May 2007 Archives
I had promised several changes at Internet.Com - our Online Media division. Most of the major changes including redesign and Single Sign On registration will be rolled out by mid-July. However today we launched the first change.
Our site search function is now much faster and accurate as we dropped Autonomy Search and have added Google Enterprise Search. Try it. It might not look like much, but this is because it is what you would expect. I take the blame for letting services like this lapse at Internet.Com, but things are now changing for the better.
I had mentioned in an earlier post how helpful Google had been in getting this service operational. Now - I mention it again. Quite a testimony to the way things work at Google. We got meticulous care for what overall is very "small potatoes" for Google.
The end result is a nice new feature. And the beginning of the NEW Internet.Com. We have a valuable division here that needed some attention. That is now happening.
Things are starting to roll with what I believe can be a super new trade show for Jupitermedia: Semantic Web Strategies. Bob DuCharme, our conference organizer, has posted a call to papers through his blog which gives a good background to what this show is all about. Mark my words, Semantic Web is going to be important.
Web Video Summit is fast approaching. We now have 10 exhibitors and a there is a good chance we will get a few more in coming weeks. Registrations are coming in nicely. However it is too early to tell about attendance trends (at this point things look good, but as stated it is too early to be sure), but I will keep readers posted.
I am in our Tucson office today. Tucson is the center of our subscription operations at Jupiterimages. Lots of tech and design projects are pumped out of Tucson every year.
One project, however, has taken two years to complete and it is just a few weeks from launch. Today I saw a demo of the new LiguidLibrary interface. LiquidLibrary is unique (in fact Jupiterimages has the largest library of high resoltion, wholly owned digital illustrations in the world). It offers by subscription over 80,000 50 Mb illustrations as well as thousands of high resolution photos. It is available online, but subscribers also receive a monthly color magazine illustrating many of the new images that are produced monthly and a companion CD.
It is difficult to describe the complexities of the work involved here, but several of our staffers have logged thousands of hours to bring this product to prime time. The launch could very well result in significant new sales for us because heretofore a potential subscriber has not been able to order this unique offering online. All sales required a sales person. In about 6 weeks this all changes! Great work Tim, Larry and Stuart. Like many at Jupitermedia, we appreciate your incredible dedication and hard work.
LiquidLibray is just another example of why and how Jupiterimages is so different and varied compared to the competition.
I have been on the road this week. I visited our Chicago and Sioux Falls offices on Monday. The Chicago office is a sales office for Jupiterimages. It was stimulating to listen to the sale team tell me about the inroads they are making in selling our Rights Managed images throughout the midwest. Good progress is also happening with customers for our Jupiter Images Unlimited RF subscription offering.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota is the home of our Animation Factory team. It was a bit of a celebration visit for the launch of our higher end subscription offering - AnimationFactoryPro.
By Monday night I was in San Francisco for a Internet dinner confab related to the JMP Securities Conference that is taking place this week. Tuesday was spent meeting with fund managers at the JMP event and a quick visit with the editors and sales team at the San Francisco office of our Jupiter Online Media operation.
I write this post from Los Angeles on the eve of visiting the Jupiterimages' Pasadena office.
Now to the subject of the title of this post: Driving South on Route 101 between San Francisco and San Jose I got the sense of being back in 1999 as I started to see highway billboards pushing a variety of Internet companies. Billboards are an unscientific way of determining froth in the Internet space. The more billboards, the more froth. A few years ago Internet billboards were few and far between. Now, however, they are abundant. We could be in for an Internet market correction based on this "Meckler Billboard Theory."
Great piece here by Christopher Testi on his experiences selling images on several micropayment or microstock sites. Two things to note:
1. Testi indicates that his better work never appears on micropayment sites - this refutes what many on Wall Street are saying that user generated images will destroy higher level image sales.
2. Stockxpert - the Jupiterimages entry in the micropayment arena comes off very well in comparison to the competition.
TechTarget goes public tomorrow at about $13 per share. Several years ago I wrote a negative piece about Polaris making a large investment in TechTarget. Wall Street loves TechTarget and I was wrong. Of course now the hardwork begins for the TechTarget management. Make the numbers!
I hope TechTarget performs very well as it will help Jupitermedia. Our Online Media Division has numbers that stack up very well when compared to TechTarget. In fact we have significantly more unique visitors (15 million while TT has 4 million). Our EBIDTA for 2006 was $12 million compared to TT's $20 million (our sales were $31 million compared to TT's $80 million).
TechTarget will be valued at about $550 million tomorrow. May it grow and grow.
Obviously I feel the stock of Jupitermedia is undervalued. At the end of March I bought stock and yesterday I bought some more. While many on Wall Street do not agree with me, I feel Jupitermedia is a great company. I make no guarantees about where our stock will trade, but I think readers should know that I am a buyer.
We signed up our 6th exhibitor yesterday. This might now seem impressive but it is. Most companies have committed their exhibition-marketing budgets by the end of 2006 for 2007. Therefore to get 6 companies at this late date is a testimony to the great program that Dave Burstein has created. I believe we will have several more companies signing up before the show starts. Dave has certainly created a buzz in the Web video community.
One thing we can promise attendees is presentations of the hottest and best examples of using video on the Web and lots of interaction with those people behind the various ways of using video.
I will keep readers informed about WVS as we get closer to the show.
Readers know that we published our financials for the first quarter of 2007 late Wednesday and had our conference call to discuss our numbers yesterday. Our stock tumbled on Thursday and rose a bit today.
I have speculated before that it might be a good idea to withdraw from providing guidance and to also end our quarterly conference calls. However for the time being we will continue the strange rituals of guidance and calls.
We have about 8 analysts who cover our stock. I used to get calls from most of them several times a month. In the last few months only two of the group has kept tabs on what is going on at the company. Many of these analysts cover an immense number of companies - probably too many to do a comprehensive job of coverage of the various companies they analyze. Also why would an over burdened analyst want to spend time with a company that has not had particularly stellar financials?
Regardless, these analysts have to publish a report every quarter. They read our financial information and perhaps listen to our conference call and then write a report. And this is the rub. Some of the comments that were produced yesterday and today were off the wall. Lack of communication with management is apparent.
I still love all of my analyst friends. I have spent countless hours with them on the phone over the years. I still welcome their calls. And I am sure that the calls will return once again. In the meantime I will just have to keep busy gaining back the good graces of my analyst friends.
Earlier today we had our quarterly conference call to discuss financial results for Jupitermedia for the first quarter of 2007. I thought the call went well. I was wrong. Our stock price declined 13% for the day.
I have run two public companies: Mecklermedia 1994-1998 and Jupitermedia 1999-2007. This means that I have had approximately 50 quarterly conference calls. One thing that I have learned is that it takes about four trading days to determine how the market has reacted to quarterly results. So while today was a bummer, let's see how Jupitermedia is treated by Tuesday of next week.
I do not relish seeing our stock get pounded, but I have been tempered by lots of fires and have learned to roll with the good and bad. I was optimistic on the call and feel just as optimistic writing this post.
For those who did not listen to the call nor wish to listen to a replay I point you to the Stock Asylum report of the call.
Back on December 6 I wrote about the idea of Yahoo! purchasing Dow Jones. We now know that News Corp has made a bid for Dow Jones. I came across a blog that makes for interesting reading about the history of my thoughts on the topic, how they got twisted and how another blogger thinks the Yahoo purchase of Dow Jones is a winner too.
And what about Yahoo and Microsoft. This is an "old" story now. My two cents -- great way for all Yahoo insiders to cash out. As for Microsoft, I still do not see how this deal would change the way the average searcher thinks. And that is GOOGLE, GOOGLE, GOOGLE.
The Semantic Web is called by many Web 3.0. If you are not familiar with the term or topic, keep your eyes open as we are seeing more and more articles about the Semantic Web every week.
Not only are we running our first show on this topic in October, but we are also organizing a spring 2008 show in New York City on April 14-15 2008. Needless to say we are jumping in with two annual events for the Semantic Web.
We will also soon be launching an area on DevX which will have reporting and analysis about the Semantic Web. Hopefully Jupitermedia will be "the" company covering this topic for years to come.
Stockxpert.com moved. That is the servers running the site are now in Peoria instead of Budapest, Hungary.
I am not a technical person, but this was an interesting and somewhat complex move. First our crack tech team based in Peoria and backed by our colleagues in Budapest oversaw a three month operation. Significant hardware was purchased and we now have 4x the amount of front-end processing power (Apache/PUP)in a load balanced configuration that allows growth over the Web site. We are also geared up for huge growth including a soon to be launched stock footage option on Stockxpert.
Yesterday I was in England and ended up in Spain. Arrival in Spain brought good news that our Jupiterimages operation had launched the new Jupiterimages Web site in Spanish. This launch now means that we have versions of Jupiterimages.com in Spanish, French, German and English versions from the USA, Canada and Australia. The melding and integration of our many acquisitions has been time consuming but progress is continuous and of course this aids sales growth.
During my travels I grabbed a few newspapers to read about News Corp's bid for Dow Jones and the venerable WALL STREET JOURNAL. Readers know that I have been calling on Yahoo! to purchase Dow Jones.
The interesting thing to me about this possible deal is the Web business. I believe that News Corp and Rupert Murdoch understand that owning Dow Jones means a huge Internet victory. The WALL STREET JOURNAL and related financial assets will make News Corp an immediate power in the financial media world. News Corp will have yet another vertical power position on the Web to go along with its consumer position with MySpace and its various newspaper Web sites worldwide.
This possible acquistion is a brillant Internet move not to mention a great acquisition in terms of Murdoch's positions with other mediums such as television, cable and print.
Finally I was humored to read that 888 Holdings - a public Internet gambling company in the UK is thriving despite the new restrictive USA online gambling laws. The company reported yesterday the USA legislation last year initially took away 55 percent of its revenue. However the company has overcome this roadblock and profits rose 34 percent.
The real loser here is the government of the USA. Online gambling is now a fixture worldwide. Revenues are jumping. The USA is hurting American enterprise and losing out on significant tax revenues.
Today I am off to England, Germany and Spain for three days of office visits and additional meetings with a variety of companies that we might work with in coming months.
Opportunties are coming our way - both for the Online Media Division and Jupiterimages. It has never been a better time to be in the Internet space. This is particularly true for our company. I still contend (even with the heavy push for user generated content) that high quality, wholly owned content still has a major role to play on the Web. When you own content as we do, then opportunities continuously present themselves. Great content also provides an environment to create new lines of related business.
For example: Jupiterimages has recently created AnimationFactoryPro out of repurposed content from the AnimationFactory pool of content. Another example is BYOCD (build your own CD) from image content.
Over at the Online Media Division we are now starting to grow our new Job site - JustTechJobs and our new events business is percolating nicely. Both of these operations benefit from being attached to our wholly owned content created daily by over 50 writers (which attracts 15 million unique visitors monthly).
More to come.