February 2005 Archives
Another 80 or so people registered today bringing our paid attendee total to over 1600. We are sure to get another healthy registration total on Tuesday. This means that we will break the our old paid attendance record by at least 500!
Tuesday brings the Jerry Yang "fireside chat" formatted keynote with Danny Sullivan. I expect about 2000 people to watch this event.
The exhibits open tomorrow at 10:00am. It should be very exciting in the exhibit hall as about 4000 people have registered to attend the exhibits only.
We are having another snow storm tonight in New York City (three in 10 days), but nothing can dampen the enthusiasm building around the biggest SES ever.
I have never posted about the state of the common stock of Jupitermedia (Nasdaq:JUPM). However our company's stock is under attack by an organization called CFRA that offers a subscription service that focuses on "uncovering aggressive or unusal accounting practices that can serve as early earning signs of business deterioration." CFRA attacked our company last November with a variety of questions and charges that we successfully refuted. These charges were the result of shoddy research by an analyst who clearly did not understand the concept of a subscription business nor understood the basics of depreciation and amortization.
The November attack dropped our stock price by 25% in four days. By the end of 2004 the stock had recovered and actually increased in price.
We recently published our fourth quarter financials and provided financial guidance for 2005. CFRA immediately published another totally incorrect charge that our company suffers from a lack of "organic revenue growth." Obviously I do not agree and could write a multi-page essay about the topic.
Regardless of my feelings, it is interesting to note that CFRA no longer mentions (in its latest report) the fact that the charges leveled against us in November were all incorrect. Instead CFRA now has decided that since the original claims were wrong that it should try a new line of attack. This looks to me like a vendetta on the part of CFRA against us for proving them incorrect back in November and or that CFRA is getting paid by short sellers to drive down the price of our stock.
Just as Jupitermedia proved CFRA wrong in November, we will let our full year results speak for themselves and prove CFRA incorrect once again.
An industry compatriot that I have never met, but whom I have emailed with for two years or more by the name of Colin Crawford launched a Blog yesterday. Colin runs business development at IDG so he has an interesting perspective on traditional and Internet media. I suggest you check it out. Perhaps we will get a glimpse of the real financial health of IDG. It would be interesting to know what IDG thinks about the coming competition it faces in the CIO area from upstart juggernaut TechTarget? I tend to doubt we will get Colin's real feelings about on the inside scoop, but here's hoping.
Our JupiterResearch team reported today findings on the potential for vertical search. It seems to me that Vertical Search is an industry-opportunity within the Search industry. There is no telling how many thousands of online businesses will be created to serve Vertical niche business sectors.
And this leads me to our SES show starting Monday in New York City. I have posted several times about the growth of this show, but let give you an update. Both levels of the Hilton exhibition center are sold out. The paid seminar numbers are astounding: our largest paid attendance to date at any SES show was about 1100. It appears that the New York show will hit 1550 or more (the average seminar fee is over $1100). These numbers make SES one of the few great trade shows in the world today. It should be a spectacular four days at SES next week highlighted by Jerry Yang's keynote on Tuesday morning and the vibrancy of one of the great marketing land rushes of all time.
Now that About.com has been sold, let's go back in Internet history and remember the real gem that was once part of About.com - Sprinks.
Sprinks was About.com's version of Google's "Ad-Sense." In other words it was About's revenue tool for selling key search words.
I am not aware if Sprink's revenues were ever reported, but there is no doubt it was a thriving business. Google purchased Sprinks from About.com in November of 2003.
Let's speculate? I would guess that Primedia sold Sprinks to pick up significant cash to help boost About.com's standing and also to bank some of the loot (they should have taken Google stock -perhaps they did?).
My second guess is that Sprinks along with About.com would have brought Primedia much more money today than they got by selling the two seperately. Sprinks was sold right before the really big boom in keyword spending had blasted off. Perhaps Primedia could also have spun out Sprinks into an IPO.
It is always fun to speculate with 20/20 hindsight!
The fellow who runs the IAB has had dealings with Jupitermedia over the years and all of those dealings came close to several legal actions.
I could never understand how a non-profit organization basically wanted to compete with for-profits. The attitude of the IAB drove our company into becoming a happy member of the Online Publishers Association.
I am sure this legal action will get settled. In the meantime if I was a member of the IAB I would want to know why my dues were being used for legal matters.
Here's the announcement of IAB's filing:
Interactive Advertising Bureau Files Lawsuit against MediaPost Communications Charging Trademark Infringement Friday February 18, 2:12 pm ET
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 18, 2005--The Interactive Advertising Bureau
(IAB) today filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against MediaPost Communications and its affiliate Fadner Media Enterprises, LLC, alleging unauthorized use of the OMMA (Online Media Marketing and Advertising) trademark jointly owned by IAB and MediaPost.
As alleged in the lawsuit, the OMMA trademark was initially created to represent the collaboration between IAB and MediaPost formed in June 2004 for the purpose of co-producing the 2004 Interactive Advertising World, which included the OMMA event. The lawsuit charges that subsequent to dissolution of the collaboration, MediaPost has been engaged in actions inconsistent with the parties' joint ownership of the OMMA mark, including filing an application to register the OMMA mark solely in the name of Fadner Media Enterprises, LLC ("Fadner Media") with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
"The continued use of the OMMA trademark confuses the marketplace by suggesting that there is an ongoing relationship between IAB and MediaPost with a perceived co-production of their industry events," said Greg Stuart, president and CEO, IAB. "After several failed attempts from the IAB and its Board of Directors to dissuade MediaPost from using the trademark, we were left with no other option than to seek relief from the courts. We hope for a quick resolution in this matter."
In the promotion and development of its September 2005 MIXX Conference, Expo and Awards Show, IAB will not be using the OMMA trademark.
The IAB seeks permanent injunctive relief restraining defendant from using the OMMA mark in any further communications or public announcements without the IAB's prior written consent.
The New York Times today purchased About.com for $410 million in cash as reported by one of our terrific reporters at JupiterWeb. This follows Dow Jones' purchase a few weeks ago of financial site Marketwatch.com.
Another recent deal was the sale of Slate.com to the Washington Post. The common denominator here is traditional media companies purchasing pure online media properties. Think back to the mid-1990s. It would have been hard to believe then that old line organizations such as The Washington Post, The New York Times and Dow Jones would be making purchases of Web sites.
Newspapers have been losing ad share to the Internet and this trend is sure to continue. Therefore I am sure you will see that these three organizations as well other newspaper companies will continue to be big buyers of Web sites that have traffic allied with either their newspapers or other print media.
Word came late last week that the large Hollywood movie studios filed (as reported by Reuters) a second round of lawsuits against computer network operators who use technology that allows people to share films and TV shows on the Internet without permission. These peer-to-peer activities and legal actions are very similar to what we were seeing several years ago in the music industry. And while music lawsuits are not entirely over, we now have evolved to where selling music over the net by firms such as Apple and Real are thriving businesses. And Napster which was once considered "illegitimate" is now very legitimate.
Legitimate services for downloading movies such as MovieLink.com are starting to thrive. The software to run movie downloads is more sophisticed than what music requires, but nonetheless, we are sure to see movie downloads following the same business explosion that happened with music. Perhaps Steve Jobs is about to announce an iMOVIE contraption to go with the iPOD?
The big losers here could be Netflix and Blockbuster. Of course they could both migrate into serving movies online similar to the way Apple and Real are offering music today.
The lesson is that Netflix and Blockbuster had better be ready with such a plan or face "the music" of a fast erosion of their present business model.
Once again the Internet is raising havoc with yet another business model.
With the help of a "large shoe horn" we were able to squeeze in a few more exhibitors and have but one exhibition booth remaining for the SES New York show starting on February 28. We are now well over 100 exhibitors for the show which is significantly larger than the 2004 New York edition.
Paid registrations for the seminar program are running wild right now. Based on the increase for three weeks out, we should see record numbers of people at SES New York.
I have been fortunate in the previous few years to be associated with two terrific trade show brands: Internet World (1993-1998) and now Search Engine Stratgies. While SES will never be as large as Internet World, I feel that SES has better longevity genes. This is due to the fact that SES is vertically focused whereas Internet World was extremely horizontal. Also SES is covering an arena that appears to be only at the beginning of changing advertising models for years to come not to mention its possible affect on the Yellow Page industry and many others forms of media. Search is changing dynamically all the time and as long as that is the case, then we are looking at many years of growth for Search Engine Strategies events around the world (we are now in 7 countries with SES, with more country announcements to come).
I just had breakfast with Jason Calacanis. For those who do not remember or know of Jason: nobody was a bigger mover or shaker in the New York City Internet doings(once called Silicon Alley)than Jason. He started a bi-monthly newsletter in the mid-1990s which soon became a robust, slick monthly magazine called the "Silicon Alley Reporter." He began running social gatherings and small trade shows and built his annual revenues to $12 million. The roof fell in with the 2000 Internet bust and Jason ended up taking his assets and converting them into coverage of the VC field (he later sold this business).
Now Jason is back big time with Weblogsinc. He has 73 blogs under this umbrella and offices in Santa Monica, California and New York City. Daily traffic and advertising is strong. Jason appears to have made a big comeback.
He now lives and works fulltime in California and visits his New York office monthly. He had to give up his Knicks tickets (good time to do that!), but his bulldog Taco is thriving in Santa Monica.
It was good to catch up with Jason and see a living, breathing Internet "Phoenix." With Google and now AskJeeves buying bigtime into the blog space it is only a matter of time before someone knocks on Jason's door for an acquisition.
Yesterday we learned that Amazon.com did not please Wall Street. Amazon's revenue growth was fine, but the cost of doing business for the Bezos-crew is costlier than expected. And perhaps The Street thinks this is a trend that will only get worse?
Why did Amazon's cost rise? Part of the reason is investment in new software for their Search service called A9. But much of the reason comes because of competitive factors. More and more new companies are coming into the ecommerce field to do battle with Amazon and they are offering the same goods, the same services, and the same discounts and in many cases an equally good interface.
The lesson is that the Internet makes it easier to compete than ever before in business history. For example take eBAY. eBAY disappointed Wall Street last month and paid with a lower stock price. But there is customer discontent with new eBAY charges. But also we know there are small and facile auction sites gaining share everyday. In fact our crack news team at JupiterWeb wrote about just such a company yesterday called wagglepop. Whether wagglepop.com makes it big or not I do not know, but the other lesson of this post is that predators are everywhere and they are focused on taking a piece out of the major ecommerce players. The major players are ripe for plucking.
I can never get enough of the stories one reads from time to time in the press about niche ecommerce sites that are started on a dime and then thrive.
Here is the story: Jennifer Fallon of Atlanta was about to be married. She was searching for wedding favors. She soon realized that there was no specific site dedicated to such items. Jennifer decided to start her own store online and did so with a Yahoo online store. Almost immediately she hit $10,000 a month in sales. Now she is independent as kateaspen.com and she is projecting sales of $2.3 million for 2005. Not bad for basically a one-person shop.
Thomas' story has the following headline: "Chance to Test Markets At Little Cost on Web." The Internet is still one of the greatest business frontiers in history. It is open to anyone with a good idea and a few dollars. While kateaspen.com will never be as large as eBAY, it is interesting to note that eBAY started on a whim similar to Jennifer Fallon's -- that was to try to find other buyers and sellers of Pez dispensers.
Exciting news today to learn that Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo! has signed on as the keynoter for SES New York on March 1.
This is quite a change for a SES show. Usually Danny Sullivan presents the keynote (Danny will now give his talk on the morning of March 2).
I go way back with Jerry. At Fall Internet World 1994 in Washington, DC, Jerry and my then company (Mecklermedia) had a tentative agreement for our new Web site called MecklerWeb.com to host Yahoo!. As I remember it, Yahoo! had lost its home on the Stanford University servers and Jerry and his partner David Filo needed a new host. However, before the end of the show, the Yahoo! team decided to place their site on the new Netscape.com --- and the rest is history.
I might also add that 6 months later I would like to think I came close to almost buying Yahoo!, but alas Jerry and David decided to go the VC route that day.
The last time I spoke with Jerry was when he keynoted Internet World Los Angeles in the spring of 1998. Therefore I look forward to Jerry's March 1 appearance for both the excitement it brings to SES New York, but also to touch base with an "old" Internet colleague from the pioneer days.