12 Random sites to make the week go quicker.

So every once in awhile I will go through my bookmarks and try and prune stuff that I bookmarked for a reason that might escape me when I actually revisited it. In this case I’m going to share some sites that have some value or bring some value to what I do. Or at least they did at the time… Some of you, actually I suspect a good portion of you have never heard of Vivisimo a little tech company out of Pittsburgh. Besides the fact that Pittsburgh is a jewel in the rough, this company is too. You will do the same as I did and ultimately bookmark them.

Next up, a friend once told me the way to go in regards to investing was to look at Vanguard, so I bookmarked it. Though when I look at the site, I blink and keep it and then I move on. I suspect that a lot of people besides myself do the exact same thing with some of their bookmarks. Made sense at the time. Though, I’m not sure Vanguard is hip to the payment plan.

So I have this one, The Sand Trap bookmarked and I never go to it but hey, that’s 75% of my bookmarks. If you have zero interest in golf, then don’t bother going here. But if you want a mortgage calculator then go here. Seems to be a timely site.

 I think thats the great thing about what you save and why, it’s a total glimpse into what you do and what you like etc etc. I would say that the majority of my bookmarks are marketing, internet and social media marketing type sites and the rest are just what I’ve shown you above. Though, I do love a good  Stone IPA brew.

Lastly I came across the Big Idea site hosted by Donny Deutsch It’s kind of a cool site for all of us dreamers out there. On the site they mention a product called the Body Buddy, I decided to check it out and the website looks great and the product has some genuine potential. Except… As I’m clicking thu the site, I wanted to check out some of the press they were getting and lo and behold I was transported to PDF land which I cannot stand. Nothing annoys me more then when a site feels the need to run with PDF’s instead of  converting pages to html, xml or php. I can understand white papers and case studies, and in that case I will print them out. But nothing is more of a deal killer for me then to have to put up with PDF”s. I know it’s one person’s opinion and we’ll leave it at that.  But every machine I’ve ever had handles PDF’s differently and it’s just an uneccessary step for a very, in this case, slick site.Though I do hope the fine folks from Oklahoma do succeed with the “Body Buddy”; it does seem to fill a need/niche.

Here is your last 2 killer sites that all of you should actually bookmark and then go back to: Gruvr and Liferemix

I know, I know, you can thank me later.

Are tech start-ups recession proof?

 These are crazy time for the tech industry and one might want to think that things might be slowing down for not only seasoned grizzled vets but also for the young and dumb and full of vim and vigor start-ups. So are start-ups recession proof? They might be, especially if they are peddling Facebook apps but the bottom line is that the bottom hasn’t fallen out.

But, remember back in the day when you built your business model around the hopes that it would be purchased by another company? Well the times might be ripe for that type of scenario right now. Microsoft’s play for Yahoo notwithstanding, the buzz is that some large companies may shift from debt-fueled megadeals to strategic acquisitions, according to  GrowthPoint Technology Partners

One area that is still seeing some appreciation in values for example is for companies in the hottest areas or with the top management. An example of this would be in some of the social media type of applications and technologies.

One thing that helps to support the tech sector is its reliance on venture capital. VC firms love to take chances on the next Google, Facebook and thus alot of VC firms have already raised a significant amount of money and are unlikely to return it to investors simply because of a downturn in the economy.

A spokesperson at Crosslink Capital was quoted as saying that the credit crunch will likely dent the valuation of late-stage private companies. These companies will be unable to go public and also be compared against their public counterparts, which are declining in value. Hot private companies will still be attractive, in other words, but maybe not as expensive. Or will they?

Still, the change in economic winds has some normally optimistic entrepreneurs decidedly less so than they were previously. The consensus seems to be that some start-ups will either get acquired, get funding, or go belly-up. Not everyone stands to be crunched equally.  Enterprise companies, it’s been said are likely to get hit sooner than consumer ones, with both software and hardware firms at risk.

Microsoft belive it or not,may still be a good bet in uncertain times, Jeffries analyst Katherine Egbert said, “Seek safety in Microsoft’s numbers,” Egbert said, following its recent decline, Microsoft shares represent a “solid refuge.”

On the flip side, those likely to be hit hardest are technology firms that cater exclusively to the financial services industry or get a lot of their revenue there. But…that doesn’t mean that they can’t survive. There is still opportunity. Even in the worst of times, one door closes and another one opens.  To that end, expect to see a shift in the way technology companies market their products. The reason being that consumers and clients alike will want to see more of a bang for the buck as well as a focus on how product X is going to change the way they do business by improving the bottom line.

If there is one way to pull a country or a company for that matter, out of a funk, it with technology. Therein lies the potential for something to change people and change the way things are done, even in the worst of times. That, is the beauty of technology.

Will it be able to cure the ills of the housing market, the price of gas, the war in iraq or the upcoming presidential? Not yet. But if any industry has the resources and capabilities to make a difference, it’s Technology.

Buzzword Compliant

Can anyone add some scalable and yet granular social networking, web 2.0 buzzwords to this bingo card to essentially bootstrap this into a viral marketing message?


Global search revenue will reach $60 billion by 2011

As if Google and company did not make enough money, by years end, global search revenue will reach $30.5 billion according to a recent JPMorgan report which hinted that investors still should view the web as a good  “buy” or investment.

Contrary to the dot com bust of the early 2000’s, 2007 was actually a very good year for internet companies. In fact, due to the rising world GDP, according to the report, internet companies with a global reach would continue to enjoy a healthy profit due to the broad and seamless appearance of a global marketplace. Conversely, the US GDP growth has slowed in recent years.

By 2011, look for search revenues to exceed $60 billion according to the report. A lot of this groth will be tied into paid search as a global marketing vehicle. The growth will also be attributed to keyword price inflation and increased web usage. Tied to this will be an increase in the user experience and increase in click-through rates for all sites.

Facebook does a Faceplant

Facebook announced in a statement posted on its website that it had made some changes to its Beacon online ad-system. The changes came after more than 50,000 users signed a petition, complaining that Beacon was too intrusive and too confusing to opt out of.

“According to PC World, a Computer Associates researcher claims that Beacon, when installed on participating sites, is sending data about users’ activity back to Facebook, even when a user is logged out of Facebook – despite Facebook’s claims to the contrary.”

   Beacon is an advertising platform that tracks Facebook’s member transactions on third-party partner sites and transforms them into product/service endorsements. Beacon is a major part of the Facebook Ads platform that Facebook introduced with much fanfare several weeks ago. Beacon tracks certain activities of Facebook users on more than 40 participating Web sites, including those of Blockbuster and Fandango, and reports those activities to the users’ set of Facebook friends, unless told not to do so.

Since then, Users’ data on their activities at those participant websites has been flowing back to Facebook automatically without the option to block that information from being transmitted.  Nice.

 Users are able to opt out but only on case-by-case basis, which means that they must opt-out for each of the more than 44 participant websites. That’s right, 44.  As a consequence, Facebook users  are going ballistic.  Facebook had to adjust Beacon to make it work more implicit and user friendly; and to make it easier to nix a broadcast message and opt out of having activities tracked on specific Web sites.

“Users must click on ‘OK’ in a new initial notification on their Facebook home page before the first Beacon story is published to their friends from each participating site,” the statement reads.”

 Also, Facebook’s Beacon now offers to the users clear options in ongoing notifications to either delete or publish. If they delay in making this decision, the notification will hide and they can make a decision at a later time.

But Facebook didn’t go all the way to providing a general opt-out option for the entire Beacon program, as some had hoped. Expect the fallout to continue as Facebook scrambles to figure out how to play with the big boys before being black balled. If they don’t do some major damage repair and assure users that they are not abusing their data, folks will be leaving quicker than kids at a party that the cops show up at.

Cyber Monday is coming, load up the bandwith!

Come November 26th, offices across the US will struggle to get their work done. Why?Because their employees will be shopping online for deals.  If you are an internet retailer then you better have your shopping carts polished and ready to rock. If you are a large e-tailer than you better have enough bandwidth to endure the crush. And if you are a Wii dealer, forget it you’re screwed.

A recent survey revealed that 46 percent of working Americans expect to shop for bargains online the Monday following Thanksgiving, while they are at work. The study, conducted by Decision Analyst ,  stated that although more than 11 percent said they had been caught shopping by their boss while on the job, the survey showed that the temptation to find a great bargain is so strong, they would spend nearly an hour on average shopping online this Monday instead of working coupled with the risk of being caught again.

Cyber Monday was coined to identify the online activity that happens on the Monday immediately following Black Friday, which is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year for “brick and mortar” stores. Cyber Monday is considered the ceremonial kick-off of the holiday online shopping season. Like Black Friday, many e-retailers offer some of the most exceptional deals of the year on Cyber Monday.

Shopping online during the holidays is a trend that has grown beyond a novel thing to do. It is now an accepted and expected form of Christmas Shopping. With that, comes the expectation that all e-tailers deliver on their end of the deal. Online Christmas shopping
allows shoppers to take advantage of  broadband speeds within their offces, veritable privacy, as well as the ability to possibly surf the web for deals for extended periods of time. It also provides a way to save on purchases that would normally cost more in the brick and mortar world as well as a way to avoid crowds, traffic and long lines.

In the words of of Mr. Michael Buffer,”Are you readdddddy to rumble?”

Top Toy and Game searches for Black Friday

Since it’s a short week and we know that this Friday is the “THE” day in regards to whether marketers and retailers have done their jobs properly, we figured the proof would be in the pudding. Or more succinctly, the Lycos 50. So below are the top searches in regards to toys and games for the upcoming yuletide season.

Poker and specific poker-related items like poker chips, poker cards and poker sets top the 2007 list of most-searched toys with web users for the third consecutive year. I beg of you, what does this say of our society? In my wildest dreams I would have never thought that online poker, which is what we are really talking about here, would be so pervasive in our society. But then again, Vegas is just a dusty little cabaret town too…

Online interest in poker generates only three percent more searches than the second most popular toy of 2007, Naruto. Pokemon (#3) makes the Lycos Top Toys list for the second year in a row, while Yu-Gi-Oh continues to drop in search popularity, making its last appearance on the list in 2004.

Harry Potter (#4) makes its fourth consecutive appearance this year, with the most popular Harry Potter-themed searches centering on Harry Potter games, books, DVDs and Harry Potter puppets.  Not really a surprise here given the uber-popularity surrounding the bespectacled one.

Two newcomers enter the Top Toys list of 2007, including Webkinz (#5), doubling in search popularity over the past year, generating 10 times more interest online than Neopets (#9).  Webkinz predominantly are a stop gap or holding tank for children who are poised to move into more interactive toys such as Xbox and Play Station.

Also making her debut on this year’s list is Hannah Montana (#10). If web search activity is any indication, the most popular Hannah Montana-related gifts this holiday season will include Hannah Montana Dolls. Given the incredible demand for tickets to het sold out shows, it’s no surprise that HM Merch is also in equal demand as well.

Barbie (#7)(Yawwwn…) continues her run on the annual Lycos list of Top Toys and Video Games, making the Top 10 for the eighth consecutive year. Interestingly, while search interest in Barbie actually dropped in 2007, she still edged ahead of the Bratz (#8) Dolls, generating nearly twice as much interest online.  This is probablly in large part to Baby Boomers wanting to relive the past through the eyes of their daughters, and thus are snapping up Barbies left and right.

Gaming consoles like Playstation 3, Wii, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Gamecube continue to decrease in search activity for the second straight year, losing more than half of their online search popularity, while the iPod (#6) makes its third consecutive appearance on the Lycos Top Toys list, with the iPod Nano generating the bulk of the search activity. What this tells you is a) the gaming consoles are too damn expensive after all is said and done. b) You can just walk over to your neighbor’s and use theirs and c) music rules.

 So here they are, “The Top 10 Most-Searched Toys this holiday season”:

  1. Poker
  2. Naruto
  3. Pokemon
  4. Harry Potter
  5. Webkinz
  6. iPod
  7. Barbie
  8. Bratz
  9. Neopets
  10. Hannah Montana 

43% of teens who instant message use it for things they wouldn’t say in person.

Further enhancing the notion that you don’t need “beer muscles” to say something outrageous, America’s teens have now resorted to hiding behind their pc’s to say things to people they otherwise would not say face to face.

However, on the flip side IM’ing has led to a  significant spike in dates to the mall and the movies  since Twenty-two percent of teens use IMs to ask people out on dates or accept them. Unfortuntaely, fearing the fallout from rejection and or puppy dog eyes, 13%  have used IM for breaking up.

Interestingly enough for parents, this latest data has shot holes in their notion that their teenage son or daughter was banging out the rough draft on that report due next tuesday. Instead, nearly half of teens age 13 to 18 said they use instant messaging.

Among teenagers, about half of girls and more than a third of boys said they have used instant messages for things they wouldn’t say in person. Which means whatever you want it to mean, and we’ll leave it at that!

Teens also dominate when it comes to high usage. One in 10 say they spend three hours or more a day instant messaging, that’s right 3 hours. Nearly a fifth, or 17%, send more than 100 IMs daily. Ok so lets do some math. They go to school from 7:30 to 3, then there might be practice or homework or a job, so that means the better part of the evening is spent IM’ing. There is a some sort of cultural message there, but I’ll let you figure that out on your own.

The online survey of 410 teens and 836 adults was conducted from Oct. 25-Nov. 5 by Knowledge Networks. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 6 percentage points for teens and 4.3 points for adults.

What did we do to piss off China? or The art of Non-Branding by..

Let’s see, our children keep getting their lead based toys taken away from them, our tires keep going flat, we have the worst case of Montezumas revenge from the seafood, my dog has been sick for weeks and won’t fetch, my teeth are falling out and the family art project with the aquadots has caused everyone to pass out and now this…

If you have purchased a Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 product since August 2007 the product may be infected with a virus.  Kaspersky Labs, a maker of anti-virus software, has alerted Seagate to the existence of a virus found on at least one Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 product. Seagate has traced this issue to a small number of units produced by a Maxtor sub-contract manufacturer located in China. 

Seagate quickly put a stop ship to units leaving the facility as soon as the company learned of the probable infection. All units now leaving the facility in question have been cleared of the virus and units in inventory are being reworked before being released for sale.  However, some affected units may have been sold to the public before the problem was detected.

Seagate has posted a warning on its website about its Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 hard drives. According to the posting, Seagate traced the issue to a “small number” of units produced by a Maxtor Chinese sub-contractor.

The effects of this virus are minimal.  According to Kaspersky the virus is the Virus.Win32.AutoRun.ah, a molar virus that searches for passwords to online games and sends them to a server located in China. It also deletes other molar viruses and can disable virus detection software. All of the known games affected are Chinese with the exception of World of Warcraft.  The following games are affected.WSGame
Perfect World (Wanmei Shijie)
World of Warcraft
A word to the wise, Baidu is one of the hottest internet properties in the world and China has a population of 1.3 billion, about 130 million of whom are Internet users, an online market second in size only to the American market. Having said that, Could the next big headline be, “Baidu users infected with worlds worst virus…”?

VOIS, What do you know about it?

Vois  is one of the fastest growing, global social networking communities for people ages 18
and over today. And you’ve never heard of it. Go figure huh? Now let the word global sink in for a second, and  then read the following stats. Social networking growth is quickly becoming a worldwide phenomenon. By the end of this year, Asia will account for 35% of the world’s social networking users, with 28% of users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 25% in
North America, and 12% in the Caribbean and Latin America, according to research firm Datamonitor Plc. That means that ASIA is  the largest user of social networks in the world. That’s right, the world.

According to a Goldman Sachs report, the fastest growing economies in the world are  Brazil, India, China and Russia or BRIC’s.  The next 11 countries or the N-11, that are the next future important economies are Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Korea,
Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey and Vietnam.

So follow me here because you’ll see why VOIS (pronounced voice) in particular could be bigger than Facebook and MySpace combined. Due to the incredible growth rates of the BRIC economies, their combined GDP is predicted to overtake the combined GDP of the major developed economies of the US, Western Europe, and Japan in the next 40 years or less.

Now here’s the skinny on VOIS.  VOIS accordingly has made significant inroads in obtaining significant market share in many of the BRIC and N-11 nations. According to Alexa.com, VOIS ranks within the top 15,000 websites worldwide and within BRIC and N-11 nations VOIS is already within the top 5000 websites in Egypt (523) and Iran (4,575), within the top 10,000 websites in Indonesia (3,778) and within the top 20,000 websites in India (12,223) and Mexico (18,871).

 VOIS.com’s goal is to become a top website within many of the BRIC and N-11 nations within the next year and plans to pursue more market share and expand global reach by launching localized language-specific content-specific versions of their website in each of the BRIC Countries and the N-11.

According to the CIA World Factbook, the BRIC  countries collective presently possesses more mobile phones and Internet users than in the U.S., while the Internet News Agency reports that the BRIC middle class is expected to exceed 800 million in the next ten years, a demographic larger than the United States, Western Europe and Japan

So if you are a marketer, or advertiser, or a cell carrier, etc etc and you think you’re little world here in the United States is all about you and your social network, and your niche, well you better think again. it’s a big world out there and they are coming fast and they are coming hard.