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Last Build Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2013 09:20:15 EST
Google Funding Widget Incubator
Google appears to be setting up a kind of widget incubator program - like a Y Combinator/Startup Camp for widgets... ...- according to a post over at Read/WriteWeb tonight.
Marissa Mayer apparently announced the windfall er, program at the Searchonomics Conference in Santa Clara. There's a brief description of it here, and a FAQ here.
The program (Danny Sullivan has a good overview) is aimed at "bootstrapping an economic ecosystem around gadgets," and involves two kinds of monetary offers to developers: the first gives Google Gadget developers a chance at a grant of $5,000 to develop their gadgets further (those with gadgets that have at least 250,000 page views a week are eligible), and the second is a "seed investment" of $100,000 to developers who want to build a business based on the Google platform. This second stage - which sounds a little like an angel round - is open only to those who have already had a grant.
The upshot? As Richard puts it: "It's Christmas for third-party developers." I would expect to see companies like Slide.com, the Max Levchin-owned developer that has several popular Facebook widgets and has been buying others, jump on board this gravy train. It will be interesting to see whether Google Gadgets spread farther than just the Google ig page. There's a post about it on the Google blog, and one at the Google code blog.
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Web 1.0 implosion
The Sun Times is running an interesting article detailing the differences between Web 1.0 entrepreneurs and Web 2.0 entrepreneurs......and soundly state "We have learned from the past, we won't be making that mistake again" with fingers crossed behind their backs. The Sun Times states:
After the bust of 2001, you think the Internet business, with notable exceptions, such as Amazon, eBay and Google, was a digital dodo that went extinct. But, bunkie, the reports on the demise of the Net are premature. Howard Wolinsky reports Tuesday on a two-year-old startup that provides a restaurant delivery search engine/guide with a side order of community a la reviews spiced with coupons. A new Internet generation of young entrepreneurs, chastened by the excesses of their predecessors with their half-baked business plans and shaky technology, and experienced hands alike are betting on online success. Source: Sun Times
Regardless of what we learned over time, the point is there are going to be abuses of the system because the system encourages abuse. With VC's running around and getting inspired by idea without solid backup, we will be hearing about it. Then we will shake our heads and knowingly glance at each other going "uh huh". With any luck this time will be a soft landing, the dearth of IPO's in the web 2.0 space is a good sign. The idea that bigger more established companies are hoovering many of these web 2.0 companies also bodes well.
Although with that in mind, these bigger companies need to do something with the acquisition, dodgeball is a prime example of a bought company that returned nothing to the parent company because the parent company didn't do much with it. Although the owners are richer by far, they leave with a bad taste in their mouth wondering what they need to do the next time they come up with a good idea. It will make the sale of a company much harder in the future as the next generation of burned idea makers gets into the second or third project.
If tech can engineer a soft landing, and keep the excesses at bay while showing a solid return on those companies or technologies that are bought by the bigger fish, then we might have beat the boom/bust cycle that is technology.
While only time will tell, moving into the next round of technology, web 3.0, and the ability to bring news based on smaller social circles of known people, or known sources of information is also moving ahead nicely as well. Many of the stealth companies are working on that issue, but that also entails a certain amount of isolation for people who will participate in web 3.0.
It will be really interesting to watch were we go from web 2.0 to web 3.0 and how social circles and bigger companies start to relate to the startups and how those technologies gets incorporated into bigger products. Google with a semantic search capability would be excellent, and much more usable than Ms. Dewy.
Tag: Web 1.0, Web 2.0
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Valuating a Web 2.0 startup
Getting any kind of value on a startup is difficult to begin with, but the CEO of eSnips, Yael Elish had a great idea, and created an incredible graphic to give it a start, based on those companies that have already been bought and their alexa traffic.Alexa traffic is not known for being totally accurate, really the only really accurate stats are going to come off the web server logs, not through many of the analytic services that are available, the difference alone between Alexa, Google Analytics and Extreme tools for the web sites I run is already an approximation.
Using alexa through,, even if it is not accurate, the companies reviewed all start with the same basic handicap, the data is known to be flawed, maybe not flawed equally but at least flawed within a standard margin of error.
Using the data, he generated this graphic.
(Graphic and comments Courtesy eSnips, Business 2.0, techwag, and web worker daily).
So using what the known prices of companies were, against the alexa traffic that they had, the valuations of the companies given a standard margin of error, this is a lot more entertaining than any graphic you would see in a power point presentation.
Now for the Fun Part, web worker daily hits it right on the head when they state:
Let's pause for a moment. If you buy that premise, you're putting an $8.5 billon price tag on a dozen Web 2.0 sites. That's around the market value of Pepsi Bottling, number 192 on last year's Fortune 500 list. I don't know about you, but equating a batch of cool social web sites with a company that delivers 200 million servings of soda pop every day seems just a bit out of whack. Source: WWD
Another issue pointed out in Business 2.com is:
For instance, it is possible that social network Hi5 may be worth more than Facebook, but is Google-owned Orkut really worth more than either one of those? I doubt it. And Wikipedia might get a lot of traffic, but it is really not worth as much as YouTube since it is a not-for-profit that has no intention of ever displaying ads. Source: Business2.com
While people are trying to put a value on a company, the only real value that a company has is what is has in cash and equivalents, or what someone is willing to pay for it. Was YouTube worth 1.65 billion? It was to Google, it was not to Microsoft. Therefore, the valuation of YouTube is really what Google was willing to pay to acquire it. Even though, the graphic is cool, and will probably show up in a number of presentations, or be used by entrepreneurs to determine the value of their companies when meeting VC's.
Tag: Google, web 2.0
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The Would-Be Online Ad Market-Maker
A few weeks before the recent announcement that Google is buying DoubleClick......DoubleClick announced it'll be developing a "NASDAQ-like exchange" for the buying and selling of online advertising.
Proof positive that the online ad space continues to heat up, rather than diving into an irrational "bust" as in 2000-2003.
Wait a minute, though, you may be saying. Aren't ad networks and the way ads are bought and sold today somewhat "market-like"?
Not as much as you might think. Check out Google's current contextual offerings, for example. As a publisher, do you think you can signal to the advertiser using an "ask" price? Do you have much control at all if you join one of the various ad networks and let their system allocate inventory, as opposed to using your own inside sales force? Nope. And what about the ability to stand out as a quality publisher amidst the crowd of remnant type inventory? Again, tough to do. So, tough to monetize to your fullest potential. Because the current market maker is not facilitating a true market. In that sense, DoubleClick's new promised offering, and Google's acquisition of DoubleClick, could constitute a significant step forward in online advertising efficiency.
DoubleClick won't be the only one working on a great way of putting online ad buyers and sellers together. ContextWeb, quietly licensing its matching technology since 2000, and more recently, acting as a media middleman in its own right, is working on a new "name your price" functionality in a new, highly automated ad marketplace system. I had the chance to walk through a demo yesterday with CEO Anand Subramanian and VP of Business Development Jay Sears. While the release isn't slated for a couple of months, publishers are already being targeted for a beta signup. The hook, "Ready to Make More Money than AdSense?," is not new to publishers, admits Subramanian. "Typically a publisher will become dissatisfied with their AdSense earnings, will install code from a competing network, but that will be even worse, so it's right back to AdSense," he says. But that's because these competing networks don't present a credible alternative. They represent the old school of what ContextWeb calls "Yet Another Ad Network," with fewer features, not a true marketplace, and no critical mass of buyers and sellers.
The company won't yet disclose the full range of features of its new system. To me, it seems to address the combined needs of advertisers and publishers very well, leaving neither the "prime inventory" nor the "long tail" unaddressed. ContextWeb's quiet long-term presence in the space seems to have given the company a wealth of ideas. A decent revenue stream from its current agency relationships, plus venture funding from, among others, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, has given them the long view needed to build a better platform.
If you're a publisher of quality content, here's hoping the days of "Yet Another Ad Network" will soon be a thing of a past in your balance sheet.
Tag: Google, ContextWeb
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Baidu Earnings Increase Fivefold
China's largest search engine, Baidu.com, has reported huge earnings growth for Q4 (fivefold) and doubled online marketing revenue.
The company also plans to spend $15 million this year, as it expands into Japan.
In love with Baidu? There's lots more news on the earnings for you to enjoy. ;-)
Deutsche Post + Deutsche Bahn = De Big Bucks!
(image) The German coalition government has agreed to sell up to 49 percent of state-owned rail and logistics giant Deutsche Bahn.
Deutsche Bahn is the parent company of Schenker and BAX Global. The sale comes after agreeing not to include any of the track in the spin-off, Bloomberg reported.
Constitutional rules forbid a sale of more than half the shares in the railway.
During months of negotiations, the Social Democrats in the coalition demanded that Deutsche Bahn be allowed to run the 30,000-kilometer (18,600-mile) track network for profit while retaining it in state ownership. Chancellor Angela Merkels Christian Democrats had pressed for the state to run the track, splitting it off completely from the company.
Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said Deutsche Bahn will be allowed to operate the track for a limited period and to include the asset in its annual statement. The network would remain the property of the government, while debt accrued by the company would remain a company responsibility, he said.
Deutsche Bahns Chief Executive Hartmut Mehdorn was quoted in June saying that a sale of 49 percent of the railway without its track may be worth as much as 9 billion euros ($11.5 billion).
Just between you and me...if DPWN goes after DB...if the EU would approve of the sales...it would be a huge impact on the logsitics and transportation world...I hope it happens!
Tag: Deutsche Bahn
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Symantec Pulls Back On Earnings Reins
Security software vendor Symantec trimmed back its revenues forecast for fiscal 2007 yesterday after changing its revenue-recognition model.
Wednesday's meeting with analysts was the first in over two years, says the Street.com.
Instead of the original full-year revenue expectation of $5.3 billion to $5.5 billion, the company expects to bring in between $5.1 billion to $5.3 billion, not counting $55 million in deferred revenue to recently acquired Veritas. Excluding deferred revenue, Symantec anticipates between $5.2 billion to $5.4 billion.
shaved of $200 million of forecast each way, a move that was not unexpected as the company said in a May 9 earnings call that it would do so because of the change in its revenue-recognition model.
The trimming of its guidance also pushes back earnings per share expectations (before items) from $1.05 to $1.15 to between $1 and $1.10.(image)
NetGuru Inc Ready To Delist
The engineering software and services company thinks it may be time to shut down its listing on Nasdaq and find a buyer or partner for the firm.
Trading at 32 cents at press time, netGuru
said in a statement it has a cash position of about $3.3 million. Only $800,000 of that is available as working capital and accessible as cash.
"$1.1 million remains restricted in connection with the sale of the REI division in November 2005, and another $1.4 million is reserved for operational commitments," netGuru said.
Rather than face the Nasdaq's mandatory delisting should its share price remain under $1.00, the company may go ahead and voluntarily delist. That would also end its SEC reporting obligations.
Before that happens, netGuru would like to find a partner or buyer for the company. "Discussions with a number of public and private entities continue to be held involving potential asset purchases, common stock purchases, and reverse mergers, but, to date, interest has been at levels substantially below valuation indicated by recent stock price," netGuru said.
But the company noted its cash burn rate may force it to delist if it cannot come to terms with a buyer or partner in the next few months.
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