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.

Advertisements

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?

buzzword-compliant.jpg

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