January 2005 Archives
Christopher Byron, a business columnist at The New York Post today blasted Dow Jones management for its purchase of MarketWatch.com for over $500 million (Byron also blasted Dow Jones for several other electronic publishing deals from previous years).
Byron might have a point about Telerate and some of the other deals made by Dow Jones, but he misses a major point in his criticism. Dow Jones never should have had to purchase MarketWatch. The mistake was going the subscription only route with wsj.com in the late 1990s. That was when Dow Jones gave away its chance of having one of the largest if not the largest of online business communities. Using a combination of paid and free areas in and around The Wall Street Journal online would have been unbeatable.
And this mistake forced Dow Jones into having to borrow money to get back into the eyeball game in the Internet business community.
The next chapter is to see if DJ messes up MarketWatch or really makes it grow. The competition is fierce in the online business arena. Time will tell.
The evolution of some of the mega Internet brands is exciting to watch. Whether one looks at Yahoo, eBAY or Amazon, one sees the same things going on. That is a constant broadening of services. Of course a broadening of services only works when a company has a great core product and in the case of the Internet, a large and valuable community of eyeballs. Google as the new kid on the block has been broadening at lightning speed as well.
Which brings me to Amazon and their A9 Search service. Amazon is attempting to get into Search without doing combat with the big Search companies. Local search seems to be the key to A9. Our colleague over at Searchenginewatch.com, Chris Sherman, had a terrific review and analysis of the latest version of A9. Needless to say I suggest you read Chris' article.
I have been taken to the woodshed and throttled by none other than Danny Sullivan - King of Search.
Danny points out that Walter Mossberg has long been a fan of Answers.com and that the "Big Guys" (Google etc.) are getting better at providing direct answers to inquiries instead of mere links.
I still think Answers.com is pretty neat. And there is nothing like competition to spur on the noted Search companies to continuing adding great new services.
Most readers know of Walter Mossberg and his fine reviews of electronics equipment in The Wall Street Journal. His weekly reviews run the gamut from music players to the latest in digitial cameras.
I am an occasional reader of Mossberg. However the headline of his article today caught my eye: "Unlike Search Engines Answers.Com Responds With Data, Not Links."
Taking Walter's suggestion I tried Answers.com. I typed in Francis Galton (I had just read a fascinating book review about this English scientist). And lo and behold, as Walter promised, I had raft of specific biographical information entries that were on the mark.
Compare this to Google or any other search engine. These services give you hundred of entries, but of course one has to hunt and click to find a solid biographical entry.
Just as Google came out of nowhere to trump Yahoo as the first place for search, I have to wonder if Answers.com or something like it is not about to become the next big thing. To quote Mossberg: "Answers.com is also a start toward a new search paradigm where the object is to provide real instant information , not just links to pages where the information may, or may not, be found. I urge you to try it."
Our JupiterResearch team has been writing blogs for close to two years (JupiterResearch was the first Research company to offer blogs). Readership has grown dynamically (Close to 70,000 page views per day). And we now have several cases of gaining sales leads as a result of a reader becoming interested in our research because of being impressed by analysts' comments.
Other areas of Jupitermedia have blogs as well. In addition to my blog, Danny Sullivan's blog has been growing significantly as well. Danny and his news editor Gary Price now garner near 30,000 page views per day. When combined with our SearchengineWatchforum and Searchenginewatch.com site we have daily page views in the Search field of over 200,000 per day (and growing).
All in all the blog experience (started with my blog in February 2003) has been very positive for Jupitermedia.
I read a terrific piece by Rebecca Mead in THE NEW YORKER (24 January issue) about four recent college grads who came to New York City and now make pretty good money publishing a site called collegehumor.com.
The profile is interesting and reminds of stories we once read about sites such as theglobe.com. and tripod.com (both started by then-recent college grads around 1997 that never made money).
Of course the difference here is that presumably collegehumor.com makes money and will be around for a long time (the reporter makes the claim that revenue for December was over $450,000).
Collegehumor.com is a good representative of what is happening in publishing today. Ten years ago these young creators might have been pitching their business as a print magazine. Today things are different and the new publishing ideas that are working are online.
I periodically comment on Dow Jones' Internet strategy. Of particular interest to me has been the erroneous strategy of having a closed site (subscription driven). Their recent purchase of MarketWatch will help somewhat alleviate this poor strategy.
Today, however, I write to congratulate Dow Jones. I believe the company was clever to have acquired the VentureWire related email services. Branding them as Dow Jones services brought the product to a whole new level of credibility. And Dow Jones does a nice job cross promoting other services in the daily email offerings.
And I noted yesterday that Dow Jones continues to broaden its email newsletter offerings by announcing the launch of "The Wall Street Journal Briefings" which are a bunch of email newsletters focusing on the Chinese economy.
These are good moves. It will be interesting to watch Dow Jones' strategy in the coming months relating to integration of wsj.com, Marketwatch.com and their growing email newsletter collection.
Yahoo reported its latest financial quarter and GROWTH in keyword search rose significantly. This post is not about analyzing Yahoo's numbers, but rather about Yahoo as a barometer of the Search Industry juggernaut. Clearly more and more traditional ad spending is moving to paid search and Yahoo is one of the big players.
The other great barometer of the health of the Search Industry is our Search Engine Strategies trade show taking place 29 February-3 March at the Hilton New York. I had written two days ago about the exhibit space being "sold out." We somehow managed to gain some more space and just yesterday alone sold another seven companies exhibit and promotional space. We now have 96 companies participating as exhibitors and sponsors (up from 68 last March) and paid exhibition footage has hit 12,600 square feet (up from 7,800 square feet last year). Another positive factor is that most companies signing up for the New York show are simultaneously booking space for the San Jose show taking place in August.
SES has even reached the stage in trade show growth in which a car (in this case a beautiful red Mini Cooper) is being given away to some lucky seminar attendee. The sponsor is recently launched Accoona.
With paid attendance figures growing at a record clip as well, SES New York should be the Internet marketing event of the Winter season. Do not miss it.
Take a few minutes and watch this online spoof on Google taking over the information world. Along the way Google takes out Microsoft and The New York Times. My thanks to JupiterWeb editor Bradley Jones for finding this gem.
Danny Sullivan operates a terrific blog about Search. I noticed that the other day he took to task erstwhile Net marketing guru Seth Godin for doubting that there is something called a "search industry."
More info for Seth Godin: check out the SES New York show taking place at the Hilton New York February 29-March 3. All exhibit space is sold and the show is significantly larger than the 2004 version. Over 89 companies are exhibiting (I think this might very well mean that there is a search industry?)!
Last April, I wrote about discussion at our WiFi Planet message board in which some soldiers stationed in Iraq were getting help from people here in the States using the WiFi Planet discussion board.
The discussion started when a U.S. soldier, stationed in the Iraqi desert, posted a message to ask for help in improving the WiFi reception he shared with his fellow soldiers. Well, that discussion continued for many months after. The wonderful members of that community not only offered their knowledge, they even donated and shipped equipment that helped our soldiers improve their wireless network. And just today, another soldier, stationed in Kuwait came onto the board because he about to ship out to Iraq and wants to set up a WiFi network when he gets there. The power of Internet communities is just amazing. And of course, I'm proud that a service of our company can help such deserving people.
Many readers probably read the news release about the Elon University-Pew Internet and American Life Project results that were made public this week.
Yours truly is included as one of the people quoted about the Internet during the years 1990-1995. If you take a look at my quotes you will see I was on the mark way back then. Of particular interest to me is my quote that Internet brands would be as well known as traditional media brands. Little did I know that in some cases Internet brands would be dominant in terms of readership and reach. Nobody knew about eBAY back then. Nobody knew about paid Search. And nobody knew that AOL would buy Time Warner.
A job well done to Elon and Pew.
I had missed the live "60 Minutes" television broadcast about Google on Sunday 2 January. I finally viewed it last night. Some thoughts follow.
Lesley Stahl (the correspondent) spent time with the company's founders and got a demonstration of technology that seemed remarkable to her. Of course, her understanding of Google's importance was a little off. Stahl said that Google's innovation was to rank search results according to relevance. Google has done a great job with search but relevancy ranking was not their invention. It was well-established long before Google launched. Lesley Stahl was also very impressed by a version of Google for cell phones that helped her find a pharmacy; it may have amazed her but I think most viewers would wonder why she didn't just call for operator assistance? John Battelle of Wired and Industry Standard "fame" was also interviewed by Stahl. Battelle informed viewers that even though Google's employees wouldn't dare buy a Mercedes convertible with their option money, that they are all thinking about it. Like I said, it was amusing, if not very insightful.
Periodically I post notes on doings at Jupitermedia. This post is quite interesting because it is a true barometer (not scientific) of how bullish American and World industry is about the Internet.
Our Jupiter Research division concentrates on "how the Interent affects Business." JR does other things too, but essentially it has always specialized in and around the Internet space.
We purchased Jupiter Research in the summer of 2002. It was in bad shape. In 2000 JR had 1,500 syndicated research clients. By July of 2002 that number was fast falling below 200. Bankruptcy beckoned.
Fast forward to today. JR had a terrific 2004 (which really translates into a terrific 2005 since syndicated research clients are really annual subscribers and the 4th quarter is the largest renewal period of the year and a barometer of the year to come). Obviously we had renewal records or I would not be writing about this topic!
JR's average syndicated research client is near $40,000. Organizations do not spend this kind of money unless they believe that the Internet is affecting their business in a large way --- thus the title of this post.
I cannot go into exact financial details, but will do so in time. But the news is heartening. I congratulate the incredible staff and super analyst team at JR. Many of these people could have thrown in the towel a few years ago, but instead they believed and now the marketplace concurs in this confidence.
If it was not too burdensome and if I could get away with it (from clients) I would list over 300 organizations who believe strongly in Jupiter Research (this number includes custom research customers as well). I wish you could read the list. Such a reading would confirm to one and all that the Internet is Business!
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Securities and Exchange Commission has okayed greater use of the Internet for various facets of an initial public offering. For example, a so-called road show presentation could now be offered live on the Net (as well as archived).
Having been through the wringer a few times on IPOs and follow-on offerings, I can personally attest to how valuable this news is for companies that are doing stock offerings as well as for all investors.
This opening by the SEC to the Net is the beginning of what might well become 100% virtual "Road Shows" in coming years. We have witnessed the explosion of Webcasts and Webinars. Financial offerings 100% on the Net are fast approaching.