advertising illegal casinos? The Attorney’s office argues that by advertising illegal casinos it creates the illusion that placing offshore bets are acceptable when they are in fact ‘frowned upon.’ I am not sure what to think. Is the US government placing envy-laden restriction because they are upset they are not getting to stick their fingers into the cookie jar? What a bind, to tax or not to tax illegal revenue? Who knows! What I do favor is freedom of advertising. If HIGH TIMES can put out a legal monthly publication then online publishers should be able to advertise what ever they want. It is not fair that the New York Times is allowed to earn revenue from Ceaser’s and smaller publications can’t eat off others casinos that aren’t ‘ours.’

Let’s be realistic, larger companies will find ways to disburse a legion of servers within other countries where they will continue to earn that ‘paper.’ By allowing advertising for online casinos the U.S. could, at least, add transparency to the process and earn huge tax revenues. Perhaps 50% would be acceptable! I know I wouldn’t mind giving the government 75% of a $4 million annual advertising revenue earned from offshore casinos! The money could be used to create a fund for gambler’s support groups, better yet actual healthcare. I am thinking the US government could earn $50 million plus in revenue. But, then again I am not in the place to make that statement, I still get excited when I win my dollar playing Cee-lo with my friends. “Triple sixes, Daddy, needs food off the dollar menu!”

Article here


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Blogs for corporations...

Well, that's what this article discusses, but it's the professor's quote at the very end that I really like:
Andrew McAfee:
"I'll end this post with an anecdote that showed me that these three trends are not yet well understood by many business leaders. Last week I was teaching in an executive education program for senior executives - owners and presidents of companies. I assigned a case I wrote about the internal use of blogs at a bank, and also gave one additional bit of homework: I pointed the participants to blogger and typepad, and told them to start their own blogs and report the blog's URL to me.
What they reported instead was that they had no intention of completing the assignment. They told me how busy they were, and how they had no time and no inclination to mess around with blogs (whatever they were). Out of two classes of 50-60 participants each, I got fewer than 15 total blog URLs.
Trying to turn lemons into lemonade in class, I asked some of the people who actually had sent a URL to describe the experience of starting a blog. They all shrugged and said it was no big deal, took about five minutes total, didn't require any skills, etc. I then asked why I would give busy executives such a silly, trivial assignment. In both classes one smart student piped up to say 'To show us exactly how trivial it was.' At that point, class discussion became interesting. "


Emphasis mine... get it?

;-)

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Wanna keep on top of all the latest gadgets?



This is a good site to keep tabs on all the latest hi tech gadgets that come out or are in development. They have reviews, previews and all sorts of goodies.

I 4 U News

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Bridge really is cool. Really.

On-line gaming typically evokes thoughts of high stakes poker but there are other forms of on-line gaming out there.

One that I am most interested in is bridge. Bridge has some well-known players and is trying to attract a younger audience. The ACBL (American Contract Bridge League) has recently started a site called bridgeiscool.com to try and attract younger talent to the game.

Try comparing the success in your own life with college drop-out Fred Gitelman and you might decide that the bridge lifestyle is for you!

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Podcasting as a business?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcast

The Wikipedia post on Podcasting is a good summary of the technology, including Apple's entry into the space (see "History" section - "Coping w/ Growth"), and interesting uses (see "Other Uses").

Some examples of the uses (there are many more):
  • Sports. In 2005, unofficial podcasts for major sports teams launched, providing fans both in and outside of the teams' direct broadcast areas with on-demand commentary. Pioneers include Cubscast. The Cubscast founders also formed the first city-specific sports podcast network, hosting one podcast for each major Chicago team at Chicagosportscasts.com.
  • Conference and meeting alerts. Podcasts can be packaged to alert attendees to agendas, hosted roundtables and daily feedback.
  • Advocacy. The 5,500 locked out staff (editors, journalists, technicians, hosts, etc.) of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation were podcasting news and other programming during August and September of 2005.
  • Youth media. Podcasting has become a way for youth media organizations, such as Youth Radio (Youth Radio site), to bring youth perspectives to a wider audience.
  • Newspapers. Newspapers use podcasts to broadcast audio content from print interviews and drive traffic to their websites. The San Francisco Chronicle is believed to be the first major daily newspaper to start podcasting using an external website[48], in Feb 2005. Hong Kong's South China Morning Post was the first to use its own website and the first in Asia, having launched on April 19, 2005[49]

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Is You vote worth more than $150,000

Could the web do the same for politics as it has for human interactions, minimized them to make room for more?

People have elected 'Craigslist' as our tell-all add source. It has quickly become the seventh largest website in the world and threatened the decades old 'newspaper model' into near exctinction. The premise surrounding this phenomenon is power lies within the hands of people. Our maybe it should become our fingertips! We have, collectively, as a society become reliant on the web becuase it gives up instant gratification. I can book trips to Thailand, communicate with a college friend in Borneo, and buy a must-have pair of Airmaxes from Nordstrom all at the same time. Why can't we start polling and maybe more importantly begin voting on the web? Instant gratification of the masses at its finest!

I think we should serisouly begin thinking about bringing votes to the web. Think about how easy it would be if you were checking scores for last nights Knicks game (to know how badly they lost) and a reminder on the page with a link directly to the offical voting page popped up on every page. It would be so easy to vote. 5 minutes and we are out. Why couldnt we do it? Should we really concern hacking, look at Florida, our opinion really does not count in the end?

I think it would make it so much easier to 'harness collective intelligence' of the people with a web-based or web-complement. Why can't we make it to the voting booth once every years? We dont want to wait in line. We dont know where to leave our families. We dont want to make our day more stressfull than it already is. End of Story. We can e-sign loans for $150,000 in education loans on the web why shouldnt we be able to vote. More people would make it to a computer on voting day than to a booth to vote. I am thinking by more than 100%. Could we at least begin taking steps in the right direction?

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Impact of Emerging Technologies: Web 2.0's Startup Fever - Technology Review

Insight onto the 'business model' of contextual advertising...

The Impact of Emerging Technologies: Web 2.0's Startup Fever - Technology Review: "These new companies have a few ways to subsist, typically advertising, charging extra for 'premium' services, and collecting affiliate fees for driving shoppers to sites like Amazon. But ask a Web 2.0 CEO about his company's business model, and he's as likely as not to say 'contextual advertising.' The advertising model, usually through Google's AdWords program, seems to be the most common gambit. It's the planned or existing main revenue source for dozens of Web 2.0 startups, such as new photo-sharing site Riya, which plans to display ads related to the subjects in its users' photographs. "

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The new internet independents

This is just another example of what we talked about the open web source and collaborative efforts from blogs help to lower the start up cost of internet company. Flickr is the example cited in the article. It also listed five major forces behind the rise of a new kind of internet entrepreneur.

It also helps the internet start-ups to stay independent and grow at their own pace without being pressured to be acquired by larger company due to lack of funding.

The new internet independents

"FlickrĂ‚’s story reflects a growing preference among young internet companies for going it alone. A few years ago, the independent route would have been all but impossible. In the late 1990s, high fixed costs for servers, storage and software meant that most start-ups had no choice but to turn to VCs to get their operations off the ground.
But while some parts of the tech sector, such as semiconductors and mobile technologies, will always rely on outside investment, self-funded start-ups are exploiting broader changes in technology and business that lower the barriers to entry for aspiring entrepreneurs."


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In-Game Ads Could Reach $2 Bil.

During the keynote address at the second annual Advertising in Games conference in New York, Massive Inc. CEO Mitch Davis predicted that in-game ad spending would land somewhere between $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion in the U.S. by 2010, accounting for roughly 3 percent of total media spending.


In-Game Ads Could Reach $2 Bil.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"can't stop the [2.0] signal"

seems like now that i'm "aware" of the 2.0 phenomenon, i just keep seeing it everywhere i go. i sit at home to enjoy my tivo, and i see this new feature called Ambassadors... they're trying to spread the TiVo love through viral marketing - let's network with each other and tell each other what we love about Tivo!! of course, i'm skeptical... until i log onto my Yahoo! 360 network page and see that a friend of mine actually KNOWS someone who "won" the Ambassador contest and now drives around this lovely branded TiVo Mini-Cooper - pictures included for the endlessly skeptical like me. then i head over to my favorite news sites and find out that this round of next generation videogame consoles are making a HUGE push on the networking features, and i'm thinking, wait a minute - weren't all these "features" available in the last generation? what's the big hype now? then i realize - today's market is MUCH more ready for this kind of marketing - 4 years ago, we didn't really care all that much about it.

this is just some random rambling about how perhaps ignorance is bliss? because now you just can't stop the signal, the 2.0-ness of it all.

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A new map mashup

Want to share your favorite places or at least remember them? Check out Platial - a new map mashup (a more advanced version of Google maps).

From Trendcentral Newsletter:

A few weeks ago, we talked about the Google Maps phenomenon an explosion of sites utilizing the Google Map API to integrate geographical location with online content. Mix MySpace, Yellow Arrow, LiveJournal, and Google Earth and you get Platial, a new map mashup with an extra customized twist.

Users of Platial create maps to mark locations with significant meaning to them. Created for themselves, or shared with others, users map objects, events, and even feelings: not-to-miss bakeries, the location of a first kiss, an awful breakup, an unusual city view, a group of favorite yarn shops. . Using tags, commentary, and place markers, map makers can organize and share their personal stories with others. So, the next time you find a great unmarked bar at 3 a.m., make sure you mark it on your map before you forget.

http://platial.com/splash

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Connecting internet, bricks & mortar, and catalogs

There are some great websites that are very interactive and manage to connect the internet with bricks and mortar and catalogs. One example is Ikea. On the Ikea website, you can flip through their virtual catalog and can click on a page to view a product. This leads you to the product on their website, where you can either purchase it or go to the store and purchase. I think they do a great job of trying to connect all three.

http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/virtual_catalogue/catalog_splash2.html

Sherwin-Williams also has a very interactive website. They have a Color Visualizer that allows you to search through their colors, take a color and virtually paint a sample room with that color. There are also several different rooms to choose from to better mirror your room.

http://www.sherwin-williams.com/do_it_yourself/sherwin_williams_products/

These interactive features are really the next wave of internet marketing for retailers.

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Of Hammers, Wrenches and Screwdrivers

This article has an interesting table comparing blogging, online communities, and LinkedIn from a professional's perspective. The thesis is that each is a tool for a different task, hence the title...

Of Hammers, Wrenches and Screwdrivers

Asking which of these is "better" is like asking which is better: a hammer, a wrench, or a screwdriver?

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Internet and the real estate

Nobody in the class chose a topic related to Real Estate for the paper study although, as professor Kagan remarked, there are also some things going-on. Here is an interesting article about the partnership between Prudential Real Estate and Yahoo to connect Prudential offerings right to Yahoo Real Estate pages. This way, potential home buyers can go to a certain area they are interested in and see the current offerings on a map, plus access Yahoo's usual SmartView tools.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2004_June_17/ai_n6083735

Adds are currently being aired on TV about this new partnership.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

10th Annual Webby Awards Nominees Anounced


I know all of you have been anxiously waiting for this but the nominees for the 10th Annual Webby Awards have been named...



Click here for the nominees

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Slivercasting - niche programming on internet television

Here's some serious long-tail digital media.

"Thousands of producers whose programming would never make it into prime time but who have very dedicated small audiences are moving online. It's a phenomenon that could be called slivercasting."

Examples include sail.tv, vegtv.com, and programming on "poker, bicycling, lacrosse, photography, fine wine, horror films, obscure sitcoms and Japanese anime. There is also a growing market for Webcasts of local news and entertainment from every country and in every language, aimed at expatriates" Most are early stage, and working on a subscription model.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/12/business/yourmoney/12sliver.html?th&emc=th. The article was on March 12 - it's gone to Times Select (I still have a copy).

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"Pluck: A Bloggy Boost for Old Media"

Though old media has traditionally been deeply skeptical of blogs - a new service called "Pluck" has announced its intention to aggregate posts from the 700 "best" blogs for syndicated distribution to "partners" in traditional media.

This is an interesting development. Not only does it speak volumes about the degree to which old media is scrambling to leverage the expansion of the blogosphere to its advantage, but further to the degree to which the blogosphere itself may be going more mainstream (gasp!).
As the author writes: "As recently as a year ago, it was inconceivable that much of Old Media would embrace blogs. It was probably even harder to imagine that most bloggers, known as much for independence as outspokenness, would willingly succumb to a Big Media bearhug."

The full text of the article is available at:
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/apr2006/tc20060411_493400.htm?campaign_id=rss_daily

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Advertising grows faster than world GDP

Global: Advertisers/Brands; Agencies; The Media
World Adspend Growth to Hit 6% in 2006 Thanks to Soccer

The 2006 soccer World Cup will not only bring national glory to the winning team, it is also predicted to boost global adspend from last year's 4.9% growth (the average across the past decade) to 6% in the current year, according to Monday's forecast from ZenithOptimedia. After which the crystal ball clouds slightly, pointing to above-trend but marginally slower growth, increasing by 5.6% in 2007 and 5.3% in 2008. The survey also reveals
Advertising is now growing faster than world GDPGross domestic product will be outpaced by ad growth between now and 2008. Advertising accounted for 0.96% of world GDP in 2005. ZO expects this to rise to 0.99% by 2008 - the first period of consistent out-performance since the late 1990s, suggesting that the advertising cycle has at last emerged from the trough it entered in 2001.
Emerging markets lead global ad growthIn the period 2005-2008, six of the ten largest contributors to advertising growth (and eleven of the twenty largest) will be emerging markets, notably Brazil, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland and Russia. All are all top-ten contributors of new ad dollars. ZO expects their collective ad markets to grow by US$19.2 billion between 2005 and 2008 - providing 27% of total world growth - while their share of world expenditure will rise from 7.9% to 10.8%.
China continues to power up the ad league tableChina was the seventh-largest ad market in 2005 and is set to become the fifth-largest in 2008. ZO expects it to grow by 66% over the three-year forecast period, overtaking Italy in 2006 and France in 2008. It is also likely that Russia will also be a top-ten market by the end of Zenith's forecast period, more than doubling in size as it leaps from 14th place in 2005 to 8th in 2008.
Internet advertising will overtake outdoor in 2007Few in the ad industry can keep pace with the exponential growth of the internet - and Zenith is no exception, revising its internet adspend forecasts upward once again. Its latest expectation is that online media will attract 6.5% of all advertising in 2008, up from 4.5% in 2005 (and up from the 6.0% ZO predicted for 2008 as recently as December). The internet is now firmly established as a mainstream advertising medium in developed markets - and in many developing markets too. It is set to overtake outdoor in volume in 2007, even though outdoor too is gaining share. By 2008 the web could be ready to overtake radio's 7.9% share, down from 8.5% in 2005).

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A Web Site Born in U.S. Finds Fans in Brazil - New York Times

Just as Freindster seems to have primarily a Filipino audience so to has Orkut (Google's social network) found its legs in Brazil...

Orkut, the invention of a Turkish-born software engineer named Orkut Buyukkokten, never really caught on in the United States, where MySpace rules teenage cyberspace. But it is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon in Brazil.

About 11 million of Orkut's more than 15 million users are registered as living in Brazil — a remarkable figure given that studies have estimated that only about 12 million Brazilians use the Internet from home....


A Web Site Born in U.S. Finds Fans in Brazil - New York Times:


But will Orkut have the same issues of MySpace as it becomes a cultural phenomenon?

"SaferNet's president, Thiago Nunes de Oliveira, a professor of cyberlaw at the Catholic University of Salvador, said the problem had exploded in the last few months. 'In 45 days of work, we identified 5,000 people who were using the Internet, and principally Orkut, to distribute images of explicit sex with children,' he said. And that was aside from the racists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups the organization found."

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Monday, April 10, 2006

TV fans, this online service wants to be your buddy

BuddyTV plans to provide live commentary on television shows as they air - sort of like live blogging an event - using reality TV 'stars' (ugh.) Their business model, of course, is ad based.

TV fans, this online service wants to be your buddy

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Podcasts....Is anyone really listening?

Hey all,

Just ran accross this interesting article on how :

"only 1% of online households in North America regularly download and listen to podcasts..."

This is interesting, considering that companies that use podcasts as a way to remain "sticky" in the minds of consumers doesn't seem to be really effective. I can personally speak to this. I have never heard one podcast in my entire life. I guess the main lesson to be learned is that podcasts = bad marketing

Anyhow, here's the link : http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?1003921

There are also lots of interesting graphs and pictures for the more visually inclined.

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Google buys a search algorithm

This just in: Google buys a search engine algorithm. And you thought being good at math would never make you rich.

ineedhits SEM Blog: Aussie Orion to Slay Google, MSN and Yahoo!

This guys is an Israeli grad student in Australia - not even a company... But his algorithm improves contextually relevant searching, and he filed for a patnet late last year.

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BlogBurst syndicates e-material for newspapers

Media Life - Web shorts: "

Interesting blurring of the lines between bloggers and newspaper content...

Count it as one more step in closing the divide between bloggers and mainstream media, the launch of a new syndication service that will deliver commentary from 600 bloggers for use by newspaper publishers. ... BlogBurst will include headlines and articles that newspaper publishers can use in the news or feature sections of their online and print editions. ... According to BlogBurst chief executive Dave Panos, newspapers will use the service for areas where they may not have dedicated staff, such as entertainment, food, local stories, technology, travel and women's issues. ...bloggers get wider distribution for their writing as well as the resulting increase in traffic to their blog sites."

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Wangyou Media Raises Funding From CRV — China Web2.0 Review

Wangyou Media Raises Funding From CRV — China Web2.0 Review

For those of you who were also in Managing Growth with M. Preston, you may remember a little company called WangYou based in China that my group presented to the class. It looks like things are finally moving forward.

Their funding and continued growth seems to be proof that User Generated Content combined with an urge to seek 10 minutes of fame is a worldwide phemomenon. Afterall, who wouldn't want to post videos of themselves singing along to the latest tennie-bop tune.

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Disney to Offer Some ABC Programs Free on the Web - New York Times

Disney to Offer Some ABC Programs Free on the Web - New York Times

It seems the cavalcade of video over the internet is continuing. Importantly, this batch of content is going to be advertiser supported, with very big names such as P&G already mentioned. Disney execs seem to feel this is important as part of the revenue model mix:

The move by Disney and ABC appears to reflect a conclusion by company executives that consumer are willing to pay for so much on-demand programming and may be willing to accept commercials to see programs thy want.


The question then becomes, what kind of revenues can they see from this advertising? Using an industry standard of $30/CPM might be tempting, but what if internet delivery allows them to know enough about the audience to charge higher rates? Knowing that you are reaching a coveted demographic could raise these CPM's tremendously.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Friendster lost steam. Is MySpace just a fad?

Interesting essay on Friendster vs. MySpace and how MySpace is better positioned to evolve and maintain an edge with its youth demographic...

http://www.danah.org/papers/FriendsterMySpaceEssay.html

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Lost viral marketing

The ABC TVshow Lost also participates in viral marketing as discussed here:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/artsentertainment/2002730134_lostsites10.html

A few examples of the viral "alternate reality" sites.
http://www.oceanic-air.com/
http://www.thehansofoundation.org/

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Adsense Members in Developing Countries

This article goes into the effects of Google's Adsense internationally and how it is enabling members in the developing world to supplement their incomes. I found this interesting since Google pays the same amount to all members regardless of their location and that it is another example of the internet leveling the playing field for all participants.

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-03-28-googe-adsense_x.htm?POE=click-refer

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Issues w/ online photo businesses

These are the articles I referred to in class. They go into issues on storage and rising file sizes, customer property, and Kodak Easyshare's business stats.

[$$] Lawsuit Is Filed Against Kodak
at The Wall Street Journal Online (Wed, Mar 29)
(original story - ex-employees "side")

Former Eastman Kodak Manager Sues Company
Associated Press (Thu, Mar 30)
(Kodak response)




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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

How yellow a blog can get...

With a significant amount of us going into this industry soon, it might be a good idea to get to know the 'behind the scenes' part of Wall Street in advance.

DealBreaker is an online business tabloid and Wall Street gossip blog. It seeks to cover the personalities and culture that shape the financial industry, offering original commentary, news and entertainment.

http://www.dealbreaker.com/


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digital distribution...where is it going?

Just want to take amoment to reflect on the vissitudes of the ditigal music marketplace ...mostly, the relationship between major music publishers, distibutors of digital music and ultimate consumers. While digital distributors (e.g.) i-tunes, yahoo songs, have accounted for more than a billion downloads on either a pay per song or subscription basis, millions of consumers are still accessing and downloading their music via free sites such as limewire, etc. Indeed, there exists a huge population who have not paid for music for several years.

Although the music companies have successfully lobbied for legislation extending existing copyright protection to include ditigal disribution, it seems unlikely that the proliferation of free downloads is destined to slow down anytime soon. As these two major worlds collide, what will be the resultant middlegroud, if any? What, if anything, can regulators do given the confluence of factors affecting their ability to police end users or distributors who are now capable of operating from countries that provide safe havens?

(Two recent articles look at these issues.However at the moment, I am unable to link to blog. I will post as soon as possible)

Importantly, is the music industry, through their efforts to impact the distribution of music to protect thier long term domaine, undermining the market value of the good-will which music companies have spent enormous resources to build up and perpetuate? Is this an act of self expropriation of its assets?

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Feedback on www.ExpertBee.com

Hi,
For my maiden post, I'll describe my obsession and what has dominated every waking cycle I have (sad, but true!). The website I run is http://www.ExpertBee.com. It is a place where people post questions or a request for a service, and experts submit bids to provide an answer or a service. So as an example, if you had a tax question, you would post your question with the maximum amount that you would pay for an answer. Experts bid to answer, and you select an expert based on their profile, price, and past feedback from other users. However, if you needed an accountant to do your taxes, you would post a Request For Service, and accountants would bid to become your accountant, with you choosing on the same criteria. We are growing exponentially and we have new site coming out early May. Any and all feedback is welcome!!!

Wayne

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Open Source means... $100 laptop project

$100 laptop - Blue e-book

Here's some very interesting possibilities for $100 laptops being developed for developing countries by the famed Nicholas Negroponte (of MIT's Media Lab, and author of "Being Digital")

Obviously, if they can put the computer into a child in Africa's hands for $100, open source software is the only way to go to make the project work. It raises the interesting question: Does open source work now because, as a percentage of the cost of the total system, hardware as come down in absolute terms so much that software has gone up? In other words, if the computer was still $5,000, would anyone worry about $250 for Office?

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The Cluetrain Manifesto

Our class speaker, Scott Hall, referred to this book and markets as conversations.

The book, in it's entirety is available here...

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WEB SELLERS BUILD OWN 'UPFRONTS'

Online Video Providers Push Ad Inventory in Advance

Nice piece about the digital video upfronts:

Upfronts -- which in the online world are defined as any time when you’re selling inventory in advance -- are practiced by the major portals AOL, Yahoo and MSN, as well as sites in certain sectors like auto-specialty sites Edmunds.com and kbb.com (Kelley Blue Book). Other video-rich sites, including news purveyors and sites devoted to showing video clips, also find themselves selling large swaths of inventory early in the year. Cinema ad sellers are also jumping in with upfront events.

The Web, much like TV, does have certain inventory that is always in high demand, and much of that is around broadband video. In the 2005 fourth quarter, for example, AOL had sold out its video inventory for In2TV, its classic TV programming, through 2006. Yahoo, MSN and other video-rich sites typically sell out certain sectors, like entertainment, financial services and travel by the end of January. Cinema sells up to 80% of its inventory between October and December and only 10% in the spring.


the whole piece...

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Links and Notes from today's Open Source lecture...

Although it might have been a little early in the morning to follow my leaps from NCSA Mosaic to today's web API's, I thought the links might help:

Here's the Open Source guys.

My favorite list of Web API's is here.

And finally, the Mashable weblist, which has some short blurbs about Web 2.0 type companies

-----

After discussing LAMP as a major web enabler, I realized you might want a second opinion. So, I found one that agrees with me.

Several months ago, David Axmark and Monty Widenius of the MySQL team visited us in Sebastopol and they dropped a new term in our laps: LAMP. This term was popular in Germany, they said, to define how MySQL was used in conjunction with Linux, Apache, and either Perl, Python, or PHP. Their explanation of LAMP made a lightbulb go off in my head.


At the O'Reilly Network, our editors have been discussing how to unify and focus our open source coverage. ... The lightbulb that went off in my head was that LAMP represents the open source web platform. Most importantly, LAMP is the platform of choice for the development and deployment of high performance web applications. It is solid and reliable, and if Apache is any indicator, then LAMP sites predominate.


Full article

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Shameless Plug: NativeTheory.com


Didn't know what to post so i figured I would use this opportunity to show you guys my record label. Native Theory Records is an electronic music record label focusing primarily on deep tech house. There's lots of stuff you can check out on the site. We currently have two releases which have been featured on a couple of major compilations. You can check out clips of the tracks or even buy a copy in our store. Digital distribution is handled by Beatport.com which you can access via the store. You can also get yourself a first edition Native Theory T-Shirt and be the coolest kid on the block.

In the talent section you can download some mp3's of mixes I have made and in the gallery section you can check out some pictures from some of my travels around the world.

Feel free to let me know what you think of the site or the music....

thanks

Hisham

www.nativetheory.com

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Newsweek: The New Wisdom of the Web

The article talks about how collative efforts from internet users have changed the dynamics of web and a lot of new web 2.0 ideas are mainly from collative intelligence. Two great examples are the massive success of MySpace and the strategy of Flickr. It also mentioned about some API we talked about in class today. It is just amazing to see how networking effect has been magnified through the use of internet and other web applications.

Donna

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12015774/site/newsweek/

The New Wisdom of the Web

Why is everyone so happy in Silicon Valley again? A new wave of start-ups are cashing in on the next stage of the Internet. And this time, it's all about ... you.

By Steven Levy and Brad Stone
Newsweek

" What makes the Web alive is, quite simply, us. Our presence, most often conducted at the speed of broadband, is constant and mandatory. Thanks to our activity, the Web has replaced phone books, and is in the process of replacing phones. It's the place that answers our questions in four tenths of a second and ships us funny clips that mix the "Back to the Future" guys with the "Brokeback Mountain" soundtrack. It's the main news source for the non-arthritic population, and a megaphone for those who make their own media. As we keep offloading our activities to the Web and adding previously unmanageable or unthinkable new pursuits, it's fair to say that our everyday exist-ence is a network effect. That has made some splendid opportunities for smart, nimble new companies, and threatened the existence of old ones now afloat in the mainstream. "


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