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Archive for February, 2008

Collaborative Painting

February 28, 2008 Leave a comment

WebCanvas

I was just introduced to a new collaborative painting project called WebCanvas. WebCanvas allows anyone visiting the site to move around an “infinite canvas” using painting tools to leave graffiti and images for anyone to see. The development and technology is very impressive and best of all it feels like your using an Adobe product directly on your iMac. WebCanvas.com definitely takes Web 2.0 collaboration to its fullest extent and will likely be the future of the web.

WebCanvas is a very addictive site, especially with the ability to erase other’s work while they are working on it.  With that I can easily see this application becoming viral, however, other than pushing the boundaries of web collaboration I can’t figure out where their revenues come from?!

Location Based Social Networking

February 24, 2008 5 comments

TechCrunch published an article on Saturday about when an iPhone only social network application will launch. This is called Location Based Social Networking and it basically utilizes the location tracking software of iPhones (any phone with GPS for that matter) to “discover” individuals in your immediate proximity.

Location based social networking is definitely not new or revolutionary but very difficult (financially and technically) to implement. Since I don’t have the deep deep pockets to implement this application I thought I would share my ideas for a new web and mobile phone application that is built around a location based social network.

Location Based Social Network (LBSN)

A location based social networking application connects people from within a location rather then friends of friends. With Facebook you make friends and then view their photos. With a LBSN application you connect via location (bar, restaurant, Fenway Park, etc.), then view photos based on that location. Friends are made not by connections but rather locations – people who have been to the same place as you.

Location

Facebook joins people with connections – who they know. A LBSN would make connections based on where we’ve been. Interactive maps “mark” a location (a bar, restaurant, concert hall, coffee shop, etc. ) The “mark” will then link to that location’s page (ie. Starbucks at Harvard Square) which contains a “news feed” of the latest photos/texts/videos captured from mobile devices at that location. The feed lists the most recent posts (photos, videos, text) to that location. Each post links to the profile of the subscriber who uploaded the photos/videos. You can then connect with the subscriber and add him/her to your friends list.

Sharing Posts from a Common Location

For example, college kids take a TON of pictures at bars – especially late at night. Everyone in the bar wants to see those pictures. Guys want to see pictures of the girls and the girls want to know who the guys are.

Say we are at Matt Murphy’s in Brookline Village. We log into LBSN with our mobile phone and it immediately knows our location to be Matt Murphy’s, Brookline. We then take a photo of our friends and send it to the social network. That photo automatically gets tagged according to location and gets added to the Matt Murphy’s (location) news feed for everyone to see. (Posts are also added to the subscriber’s news feed that both links to the post and the location where it was taken.)

Another guy at the end of the bar takes a video of his friends and sends it to LBSN. It too gets added to the Matt Murphy’s page for everyone to see. A girl sends a text to the LBSN commenting on the crowd at the bar.

Now everyone at Matt Murphy’s can view, watch and read the latest posts from the bar and comment back in real time. Their friends at home can log in via the web, view the Matt Murphy’s page and see all the fun they’re missing out on.

LBSN has become viral because it not only spreads via the web but also from word of mouth by individuals within the same location. A guy talking to a girl taking photos next to him wants to see them too so he registers with the social network right there at the bar.

The bar (location) has every incentive to promote their LBSN page. The more posts on their LBSN page (especially for bars) the more business it will draw. It’s a real time update of what’s happening right now at any given location. For those at home it’s sort of like a live web cam feed – but at NO cost to the location but of great benefit to them.

The bar (location) can also advertise specials on their LBSN page to promote repeat customers. The bar already knows that everyone has already been there so the potential (via advertising) to get them back is much easier. Advertisements can also be disguised as photos, texts and/or videos built directly into the news feed – seen both by those currently at the bar and at home.

Business

The same premise can work for business connections whether at a meeting, conference or trade show. Take a video of the conference and everyone at that location can view it. Advertisers can sneak business card into the news feed and the conference hall can promote upcoming events.

Music

A location based social networking application would work perfectly for concerts. Not only can people at the concerts view live photos from others but more importantly those at home can view videos of the event while it’s happening. Those at home can visit the Fenway Park location to view photos and videos of The Police show while it’s happening. If they don’t know where The Police are playing they can go directly to The Police LBSN page and (with tagging) see the real time feed from Fenway Park. They can also view previous videos from Madison Square Garden, Chicago and more.

History on Your Phone

By enabling the viewing of posts based on location you can in essence view the digital history of that location. If you’re standing in the middle of a ball field you can turn on your LBSN phone and view photos and videos from games past. While at the MFA you can view posts that others took when previous exhibits where on display. View photos from a party in your dorm room before you actually lived there.

A location based social networking application allows you to capture video/photos in real time and view the digital history of a particular location while at that location. YouTube, Flickr and Facebook display photos/videos from the past – location based social networking is right now!

Source: Tom O’Keefe at www.TOKiBiz.net. If you want to develop a location based social networking site, or want to help Tom fund, implement and/or develop a location based social network, then feel free to contact him at 617-947-8071 or the email above.

Niche Search Engines & Portals

February 23, 2008 2 comments

I just came across a site called Organized Wisdom which calls itself a “human powered health search” service guided by physicians. I find Organized Wisdom interesting because it’s a nice search engine that has come about due to the overcrowding of Google (MSN & Yahoo too) that I believe will be the future of search engines.

Currently when using Google you get a ton of results – some are relevant and others are not. What Organized Wisdom does is weed through all the crap to give you results from (and links to) the best health care information on the internet. Similar to how Mahalo is a “human powered search engine” (DMOZ and About.com sort of too) Organized Wisdom is one too. Though you can argue that a lot of these niche search engines aren’t much different then the early portals which is partly true but they also provide site specific searches that the portals lacked. Of course a lot of these portals, Organized Wisdom too, use Google to do a site specific search. Google is still the best for indexing every line of information on any given website however they are definitely getting overcrowded. These niche portals/search engines can pick and choose which websites are the information authorities and let Google spider and index all the information from those particular sites.

For additional information about Health 2.0 please visit Health 2.0

Hot or Not Acquisition

February 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Hot or Not

According to TechCrunch the online photo rating site known as Hot or Not has been acquired for $20 million by Avid Life Media. According to TechCrunch Hot or Not’s annual revenues are $5 million, with costs of $3 Million equaling a profit of $2 Million. Hot or Not receives approximately 5 million monthly visitors. Using the Bizak Calculator that equates to $0.08 revenues per visitor (RPV) and $0.03 earnings per visitor (EPV) after costs. (Since I don’t have their actual yearly visitor totals I’m assuming a total of 5 million x 12 or 60 Million yearly visitors.)

According to the valuation of the Bizak Estimate Hot or Not’s approximate valuation would have been $17,000,000.16. Our computations factor in Revenues, Traffic and EPV – a bit lower than the purchase price but close to target. If Hot or Not’s EPV was equal to its RPV (8 cents) then the Bizak Estimate would have been $20,000,000.16 for Hot or Not.

For the Bizak Calculator visit the business valuation section of Bizak.com.

Bizak Estimate & Earnings per Visitor (EPV) for Hot or Not Acquisition

Hot or Not Earnings per Visitor (EPV)

The Bizak Estimate

February 17, 2008 1 comment

Web 2.0 Application

Once launched Bizak will have an approximate Web 2.0 valuation estimate called the Bizak Estimate.  The Bizak Estimate is similar to many valuations in that it computes revenues times a multiple however from there we add on a valuation for traffic.  Since more traffic is not always better we integrated the EPV (earnings per visitor) into the traffic equation.  This way if a site receives a million visitors but only earns $0.01 for each of them then they are equal to a firm who makes $1.00 per visitor but yet only receives 10,000 visitors.  Therefore it equates the quality of your traffic and your operating costs.  If you’re spending more in marketing, advertising, SEO, etc. to receive that traffic then you’re actually making in revenues then this will subtract from your revenue valuation.  Of course there are countless variables that go into a business valuation but the Bizak Estimate creates an apples to apples comparison and benchmark that can be used as a starting point for comparative purposes.

Search Engine Market Share

February 11, 2008 2 comments

jc-searchsharejan07-11.gif

According to Compete.com, Googled ushered in the new year with its largest search market share to date – 68.6%. Up almost 7 percentage points in comparison to January 2007 – Yahoo declined 6% during that time and MSN remained relatively stable.

The interesting analysis to these numbers is that the top five search engines (Yahoo, MSN Live, ASK & AOL) combined don’t equal half of Google’s market share. Actually the combination of all the other search engines only equals 30.8%. Yahoo + MSN Live = 25.4%. This obviously gives Google a lot of capital to work with. Capital that is enforced on websites who must abide by Google’s rules of search engine optimization or else pay the consequences. This gives Google monopolistic control over websites whose sole existence relies on Google. If the website violates one of Google’s rules (many times unwittingly) they then could be banned from the directory thus ceasing the vast majority of their traffic. It’s to bad that in cases like these websites can’t have peace of mind knowing that MSN and Yahoo would be able to pick up the slack. There will come a time in the near future when websites give up on the one search engine internet that we see today. PPC has already priced out the small players and SEO can cost $100,000/year thus making organic rankings out of their reach too.

As I mentioned in Future Search Engines there must be more to the combined (if it happens) Yahoo and MSN merger then just grabbing 25% of the search market. First of Microsoft is sacrificing the present (most noticeably in stock price) to become the reigning online king in the next 5 years. Search will most likely take a new approach in the next five years and Microsoft (and I’m assuming Google too) knows this. Knowing that the internet is becoming a crowded place that will soon reach a saturation point (which means decline PPC income) search must create a new radical platform to placate the small to mid level internet companies & websites.

Boston Startup – Compete

February 11, 2008 1 comment

Compete Logo

Next time you’re heading over to Alexa for some traffic statistics you should first check out Compete.com, which will give you a more accurate reading. Located in Boston’s Copley Square, Compete.com is the only site (according to them) that integrates site analytics with search analytics thus giving the user a greater perspective into online marketing.  Having just celebrated its fifth straight year of record growth thanks in larger part to “an increase in spending on search marketing, web analytics and online marketing” Compete is well beyond the startup stage.

Compete’s search analytics give you detailed information on terms that are driving traffic to your site including the volume rank, keyword, site share (“percentage of all search referrals to a site from a keyword”) and keyword engagement (“average amount of time spent on a referral site after entering a search term”.)

A lot of Compete’s services are subscription based but one of the most useful tools (Site Analytics) can be used for free in limited form. Located at http://siteanalytics.compete.com/ the site analytics tool gives you a far better reading (and comparison) into a site’s people count/visitors.

Compete’s unique approach to web analytics comes with some sizable investors behind it including: Charles River Ventures, Commonwealth Capital Partners, Idealab, North Hill Ventures, Split Rock Partners and William Blair Capital Partners.