I have to salute Salon

I have to salute Salon for taking the initiative and creating some interesting paths to their premium content. I just noticed (perhaps it has been there previously) that you can choose to click and experience an enhanced ad, (in my case a 4 page deeper look at the new E-Class) in order to gain a single day pass to the premium writing.

I really like this model and hope it works out for everyone involved. The site and advertiser get a multi-paged ad view…. I actually tried to jump to the last of the 4 pages too early and was told the average length stay was only 30 seconds and to be patient. After that I went through all the pages and got the apprpriate reward – full access for the rest of the day.

Giving my email was optional for more info, though something I would question if you are going to force the impressions and give the content, it would seem a worthwhile cost to the visitor.

In case you are curious as to what I was reading that was of such great interest, it’s an interview with Bob Kerrey, former Senator, Vietnam Veteran and currently President of The New School University on why we should support a regime change in Iraq.

Movielink debuts

The Web site, a joint project of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal and Warner Bros., will debut Monday with a limited selection of first-run and classic films from the five major motion pictures studios, in a test of the technology to select U.S. residents. Though the film studios have licensed content to other video-on-demand sites, it is the first time they’ve introduced a service of their own.

Movielink ready to roll: “After nearly two years in production, the online movie rental service will debut Monday with a limited selection of first-run and classic films from five major motion pictures studios.” Source: CNET News.com

Movielink vs my Time Warner VOD… Hmmm seems like an easy choice. Watch on my computer (not mine actually since Macs are not supported) or via Cable on my Digital TV with surround. Movielink seems like it will offer about 200 movies to TW’s ~100. Prices are about the same, but the Movielink system will let you keep the movie ffor about a month on your computer.

Alta Vista again?

Alta Vista has been through many lives in its time. From 1995 into 1996 I recall it being the search engine of choice. Yahoo came on strong in the post-Netscape IPO (not that they didn’t already have a great site) era and won over most of the traffic, creating a new world of the personalized portal. AV tried that and gave it a pretty good go… They could never quite keep up though with the traffic attracted to AOL, Yahoo and MSN. Once Google came on, they officially lost what little they had left. An under promoted venture into quick search, called Raging Search was released to compete with the pure search move, while still trying attract surfers to their portal offering.

My company helped launch the UI, rewards system and all the marketing for the Shopping service within AV in 2000. It is now an affiliate shopping service with Dealtime. At the time, it was widely regarded as a huge success, generating large traffic volumes to earn rewards and shop online. Shortly after the launch, however, AV went through an aborted IPO, lost their CEO and nuked the shopping service, which was the first of the soon to be developed/released personalized services. Game over. From that point, in my humble opinion, AV sank into the abyss… While I can certainly respect another go, it is hard to believe that they will gain any traction given the sheer strength of Google and the even deeper traction and association the surfing public has into their portal of choice.

AltaVista searches for a new image: “The struggling company is trying to recapture its former glory as a search engine heavyweight with a newly redesigned Web site that takes a cue from current search champ Google.” Source: CNET News.com

Integrating online media

“Integrating online media and interactive marketing with other media and other channels is imperative to reaching the full potential of this medium,” he said. “Taking full advantage of the targeting capabilities of online media as well as its unique contextual opportunities will help us all reach the right audience with the right message.”

Making Online Matter: “At the IAB Leadership Forum, online ad execs grapple with how to weave interactive advertising into traditional advertising campaigns.” Source: internetnews.com: Top News

We all win.

We all win. RIM certainly can claim some serious victories this week based on their latest licensing agreements. Let’s hope these deals show up in products soon… If RIM is the accepted victor in wireless email and handheld keyboards, our future devices should all be well equipped.

Nokia to license RIM software: “A pact between the two companies completes a licensing trifecta for Research In Motion, which also announced deals with Palm and Handspring this week.” Source: CNET News.com

The changing theater landscape

Major financial buyers were quick to spot an opportunity. In 1998, the average price of a screen stood at $700,000. By 2001, however, it had collapsed to $135,000, and several acquisitions were reportedly completed at well under $100,000 a screen. These acquisitions have concentrated assets in just a few hands (Exhibit 2). Anschutz, Apollo Advisors, Oaktree Capital Management, and Onex are not traditional industry insiders; they are financially savvy buyers that aim to maximize the value of their new assets. That could well mean still more consolidation, perhaps through the swapping of theater assets to create concentrated regional markets. Either way, the studios can bet that the new owners wonÍt hesitate to shake things up to increase their cash flow.

Source : The McKinsey Quarterly

Email Marketing to AOL 8.0

Email Marketing to AOL 8.0 Users: “” Source: Drunk Guerilla – Marketing Out of the Cage

Another looming issue for e-mail marketers is AOL 8.0’s new e-mail sorting feature, consisting of a drop-down menu that sorts mail into four categories:

  • People I know: Mail from addresses stored in the user’s address book or buddy list, and mail from AOL.

  • Bulk senders: Mail from commercial mailers who have committed to honor AOL’s e-mail policies.

  • Unknown senders: All other e-mail.

  • Everyone: Includes all of the above, and is the default setting.

BIll Gates will be here

BIll Gates will be here in NYC tomorrow to help spend some of the $71 Million dollars allocated to Tablet PC marketing…

Silicon Valley’s Dream Tablet, From Microsoft: “Microsoft hopes it has nailed down one of Silicon Valley’s most cherished, if elusive, ideas: a notepad-size computer controlled by a pen.” Source: New York Times: Technology

Studies: Few to use tablet PCs in 2003: “”Only the bravest” will have adopted new portable computers based on Microsoft’s Windows XP Tablet Edition by the end of next year, a Gartner exec says.” Source: CNET News.com

Tablet PCs go niche in 2003 – Gartner: “Small market share” Source: The Register

NYC and deliveries

Here in NYC pretty much every store and place to eat delivers. We get our groceries delivered as well, but only after first going to the store. That is starting to change now with the arrival of Fresh Direct from the creators of our terrific, yet uptown (we live downtown which might as well be another city) Fairway store. I am hoping that this venture makes it through the dotcomdeadpool and succeeds where the likes of Urban Fetch , Kozmo and Webvan have all failed. They should be delivering to our neighborhood by January!

Fresh Groceries Right Off the Assembly Line: “For the last four months, FreshDirect, an elaborate new online food delivery service, has been gradually working its way into ZIP codes in New York City.” Source: New York Times: Technology

The real question

The real question is whether you want to watch a movie on your computer… How can this possibly compete with VOD over cable and satellite systems? I don’t think it can. This is an idea that waited too long to make a difference in my humble opinion.

The Potential for Net-Delivered Movies: News.com article on both the legal and customer challenges facing online movie delivery services such as Movielink, Intertainer and Movieflix. Their conclusion: net-delivered movies will have no impact on the business as the customer base for the business is too small. Source: Paid Content

Another win for Amazon

Last week the semi-stealth launch of Ruby and now the news is out on the subscription service that just launched today. 50,000 publications combined with one-click ordering is a dangerous one-two punch…

Is Amazon.com Destined to Become the Big Subscription Clearinghouse?: Amazon.com has just launched an online magazine/newspaper/newsletter clearinghouse–the effort is geared towards print publications, with about 50,000 publications on offer. The store may, in the future, become a big online newsletter/electronic edition clearinghouse as well, even though the company has not indicated anything to the effect. Especially when you consider the fact that Amazon.com’s payment system is one-click, at least in theory–the ease of subscription eliminates user churn or initial trial, the hurdles which have stunted the growth of micropayments industry for a long time now (Amazon.com’s payment scheme is also a micropayment, technically speaking, but then you get the picture…).

Other companies/services such as Audible.com are also primed to become such digital/audio clearinghouses, even though Audible is perpetually plagued with a low profile, stock price troubles and liquidity pressures. Interestingly, Amazon.com owns a stake (or at least invested some money) in Audible. Source: Paid Content

WebTV targeting Seniors

For the Mountain View, Calif.-based Microsoft subsidiary, formerly known as WebTV, those aged 50 and older aren’t the stubborn old codgers advertisers notoriously ignore. Instead, they’re an untapped market for Internet access.

“For the first time, we’re going after the older American group,” said Sam Klepper, MSN TV’s senior director of marketing. “This is a group that’s been historically intimidated by technology. MSN TV is a great alternative.” Source: allNetDevices

If their Broadband partner is scaling back…

If their Broadband partner is scaling back and Yahoo just launched… can’t be good. I guess the premium services they are looking to launch will be based around some other core offering…only time will tell.

Something doesn’t add up: “San Jose Mercury News: “‘We have dramatically scaled down any further deployment of DSL,’ said SBC Senior Vice President Jim Smith. ‘We couldn’t make a good business case to go forward.'”

Two years ago, SBC loudly promoted the billions of dollars it would invest in rolling out DSL. What changed? All of the regulatory restrictions on the local phone companies were in place by 1996 or shortly thereafter in the rules implementing the Telecommunications Act.

What’s new is that competitors can use use deeply discounted “UNE-P” wholesale rates in many states. If SBC’s argument is that they can’t compete against the cut-rate DSL resellers, where are all those competitors? All I see is Earthlink and a few others offering broadband at rates similar to the incumbents, and a bunch of smaller players targeting business customers. There’s something that just doesn’t add up in the Bells’ arguments about broadband.” Source: Werblog

BIll Gross raised plenty

BIll Gross raised plenty of money during the boom, but no one who gave him any seems to have gotten anything real in return. He has a long list of failures including eToys and eve.com while only Overture really made it.

Fortune covers the latest story in They All Want A Piece Of Bill Gross, also providing some historical perspective by linking to an older view, Why Is This Man Smiling?

There was a fantastic infographic which I can’t find that showed the complete Idealab universe. The amazing thing was just the number of failures. Had to be pushing well over 90% and yet in the last round of financing, Bill Gross was able to pull in $9 Billion in a series D round in early 2000.