July 2004 Archives
Is it possible that my Treo 600 reads my posts and is angry with me over my praise of the forthcoming HP 6315? My post of yesterday praised the IPAQ 6315 (today both the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times in articles by Walter Mossberg and David Pogue praised this new device). And about an hour ago my trusty Treo 600 developed a big blotch in the middle of the screen! So is this payback or anger? I have extolled the virtues of the Treo even though I have had to get two replacements due to the same speaker problem. Now I will need a third replacement in less than 7 months. This is not a good sign for PalmOne if this is happening to me -- it must be happening to many other owners around the world.
I might have to go back to RIM or certainly might now move to the new HP 6315.
I have been in business since 1969. I have had many downs and a few significant "ups" during this time. My greatest up was the creation of the trade show Internet World. The downs have been myriad, but fortunately none of them were "life threatening."
A great new up was the entrance of Jupitermedia into selling stock photos and clipart online. Starting with the purchase of ArtToday.com June 30, 2003, we have been on quite an educational and ecommerce learning experience. Since the aforementioned purchase we have announced the acquisition of Comstock Images and tomorrow morning we are announcing the acquisition of Thinkstock.com and ThinkstockFootage.com.
Selling stock images online was popularized by the hugely successful Getty Images. Getty revolutionized the stock photography industry much like Amazon changed the book selling industry.
Now Jupitermedia is going to further evolve the stock imagery business beyond what Getty has accomplished, much like Wal-Mart was able to better K-Mart and a host of other discounters in the past 30 years.
None of this could happen without the Internet. Internet commerce developments have turned several industries on their respective heads. I have mentioned bookselling. But think of travel, prescriptions, music, DVDs, auctions, and many others.
I have been in and around the Internet business since 1990 - mainly being the purveyor of information about the industry through publications, research and trade shows. Now for the first time I am involved in the trenches with a significant ecommerce play. Our company is right in the middle of grabbing chunks of a $2 billion industry. I will report in future posts on how we are fast becoming the Wal-Mart of stock imagery. A hint: lots of our success is coming via the use of our community sites and our massive base of unique visitors. As I said --- stay tuned.
I have written about my happiness with my Treo 600. This device has been so successful in the marketplace that it has helped PalmOne's stock rocket from around $10 at the beginning of the year to about $35 a share today.
The only thing the Treo is missing is fast connectivity to the Internet (for both email and Web browsing). The Palm folks really need to add Wi-Fi to make the Treo go from red-hot to white-hot.
In the meantime, HP is jumping into the battle with its new IPAQ 6315. I have not seen this device, but it will have a QWERTY keyboard and connectivity for phone calls (GSM) and Wi-Fi. The 6315 sounds like the perfect device to take on the Treo 600 and also to compete with the latest versions of RIM's Blackberry.
I cannot wait to try the HP 6315. I have been a firm believer that millions of people will one day prefer to have one device rather than carrying around a PDA and a cell phone. And I believe that the winning device will incorporate a QWERTY keyboard. Obviously there are many phone-like devices in the market that connect to the Net, but few have a QWERTY keyboard. RIM and PalmOne have the lead, but the 6315 just might catch fire on its release.
Much has been written about the state of the trade show business. I have been in the middle of the discussion (or the outside!). Regardless, nobody would disagree that trade shows in the tech and IT space are hurting. We at Jupitermedia have launched many new shows since 2001. Some have worked and many others have not survived. At least Jupitermedia is in there pitching as many companies continue to run trade shows that are in death spirals. And rather than try something new, these companies are paralyzed in the hope that their old shows will miraculously revive (the best example is Comdex, but Comnet is another of many such examples).
I admit failures and have done so often. Which brings me to the next Search Engine Strategies (SES) show taking place in San Jose August 2-5. This show is astounding by the standards of what I mentioned in the first paragraph. SES is growing every four months (we run three shows in the USA and five overseas, but for this post I am dealing with the USA shows). The August show is now over 10,000 square feet of exhibit space at the nosebleed level of $50 per square feet. The previous show in New York City (March) had 6800 square feet of exhibition space. Paid attendance is marching in lockstep with exhibition space. AND, four companies signed up for exhibition space in the previous 12 hours.
We are fortunate to own SES. But we would not be in this position if we did not try new events. Our Digital Rigths Management Strategies (DRMStrategies) show looks to be another big winner for us too.
The key is originality and being willing to fail. As a public company we are penalized sometimes because Wall Street does not like failures. Quarterly numbers can be effected by a bad show. But one has to keep pushing and not worry about that pressure. I for one like to think of the British Army SAS (Special Ops) motto when I run a company: "Who dares wins."
Ellis Booker, editor in chief of Media Business magazine, asked me to write a guest column for his July 2004 issue. The column, available as a PDF online, and reproduced below, takes a look at the future of trade publishing.
Note that the column mentions an article I wrote for the September 26, 2000 issue of Business 2.0. It is good reading today and of course related to the article mentioned above.
Here's the Media Business article:
Online Trade Tech's Publishing Juggernaut
It is only a matter of time before trade print magazines will be virtually eliminated. I first made this prediction in the September 2000 issue of BUSINESS 2.0 magazine ("I Want My N/TV!").
In that article I went on to say that the then-recent acquisitions of CMP Media and Ziff Davis would be viewed as bad investments. I stated that the acquirers had paid way too much for the respective properties.
Fast forward to today. My prediction was on the mark. And firsthand experience tells me that things will only get worse for any tech print trade publisher.
The previous issue of this magazine (June 7) had an article with the headline: â€œTrade Magazinesâ€™ Influence Wanes.â€ The subtitle read: Veronis Communications Report Bullish on Internet, Trade Shows, Database Service.â€ This report did not concentrate on the tech space, but a reading certainly shows that online is the future in BtoB publishing (which includes tech trade).
There have been a few attempts at launching tech trade print magazines in this century. But they are far and few between. On the other hand, numerous magazines have been killed or consolidated as ad dollars dried up. Most of the tech magazines that continue do so as razor-thin magazines with a handful of advertisers.
Advertisers are turning to the Internet for a better ROI. Why? A vertically focused Web site with audited traffic offers the advertiser an opportunity to rifle shot his ad to an absolutely focused reader. The economics of running a Web site are miniscule compared to a print magazine. A magazine requires a direct mail campaign to find subscribers. A new magazine also requires a large staff, and distribution costs (paper, printing and binding) are huge. And, of course, a magazine requires a reasonable number of ad pages. A new Web site requires only one writer to start and its distribution cost is virtually zero since delivery is over the net.
For example, Jupitermedia (my company) was able, at modest cost, to take a chance and start a Web site devoted to Wi-Fi back in 2001. Today this site (Wi-FiPlanet.com) is thriving with readership and paid advertising. If we were back in the 1990s, a hot topic such as Wi-Fi would have spawned several print magazines, but not now. Publishing
Economics favor the online publisher when it comes to risking money on a new title. And at the same time, the vertically focused Web site offers a better ROI for the advertiser than an ad in a general enterprise computing trade magazine.
It will only be a matter of time before some of the larger tech magazines bid goodbye to print and continue life as online titles. I am sure we will see at least one or two such moves before the end of this year.
Now letâ€™s turn to a small BtoB online publishing company called MDlinx.Com (Jupitermedia is a stockholder) as an example of a company that fills a need that could only be accomplished online. MDLinx.Com has over 300 Web sites and companion e-mail newsletters aimed at doctors and medical professionals. Each Web site targets a specialty niche of medical practice. In the cardiology area there are approximately 15 Web sites and newsletters. The MDLinx.com service selects the best articles of the day in each medical specialty that it covers. Over 35,000 doctors have registered for these services. Advertisers are primarily pharmaceutical companies. CPMâ€™s at MDLinx.Com average close to $175! The company is very profitable and growing rapidly.
MDLinxâ€™s success was hard won. It took almost three years for advertising agencies to buy into the concept. But once ad agencies understood the concept and the vertical power of these specialty Web sites, MDLinx became a revenue juggernaut. Obviously MDLinx is not a tech print trade publisher, but in the medical field it is now taking ad dollars from traditional medical print publications.
There are countless examples in the online publishing world similar to MDLinx. A larger example is TechTarget.com, which has received over $100 million of VC funding in the last few years. TechTarget claims that it is doing $50 million in revenue and is profitable and is projecting $100 million in revenue in three years. Whether these numbers are realistic or not, clearly TechTarget is draining dollars from the traditional trade print tech publishers.
There is a saying about soldiers made famous by General Douglas MacArthur that is appropriate for tech trade print magazines --- â€œOld soldiers never die, they just slowly fade away.â€
The decline of trade shows has invigorated an exciting online event concept known as webinars. Webinars are live online presentations in which a speaker provides analysis or a tutorial on a variety of topics. One can get a sample of what I mean by checking out Jupitermedia's future webinars.
What are the economics? There are two keys to making the webinar business economically viable. The first is having in-house speakers that will attract both advertisers and online attendees. Second is having the ability to promote the offering inexpensively.
Jupitermedia is fortunate on both counts. First, we own JupiterResearch which has over 40 research analysts who are ideally suited to making webinar presentations on myriad subjects. Second, we have 160 Web sites and and an equal number of email newsletters in which we can run ads (at no cost) promoting upcoming webinars. Thus our cost is essentially connectivity to link up the several hundred attendees we attract to each webinar.
One other factor: qualifying the attendees. On virtually any topic we cover with our webinars we can obtain 400 or more prospective attendees. However we require attendees to qualify by answering up to 12 questions. Applications are vetted and about 60% of the applicants are accepted. Accepted attendees agree in advance to allow us to provide their contact information to the sponsor.
The last piece of the puzzle is selling the sponsorships. We are fortunate once again to have a cracker-jack sales person who does most of the selling for this service. One sponsor position is sold for each webinar --- the cost ranges from $12,500 to $25,000 depending on the topic.
In less than two years this business has blossomed so that revenues are now running at a run-rate of about $1 million annually and growing rapidly. The future is bright for Jupiter webinars and for webinars in general.
Webinars in coming years will thrive as more and more companies place larger portions of their promotion budgets into this category. And as broadband expands, we can expect webinars to evolve with exciting new delivery formats.
I know I said that I would not write about the demise of Comdex again, but one of our readers sent in this amusing cartoon which I am reprinting with full credit to the creator.
--"User Friendly" by J.D. Frazer, copyright User Friendly Media Inc.
Our JupiterResearch is on a roll! Renewal rates on syndicated research have been running well over 90% for most of the year (and part of last year). Custom research is booming. Obviously JR is in demand.
Thus we were recently forced to take legal action against a company called eMARKETER. This company has the nasty habit of copying JupiterResearch's original analysis and research without the permission of JR. Such activities have been going on for years. And as the new owners of JupiterResearch, we must put a stop to eMarketer's actions.
We have no problem with eMarketer remaining in business. We just cannot accept having our information appear in their "research" reports.
There are other research companies out there who are also being "used" by eMarketer. I would suggest that they take legal action too unless they want to continue to be ripped off.
I really appreciate the comments that I receive about my various posts. Presently the design of this blog makes it a bit cumbersome for readers to comment. In the next few weeks we will redesign the page so that readers can comment.
In the meantime I have attached two recent comments.
From Henry Allain:
I hope you continue to blog the truth. The COMDEX fiasco is such a joke that I am shocked, like you, that the only thing we are hearing about this is the propaganda that MediaLive continues to put out there for public consumption. Killing an event (or magazine, or website, or practically any product for that matter) and then bringing it back is next to impossible... Look what happened when they attempted to bring BYTE back in print -- utter failure. I for one am thrilled to see COMDEX go down in flames. It will wake people up to realize that smaller, more targeted events are where they need to spend their time. Keep up the good work!
From Jay Srinivasan:
I met you once briefly, when I was speaking at Internet World in New York.
Having participated it several Internal World conferences as a speaker, I must say that your trade shows were very unique and it nicely blended with the conference theme (Thanks to Jack Powers' vision and ideas). Internet Commerce Expo (ICE) folks from IDG tried their best to copy your model and failed miserably. Even Penton Media could not repeat your success.
As Kenny Rogers said " You knew when to hold them, when to fold them, when to walk away and when to run"
Thanks for the memories of Internet World.
The Internet continuously spawns new business models and these new business models in turn spawn offshoot businesses that in some cases could or can become larger than the original model.
Let's look at selling tickets online. We all know that eBAY, among thousands of items, sells tickets to events (sporting, concerts, etc.). We also know that Ticketmaster sells tickets.
Now along comes stubhub started by two Stanford Business School students who created the idea for a term paper (as an aside I remember reading that Federal Express was born from a Frederick Smith term paper at the Wharton School of Business many years ago).
My purpose is not to describe stubhub.com. Take a look at it for yourself. My purpose is only to illustrate the continuous flow of new business ideas brought to all of us via the Internet.
And part of this idea is how traditional businesses are being turned on their heads. The next huge breakthrough is coming to the yellow page industry. If I am a yellow page publisher I have to be terrified at the rapidity of the local search models that are coming down the pike. I take my hat off to Verizon who seems to be fighting a good fight, but the onslaught is coming. This multibillion-dollar industry is ripe for a fall.
A good business book would be a series of case studies on how the Internet has created new business concepts and at the sametime destroyed many others. It would be a terrific read.
We at Jupitermedia are blessed to have tapped the business of selling images online. I will write more about our doing here in later posts. Suffice it to say that much like stubhub found a niche for selling tickets, we have found a niche for becoming the "Wal-Mart" of the online image industry.