Archive for May, 2007

MySpace - Photobucket Acquisition

Monday, May 7th, 2007

PhotoBucket logoIt was made official today… MySpace buys Photobucket for $250 million.

PhotoBucket had been looking for a buyer for months now with little luck. Upon hiring Lehman Brothers, the company was seeking a price tag of $300+ million, but to no avail. In the end, it was reported that only MySpace and IAC were in the running.

Not too long ago, MySpace began blocking PhotoBucket embedding. This caused quite a stir in the web world and blogosphere. After all, the explosive success of PhotoBucket has to be largely attributed to MySpace. In any case, MySpace lifted the ban and began unblocking PhotoBucket embeds once again. Was this because they knew something we didn’t? Were acquisition talks in the making already? Who knows, but my suspicions tell me that there is more to the story than we know.

PhotoBucket controls the image space with an estimated 40%+ market share. Compare that to Flickr or WPhotoBucket logoebshots whom are believed to have no more than 10% market share each, and this just goes to show you the penetration power of PhotoBucket.

By the way, PhotoBucket earned $6.3 million in revenue last year and is projected to generate $25+ million this year. Furthermore, they have a user base of 40 million users, with 85,000 more being added every day. Not bad for a ‘web 2.0′ company. This one is legit - it has revenues.

Yahoo Finally Hits a PageRank of 10!

Monday, May 7th, 2007

Yahoo logoWow… it should took awhile, but Yahoo finally hit the magic mark. Ironically, only a month ago I wrote a blog post asking when Yahoo would reach a PageRank of 10. I guess the PageRank gods were listening.

Yahoo joins an elite, exclusive group which includes the likes of Google, Adobe, Real, Macromedia, Apple, and the New York Times to name a few. It was obvious that the search engine giant would eventually hit the mark. it was just a matter of time - and, well, back-links.

So what does this mean? Nothing really. It just means that Yahoo is a PageRank 10. Well, and that Google doesn’t have complete bragging rights. Although Google does dominate the search engine arena in terms of market share.

I can’t wait til Google hits 11… if indeed it is possible. Once again, Yahoo would be playing catch up.

So when will MappingTheWeb hit a PageRank of 10? Who knows… but if you link to me, I will be one step closer. This is my obvious attempt at link-bait. Please give in to the urge. Much appreciated.

PS. Yahoo still holds the #1 Alexa rank. Take that Google! Urrgghhh… for Sale

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Recently, the domain went up for sale. Obviously the site receives a lot of unqualified traffic from users trying to reach the misspelled photo-sharing site Flickr. The domain (with the proper spelling) claims it receives over 150,000 uniques per month via direct website visits. Let me iterate yet again that this traffic is unqualified and usually looking for the misspelled sibling.

In any case, someone is bound to buy the property sooner or later. Obviously Yahoo, who owns Flickr, would seem like an ideal candidate. The search engine giant would then redirect all the traffic to the appropriate photo-sharing property. But my guess is that this is exactly what the owners of want - they are looking to fleece Yahoo for as much money as possible.

The second possibility is that some sort of photo/camera/digital media presence is established on the property. That way, the unqualified traffic looking for Flickr may become qualified traffic and stay a second to further investigate. If an appropriate revenue model can be implemented, there may be a valid case for a purchase.

According to the site, six offers have been put forth already. They range from $10,000 to $90,000, in ascending order. All have been declined. Apparently, the seller is holding out for a price tag in the six-digits. But at what point will he/she decide to sell? $100,000? $200,000? $500,000? My guess is that the seller wants a juicy offer and won’t sell for any less. Bah… you gotta love capitalism.

Digg Just Buried Itself

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Digg logoThe irony is simply extraordinary.

The past day in the life of Digg has been chaotic, tumultuous, and earth-shattering to put it mildly. If you are unaware of what has gone on, please familiarize yourself with the events of the past day or so before reading on.

Digg has based its success and premise on the power of ‘the crowds’. Irony entered the picture when the crowds decided to turn against the site. Sound familiar? Drawing from similar offline events, this sounds like a civil war or a revolution of sorts. Who ever thought Rome would fall?

This is the day many have been waiting for. This is a day that had to happen in evolution of the net. This is the day we find the flaws of social media.

Up until now, people have rejoiced and praised the advantages and benefits of wikis, social media, and crowdsourcing (among other things). These trends not only create community and a sense of belonging, but also viral growth within the user base. But what happens when the community feels disjointed and betrayed? An uproar of mammoth proportions.

Digg users felt betrayed by the ‘corporate entity’ that is behind Digg. Though I’m sure the decision to remove the stories was made with the best intentions, the stories were not the concern in the first place (for the users). The decision was. When Digg decided to delete those stories, it jumped into the shark tank.

So what does the future of Digg look like now? Doubtful in my mind. The company valuation plummeted in a matter of hours. A lot of money was lost due to a little bit of information. My guess is that the site will stay up and the company will fight all allegations in court til the bitter end - but will lose. The day’s events also bring up other questions. How are Digg’s investors going to react? What about the VC’s? There are so many questions to be answered in the days to come… My mind is running at 100mph.

What is Digg at its core? An amazing product? No. A sophisticated program that took years to build? No. It’s a simple concept, an algorithm. The magic enters the equation when users begin to interact with the site. And this aspect becomes more true and more powerful (for good or bad) as the user base increases. Previously, good was all that had come of the site. But now we are seeing the dark, ill-fated side of Digg that many were scared to see, but are now forced to live with.

This story truly hits home as it deals with so many different angles, perspectives, and notions. I think that a lot of people fail to see the psychology behind the events. This is the most interesting aspect to me. I hope to see case studies and research done on this matter. How can a site that garners 1% of all U.S. Internet traffic fall in a matter of hours? The magnitude/amplitude/reach of the Internet is undeniably scary and this is evidence of that.

The true significance of the Digg story has nothing to do with Digg. It has to do with the future of the Internet at large. Digg is merely the introduction to this never-ending story.

As they say, don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Or in this case, don’t f*ck with your users. I wish Digg all the best and I hope we can all learn from its mistakes. All the best, Kevin Rose.

Will Blogs Replace News Agencies?

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Yes and no. Blogs will replace news (as we know it) for those who like to stay on top of the most current headlines. However, some prefer to sit, relax, and don’t mind waiting a day to read the headlines. These folks will not be phased by the speed and reach of blogs. Still, blogs represent others advantages and benefits that non-blog readers should be aware of…

Blogs (and the Internet in general) have turned the world of journalism and reporting upside down. Traditional agencies are scrambling to deal with this new medium. The days of objectivity are gone. Because bloggers are not tied to a news conglomerate or any rules for that matter, they are free to not only report the news but also express their opinion on it. This presents a whole new landscape and realm to the field of journalism.

Phenomena such as independent citizen journalism and moblogging have proven that the power of the crowd is much faster and more responsive than any news agencies will ever be. Anybody can quickly and easily snap a photo or shoot a video and have it online in minutes, if not seconds. Sites like NowPublic and even Twitter are streamlining this process. Add to that the fact that Internet users can pull RSS feeds via a feed reader.

The blogging food chain ensures that the news is disseminated among all levels of blogging. Initially (in most cases), an A-lister reports a story to their audience. Immediately, these folks blog the story and quote the A-lister. This process continues to occur and the story trickles down the blogging hierarchy, gaining an opinion and new angle at every stop. On the positive side, new perspectives and insight may be gained. On the negative side, the story may become so distorted and fragmented that it lacks the fundamental elements of the initial news story.

Contrary to what many believe, I do not think that social news sites, such as Digg or Reddit, will replace their traditional counterparts. This thought crosses my mind: “Just because the users vote something to the front page doesn’t mean it’s current or even a news story”. For that reason, people can discover cool things on Digg, but not browse the newest, most relevant news stories. In any case, surfing random links for hours upon hours is fun too.

My last argument for blogging isn’t really an argument. Rather, it is evidence. In the past, blogs have quoted newspapers on countless occasions. The Chicago Sun said this, the LA Times said that… But now, the tables have turned. Because of the power of blogs, the relationship with readers, and the reputation among A-listers, some newspapers are now quoting blogs! I remember a little while back, the New York Times quoted Michael Arrington of TechCrunch. This was a sign of changing times. Expect this to evolve from a shock, to a fad, to a trend, to the norm.

An interesting thought comes to mind when thinking of the revenue model for online newspapers and agencies alike? Historically, they have charged a subscription fee. But now, people expect things to be free. If a price is involved, the user is gone. It seems that most online news providers are moving to an advertising model. What else can they do?