Archive for the ‘off topic’ Category

Everyone’s Web 2.0 Revenue Model

Monday, May 28th, 2007

The buzz and hype of the new web landscape has subsided considerably. Yet, to my surprise, more and more ‘web 2.0′ start-ups continue to operate with the cheesiest, most over-used strategies.

  • “We’re currently in stealth mode.”
  • “Our AJAX widget will VOIP the RSS while podcasting to bloggers in a wiki-like fashion.”
  • Our target market is anyone who uses the Internet.”

These crack me up. Like… give us all a break. My favourite though… is one that is not as apparent, or even stated anywhere. It pertains to the revenue models of these ventures. Contrary to what many may think (especially the companies themselves), a revenue model was never part of the initial strategy.

To some, this may come as surprising. To others, it’s common knowledge. Many of these start-ups launch a FREE product with the intention of exploding onto the market, harnessing viral growth, and eventually selling to a larger, more established player. WOW, there is it. The revenue model is actually an exit strategy. I think that is a web 2.0 trend in itself.

Web 2.0 revenue model = Exit strategy

This makes sense for naive Internet entrepreneurs because:

  • It eliminates that monetary barrier to entry for users (as mentioned above)
  • They have no idea how to monetize a product in the first place AND/OR they find comfort in the the phrase, “We’ll build traffic, then figure out how to monetize later”.
  • The company realizes that if they do eventually implement a revenue model (advertising, subscription, etc…), they will piss off users and many will defect from the site or service.

So, as you can see, companies resort to the FREE model with the intention of ’slapping on’ a revenue model somewhere down the road. There never was a revenue model to begin with.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I love free products and don’t want to pay for anything if I don’t have to. But from a business perspective, that is not a sustainable or savvy model.

Is Digg Back to Normal?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Digg logoIt’s been two weeks since the self implosion, AKA Digg revolution, occurred. Mark May 1st on your calendar. It will forever be known as the day social media broke.

I can’t think of a more heart-breaking dilemma than what the Digg crew was subject to. Remove the content or be sued. Either way, it’s a lose-lose situation for the company. They chose to do what was in the company’s best interest, as opposed to the users’ best interest. This caused a quasi civil war within the site and a backlash like we’ve never seen before.

Now, two weeks later, has everything returned to normal? Not even close.

Though Digg is not deleting submission, they are taking on more subtle, less obvious approach. Stories with objectionable content (i.e. potential lawsuit material) are being intentionally ‘buried’ by the company to avoid site-wide exposure. Though not official, this process is likely to be occurring as many blogs are reporting its existence. See posts at DeepJive Interests, Pronet Advertising, and Social Media Club.

Users are genuinely pissed off. Two weeks ago, they were slapped in a more obvious manner. These new rumours and allegations come as another blow to the already-shaken social news community. This is exactly what they DON’T need right now.

Add to that the potential lawsuits that are predicted to come about. What about the loss of trust within the community? This is was the entire basis for the site.

I’m not even sure the best PR team in the world could shed a positive image on this net powerhouse at this point. Damage control seems beyond its grasp. Digg really needs to assess their priorities and re-evaluate their values. The long-term prospects look weak at best. But who knows… a site that has risen and fallen so quickly could very well blossom and rise from the distrust ashes once again.

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.

Vertical Creep to the MAX

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

As a general rule, search engines are supposed to operate on an unbiased basis. Organic results are displayed in a logical manner and paid listings are clearly marked (in most cases). The concept of ‘vertical creep’ is a grey area that blurs the line between an unbiased search result and an internally-associated link.

Vertical creep is defined as a company-associated search result that appears above the organic results, but below the paid listings. Yahoo calls them ‘Shortcuts’, a seemingly useful yet sly name to make the result appear more user-friendly and less commercial - although we all know the true intention.

Essentially, if Google or Yahoo can display an appropriate, internally-linked result for news, weather, a movie, or an image search, then it is to their benefit as there is a higher chance they will maintain the user within the site. In other words, niche searches that could be performed using other in-house search tools vertically creep within the traditional results of the main engine (if this makes any sense).

Now at first, searchers were a bit out-raged at the idea but have since pulled back a bit. But now I noticed that Yahoo in particular is taking this idea to a whole new level. For any new movie search, such as ‘300‘ or ‘Disturbia‘, a giant movie poster and description are displayed (see screenshot below). In addition, a searcher can also play the movie trailer or check local showtimes. Talk about unbiased. Only further down the page do we find links to the production company, IMDB, or perhaps Wikipedia.



This blatant attempt at keeping searchers within the Yahoo properties is bound to be met with some controvery. I, for one, do not appreciate huge ‘ads’ that appear to be cleverly integrated within the organic results. Obviously this is purely a business move and an attempt at increasing revenues, as old flicks do not receive this treatment or exposure.

My hope is that search engines continue to operate without opinion or manipulation over the search results. Let the user decide where he or she wants to click. May the best result win.