Archive for September, 2006

Dueling Opinions

Posted: September 25, 2006 in Uncategorized
What I’ve always found fascinating about the stock market is at any one point, exactly 50% of people think something will go up and 50% of people think something will go down.
Same go with the news and opinions that drive what people think.
Now there’s a study in contrast.
My take? 
(1)  Online ad company p/e’s (trailing or forward) match up well to 37% growth in first half ’06 online revenues… heck, they’d match up well even if the growth was smaller.
(2)  If tighter times are ahead, companies begin to reduce by cutting what’s difficult to test and/or expensive to initiate and/or hard to measure and/or just plain isn’t working.  Those are all offline advertising qualities, not online. 
More to the point:  Those are the very engines that make online advertising superior to offline and have propelled online advertising companies so far so quickly. 
Lest we forget this is a revolution based on performance, not hype.
Yahoo’s announcement this morning of a possible slowdown in auto and financial advertising is a stomach churning test for online advertising.
But, a slowdown in these areas makes sense to me:  With gas and interest rates going through the roof, we’re all feeling like driving and refinancing less.
The questions are: 
*  What other parts of the economy are slowing or growing and how will that affect advertising?
*  Is this a competitive issue?  Microsoft crowding in?  2nd tier players getting particularly aggressive?
*  Is this solely a YHOO execution issue?  They have been having their challenges of late.
Time (as always) will tell.  Welcome to the rollercoaster.  Ugh.

In Search Of Web 2.0

Posted: September 18, 2006 in Uncategorized
Blogger extraordinaire and nice guy Steve Rubel threw a few more cents into the "What’s the definition of Web 2.0" debate this morning. 
Here was my comment:
But I think it’s even simpler than that.
We all have the need to know where we are relative to where we were
What time it is?  What day?  What year?  What grade are we in?  Etc.
Years ago, we used to track technical progress via the name of the Intel chip… i.e., 286, 386, etc.
Unbelievably, Intel gave up the privilege to name tech cycles, which threw us all into a tizzy.
Web 2.0 is just a way to get us back on a naming track.
Of course, Web 2.0 is "bigger/better/faster/stronger" than Web 1.0 on so many levels… hence, the difficulty (and discomfort) of pinpointing a definition.
No doubt, since tech moves in five year cycles, Web 3.0 will emerge just about the time we’ve all agreed on the definition of Web 2.0. <smile>

That Giant Sucking Sound

Posted: September 12, 2006 in Uncategorized
I wouldn’t be the most optimistic guy in the world about online advertising if I didn’t highlight Jonathan Berr’s recent article in, "Google Gains As Ads Slow."
Here’s the ad spending scorecard between Jan and Jun:
   *  Internet advertising +18.9%
   *  Network TV +5.7%
   *  Magazines +4.4%
   *  Cable +2.6%
My favorite quote:  "These figures underscore how the Web may grow even more important for advertisers in the coming months if worries about corporate profits continue. That’s good news for Internet companies — and possibly more bad news for the traditional media."
And so this commonsense trend continues.

A Big Day For Greece

Posted: September 3, 2006 in Uncategorized
I’m one of two Greek-Irish Americans in the tech industry.  (The other is ubber blogger Jason Calacanis.)
Bitter sweet day:  The U.S. lost in the World Basketball Championships… stunned by — you guessed it — Greece.
For years my heart has been heavy thinking about Greece.
When you think about Italy, you think about fashion, fast cars, sports, food, and wine… essentially a culture that enjoys itself.
Similar thoughts about countries like France and Germany (well, in Germany you think beer <smile><hic>).
But, when you think about Greece, what comes to mind?  Olive oil?  A 2,500 year old motel (so to speak) on a hill in the center of town?
My point is:  There isn’t much of a national pride thing going on in Greece.  In fact, I’ve often remarked that Greek Americans seem to have more pride in Greece than native Greeks!
That’s why having the Olympics in Greece was so important… looks like a good trend has started.. if any country needs to win at something on the global stage, it’s Greece.

“Cell Sucks” Case In Point

Posted: September 2, 2006 in Uncategorized
Cell connections suck, I don’t know how people live this way.
Case in point:  I was using a cell yesterday, asked my most excellent friend Dave Jaffe (who was sitting in front of a computer) to email a reminder note to me.
The note was, "hook Greg up with Shutterfly."
The note I got was, "hook Greg up with shedder slein."
It actually took me a few moments to decipher.
I can only imagine the problems that this kind of miscommunication causes on a global scale!
P.S.  Normally, I’d say a cell connection is better than nothing… but, come on, a decade into the cell phone revolution and quality is still about as good as two tin cans on a string… ?  Ugh.
VoIP stands for Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol.
Think of VoIP simply as telephone calls made over computer lines at a tiny fraction of normal costs.
Which means you can also think of VoIP — potentially — as the destruction of the telecommunications industry as we know it.
Problem with VoIP is that it really has inferior quality vs. landlines.
Normally I’d say that’s a HUGE differentiator.  It’s like watching TV with a fuzzy signal… unacceptable.
Or is it?
Cell phone quality — which absolutely sucks — but which we’ve all gotten so used to — is actually making VoIP look pretty darn good.
Happened to me the other night.  The VoIP-to-cell connection was a mess.  But the call back on the VoIP-to-landline connection — after the cruddy initial connection — seemed acceptable and, in fact, downright clear in comparison… even after the VoIP line went dark for five seconds!
Go figure, when was the last time in tech that lowering the bar was good for all concerned?