Archive for the ‘video’ Category

Joost Ridiculous - $45 Million A Round

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

First, Joost logoNiklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis created KaZaa. Next, they re-invented the wheel and developed Skype. Today, they announced a $45 million round of financing for their newest venture - Joost. This number seems a little ridiculous for an A round, but who am I to talk? Their track record says it all. These guys could have started a social network for poodle owners and still raised the same amount of money.

After two big successes already, investors lined up to finance their newest endeavour. I’m sure they were all drooling and itching to get in on this new project. Furthermore, I’m guessing that the Joost boys got everything on their terms, including a premium valuation. Successful players in the deal included Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures, Viacom, CBS, and Li Ka-shing. Perhaps Ka-shing will change his name to KA-CHING if this investment pays off. I just hope I can get a chunk of the IPO one day…

Hey… I have an idea for a series that could be streamed via Joost. The series would be focused around two superheroes who like causing chaos, re-inventing the wheel, and making a lot of money in the process. They would call it ‘The Disruptors’. Need I say who the main characters would be?

These European boys have a passion for disrupting the party and stirring up sh!t. Nevertheless, their strategic intuition, superior branding skills, and forward-thinking abilities cannot be ignored. I can’t wait to see their fourth venture. And this time I want a piece…

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.

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?

Web 2.0 Start-Up Roundup

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

I would like to profile a few interesting web 2.0 start-ups I have come across over the past month or so (in no particular order):

ZipLocal (

ZipLocal is a new hyper-local search directory, focused initially on the Greater Toronto Area and Montreal with future plans to expand to 45 metropolitan markets across Canada. The service aims to be a user-powered next-generation local directory that will provide a rich, self-defined experience. Essentially, the site provides directory-based listings, plus rich community-level search. The data itself is being pulled from existing directory databases. Expect new features, such as tagging, to be added in the coming months.

CrispyBlogPosts (

CrispyBlogPosts is essentially a social bookmarking site strictly for blog posts. The site allows you to share, rate and discover the best blog posts on the net. You can also submit a blog post, create a new channel, and view popular content. Kudos for the clean, slick interface.


VBS TV is a new broadband television network (IPTV), creatively directed by Spike Jonze. The site streams free VICE-produced content that is updated daily. The service claims to use an advanced video player technology to optimize the viewing experience. Content covered on the site ranges from heavy domestic and international news, to underground cultural coverage, to music, and more. All content is available on-demand and enabled for sharing and embedding.

AutoRoll (

AutoRoll is a widget that showcases the blogroll of your readers. In essence, it displays links to blogs your readers are visiting the most often. The service traces the number of visits of each unique reader on each blog that has installed AutoRoll. The more often a reader visits a specific blog, the greater his affinity is with this blog. The benefit to the publisher is highly qualified incoming traffic from other blogs, as well as a useful, pertinent blogroll. 

SeekSift (

SeekSift is a simple way to personalize and track syndicated web content. The service only tracks up-to-date information on local events, travel deals, job listings, and your blogs (to name a few). Content can be accessed via an RSS, e-mail, or both. The service is free.

Clipperz (

Clipperz is an easy way to store and manage your passwords and credentials online. But it is more than a password manager. Not only does it simplify the sign-in process across numerous sites by remembering your user names and passwords, but it also protects confidential and private information. The service is free and completely anonymous (no e-mail is required).

YouTube + Viacom = Lawsuit Fun

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

YouTube logoWell, it was only a matter of time. Viacom is the first major player to drop the bomb, but expect more than just the infantry to attack. This ‘big’ news did not really come as a shock to myself (or many others). I expect others to follow suit in the near future.

Can you see it? A tear is running from my eye. The days of visiting YouTube to find absolutely everything may be numbered. This copyright-infringing fortress’ walls may come crashing down very soon.

Here are some of the numbers and facts:

  • U.S. law allows damages of $750 to $150,000 per copyright violation.
  • Viacom claims over 1.5 billion views of 160,000 Viacom clips.
  • Each view is a potential copyright violation.
  • In other words, Google could face a potential lawsuit of up to $225 trillion if Viacom’s numbers are correct (and I can do math, pffffft).

Some ugly math for YouTube and Google to swallow. And all of a sudden, $1 billion seems like a steal… Though Google does have $10 billion in the bank, paying out lawsuit after lawsuit is only a short term fix for longer, larger-scale problem.

Now let’s look at this from a high level view: who really goes to YouTube to look at anything other than copyright-infringing material. My guess is 5% of visitors AT MOST (and I think I’m being generous here). Now If all this content gets taken down, what’s left of YouTube - UGC or user-generated crap. Sure, the odd clip is funny or informative. But for the most part, I don’t care about some 14 year old drop-out from Indiana who broke his skateboard.

Currently, YouTube continues to proclaim that it is taking a proactive approach to removing all illegal content. That statement alone is funnier than most of their clips. I can still find anything I’m looking for, no matter whether it’s copyright-infringing or not.

The premise of the lawsuit and all similar lawsuits is that the creators should be rewarded for their work. Time and money are put forth to create the content, so monetary compensation for its use should be mandatory. Seems pretty straight forward to me. But instead of working closely with publishers to form partnerships, YouTube has strayed away from the scene, opting for the “we’ll take it down if you ask us” approach.

Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting the site to find all my favourite copyright- and non-copyright-infringing videos. My hope is that if YouTube does plunge into obscurity like its audio predecessor Napster, some other video site will rise to the top and takes its place.

This trial will be interesting to follow as it sets a precedent for future trials between video sites and content publishers and owners. Either way the story ends, the eternal battle between the free world and content publishers will continue onward.

NOTE: If you’re bored or looking for more info on the story, read about it here, here, here, here, here, or here.