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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Apple iPhone could hurt the .mobi extension

June 8, 2007 7 comments

Could .mobi have a shorter lifespan than expected? First, look at this video advertisement by Apple for the iPhone:

The real web is shown on the phone through a brilliant UI. With a massive adoption of iPhones in the market, followed by countless imitators incorporating similar Internet browsing techniques, will there be a need for a mobile version of the Internet? I have to say that I am always happy to find a mobile version of the Internet when I am browsing on my 700p, but functionality is always very limited. On top of that, the amount of websites that offer mobile versions are very few. The ones that do, in my experience, do not use the .mobi extension. Rather, they use m.domain.com or domain.com/mobile.

.mobi has been a very hot extension lately. This year we have seen several big sales in the extension such as:

  • Sportsbook.mobi – $129,000
  • RealEstate.mobi – $85,000
  • Stocks.mobi – $70,000
  • Casinos.mobi – $52,000
  • Girls.mobi – $49,000
  • Singles.mobi – $41,000

These domains were sold at a time where the industry wasn’t aware of Apple’s way of mobile browsing. I have a feeling that it will be very difficult to sustain such a premium for .mobi once the market flocks again to Steve Job’s vision.

***Update***

An interesting .mobi discussion at DNforum sparked from this posting

Categories: Business, English, Internet

Yahoo! Launches “Quality-Based Pricing”

In an attempt to compete with rival Google Adsense, Yahoo has answered with a similar offering of smart pricing and they are calling it – “Quality-Based Pricing”. Although this is a double edged sword for publishers, advertisers stand to benefit greatly. In the end, happy advertisers means we get more marketing spending transfered to the Internet, which in theory would go back to benefit publishers. Yahoo outlines three main features:

  • We’ll evaluate the quality of traffic from our distribution partner’s sites
  • Your click charges can be discounted based on the value of the traffic
  • Discounts will automatically be applied to your account

Yahoo claims, “Quality is calculated based on conversion rates and other measurements of the ability to deliver more interested and valuable customers to you from particular distribution partner sites.”

3rd party contextual advertisers have had a tough time dealing with the plague of irrelevant websites being created solely to trick visitors into clicking such ads. Just last month, Google responded to this issue by terminating arbitrage accounts that were serving ads through such websites, also know as MFAs (Made for Adsense). Advertisers have been complaining that their online advertising costs are rising due to rampant rises in fraud and the MFAs.

Categories: Business, English, Internet

Living in the air

I’ve been unreachable for some time due to a lot of traveling lately. I’ll post very soon and respond to the comments.

In the meantime, if you are founding a tech company, as I am, I recommend reading Founders at Work.

Thanks.

Categories: Business, English, General

Bill Gates interview with Charlie Rose

When it comes to technology, Bill’s still the man. 50 minute interview with Microsoft Chairman:

Categories: Business, English, Internet

Rupert Murdoch’s bid for Dow Jones is an Online play

May 3, 2007 8 comments

I applaud Rupert’s aggressive bid for Dow Jones and their line of newspaper which include the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). In a bid of $5 billion that would value the company at nearly 17 times estimated earnings, I see much more room for growth. Murdoch’s vision has transcended from the traditional media space into an online arena that is still being invented as we speak. His success in the acquisition of MySpace, the major social networking website on the Internet, positions Murdoch in advantage to understanding the hidden treasures that are locked in the vast cyberspace.

This is purely an online play. An interesting valuation justification is the fact that the company currently receives just 30 percent of their revenues online. The strong physical brand held in Dow Jones and their Wall Street Journal was kept mostly captive to the physical limitations of distribution. Furthermore, the costs associated with the physical delivery of information are about to disappear. In the near future, publications like the WSJ will reach the entire cyberspace with minimal costs. The current online subscription method for newspapers is an old way of dealing with selling valuable content. In the near future, with the proliferation of technologies allowing for micropayments, newspapers will be able to do something they never were able to do before – charge per article. In this new media space, traditional newspapers will benefit from this by reaching a wider number of readers, and receiving generous revenues from it.

Video of news from the market including Murdoch’s bid

Categories: Business, English, Internet

The REAL Free Credit Report

The advertisements are everywhere, get your free credit report at “FreeCreditReport.com” They even have a nice catchy song to it. In reality, this site is a business, and you will be charged nearly $80 if you don’t cancel a subscription that you are automatically enrolled in.

The good news, is that US citizens, by law, have the right to request a Credit report from all three major credit agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The US Congress modified a law requiring all three credit agencies to supply an annual report to whomever requested it. The law is the Fair Credit Reporting Act. (FCRA). Thus, you are entitled to 1 free report per year, for each of the three credit agencies.

In order to comply, an official website to request your credit was built. The official site is AnnualCreditReport.com. Therefore, if you are planning on obtaining your free annual credit report, that is the official place to do it. This is the only official website. To confirm the veracity of this information and to check other ways of requesting your free credit reports, you can go directly to the Federal Trade Commission website at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/freereports.shtm

Categories: Business, English, General, Internet

Airline Cancellation Policies

For the benefit of all you flying with irregular schedules that sometimes cause you to have to cancel and then fly on a credit, I will analyze my recent experiences with cancellations and bookings with credit on three major airlines: American Airlines, Delta, and US Airways.

  1. American Airlines – When I called to cancel, I had a $100 cancellation fee for changing my flying date. When I called to book my flight on credit, I received excellent and fast customer service. Fares published on the Internet were similar to those given to me over the phone.
  2. Delta -They had the lowest cancellation fee of $30. I was informed that cancellation penalties usually range $30-50. When I called to book my flight on credit, customer service was excellent and I received similar fares to those shown on the Internet.
  3. US Airways – has a $100 cancellation fee. When I called to book on credit, I was placed on hold for 20 minutes while the operator searched for available flights. A quoted price of $300 on the Internet was quoted at $500 over the phone. I asked for something better, and they offered me a sooner flight for $1100. I asked the woman to look for a better deal comparable to what they offer online. I was placed on hold again for 40 minutes and then was rerouted back to the main recording of US Airways. I called later for a different flight and again was quoted a cost nearly double of what is published online. I have not been able to book a flight with my credit on US Airways.

From my experience, I recommend booking a flight on Delta if you suspect any possibility of cancellations. Otherwise, I would go with American Airlines. Don’t buy the insurance, they are a ripoff.

Categories: Business, English, Travel

New Rule: Stop talking old prices without mentioning present value

April 26, 2007 Leave a comment

Frequently, people talking about important persons in history mention what the salaries in their times used to be. The problem lies when they insinuate on such a low number. Get over it and crunch some numbers. A poor man making $70 a week back in 1932 wasn’t financially poor.¬† He was earning¬† $1125.00 per week on our 2007 standards. That’s a comfortable $60,000 a year salary.

The best way to get this value is to use the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) Calculator. Plug in the numbers, and they tell you the dollar worth in present terms.

Consumer Price Index Calculator

Categories: Business, English, General

Purchase Airfare Smarter

April 22, 2007 Leave a comment

In my family, everyone mistakes me with the Internet auction, travel, credit check, payment handling, hosting, tech support guy. Whatever it is, I usually try to find the smartest tools to get the job done. When it comes to travel, I make a lot of reservations. In what has passed of this year, I am up to nine flights plus the numerous ones I’ve reserved for those family members that confuse me with a travel agent. I’ve begun to use Farecast repeatedly and find myself going back to it. The greatest advantage of this website over the traditional Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity of the market is Farecast’s historical pricing information, how it’s displayed, and the way you can use that to understand with higher precision when is the right time for purchasing airfare.

Another excellent offering is their Fare Guard product. Anyone can say the price is going down on a ticket you want to buy, but Farecast goes further and guarantees it. Instead of purchasing the ticket, if Farecast believes the price will go down, they offer you the chance to buy a Fare Guard, which means they guarantee the present airfare for an entire weak. The airfare protection only costs $9.99, which is a fair price for the peace of knowing your ticket won’t skyrocket in those seven days of waiting.

Categories: Business, English, Internet, Travel

Microsoft Adcenter Pilot Program

April 21, 2007 Leave a comment

As one of the beta testers of Microsoft’s Adcenter platform, I have to say that there is a long ways to go before going out of beta, but the product looks promising. At the moment, creating an ad campaign is painfully slow and at sometimes it completely crashes. This flaw alone keeps me from creating any other campaigns. In the process I found myself having to force the back button from my browser, the forward, and waiting a long time to see if the process was computing or just plain lost. These critical flaws must be fixed before Adcenter can aspire to take a big chunk from the current heavy weight champion Google Adwords.

There is light at the end of the tunnel for Adcenter. The overall menu of advertising targeting and specifications blow the competition away. I was amazed at the flexibility of the system to allow for multiple relationships between variables like the variables of time, demographics, and bids. In a campaign, I could bid $0.10 for the keyword “widgets”, but increase my bid to $0.30 for “widgets” if it is being shown to 18-24 year old males from New York on Wednesdays at 6-8PM.¬† This flexibility is outstanding and it’s something Microsoft can use to gain market share against Adwords – of course, if MS can fix the crawls and crashes.

Everything else from the experience was similar to Adwords and Yahoo’s product. You select a keyword, get related keywords, measure conversions, and estimate the position and amount of traffic expected based on your bid. Microsoft recently announced that they will be adding Adcenter’s client ads to their network of high quality sites. This announcement should place them at a better position of providing much more traffic than just by search. At the end, it will depend much on Microsoft’s capacity to take this product out of beta and aggressively increase their network of sites displaying such ads before Google catches up to the demographic targeting offered by Adcenter.

Categories: Business, English, Internet