September 2006 Archives
I doubt many readers realize that we have been building an interesting business called Jupitergreetings.com.
Jupitergreetings offers animated greeting cards online. Our crackerjack team at Animationfactory.com is the force behind this new business. Art Holden and team have created over 400,000 flash animations over the years. They have taken many of these animations and reshaped them to be the backbone of a fast growing animated greeting card collection -- now one of the largest online.
The missing ingredient to making effective animated greeting cards is the musical backgrounds that are necessary for each greeting card. This problem was solved once Jupitermedia got into the royalty free music business through its acquisitions of various music sites such as Bbm.net and royaltyfreemusic.com.
Jupitergreetings is a solid example of what I have been preaching for many months. Namely that by owning vast libraries of digital content Jupitermedia is better positioned than any of our comeptitors to create new lines of business efficiently and rapidly.
Jupitergreeting is free right now. In several weeks, however, it will become a paid service. The new paid service will offer several more options and greeting cards than you will presently view at the site.
I will remind readers to look at the next generation of Jupitergreetings sometime next month.
I have been a lifelong Yankee fan. I am always impressed with what George Steinbrenner, the owner, and his associates have done in making the Yankees a franchise worth over $1 billion. The Yankees were late getting started on the Internet, but now they have taken to the Internet with gusto.
The Yankees own part of Mlb.com (the Web site of Major League Baseball). Pundits claim that Mlb.com is worth over a billion dollars and getting more valuable every year. This means that the Yankees have a big Internet financial win (Mlb.com) to combine with their baseball operation value.
Now the Yankees want to make even more money via the Net. They announced on Friday that they have been analyzing Yankee playoff tickets being offered on ticket sites such as Stubhub.com. The Yankees do not want season ticket holders to make a profit by "scalping" or selling playoff and potential World Series tickets at a premium to the face value printed on such tickets.
Prior to the Internet age ticket holders used ticket brokers and word of mouth to sell playoff tickets for a premium. The Internet age has allowed the ticket holder, through Stubhub and eBay and other tickets sites to reach thousands of additional ticket buyers - and of course such reach means higher selling prices.
The Yankees say that they have caught over 70 tickets holders selling playoff tickets on Stubhub.com and other Web sites and that they are no longer going to allow these ticket holders from getting season tickets for future years. The reason for this sleuthing and new policy is that Yankees claim they want to protect the public from paying prices for above the face value of the ticket.
BUT the real reason is that the Yankees are reportedly going to offer their own ticket service online to allow ticket holders to sell seats in coming months. And of course the Yankees will get a commission on such sales.
As stated above, I have been impressed how my team has used the Internet to make the team more valuable. Now they are trying to squeeze out Stubhub and other sites from reselling tickets so that they can offer the service themselves.
Who said baseball is not a business?
One of the keys to building out the Jupiterimages brand is having an international or native presence in a variety of key world markets.
Obviously any Web site can be viewed worldwide. However there can be no doubt that there are nuances to selling images from country to country so native versions of Jupiterimages.com have been created.
We have found that once we launch new versions that we see greater readership which translates into greater sales. Also having a country specific site allows us to cross market some of our other services such as subscriptions.
I have written about this issue a few times and most recently said social networing is overdone. I still believe this.
However the overdone part relates to making money and not with audience. Recently Myspace.com made a great deal with Google for selling ad words. Great coup for News Corp! I am not sure that many of the other larger social networking sites will get similar deals.
I am very optimistic about the future of the Internet and the many new ideas that will come down the road (rapidly). But when I read that Sumner Redstone fired his CEO at Viacom because of the CEO's poor digital strategy, I fear we are seeing froth in the market similar to what happened in the period 1999-2000. The froth back then culminated in the insane deal between Time Warner and AOL.
Perhaps the froth this time will culminate in Viacom paying Youtube.com a billion or more?
We shall see.
The USA government has gone nuts in its efforts to curb online gambling. Recently the feds arrested an English businessman traveling in the USA because he is the CEO of Betonsports.com based in England which accepts online bets from Americans. And just the other day another English CEO, Peter Dicks, of Sportingbet.com was arrested while spending time in New York.
What has this accomplished? Nothing. In fact the arrest of these two executives and threats against their respective companies has been a boon to two other overseas online betting operations: Bodog.com and Betus.com.
The goof balls in Washington should spend their time on going after the fraudsters who made billions bilking Americans in false Katrina project over charges or the sick fraudsters who have ripped off American tax payers with phony charges for work "performed" in Iraq while our soldiers are killed and maimed.
The USA endorses lotteries, horse racing, gambling casinos, bingo parlors and many other forms of gambling. And we will know that illegal numbers games have been thriving in American inner cities for years. We also know that hundreds of millions are wagered illegally every day on professional and college sports. Gambling is here to stay.
Therefore legalize online gambling so American business is not at a disadvantage against overseas business operators.
We recently announced the launch of yet another dynamic image subscription service called Comstock Complete. Comstock Complete comprises a previously launched service known as Comstock 1700k. The new Comstock Complete offers over 100,000 high quality royalty free images in resolution packages of either 1.7MB or 14MB. Image subscribers can download up to 50 images per day for either level of service.
We are the clear leader in offering image buyers a wide range of quality subscription offerings. We have subscriptions that can be purchased for as little as $12.95 for one week up to a $10,000 a year.
Our ability to offer these subscriptions comes from two factors: the largest ownership of digitizied image and related content and the best knowledge of running subscription operations. Having this combination allows us to roll out new subscription offerings as they are needed. Stay tuned as we release additional services over coming months.
I spent today at the Citigroup Tech Conference in New York City. A day like this involves meeting with mutual and hedge fund managers in thirty minute meetings which are known as "one on ones." In my case, each one on one involved anywhere from two to four different funds per meeting. All told I had 8 such meetings. In addition I presented Jupitermedia at a general session to an additional 50 fund managers.
Such a day is not a pleasent experience. Being a public company requires doing these financial expeditions. Of course we could decide never to participate in such meetings. It all comes down to whether one wants to be exposed to fund managers or not. For the time being we have decided to participate in such meetings but will reevaluate this policy at year end.
As to the title to this post: Fortune magazine recently published a list of the 100 fastest growing companies. Jupitermedia rated number 12 on this list. Jupitermedia had nothing to do with the Fortune magazine conclusions. Readers of this post can draw their own conclusions about the list.
The last day of August found Corbis CEO Steve Davis giving "A State of the Union" report about his company. Highlights were reported widely on the Net.
My take away from the Corbis report is that the stock photo industry is alive and strong. CEO Davis emphasized the solid growth that Corbis has enjoyed this year. Of particular interest to me was his criticism of Getty Images' new "Riser" Rights-Ready offering. Davis stated that Riser was "neither right nor ready." This viewpoint was echoed in the paid subscription service analysis offered by Jim Pickerell. Both Davis and Pickerell commented that Riser had a variety of problems including a reliance on "similars" (several images that look almost exactly the same). Ironically this is the criticism that Getty Images' CEO Jonathan Klein leveled at some of our (Jupitermedia) subscription services back in April 2005 when he used "crap" as his way of describing image services with "similars." Davis and Pickerell were kinder and gentler in their criticisms.
Another interesting point was Davis' belief that micropayment sites are "net additive" to the stock photo business -- a belief shared by many of us in the industry.
The micropayment model is here to stay but it is not going to destroy the "traditional" parts of the stock photo industry as many on Wall Street fear. It is true that micropayment sites will take some of the traditional royalty-free business, but at the same time this new model will attract millions of new image buyers in coming years who are charged with marketing and designing Web sites and can be pleased with low resolution and inexpensive images.