June 2005 Archives
C3 Expo debuted on Wednesday and died on Friday. This was another attempt at creating an old fashioned big time trade show like we used to have in the 20th Century. The people behind C3 were the creators of the once great PC Expo with help from a few media companies who are probably pleased they kept a low profile in promoting this bomb.
Some highlights: most seminar rooms had fewer than 5 attendees. In most cases the speaker panel had more bodies than those in attendance. Many exhibitors did not appear. For example the Washington Post booth was unattended, but did have a pile of Washington Post trade magazines for the taking.
I feel for the Ianuzzi family that decided to come out of trade show retirement and attempt to start another great event (the Ianuzzi's created PC Expo and sold it for a bundle several years ago). I too failed with my attempt at an old fashioned 20th century tech trade show (remember cdXpo)back in 2003. Ralph - you guys should stick with golf or whatever you have been doing for the previous 8 years. Its tough to make a comeback in the trade show business. The times have changed. Vertical is in and big is out and clearly C3 was not needed.
PartyGaming.Com went public the other day. It is now "worth" $9 billion or so making it the most valuable publicly traded gambling stock in the world.
PartyGaming's $9 billion valuation is greater than MGM Mirage, for example, or Harrah's Entertainment. Thus an online gambling company has supplanted a brick and mortar gambling company as top dog on the valuation charts. Previously this happened with book retailing (Amazon vs. Barnes and Noble) and recently in media (Google vs. TimeWarner). There are many other similar examples as well.
The real story about PartyGaming is the craziness of the United States government's quixotic vendetta to continue to make online gambling illegal. And yet America has over 400 Indian Casinos, a huge number of other casinos, a myriad of state lottery games, bingo halls, horse racing, a thriving illegal sports betting business and on and on. Many of the legislators working hard to condemn online gambling represent states such as Nevada and Arizona where legal brick and mortar casinos thrive. My state, New York, is allowing various horse racing facilities to add thousands of slot machines. In fact just 30 minutes via car from downtown New York City in a place called Yonkers, the trotter racetrack will shortly be opening a 5,000 slot machine facility that will be worth billions.
The Internet cannot be stopped. And proof of this is that 80 percent of PartyGaming's revenues come from United States players and users who of course are participating online. Is not it time for the government to legalize online gambling so that at least the American economy can gain a foothold in a business that is going to thrive worldwide regardless of what actions Congress takes?
By the way there was a terrific article (requires a Times membership) in the Sunday New York Times business section entitled "At Party Gaming, Everything's Wild" by Kurt Eichenwald (26 June). The history of PartyGaming and the history of the American legal postion is well delineated. See what you think.
CNN.com today has a supereb recap of Internet history combined with many interesting charts and stats.
I was particularly interested in the "history" section of the report. The writer mentions Jean Armour Polly in 1992 coining the term "surfing the Internet." Jean wrote for my old Meckler Publishing Corporation back in those days and we were in the thick of reporting on the beginnins of the Internet. Jean's creating the term in 1992 is quite amazing because there was no World Wide Web in 1992 -surfing as we know it today had to wait at least two more years.
I believe the report has another historical error when it states that the first ad on the Internet was created by ATT and Zima. I am quite certain that the first ad on the Net was from Lufthansa Airlines. The ad was run on Jeff Dearth's Electronic Newsstand then owned by The New Republic.
I would have added another tidbit to this historical presentation. In January 1992 I ran a trade show called "Electronic Publishing and Networking." The next year the show's name was changed to "Internet World." The keynote speaker at the January show was Mitch Kapor. Many people do not remember Mitch, but he was the founder of Lotus. During his keynote he coined the concept that the Internet worked in "dog years" or that the Internet was changing or growing at a rate of 7 years for every actual year. Mitch also predicted at that show many of the things that actually happened. I think Mitch understood the future of the Internet more than any other person back in 1992.
Take a look at the CNN report. Quite a good read.
Several weeks ago I praised Google Desktop. I praised this service because it saved me time finding old emails. The service was brillant and fast.
Unfortunately, as often happens in life, with the "good" came the "bad." Namely Google Desktop increaslingly became a huge time waster everytime I attempted to open Outlook. Just this morning I could not open my Outlook and had to switch to our corporate Web Mail service (what a lifesaver by the way) in order to download my early morning load of 150 plus emails. Today might have been an extreme, but recently the delay has been three to 7 minutes or more.
As good as the program was for retieval, the aggravation factor of having to wait to open email outweighed the benefits of the software.
Before parting with you for the weekend, today's experience reminded me of my experiment with a one time software called Pointcast. Pointcast, as I have pointed out in an earlier post, was a very hot product in 1996-1997 that popularized the concept of "push" in the Internet World. The service would literally "push" specific information to you and as stated, was the rage for about 15 months. What killed Pointcast more than anything else was that once loaded, it totally dominated your computer. I remember clearly that my computer used to bounce while Pointcast was doing its daily download gyrations. I must say that Google Desktop causes gyrations too, but not as bad, upon each boot up. At least it was easy to drop Google Desktop --- one command and it was gone. Pointcast was hard to kill. I remember that one of our tech team had to spend hours cleaning it off of my computer.
A final point: when you drop Google Desktop, Google offers a questionnaire about why you are terminating. There were about 8 choices ---I of course answered that the service was causing huge delays.
I am saddened to have dropped Google Desktop. It is a fabulous service. Now if they could only make it be prompt and to behave!
Long time readers to this Blog know that I have written about my experiences with the Treo 600. I loved the device from the start, but had to replace it several times due to faulty parts. After the my fourth Treo 600, I had perfection in terms of size, PDA features and cell phone.
The latest version of the Treo, the 650, came to market several months ago. I purposely refrained from buying it on the presumption that the 650 needed time to "ferment" into a reliable device.
I finally purchased a 650 this week. What a delight! Palm has improved the device in numerous ways. The new style keyboard alone is worth the cost of the upgrade. But let's also throw in the permanent backlit keyboard, additional new functions, the better charger, bluetooth and about a dozen other items that makes the 650 the best piece of communications equipment I have owned. Even the camera features have been enhanced and upgraded.
I know that RIM and its new 7290 Blackberry is hot, but I doubt it compares to the Treo 650. Now that Treo has push email I cannot see how RIM can remain in first place for enterprise use of a mobile phone-PDA combination device?
Well done Palm.
And now Google supposedly is to launch a Google Wallet as a PayPal competitor. Smoke means fire and I am sure that the rumor is true and yet another Google expansion will be put in place.
It will be interesting to see how eBAY's stock reacts to this rumor. Three weeks ago Barron's magazine published a very bullish article on eBAY. The writer, Eric Savitz, particularly emphasized that eBAY's PayPal service could very well be the star driver of revenue and bottom line gains for the famed auction site.
Ironically eBAY is today announcing new PayPal initiatives.
So we have another Internet war brewing. And Google is usually in the middle of the mix. What will be the next chapter?
I am in Prague at the CEPIC trade show for the stock photo industry. Prague is a delightful city --- but I think I am more of a fan of Budapest (where I was earlier in the week). If you ever get a chance, visit both of these wonderful cities and make the drive from one to the other.
Lots of meetings for our Images business have taken place the last few days. Readers know that Jupitermedia has become a stock photo powerhouse in the two years since we acquired ArtToday.com in June 2003. We purchased 6 companies and several photo collections in this timeframe and have become the largest owner of digitized royalty free photos in the world.
My business day might be involved with Images in Prague, but I try to keep up with all phases of the Net while on the road.
I noticed that Gannett (publisher of USA Today and other newspapers) spent $100 million buying a company that was new to me --- Point Roll. Point Roll has something called mouse over mini-site technology that allows advertisers to receive measurable impact from ad campaigns. I have no idea about the viability of the product but one has to be impressed that old line newspaper company Gannett is laying out $100 million big ones for Internet ad technology!
And when does somebody buy Doug Stevenson's VibrantMedia? I saw Doug the other day in New York City. He just moved his operations from San Francisco to the Big Apple (but far away from his native Scotland). Vibrant is on a roll (not a roll point!) as the previous year has seen the company grow from a roster of 100 publishing deals to more than 550. Vibrant's contextual ad product is serving, according to Doug, about 5 billion user-initiated links every quarter. It will be interesting to see how long Vibrant can remain independent?
And back to Dr. Weil. I posted the other day about my inability to get DrWeil.com from sending me their daily email newsletter. Finally I protested to every editor linked on the site, and now I no longer receive the newsletter. I am glad that I finally scored with the DrWeil team.
I love the way the Internet spawns new businesses and new industries. Search and Paid Search were created in the 1990s with Paid Search becoming the killer application of the Internet in the previous few years.
Search Engine Optimizers came along in recent years and one such SEO was recently sold for $150 million. The work of SEOs will only gain importance in coming years so there is no telling how big this part of the Search industry will become.
Now turn to eBAY and the birth of online auctions. We all know the eBAY story and how its growth has spawned a whole variety of vertical auction competitors. One of the outgrowths of the online auction business is the rapid increase in the number of auction drop-off stores. Jupitermedia's Frank Fortunato has an interesting article on the auction drop-off business. Reading this article makes me wonder if UPS or FedEX (which recently bought Kinkos) will soon be buying out one of the larger auction drop-off players.
I am sure the product is worth the purchase price, but what really struck me was Chris' reference to 1994 and a hot product in those days called "Internet In A Box." I remember the launch of this product at either Internet World Fall 1993 or 1994.
And while on the subject of Internet history, I read a piece in the International Herald Tribune today (I am in Budapest right now on my way to the CEPIC stock photo trade show in Prague ---by the way this is my first time in Budapest and it is a stunningly beautiful city). The writer pointed out that Google's stock price last week took Googles stock market capitalization to $80 billion. The writer went on to day (there was no byline on this article):
What does it mean when the most valuable publicly traded media company in the world does not actually produce anything original to read or watch or listen to?...Google's shares rose above $293 this week, making the company worth more than $80 billion. That tops the ailing Time Warner's $78 billion...
This is a profound thought on the part of the Tribune writer. But then the Internet can cause violent change in terms of how one values one pure Internet company compared to another that is in a variety of mediums. Let's see where Google's value is at the end of the year? Will it keep on growing and continue to have an astounding market cap value or will it settle in at just an incredible market cap?
I do not usually write posts on weekends. But, a perusal of The New York Times today and mention of our fine analysts at JupiterResearch prompted this unusal posting time.
The article has to do with Blogs and particularly Mark Cuban's Blog. But towards the end of Times' writer Dan Mitchell's article, he mentions the "savvy" impact of the 15 JupiterResearch analysts who Blog frequently. Dan might also have added that these "savvy" 15 can also be heard now on podcasts.
It is almost three years since we purchased the JupiterResearch operation. The turnaround on the financial side has been spectacular. But of course financial management is a strong point at Jupitermedia. The main reason for the turnaround and growth of JupiterReseach is the fabulous analyst team run by David Schatsky combined with the rocket-like growth on Internet usage for everything under the sun. As goes the Internet, so goes JupiterResearch (meaning that JupiterResearch and its savvy analyst team is sure to post increaslingly strong results).
Quite a run for Search news the last few days! Old line newspaper powerhouse Scripps purchased Shopzilla.com (formerly Bizrate.com). AOL and Yellowpages.com announced a new alliance. eBAY bought Shopping.com. AOL formerly rolled out plans for its new version of AOL.com. And Google almost hit $300 a share (a nice run from its listing price of $85 last August)!
The most interesting fact in all of these dealings is watching the venerable E.W. Scripps spending half a billion to get into vertical shopping Search. One has to presume that Scripps thought long and hard about the need to make an impact in the Search arena and concluded that Shopzilla was the way to go? Scripps must be thinking that if they want to be a powerhouse in media at the end of this century then they had better be "big" in the Internet space and thus the semi-ranch bet.
I also find the eBAY deal intriguing. eBAY is demonstrating a great strategy of building and buying a variety of vertical services associated with shopping. From auctions to payment transactions (via PayPal) and now vertical shopping information through the acquisition of Shopping.com, eBAY is showing that it will be a powerhouse in many ecommerce areas.
And let's take our hats off to AOL. AOL has been smacked around in the press for several years. They are fighting a holding action against the steady shrinkage of its paid subscriber base. But AOL is being creative and trying to reinvent itself with AOL.com. And at the same time it is busy making alliances with the likes of Yellowpages.com. I think AOL has a great chance to jack up revenues with AOL.com --- time will tell.
Google of course never sits still. Whether it is the roll out of new services or it stock price, Google has grabbed a huge mindshare position that will be tough to be beat no matter what services are rolled out by MSN, Yahoo or anyone else.
I made the mistake of subscribing to DrWeil.Com's email newsletter. After a few weeks of reading the bearded Doctor, I found I did not want to receive his daily missive any longer. But alas I cannot unsubscribe as that feature on the daily email does not work.
I hope someone who reads this Blog knows somebody over at DrWeil.Com and let's them know that their service stinks!
And by the way, I certainly apologize in advance to any reader of Jupitermedia email newsletters who has ever encountered "unsubscribe" problems from our company --- I feel your pain.
We know that online gambling is illegal in the United States. Yet Partygaming, the parent of partypoker.com is about to have an IPO in England -- and 80% of its revenues come from USA online players!
Barron's magazine reporter Andrew Bary reported in the June 6 issue that Partygaming "could be valued at $8 billion to $10 billion, making it one of the world's largest gambling companies."
USA laws are not going to stop the proliferation of online gambling. And yet USA laws have allowed over 420 American Indian casinos to operate in America not to mention the dozens of casinos allowed in Atlantic City, New Jersey and throughout the state of Nevada.
The growth of online gambling is assured. It might take several more years, but legalized online gambling is coming to America. And when it does become legal, one of the great "land rushes" of all times will take place as casino companies and investors fall all over themselves to get a piece of the action.
We just finished our fifth annual Search Engine Strategies trade show in London, England. SES England is our largest SES event outside of the USA and it had robust growth this year. Total attendance approached 2000. Exhibit space was up smartly from 2004 and paid registrations grew by 26% while total attendance jumped by 45%. The growth of our SES events is a barometer for the future of the Search industry (of course Google's stock price might be a better indicator!).
So far this year we have had solid growth with the New York City show in early March, The Japanese show in Tokyo, the Canadian show in Toronto, the German show in Munich and now this show in London. Next up is SES in San Jose which exhibitor-wise is already significantly larger in paid square footage over the 2004 event.
We have now decided to kick off a French event in Paris for this fall. We will announce shortly the venue and dates. We will also start an Italian SES show in Milan this fall. This means that in 2005 we will run 10 SES shows (7 outside of the USA) in the following countries: Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Sweden. We are also on the verge of announcing an Australian show and a Chinese show (to start in 2006).
I doubt there is another trade show property in the world that has the ability to be produced in so many countries. The reason for this success is that Search has turned out to be the killer application of the Internet. And clearly Search is only at end of its beginning.
Another sign of the continuing domination by online vs. print: The venerable Thomas Industrial Register announced the other day that it will no longer offer its directory in print format. Thomas is now online all the time!
Distribution and production costs make the pure online option the only way to go for directory publishers.