February 2008 Archives
The Clinton and Obama campgains raised a combined $85 million in February. The bulk of these contributions arrived over the Net. Think back to the mid-1990s when one of the big concerns about the future of the Internet concerned whether users would feel safe to use credit cards on the Web. Wow - how times have changed!
This might seem odd for me to raise this historical reminder. But I learned during my trip to India a few weeks ago that the typical Indian Internet user has this same concern today.
Many of us today take forgranted what has happened in a very few years. And of course coming years will see even wider and broader use of Internet transactions which will make today's ecommerce seem very tame indeed. Take a look at an interestig application called Skuair. This company and others are going to lead the charge to conducting business over mobile phones.
The positive changes at Internet.com continue to roll out.
We just launched a new Web site called IT Channel Planet. The site is focused on the VAR and Systems Integrators otherwise known in the trade as the Channel. Our entrance into the Channel provides Internet.com with yet another revenue opportunity in an important tech sector.
We are particularly fortunate to have CMP Media veteran writer Al Senia as editor of IT Channel Planet. Al also writes a daily blog.
Internet.com is one of the largest BtoB sites on the Web. We have over 15 million unique visitors every month. IT Channel Planet is just another way serve these loyal readers. And of course we will be rolling out more new features at Internet.com in coming months.
Google's stock has been sinking since it provided its quarterly results. Google is still powerful and will continue to grow dramatically. It just will not grow at the pace it has maintained since going public in 2004.
What is happening? Search is an A-Number One marketing tool. Search marketing is pervasive. And for the last few years every organization has been learning and using Search like crazy. However at a certain point people get up to speed on the learning curve. They also start to become super critical about their ROI (return on investment). On both fronts Search cannot do much better than it has done to date. The love affair is now over. Now it is a long term marriage that is ongoing between those who use Search and those who offer the service. In other words the passion is gone and now the hard reality has set in. There will be many more iterations of Search, but I doubt the passion will return. This translates into a slow down of Search growth.
A sidelight to this is the deal that News Corporation cut with Google to sell keywords on the social networking site MySpace. Google agreed to prepay News Corporation $900 million ($300 million per year for three years)for this right. One gathers from Google comments during its financial call that this deal is not proving a winner for Google. Logically when the deal runs out News Corporation could well see a sharp drop in payments from Google (if in fact Google renews).
I have long predicted that social networking is not a money maker. I think the Google experience with MySpace is starting to prove my thesis.
I say that the Search boom is over and soon this will be true about social networking.
Getty Images will soon be private now that the company has announced a deal to sell for $34 per share to the private equity firm of Hellman & Friedman.
One plus for Getty CEO Jonathan Klein is that he no longer has to run the Wall Street gauntlet every quarter. One plus for us is that we no longer will be judged by Getty Images' public numbers. This is good because I think we are doing better than Getty. Getty's numbers cast a bad light on the stock image business and us. Now we move forward without Getty Images' numbers hanging around our neck.
It will be interesting to see if any changes occur at Getty now that it will have a new owner. I certainly can suggest several, but I doubt anyone will consult with me!
Our microstock site Stockxpert just launched a feature that brings stock footage to the site. This makes Stockxpert one of the few if not the only microstock site that offers three options:
1. pay per download - about 1.2 million images
2. subscription - 1.2 million images by subscription
3. stock footage
We are not the largest of the microstock brands, however, we are probably the brand that is adding the most features while maintaining a higher quality position than our competitors.
We have still more options coming from Stockxpert in coming weeks. These options will provide even wider exposure for Stockxpert images in ways that no competitor can offer. Needless to say we are excited about the future of our microstock endeavors.
Today we announced a new event called Mediabistro Circus.
We have a Web site for the show. The Mediabistro team is putting together a terrific program with a variety of speakers that should stimulate attendees.
We have been working on launching a variety of new trade shows at Jupitermedia. So far none of our efforts have been great performers, but we keep trying. In addition to the new Mediabistro Circus, we have an inaugural Linked Data Planet coming in June and a first ever Mobile Content Strategies for October.
India won't leave my mind. Three days is a long time for me to spend anywhere on business. Therefore I took one day to visit one of the "wonders of the world" - the Taj Mahal in Agra.
The Taj Mahal lived up to my expectations and more. I will not even try to describe its majesty. One unfortunate part of this day trip was a nasty car accident on the so-called "highway" between Delhi and Agra. The distance of this trip is about 100 miles. It took almost 5 hours each way. One could write a book about the condition of roads in India. While in Bangalore I found my ride from the airport to the office building where I had meetings (a distance of about 5 miles) took nearly 45 minutes. And amazingly to us jaded westerners, one could be on a regular road bed for part of the trip and then on a dirt, rutted road, for other parts.
Back to my accident on the way to Agra. First take a look at this YouTube piece showing how helter-skelter city driving is in India. Note the lack of a traffic light at the intersection (the norm) and the way cars and pedestrians and street carts dart around.
My accident occured on a highway. Fortunately I was wearing a seat belt and was not hurt as the car I was in slammed into a truck at about 50 miles per hour (the truck decided to make a U-turn on the highway and my driver (even though native to the ways of Indian drivers) was unprepared for the sudden move which resulted in a rather spectacular crash.
Regardless of my driving experiences, I remain a big fan of India and the opportunities that are there for the investor.
My short trip to India brought in some press coverage. Content Sutra gives an overview of our plans for India (a few factual errors, but on the whole a fine report). And another Indian Web site had the following report:
Jupiterimages to launch in India; ropes in Ramji Ravindran.
February 18, 08
Dialogue Brand Speak
Jupiterimages, a part of Jupitermedia Corporation which is a leading provider of original images and information for creative, business and IT professionals, is all set to commence its India operations by April 2008. The India office will cater to the creative needs of South Asia and Dubai. For this, Jupiterimages has roped in Ramji Ravindran as Sales Head, South Asia and Dubai. He moves from Getty Images in South Asia, where he was National Sales Head, South Asia.
Elaborating on Jupiterimages foray into India, Alan Meckler, Chairman and CEO, Jupitermedia, said, "We see a great potential in the Indian market, and with Ravindran leading the operations, we believe we have the right person in place. With the array of products that we have, we believe there is a bright future ahead."
He added, "Jupiterimages' stock photography content is of the highest quality in the industry and it also offers a wide range of choices â€“ from innovation to contemporary to classic â€“ making it easy and enjoyable to discover and express most creative ideas. Apart from the best of creative images, we also have Flash, Footage, Animation, Royalty-free music libraries and even greeting cards. This will help us offer a wide range of products to our clients and have a better edge than our competitors in this market."
Keeping in mind the price sensitivity of the Indian and South Asian markets, Jupiterimages has a mix of products with the right price so that a small time creative unit to a web designer can use the wide range of images available. Besides, a unique service called Jupiterimages Unlimited will be offered, which is a collection of royalty-free images. Jupiterimages will also launch an Indian website with more Indian images by the end of this summer. Also on the anvil is the plan to open another office of Jupiterimages in Singapore by July 2008 to cater to the SE Asian region.
On pricing, Meckler said, "We will have special pricing in rupees for Indian customers and a promise of timely delivery of all high resolution images.We will be able to provide our clients with complimentary image and film search within no time. We will also have tie-ups with some good creative photographers and agencies to provide our customers the Indian images along with our international images."
Â© exchange4media 2008
I have had a busy two days in India. Today was hectic flying from Delhi to Bangalore for meetings and then back to Delhi for more meetings.
In a few weeks we will formally announce the opening of image sales operations in India. We are fortunate to have hired a top sales executive from one of our competitors and plan to have this fellow build our image sales in this significant country.
While on the subject of significance, I want to mention how impressed I am with the excitement I feel from the various business people I have met in two days in India. My India experience to date reminds me very much of being in Beijing in late 1999 and feeling a pulse of excitement caused by the smell of business growth in the air. India has that same feeling today! We think this will be good for the opening of our image operations here. The same for Internet.com.
We are about to select an ad sales rep firm here to present Internet.com and our 1 million unique visitors that we have from India every month. Hopefully this will be a pleasent new revenue source for us?
I rarely take time to to do tourist things on my trips. But tomorrow being Saturday I have decided to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra. Should be exciting. Sunday I fly to London for some meetings before returning to New York City on Tuesday.
One suggestion: Horace Greeley said "Go West young man" in the mid-19th century. Alan Meckler says: "Go to India young person" and make a bundle.
How many bloggers do you know? And how many of these bloggers have a Japanese version of their blogs?
Meet a blogger who is translated into Japanese. Of course I have the advantage of being the CEO of the company in Japan that translates this blog. Nonetheless it is fun to see my words in Japanese. This blog is part of our Japan.Internet.com.
I am about to leave Tokyo for my first trip to India. In this part of the world going from country to country means many hours in the air. I logged 14 from Los Angeles to Sydney. 10 hours for the Sydney to Tokyo leg and now 10 more for Tokyo to Delhi, India (not to mention 7 hours from New York to the West Coast).
We are making good progress in Japan with both our image business and our online media (Internet.com) endeavors. In both cases we have utilize a combination of distributors and joint venture partners. Japan is a tough market for American companies of our size. Thus the wise way to go is route we have taken.
Readers know that I am travelling in Asia right now. Therefore I am a bit behind on the news. I just read about the BlackBerry outage on Monday.
Let me explain the thoughts behind the title of this post. I was in Australia when the previous BlackBerry outage occurred. And I was again in Australia on Monday.
Is it coincidence or just bad chemistry for BlackBerry when I am in Australia?! More amazingly both times I was in Australia for only 26 hours.
Perhaps I will warn the Research In Motion folks the next time I am travelling to Australia!
I left Los Angeles at 11pm on Saturday night and landed in Sydney, Australia at 8am on Monday - just perfect for the work day. And by Tuesday 10am I was flying to Tokyo. 10 hours of flying and here I am in Tokyo getting ready for the Wednesday work day.
Jupiterimages is thriving in Australia. We have several international offices dedicated to sales and Australia is growing the fastest. We have a terrific team in Sydney and it was exciting to see their enthusiasm. I doubt any competitor that we have in Australia is doing as well as we are?
It is interesting to read about the attempted sale of Getty Images from afar. It appears that Getty wants to sell, but that no buyer is willing to pay what Getty desires. This reminds of the art auction market when a painting is placed at auction and does not sell. The painting is then tarnished - sometimes forever. And by the way, did Jonathan Klein move to New York City at a cost of $1 million to make a sale of the company? The answer is probably yes. What an expensive exercise!
For those who have never been to Japan let me tell you that mobile phones from most countries do not work in Japan. This is a real pain and actually amazing in the age of the Net. So here I am with my BlackBerry and no email and no telephone. It is a very odd feeling indeed!
Another interesting travel fact is that Australia is one of the few places I been to that does not sell the International Herald Tribune, The Financial Times nor the Asian Wall Street Journal. Not having these newspapers on the road is right up there with not having a working BlackBerry. For the first time I have become an avid reader of the New York Times online. I must say that I am very impressed with Nytimes.com. It is really well thought out and of course very complete.
Readers know that I have been writing about the redesign of Internet.com for several months. One of the key sites on Internet.com dates back to 1994 -- InternetNews.com. This is a great URL! It also has a large stable of journalists who cover the Enterprise and Internet doings. And now it has a great new look and feel with lots of new functions.
This is just one of many additional changes coming to Internet.com.
Yesterday was the first leg of a trip around the world. I was in San Francisco to visit our office and to participate in the Thomas Weisel Investment Bank Internet Conference.
I found great enthusiasm from our team in San Francisco. This is our West Coast headquarters for Internet.com. The team is excited that all the hard development work in 2006-2007 is starting to pay dividends. Included was the design and development of our Single Sign On Registration System, the redesign of Internet.com and the soon to be launched new version of InternetNews.com. These projects and more that are coming will finally allow the Internet.com to compete on equal footing with Enterprise IT Web publishing competitors.
The Weisel Conference was a good one for us. I met with several Fund managers. One informed me that in the month of December his organization purchased nearly 10 percent of the common stock of Jupitermedia! Nice to see the support and belief in how things are going for Jupitermedia.
Next stop is Los Angeles and then over the next 9 days visits to Australia, Japan, India and England and finally New York City. India is new for me. I plan to leave India with committments to start a variety of operations in this booming country. I hope it works out after enduring 5 innoculations and a regimen of malaria tablets!
We have been trying various new tradeshow ideas. 2008 is no different. We just launched the Web site for our inaugural Linked Data Planet conference and expo.
We are excited about this area which many have called either the Semantic Web or the Smarter Web. We think that those in know believe that "Linked Data" is the best way to refer to the next generation of the Internet.
One advocate of the Linked Data concept is the founder of the World Wide Web - Tim-Berners Lee. We are very excited that Tim has agreed to keynote our first show in June in New York City.
I will have more to report on this show and other tradeshow initiatives in coming posts.
Lots has been written about this proposed Microsoft and Yahoo deal since it was announced on Friday. The consensus is overwhelmingly in favor of the deal. The bulk of the comments emphasize the ramifications for the search arena. Certainly this is an important reason for the deal. I still contend, however, that this deal has a huge benefit for Microsoft in terms of how it can sell a vast array of their products and services to the hundreds of millions of Yahoo's unique visitors. I have not read one comment about this to date. Perhaps I am the only who sees this additional upside?
By the way, I stand corrected. My previous post mentioned that Yahoo was potentially being paid 34x EBITDA. Mark May of Needham & Company pointed out to me that if one takes into account the substanial minority stakes Yahoo has in Alibaba, Yahoo Japan and other companies then the EBITDA is closer to 18x. Thanks to Mark!
Microsoft made a smart move and a great offer for Yahoo. This comes to 34x EBITDA after subtracting stock compensation costs.
Unless Yahoo adopts the concepts I have suggested (an aggressive move into becoming more of a media company via acquistions) then Yahoo should sell. I am sure Yahoo can wrangle a few dollars per share more from Microsoft.
And what a great move for Microsoft. Yahoo's traffic will be perfect to pitch the growing number of Microsoft products ranging from the Xbox to software to whatever. Of course Microsoft will gain in search traffic, but I think the big lever for Microsoft is the goods and services Microsoft can pitch to the Yahoo masses.