November 2005 Archives
I have mentioned John Patrick many times in this space. John is now a member of the Board of Directors of Jupitermedia Corporation. But his real claim to fame is being the "father of all things Internet" at IBM. John started leading the charge Internet-wise at IBM back in 1993. I first met John at Internet World in San Jose, California in June 1994. John went on to be the key Internet advisor to CEO Lew Gerstner during IBM's financial turn around in the mid-1990s. Now John is "retired" but more active than ever. His blog is a great read and he serves as a consultant to a variety of companies. Finally John is in constant demand as a speaker.
If you have time watch John's presentation at a trade show in Vienna, Austria last week. There are many insights in this presentation about the future of the Net. And all of this comes from someone who was present at the creation of the original Internet boom.
I am writing this in a Starbucks while waiting for a meeting to start in Boston. I do not drink much coffee, but find Starbucks is a great place to do email with their T-Mobile WiFi connectivity.
Last night Leslie Stahl of "60 Minutes" covered the topic of online gambling. (As an aside, I met Leslie Stahl about 8 years ago when she came to the Mecklermedia offices in Westport, Connecticut to do a report with writer Andrew Kantor on what "one could find on the Internet." We have come a long way since those days. Kantor, by the way has a blog.)
I came away from the report with the same feelings I have had for years -- that online gambling should be legalized in the USA. Some facts from the report: 64 countries allow legalized online gambling operations on their soil - this includes England.
I was humored to watch Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, aggressively appeal to Stahl that legislation he is proposing will work in stopping online gambling in the USA. Methinks the Senator does not use a computer nor does he comprehend the Internet. There is absolutely no way that any law will stop Americans from gambling online. Kyl is living in a dreamworld. Americans are what makes online gambling the success that it is. He should drop his opposition and instead create legislation that allows online gambling, but at the same time has rigorous protection clauses to protect against underage gambling and other safety factors for the customer.
The USA cannot stop online gambling. So let's create the best environment possible for what is a thriving industry.
Hundreds if not thousands of editorials and articles have appeared in the financial and trade press about Google's and Amazon's efforts in presenting digitized versions of copyright and out of copyright books.
Perhaps the best person to chime in on this is Bill Rosenblatt. Bill is a noted analyst of DRM (digital rights management) and editor in chief of Jupitermedia's drmwatch.com. I doubt there is anybody out there better than Bill in this area and yet he has been neglected by the trade press regarding his views.
Therefore I have taken the liberty of posting one of his recent articles. If you are interested in this topic, I suggest you bookmark drmwatch for the most insightful daily articles on any and all aspects of DRM.
The Wednesday edition of The Wall Street Journal had an article by Walt Mossberg on some of his favorite blogs. About 20 or so were listed. Our Joe Wilcox, JupiterResearch's expert on the world of Microsoft was cited as one of the better bloggers in Walt's world.
I might also point out that Joe also writes a more general blog too.
Which brings me to perhaps one of the greatest values of blogs when used properly in a corporate setting. That is the promotional value posts bring to a company when solid information is provided. JupiterResarch has several analysts who blog several times per week. The daily page views for these blogs continues to grow rapidly. I am sure that these musings have helped energize the robust revenue growth we are seeing at our JupiterResearch division.
I have met lots of people because of my association with the Internet since 1990. Some of the more famous people that I have shaken hands with had to do with my being part of the trade shows in the 1990s called Internet World. I have great stories about these personalities, but because I am presently in business, those stories will have to remain behind closed doors until retirement.
More interestingly, however, are some of the people I have come across because of the email and search. I have met some crackpots, but more have been sincere and hard working. Some have asked for advice or have just commented on business in general.
Recently I came across a fellow from Germany who shares my last name. What started as an inquiry from this gentleman about one of my posts has now turned into a bit of ancestral discussion and a dose of European migratory history. I have enjoyed the emails back and forth and have learned some interesting facts.
How else could this relationship have occured without the Net?
We have all noted that Google is going to provide free analytical tools that Web site owners will be able to use to analyze ad campaigns and traffic. The Google juggernaut continues to march along like the Pac Man game gobbling up competitive informational and service areas. The analytical news is certainly not good information for the likes of Webtrends (by the way we use Webtrends and think it is a great service) and others in this space.
I was interested to learn that some investors in our shares here at Jupitermedia thought that this Google thrust would hurt our JupiterResearch division. To the contrary: JupiterResearch is not and never has been in the business of doing analytical services for Web sites. JR has a service called "market operations" which critiques Web site design and other related factors, but this is not related to what Google has announced.
Further confusion might have arisen because JupiterResearch was once partnered with MediaMetrix. But this partnership broke apart in 2002 when MediaMetrix became part of Comscore.
JupiterResearch, by the way, continues to have steady growth and is now quite profitable. We now have 306 syndicated research clients and dozens more custom research clients. When Jupitermedia acquired JupiterResearch in August 2002, the syndicated research client base had dipped to about 205.
Readers of this Blog know that Getty Images is a competitor of our JupiterImages division. They also might remember that Getty recently ceased distribution of our Comstock and Thinkstock image brands. And, for a time, Getty insinuated on its Web site that Thinkstock images were being removed because of "quality" issues.
Now let's turn to Getty Images' marketing tactics on Google in France and the United States. Taking the low road in Internet marketing, Getty has been busy buying Google keywords for JupiterImages' trademarks such as "Thinkstock", "Comstock" and even more amazingly "AbleStock" (our Canadian brand that Getty has never distributed). Of course this is illegal and wrong. One wonders why a company of Getty Images size and stature would resort to such low level and illegal tactics?
The answer must be the following: JupiterImages is doing something right in its marketing, content and overall growth strategies. While we will take the proper legal position in all of this, I must thank the Getty marketers for validating the value of our brands which they so recently trashed and ceased distributing.
TechTarget is an interesting and newsworthy trade publishing company that is blending online with actual print magazine launches. TechTarget has received lots of press as it periodically produces press releases citing record revenue growth.
TechTarget put itself up for sale. Apparently several media companies bid (Jupitermedia was not invited to be part of the process), but none of the bids was to the liking of TechTarget. Last week TechTarget announced that it was withdrawing from a sale and instead would pursue an IPO in 2006.
I have no knowledge about TechTarget's financials. One can only presume that it is profitable and that revenue is growing, but one can only guess how much of the growth is through acquisition.
Some observations: I have always questioned why TechTarget would run magazines. I presume an IPO prospectus will tell us about their magazine business, but I cannot see Wall Street getting excited about a trade magazine company in the tech space. I am fairly certain that in the coming years that there is no place for tech trade magazines. They are doomed by costs of production and distribution and by the fact that tech information is needed "yesterday" and not in a week or a month.
I have nothing but admiration for what TechTarget has accomplished (without knowing the actual financials) in the online arena. However crossing IT online publishing with IT print publishing in the Internet era is a sure recipe for mixed results. And mixed results makes for bad karma with Wall Street.
Today we announced the acquisition of PR Direct - a French based distributor of royalty free photos. PR Direct is a small, but powerful distributor with a long history in France. One terrific benefit for Jupitermedia is that many of our wholly owned brands have robust sales in France through the PR Direct sales operation. Also several months ago we purchased Goodshoot - a French company that produces its own royalty free photos. Thus the marriage of our other brands, Goodshoot and a pure distribution business makes for a solid foundation to build out our French operations.
I am writing this post from Sydney, Australia. Which brings me to another one of our foreign operations. Our primary business here is distribution, but we are starting to create wholly owned royalty free Australian-oriented imagery. We have a small, but once again thriving distribution business in Sydney. We have just added several sales people and are continuing to add staff over the next few weeks.
Look for our JupiterImages division to continue to gain ground outside the United States through organic and acquisition growth.
It is a beautiful Tuesday morning in Tokyo. I am visiting this city as JupiterImages prepares to roll out some interesting photo initiatives. I cannot go into detail at this time, but will elaborate on what we are doing in a few weeks.
In response to my post about partypoker.com the other day, Ron Chapple, extraordinary photographer and founder of thinkstock.com, sent me email yesterday letting me know that partypoker is using a thinkstock image in its email blasts. Ron's stuff pops up very regularly in high level ad campaigns.
Here's partypoker's ad:
I read today that 80,000 blogs are created every day (Financial Times, Sunday 6 November edition). I wonder how many are written at 34,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean! Yours truly is posting from on high flying an ANA 777 using Boeing's new connexion service. Needless to say the service is flawless. I was able to connect in a few seconds and the speed is at 11 megabites a second.
Getting back to the FT, there was a terrific article by Nasrin Alavi entitled "Iran's Blogosphere Pulses With Anti-Establishment Feeling." Alavi states that Iran produces 75,000 Blogs and Farsi is the fourth most popular language for Blogs. Another fact: In 2003 Iran became the first country to imprison somebody for the content of a Blog.
Here are a few of the protest Blogs mentioned (I hope you can read Farsi?): atash3.blogspot.com and myownsromm.blogspot.com. Alavi points out that efforts by the Iranian government to shut down Blogs is failing --- just another case of how the Internet cannot be stopped.
A 14 hour flight allows for lots of thinking and reading. I just finished about 7 hours of newspaper reading. Google is the one topic that appears over and over again. Googlemania is everywhere. The New York Times had a front page story about how even Wal-Mart is terrified of Google. The Times also had an article by James Fallows that was supposedly about Yahoo, but the gist of the article is that everything that Yahoo does is directed at stopping Google. I must confess that I did read a Golf magazine and found no mention of Google -- quite a relief.
My next post will be from Tokyo and then Sydney. Amazing how one can move around! I will be back in New York City on Friday.
I mentioned that I was in Europe last week (I will be in Tokyo and Sydney next week). One thing I wanted to mention from being in England for a few days was the heavy promotion I saw for partypoker.com This is the online poker site that went public a few months ago and has an incredible market capitalization of $13 billion. I have mentioned in several posts over the years how absurd the absurd USA position about legalized online gaming. 80% of partypoker's revenues come from USA players! One of the places I noted partypoker's ads was on the European version of the cable channel CNBC (obviously an American owned property)! I just cannot believe how stupid American laws are --makes me want to run for public office. Think of the American tax laws ---could they be more complex? Also think of Sarbanes-Oxley. Our company is now running a SOX bill of over $2 million annually and growing. Sarbanes-Oxley has very little validity in terms of stopping fraud. All the public needs is for the top 5 people in every public company to sign documents every quarter swearing that all filings are honest and true and stating that they are prepared to go to jail and suffer huge fines if the filings are proved fraudulent.
I own very few stocks other than Jupitermedia (JUPM). I must confess that I own a few hundred shares of Google (GOOG). I bought the Google shares for fun back in the 200s. In 1995 I bought 100 shares of Yahoo (YHOO) and let it ride for 5 years --I think I made about $50,000. It appears that I will do better with Google?! As for CNET, I do not own the stock. But I have watched it for years. Several months ago the company announced that it would consider a sale. No new news on this topic has been published, but note how the stock price has been rising. Sales have a way of leaking out and I wonder if the rise in the stock price means an imminent sale or that CNET is just having a good run with its stock price?