March 2005 Archives
Walter Mossberg reported today in the Wall Street Journal on two more Vertical Search enterprises that are in beta. I would put in a link here, but as you know unless you are a subscriber to wsj.com, you will not be able to read this online (too bad Dow Jones cannot figure out that they are missing out on lots of powerful traffic and advertising opportunities).
The first site reported on is ziggs.com, which according to Mossberg "helps you find people with particular skills or other characteristics for hiring or networking purposes." The second service, indeed.com, "lists job openings by city, state, title, company name and key word. It retrieves these openings from job sites, newspaper ad sites, and corporate and association sites."
Vertical Search is the next big growth area for the Search industry. Hundreds of companies are being formed around vertical topics. There is no stopping the Search juggernaut.
The Comdex folks today announced that the Comdex tradeshow is taking another 12 month vacation (making it 24 months) of rest cure, but that it will be back in 2006. I can only presume that the team that runs MediaLive (the owner of the dead Comdex show) must think we are all on Jim Jones' Kool-Aid if they think anyone in the world believes that Comdex will ever run again.
The news story linked above indicates that the "Comdex space" at the Las Vegas Convention Center is now rented out. I see that Computer Associates is running its own trade show during the erstwhile Comdex week. Thus if Comdex did manage to run again in 2006, I doubt it would be in Las Vegas. But then this assumes that a Comdex show would have girth. So on second thought it probably could fit into the lobby of the local Starbucks about two blocks away from the LVCC.
Last week the sale of askjeeves.com got all the press. But another deal that got some mention has large implications on how the Internet affects newspapers and print media.
I refer to the deal in which Gannett, Knight-Ridder and the Tribune Company joined together to purchase three-fourths of topix.net.
Topix.net is an online business that monitors over 10,000 online news sources. To quote an article in The New York Times (23 March) by Katharine Q. Seelye: "Topix.net is a news aggregator continuously monitoring updates on thousands of news media Web sites as well as government sites and organizing links to articles in more than 300,000 subject areas."
In addition, ...."the acquisition will allow it [topix.net]to approach the newspapers' online advertisers about using its technology for customizing ads. It will also let Topix.net add material like television listings."
The co-founder of Topix (Rick Skrenta) is quoted as saying "They get powerful contextual advertising technology, and we make their ads more profitable."
What we have here is traditional newspaper organizations making a bigger bet on the power of the Net and also getting an insurance policy against print ad shrinkage as well as a buy into the fast growing contextual ad market.
Or to put it in another way here is a quote from the above referenced article from Chris Tolles (VP of Marketing for Topix): "The newspaper industry is looking out for its future and is more savvy than people give it credit for."
When I compare this deal to The New York Times' purchased of about.com a few weeks ago, I vote for the topix.com deal as the wiser and better deal.
We continue to see the relentless onslaught of the Internet against tradtional forms of publishing. These newspaper giants have seen the writing on the wall.
Since I have been accused of "pushing" JupiterResearch, here is an unbiased Blog that is doing its own push of JR.
Ben Silverman's blog also is pushing the "fact" that Jupitermedia has a deal for JupiterResearch.
Ben, the erstwhile NEW YORK POST financial writer and now financial blogger supreme, has some interesting reasoning. He claims that because I wrote a blog post on 18 March about the turnaround at JupiterResearch, that meant I was pushing a sale of the division.
Ben - if this is true, then my post of early this morning about Dynamic Graphics and Hemera Images would mean that these properties are about to be sold too!
Today siliconvalleywatcher.com published a piece indicating that Jupitermedia has essentially sold its JupiterResearch division. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is interesting that the writer's source was not someone at Jupitermedia, but rather an employee of Forrester Research that I have never met nor spoken to in my business life. It is also interesting that the post certainly puts a glow on JupiterResearch as the writer feels that JupiterResearch is the better brand!
Several of our team spent the day in Peoria (visiting our new company Dynamic Graphics) and Ottawa (visiting with our Hemera Images division).
I cannot wait to roll out the initiatives we have brewing between services offered by Dynamic Graphics and services offered by existing JupiterImage properties. The cross promotion and cross distribution opportunities are large and are almost certain to make financial history. I will keep readers informed about these initiatives as we roll them out. In the meantime check out a neat email newsletter offered by Dynamic Graphics. Liquid Treat has over 150,000 subscribers and each weekly offering is packed with advertising (both of our own brands and by paid advertisers). My reason for mentioning this today is that we just started promoting Liquid Treat on some of our JupiterWeb properties. Within two-days of the start of the promotion on JupiterWeb, Dynamic Graphics received a record number of new subscribers - further proof of the value our network of Web sites will bring to the forthcoming initiatives.
Hemera Images has nothing but good news. February was a record month in sales for our Ablestock subscription service and March will break the February numbers. We are also going to roll out next week a new subscription service called PhotoObjects.net. Hemera has the largest collection of digitized royalty free photo objects (over 250,000 and growing) in the world (photo objects are best described by thinking of objects such as an egg, a glass, a tea cup or any object one can think of that are shot against white backgrounds and easily manipulated digitally by graphics professionals for promotional purposes).
This new subscription service will obviously be the first of its kind and if it works like our other subscription services across our properties (photos.com, clipart.com, animations.com, liguidlibrary.com, comstock1700ksubscriptions.com, and ablestock.com) we will have another terrific financial success.
I have long admired the originality of Barry Diller. He might be one of the few Internet business people that is older than this writer! But more interestingly he is one of the few business people to come from another industry and do really well in the Internet space. There are others out there who have come from other sectors and taken over reasonably strong Internet franchises and done well. But Diller is different. He saw the Net in the mid-90s --he was pre-emptive with his actions and has created a terrific company at InterActiveCorp (IAC).
I have written about Diller before --check my article in June of 2001. I was on the mark. And interestingly in all of the coverage of IAC's potential acquisition of AskJeeves.com none of the professional writers out there have brought up Diller's move on Lycos.com back in the late 1990s. Barry saw then the power of search and the power of eyeballs. He was not successful then in getting Lycos, but I think he scores big today with AskJeeves.
Barry is one of the few "real" strategic players in the Internet space that I have watched during my career. Russ Horowitz now of Marchex.com is another (remember how he put together Go2Net.com in the 1990s and the bundle of money he made for himself and his stockholders?)
Both Barry and Russ see over the horizon. Watch them and learn.
In the meantime there are not too many of us around from the 90s who can remember Barry's run at Lycos and other such events. I will try to keep the financial press on their toes.
(I own shares in Marchex. I do not own shares in IAC)
Many of you know that we sell stock photos, clipart and animations online. What you do not know is how robust this business is year round and even on the weekends.
I just checked my email reports from yesterday. Our combined subscription services sold just about $20,000 on Sunday! (We sell many times more than this on weekdays.)
Not too bad for "the day of rest!"
Many of you know that we bought Jupiter Research back in the summer of 2002. Jupiter Research's history goes back to 1989. It became a research power in the late 1990s with the rise of the Internet and Internet stocks. A public offering through DLJ took place in 1999 and it merged with MediaMetrix in 2000. Then the Internet crash came and the fortunes of the combined JupiterMediaMetrix tumbled.
By the summer of 2002 bankruptcy was imminent. MediaMetrix was sold to Comscore and we bought Jupiter Research (we liked the deal so much that our corporate name changed to Jupitermedia soon after its completion).
Jupiter Research was losing big money when we bought it. But it had a great reputation and a great group of employees as well as star analysts. Unfortunately the tough "Internet times" had knocked the number of syndicated research clients from 1000 (in 2000) down to around 200 (and falling) at the time of the deal.
Fast forward to the present. Jupiter Research is thriving! Synidcated research clients hit 297 the other day (up from 241 at this time last year). Contract value renewals have climbed to close to 100%. JR is now profitable and we expect healthy financial growth this year.
So what happenend? A combination of factors helped with the turnaround. The number of employees went from 120 to 72 today. More importantly we all know that "the Internet means business" and that any company wanting to be competitive in almost any field has to be concerned with Internet trends. JR's niche is Internet business. Thus we have a rising Internet and and a rising Jupiter Research. These trends are becoming permanent fixtures in world business. Look for Jupiter Research to continue to add to its number of clients. And if you are not familiar with the best research company homepage check out jupiterresearch.com.
This Blog is celebrating a two year anniversary. It was started with the purpose of informing readers about the progress of a trade show called cdXpo which Jupitermedia planned as a "Comdex" buster. We felt that Comdex was failing and that the tech world needed a new trade show in Las Vegas annually in November. We failed with cdXpo, but we were correct about the death of Comdex.
When we decided not to take another run with cdXpo, I turned the Blog into a commentary about Internet media.
I have been amazed about the promotional coverage that this Blog has received. Numerous stories have appeared both online and in print. I have also been amazed about how many people that I meet in the business world mention that they read my posts.
I recently received a flattering invitation to keynote an ecommerce seminar in Aruba. It is always nice to be asked to speak at any event, but what made this special was that the invitation arose because the chairperson of the ecommerce conference found my Blog via links on the Internet. I am sure this kind person had never heard of me prior to her starting to read my posts online.
I had to decline the invitation, but asked that I be considered as the keynoter for next year. It was tempting to travel to an island paradise in the middle of a bitter New York winter, but I had a bunch of commitments that precluded the journey.
I have countless other stories about how my posts have opened promotional and business opportunities, but will hold those back for some other informal future post.
In the meantime I thank my band of loyal readers (friend or foe) and welcome comments (good or bad). Thanks for a fine two years!
The Wall Street Journal today has an article by Megan Ballinger entitled "Industry Newsletter Web Sites Grow With Online Job Searches."
The reporter talks about several niche job sites that have developed over the years that are vertically focused and powerful for those looking for specialty jobs.
Then there is creativesoncall.com for the design and advertising world. One of my three lovely daughters, Caroline, recently used mediabistro.com in her search to become an editor of young adult fiction. Caroline landed at Henry Holt on her own, but mediabistro.com was her main hope for several months.
I have often talked "vertical" and with good reason. Vertical opportunities on the Internet abound. From paid search to job search - vertical is king.
How would you like to create $1 million of revenue virtually overnight?
We just did this at Jupitermedia. We created a new stock photo Web site called Comstock 1700k Subscription Plan in about 8 working days. We populated the site with Comstock stock photo images that were selling on a pay per download basis - in other words we had no inventory expense in populating the new Web site - only a manpower expense of several developers working several days. We used existing software created by our Tucson image subscription team.
The 1700k product allows a subscriber to download up to 50 images per day for any of four subscription periods (one month, three months, six months or a year). The prices range respectively from $299 a month up to $1199 for a year. 1700k images refer to each being 1.7 megabytes.
We launched the site a few weeks ago and sales are moving in on $20,000 per week and building. Our promotion effort was nothing more than running banners on our various image Web sites as well as some of our developer sites in the JupiterWeb network.
This is an example of terrific organic growth for virtually no cost. It is also an example of how amazing the Internet is as a distribution channel. No promotion cost, no inventory cost and very little effort.
And finally the great thing for JupiterImages is that we are doing similar launches every few weeks with results that look to be comparable to the 1700k launch!
I will keep you informed about some of these other launches in forthcoming posts.
There must be a virus emanating from the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City that makes trade show companies want to create absurd and sure to fail trade shows.
We recently witnessed this virus killing CeBIT America and TechX (or whatever it was called). Now some of the folks that created the one time powerhouse PC Expo along with some folks that helped destroy CeBIT and TechX have all joined together to create a killer monster virus called C3.
This new great idea is supposed to take place this June at Javits. Check out the Web site describing this show and tell me if you can figure out what the show covers? Also note that not one exhibitor has signed up to date.
Having run a few "Turkeys" in my time I would suggest that this show is going to make CeBIT America look like the greatest tech trade show that ever took place in American history.
C3 probably means "Certain Failure 3x."
Late today we announced that we closed the purchase of the Dynamic Graphics Group of imagery brands. The assets that we have acquired are powerful and our JupiterImages division of Jupitermedia is as powerful as anybody in the world in the sale of stock photos and images.
I am particularly excited to have gained the powerful Dynamic Graphics worldwide sales team along with lots of significant executive talent. And surprisingly (coming from me) we are thrilled to now own some of the best print magazines ("Dynamic Graphics" and "Step Inside Design") which gives us another important sales channel in which to reach stock photo buyers worldwide.
Only JupiterImages can reach creative buyers in print, in person (through Dynamic Graphic events) and of course on the Web! JupiterImages is on the march. Watch us integrate all of these assets.
SES New York closed today with all kinds of financial and attendance records. Ironically last week the investment firm RBC published a research report stating that Paid Search listings were weak in the first quarter. I wonder if the writer of that report attended SES New York?
Wild enthusiasm would have confronted the RBC analyst. Total attendance was about 6000 (50% greater than 2004). Paid attendance was 1734 (52% greater than 2004). Exhibiting companies liked what they saw as 70% of them booked space for the 2006 show.
The excitement and energy on the show floor was equivalent to any of the Internet World shows of the 1990s. I never thought I would ever again see Internet World energy at a trade show in this century, but SES New York proved me wrong. It was truly a great trade show week for our industry and for Jupitermedia.
Live from SES New York a quick update from the keynote session featuring co-founder of Yahoo Jerry Yang being interviewed by Danny Sullivan.
I got a chance to chat with Jerry before the session started. The crowded keynote ballroom (seating 2500) reminded us both of the early days of the old Internet World trade shows.
The first few minutes of the discussion found Jerry talking about how the Internet and Search continue to evolve and that opportunities abound for Yahoo and the Internet industy. He went on to say that Yahoo faced stiff competition when it was founded 10 years ago and faces even tougher competition today.