‘Internet News’ Category

More Yahoo Cuts; Cutting GeoCities — And Why Yahoo Has Lost

April 23rd, 2009

As you probably know now, Yahoo announced its third round of layoffs. Additionally, Yahoo is shutting down several services, including Geocities. Remember when Yahoo was at the top? Before Google. There was Yahoo and also AOL. What happened to them?

Jeff Jarvis, in his book, What Would Google Do?, sums it up pretty well: He calls Yahoo and AOL “has beens,” stuck operating under “old rules… They control content and distribution and think they can own customers, relationships, and attention.” Google beat these guys simply by recognizing the nature of the  internet: “Google, ” Jarvis says, “sees its home page as the way to get you to where you want to go. And when you get there, there’s a good chance you’ll find a Google ad or application. That is where Google wants to be: where you are.” Meanwhile, Yahoo and AOL wanted you to come to where they were, and stay there. That is not how the internet works.

And this is why Yahoo has lost the game.

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MySpace Shakeup — CEO Steps Down

April 23rd, 2009

As Bloomberg reports: “MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe will step down as chief executive officer of the social-networking Web site, after falling behind rival Facebook Inc. ” Rumors are than Owen Van Natta, Facebook’s former COO, might replace DeWolfe.

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“Internet Has Only Just Begun, Say Founders”

April 23rd, 2009

The founders of the internet say the web has really just started and hasn’t reached its potential: ” Just 23 percent of the globe’s population currently uses the Internet…” That a lot of potential.  Right now only five percent of Africans surf the web. Access is expected to grow substantially with the increase of mobile access, as people will no longer need a computer to get to the internet.

Robert Cailliau, who developed the internet  in 1989 with Tim Berners-Lee, said he is surprised that search engines can still sort through all the data. But, of course, that is what makes the WWW so powerful — it’s the opportunity Google saw and ran with.

Once again, facts and current events like this make us think: What opportunities are out there? If only 23% of the world population is on the internet, what businesses can be built based on the needs of the other 77%, once they get online? Is their an angle here?

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Internet “Pirate Bay” Founders Sentenced to Jail (Update)

April 20th, 2009

The founders of Pirate Bay, a file-swapping site are headed for jail, in what could be the beginning of increased prosecutions: “Lawyers believe that the sentencing of Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström to a year in jail for breaching Swedish copyright law could lead to a flurry of similar lawsuits as Hollywood and  the music industry battles to regain the upper hand in the war against file sharing.” These prosecutions are going after those who provide the channel for others who are swapping copyrighted material.

UPDATE: The lawyer for the defendants is demanding a retrial after it was revealed the judge in the case belongs to Swedish “copyright groups.”

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Zappos.com: $1 Billion in Sales

April 18th, 2009

This week The Economist magazine has an interesting article on Zappos.com, the online shoe store that is branching out into other products. Computer Science graduate Tony Hsieh started the company in 1999 and last year it rang up sales of $1 billion. Zappos is distinctly different from many online stores in that it is decidedly not so automatic (as opposed to the Amazon model). Hsieh once described Zappos as a “A service company that just happens to sell shoes.” Job interviewees are asked who their favorite superhero is. New employees are given an option to quit for $2,000. All this to weed out those who are not committed to the wow-service culture of Zappos.

Again, this is an example about finding the edge and the niche. While most internet wags harp about the greatness of automation and working as least as possible (Rich Dog Millionaire is guilty as charged here), other guys are going out and making a billion dollars by essentially doing the opposite. Hsieh is building a brand that he can expand into other areas, not unlike Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

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Social Marketing: “The Domino Effect”

April 16th, 2009

If you haven’t heard already, Dominos Pizza had a little problem recently. A couple of idiot employees videotaped themselves making a pizza in, shall we say, a not so sanitary way. They posted the clip on youtube (which has since been removed). The story hit the viral speedway; soon five of the top 12 Google search results for Domino’s referred to the incident. A public relations nightmare. Suddenly, long-time customers were starting to question buying pizzas there.

Old-school companies are having to redefine how they communicate. Social — or viral – marketing is, well, spreading, and becoming perhaps the dominate or most powerful marketing force out there. As we suggested in our Easter post, a viral campaign should be a part of your long-term plans; and you should realize it’s not a one-way street.

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Reuters: Yahoo May Cut “Several Hundred Jobs”

April 14th, 2009

Reuters is reporting that Yahoo may be on the verge of cutting “several hundred workers…a source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters.” At the end of 2008, Yahoo had approximately 13,600 employees.  The company will announce its first quarter earnings next Tuesday.

At the end of March, Google cut about 200 jobs, mostly in its advertising sales.

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Adwords: Focusing on “Long-Tail Words”

April 14th, 2009

“Smaller advertisers have a better shot of appearing on the crucial first page of search results, and there are big opportunities for all advertisers to attract attention by bidding on less popular, multi-words… (says) research firm AdGooroo. Read the full story at Internet Retailer magazine.

In other words, focus your campaign on the “longer-tail words” (i.e., “red australian shephard short hair dog” instead of just  “dog” or “australian dog”). You may get far fewer impressions but your click-through-rate will be much, much higher. Well, of course, this is nothing new. Chris Anderson wrote a great book about it back in 2006, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. A good example of what this all means was explained in his book: A Borders bookstore carries about 100,000 titles; meanwhile at Amazon, 25% of Amazon’s total “sales come from outside its top 100,000 titles.” The 20th century was about hits and broadcasting; the 21st century is about nices and narrowcasting. This is, as most people know by now, the heart of e-commerce.

BTW here’s another fun fact about broadcasting versus narrowcasting: Today’s hit “CSI” is watched by 15% of TV households. Compare that to “I Love Lucy’s” 74%. Niche is the thing now.

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A Website for Young Ladies and Sugar Daddies

April 13th, 2009

New York Times Magazine has a feature story about the dating site, SeekingArrangements.com, where young ladies can find sugar daddies and vice versa.

“The site now claims more than 300,000 registered members… Sugar “babies” outnumber daddies 10 to 1…providing what one sugar daddy called “the best fishing hole I ever fished in… About 30 percent of the arrangements on the site involve the daddy paying an “allowance,” usually a thousand or two a month, though the site claims some reach $10,000. The rest provide the baby with incidental cash, shopping sprees, gifts, travel or the fleeting illusion that theirs is a high-end, easy life. “I get flown to whatever city I want,” wrote a North Carolina college student…” 

Twenty-two-year-old Mercedes says: “I could go out and work three jobs and still go to school and probably make decent grades, but is that really what I want to do? I make more money this way, and I have a lot more fun.” For the babies, it’s free to join; the “daddies” pay $44.95/month (plus an optional $5/month for discreet charges on the credit card statement). A sugar daddy can become a Diamond Club Member, where his income and net worth are verified, and his profile is featured on the home page. Full story here.

Sugar Daddy Site

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“The Internet Kill Switch”

April 13th, 2009

We don’t mean to get too political here, but this is a topic you should be familiar with, because an argument can be made that you might not be successful with an internet business if the internet was, say, turned off. That’s what could happen if a bill, currently in the early stage of development ever becomes law — it would give the President of the United States a “kill switch.” As Mark Gibbs discusses in Computerworld, such a “switch” (after declaring a “cybersecurity emergency”)  might be difficult to implement, but the idea  itself is chilling. Or as Gibbs says, even insane. As we reported on below, several countries have already been chipping away at access to the internet. It might not be easy for them; the web has a way of flowing through obstacles; but that doesn’t mean governments won’t always try, for one reason or another. You can read the proposed legislation, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 here.

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