Social Networks, a data hassle.

More now then ever I encounter pages like this (see below) which require me to put in my username or ID login (not my password). However, I have a ton of user names. What’s an online active person to do? Well, if I had the time, I’d create an online data repository web site that would allow me to fill out 1 profile covering all my essential info. That would eliminate me filling this in on every site and filling these out everytime I go or join a new community. I’d just point that new site to my data file and upload. ~b.

Amazon wishlist Amazon  
Bebo Bebo  
Blinklist Blinklist  
Blogger Blogger  
Digg Digg  
eBay eBay eBay User ID:  
Facebook Facebook  
Flickr Flickr  
Friendster Friendster    
Furl Furl  
Jaiku Jaiku http://  
Jumpcut Jumpcut  
Kiva Kiva  
LinkedIn LinkedIn  
LiveJournal LiveJournal username:  
MyBlogLog MyBlogLog  
MySpace MySpace  
Netvouz Netvouz  
Orkut Orkut  
Picasa Picasa  
Pownce Pownce  
Reddit Reddit  
Rollyo Rollyo  
Second Life Second Life name:  
Shelfari Shelfari  
Sphinn Sphinn  
StumbleUpon StumbleUpon http://  
Technorati Technorati  
Textamerica Textamerica http://  
The DJ List The DJ List  
30 Boxes 30 Boxes url:  
Tribe Tribe  
Twitter Twitter  
TypeKey TypeKey  
Upcoming Upcoming  
Vox Vox http://  
Wakoopa Wakoopa  
Wink Wink  
Yelp Yelp  
YouTube YouTube  
Zorpia Zorpia  

FeedDemon is now FREE!

The best desktop client for reading and subscribing to RSS feeds just became free (imho). Newsgator, the creator of the software used to charge a one-time $ 29.95 fee to use it permanently (after your 30 day trial). FeedDemon feeddemon.jpg is for both Mac’s and windows and provides the user with a nice initial assortment of feeds to start. Or you can export your feeds into an .opml file from your current reader and import that file into FeedDemon. It has many cool features and is VERY easy to use, even for beginners. Props to Newsgator for giving it up~!

on digital media…

Digital media is about mass adoption. One source, many outlets. Unlike our learned cable TV mentality, it is not about ‘exclusivity’. It is the opposite of a closed system, like your cable franchise. Its not about ‘scarcity’ or ‘DRM’. The web’s natural model resembles the early days of TV ‘syndication’ and content distribution. The web is about common paths, sharing and community. The the old media game is about ‘exclusivity’ and ‘scarcity’. Online is about being part of the conversation, the social community, the rankings and your favorites, monthly uniques, RSS, open source API’s, distribution (give it away) to everyone, openspace and a common human goal Klaatu barada nikto ( klaatu barada nikto )  to interact and communicate by giving up and giving away content. Its all about mass adoption and distribution, and not a one-by-one subscription mentality.

— ~Observations over time – ~b.

25 million songs and they are all FREE to download beginning at 12 midnight EST tonight!

No spyware, malware or adware included. There’s a new service in town beginning tonight, Sunday January 27th at 12 Midnight EST. You’ll be able to download their application (browser plug-in, not a desktop client) and then grab as many songs as you want, free of any charge. What’s the catch? None. Except, you’ll have to see or listen to an ad. Ads will be shown on musical devices as well. BUT, the songs are not portable to iPods (that won’t last as I’m sure someone will ‘jailbreak’ this). Its Windows only for the moment. Downloads should be relatively fast as it uses a peer-to-peer technology to get you the files. The ‘media player’ is browser based and is a plug-in or add on that you’ll grab from Mozilla/FireFox. The service is called Qtrax qtrax and according to Qtrax it has signed all 4 of the major music labels (although Warner Music has not confirmed this yet). iTunes has about 6 million songs and Amazon has about 3 million to put this in perspective for you. No doubt it has its drawbacks. Correction: it DOES have  no DRM DRM restrictions and has a far larger body of music than anyone else (because its built upon the Gnutella P2P network). Someone will crack the portability issue soon I’m sure. But this is a website to watch. The legal subscription free/ad model applied to music is about to be tested. 25 million songs is a huge catalog. And on their site they scream for you to ‘come and get the music’. I’m sure that’s just what their advertisers are saying too. tougue.gif

How to build an online media business to $50m in revenue – 3 suggestions

Here are three ways to get to $50m in revenue as an online media business; indulge me in some math:

1. Be a site with a broad reach (say general social networking, communications, news). At large scale, without a great deal of targeting possible, a startup’s “run of site” or “run of network” advertising might be able to get to the $1 RPM range (Revenue per thousand impressions, including CPM, CPC, and CPA models). To get to $50m in revenue you would need 50 billion pageviews in a year, or just over 4 billion per month. According to Comscore, Bebo had the 10th most Pageviews in the US in Janurary 1007, with 3.4bn, so you would need to be bigger than that.

2. Be a site with demographic targeting (say a Latino portal, or a sports site (targeted at men) or a social network targeted at baby boomers). Although in TV and in magazines, demographic targeting can generate double digit CPMs, online at scale, RPMs tend to be in the low single digit range. Lets assume a $5 RPM. To get to $50m in revenue you would need 10 billion pageviews in a year, or just over 800 million per month. According to Comscore, Microsoft had the 22nd most Pageviews in the US in January 2007, with 792 million, so you would need to be bigger than that. [Microsoft isn’t a demographically targeted site – i just use it as a comparison point for overall traffic size.]

3. Be a site with endemic advertising opportunities (say a site about movies that movie studios will want to advertise on, or a site about cars that auto manufacturers will want to advertise on, or a site about travel that hotels and airlines and online travel agencies will want to advertise on). If you have a highly targeted audience that is interested in buying a specific product, you can command RPM’s well into the double digits. Lets assume a $20 RPM. To get to $50m in revenue you would need 2.5 billion pageviews in a year, or just over 200 million per month. According to Comscore, had the 125th most Pageviews in the US in January 2007, with 198 million, so you would need to be bigger than that. Adelphia isn’t an endemically targeted site – i just use it as a comparison point for overall traffic size.

Admittedly, all these Comscore #s are US only, and all businesses will have international traffic as well, but the principle still holds.

Jeremy Liew is a partner at Lightspeed Ventures and wrote this article in Feb. 2007. I felt it was worth another look.

Googlenator*: The Rise of the Vertical Search Engine, circa 2010. (*apologies to James Cameron)

Google‘s google-logo.jpg chief strength–its dominance in the search advertising business–is also its main vulnerability. Currently, 99% of its revenue comes from search-related advertising. The remaining 1% comes from sales of its enterprise search appliance.

So what is a vertical search engine? Example: Let’s say you were looking to buy a house in another state, close to schools for your kids and under one million dollars. Of course it should also be nearby shops, walking distance to park maybe and a few other things that are important to you. Well, a search on Google would get you a house under one million in NC but how about those other amenities and essentials you need close by? Now, try that instead in Zillow. You can request schools within a radius of so many miles, shops etc. A much more refined and helpful search for what I need and in this case, I would only use Zillow.

These search dynamics exist in many other verticals — fitness, health, auto, dating, travel, legal, financial, etc.

Google has focused on the horizontal, generic search. However, as users get more and more sophisticated, they are discovering other brands that offer richer user experiences customized to the specifics and details required within one particular vertical or another.

And VC’s and other investors have noticed by investing in many of these verticals. Some of these are: – $ 5m (Indeed has over five million unique users), SimpyHired ($17.7 million from Foundation Capital and News Corp.), and Jobster ($48 million). The “online jobs” market is expected to be worth $10 billion by 2011.

In the travel section Kayak bought Sidestep, IAC bought several different web properties and now has several ‘verticals’ that they hold and foster including Dating, Travel, Local search and more.

Its been said that “Google will fail if they try to do separate vertical brands,”. “It’s like Wal-Mart vs. Tiffany. It’s about a deeper brand experience that Google can never offer.” says Gus Tai over at Trinity Ventures.

Verticalization has happened before. We saw this happen in ecommerce. Ebay, Amazon, etoys, overstock, and many others. There will be many vertical search engines behind Google and several will become very large companies and successful ones. Google’s continued torrid pace and revenues are just beginning to top out and growth will slow down. And growth of the vertical space will increase sending dollars to those efforts and taking dollars from Google coffers’. Pinpointing that will be hard but the numbers won’t lie. I believe that within the next 2 years we should be able to see the chink in Google armor. And for Wall Street, it won’t be pretty.


Whatever happened to…Joost?

Lots of hype, supposedly one million users (probably downloads and not users) and a whole bunch of Media exec’s praising the new internet ‘TV’ service, whatever happened to Joost? joost.jpg The stepchild of the Skype boys ( Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis ) has virtually disappeared from the press, media hype and from sight. Remember, Joost was going to eat YouTube’s lunch? And everyone else’s breakfast and dinner. The founder’s reputation preceded Joost (also founders of the infamous content application thief, Kazaa kazaa.jpg ). Perhaps everyone thought that since these guys figured out how to deliver content illegally to users with Kazaa that if they applied themselves to a legit service, like Joost then consumers could then order TV online the ‘legit’ way.

Joost lost their CTO recently and is now in search of a business model. It turns out no one wants to download an application or client onto their computer (TV is web based now online, try and many others). The content on Joost was sub-par. People don’t want to watch TV on the web like they watch it on TV, they like to program their own line-up of content. So, my hunch is that Joost will eventually merge with another online content provider or turn their service into an online web based service or shut down. But I don’t believe it’s a long-term player anymore in the TV end of the spectrum online.

Cell Phone Spectrum Auction…Google is in.

UPDATE from my prior post on Nov 16, 2007 on Google’s google-logo.jpg cell phone ambitions:

So 214 bidders have been approved for the forthcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction, which starts on Jan. 24. The big bidders include AT&T, Verizon and Google. These bidders will go after 1,200 licenses.

(click image below to enlarge)


The bidding will conclude on March 24; down payments will be due by April 11. A third of the spectrum is subject to “open access” rules — the winner will have to allow access to the spectrum to any device or application. This part of the spectrum carries a reserve price tag of $4.6 billion.


Much thanks to the edit staff at GigaOm for this info. My guess for a winner is still Google -wish they had odds for this in Vegas!

Privacy – Part 2

I’ve written about this before (11-25-2007) and now Alec Sunders, co-founder and CEO of iotum wrote a great privacy manifesto for the web. Someday, someone will start a service on the net that will allow one to control these aspects of our privacy shhh.jpg . This is a service I’d pay for in a heart beat. Here is what Alec sees as the 4 basic prongs of web ‘privacy’ guidelines:

  1. Every customer has the right to know what private information is being collected. That rules out any secret data collection schemes, as well as monitoring regimes that the customer hasn’t agreed to in advance. It also rules out any advertising scheme that relies on leaving cookies on a customer’s hard disk without the customer’s consent.
  2. Every customer has the right to know the purpose for which the data is being collected, in advance. Corporations must spell out their intent, in advance, and not deviate from that intent. Reasonable limits must be imposed on the collection of personal information that are consistent with the purpose for which it is being collected. Furthermore, the common practice of inserting language into privacy policies stating that the terms may be modified without notice should be banned. If the corporation collecting data wishes to change its policy then it’s incumbent upon the corporation to obtain the consent of customers in advance.
  3. Each customer owns his or her personal information. Corporations may not sell that information to others without the customer’s consent. Customers may ask, at any time, to review the personal information collected; to have the information corrected, if that information is in error; and to have the information removed from the corporation’s database.
  4. Customers have a right to expect that those collecting their personal information will store it securely. Employees and other individuals who have access to that data must treat it with the same level of care as the organization collecting it is expected to.

In many parts of the world, governments are now creating legislation embodying the four principles of this Privacy Manifesto. Citizens of those countries have responded favorably, rewarding businesses that assure their privacy, and penalizing those that don’t. In Canada, for example, personal information is protected by something known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and as a result, it’s not unheard of for customers to patronize businesses that store their data locally. Many Europeans are equally sensitive.

Not only are the four principles of the Privacy Manifesto good for individuals, they’re good for business.

We are getting closer…GoogleSonic TV sets!

We are swiftly approaching the convergence of the TV and the web. Google google-logo.jpg is helping this transformation by signing a deal with Panasonic today as reported by Duncan Riley at GigaOm to build and sell ‘Google’ TV sets. They are suppose to include access the YouTube, Picasa Web Albums and probably gmail, but this is not confirmed. What is confirmed is the blending of TV and the web. This implications of this deal are clear – once consumers get access to larger pipes (bandwidth) to the home, TV will be delivered over the internet. One year, we will all wake up and there will no longer be any difference between ABC-TV that I’m watching on my computer screen in my office or ABC-TV that I watch on my large flat panel TV in the living room which is framed by and delivered through a browser. I can’t wait!