Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

2007: Business models for widgets?

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

German e-commerce blog Exciting Commerce points to an interesting comment on Techcrunch by Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners with regard to the recent $20 million venture round in Slide and just how they might be making money:

I led Lightspeed Venture Partner’s invesment in Rockyou, and am also a friend of Max’s at Slide. I can’t comment on the substance of this rumor, but wanted to respond to some of the comments.

Looking at Rockyou and Slide as pure technology, and considering their worth as simply the engineering time to duplicate their code, substantially undervalues them. Both companies serve up over 100 million total widgets, and create more than 100k new widgets, every single DAY. Thats a lot of adoption.

Users of social networks don’t decide who to create a slideshow with by issuing an RFP, or by doing an exhaustive feature comparison of vendors. They use what they see others using, what they see their friends using. In that sort of decision making environment, size matters in generating further growth. A great user experience and good technology are antes to play, but they are not enough to win the hand. Both Rockyou and Slide have scale and that is a key driver of the value that they’ve created.

I think skeptical comments about business model are understandable. I posted in my set of 2007 Consumer Internet Predictions that this year widgets will find a business model (if you’re interested in reading more, click my name in this comment). But it’s also fair to say that they haven’t demonstrated a business model yet.

Youtube was able to generate a destination browsing site and monetize traffic directly. Photobucket drives enough traffic through creation and editing to make very substantial advertising revenue. But many other widget companies (and I’d include both Slide and Rockyou in this category) have not yet crossed this bridge.

However, I think that there are a number of promising business model avenues that have not yet been fully explored, some ad based, some sponsorship based, some freemium models, some likely requiring a revenue share with the social networks. But I wouldn’t have invested if I didn’t think that!

In his 2007 Consumer Internet Predictions, Jeremy mentions a few more potential options:

2. Social Network widgets find a business model. Pete Cashmore and many others have proclaimed the rise of the widget economy, but there hasn’t been too much money floating around this economy to date. Widgets have been primarily a marketing tool, used to drive traffic to a destination site, with Youtube being the most obviously successful at doing this. Once there, monetizing traffic on your own site is uncontroversial. But few others have been able to build a browsing destination on the back of widgets, which begs the question as to how widgets can be directly monetized where they are embedded, and what sort of revenue splits will be struck between the three relevant parties; widget owner, social networking site, and user. I don’t know the answer to this, but have some ideas (syndicated advertising, sponsorship, micropayments for bling, freemium models etc). I think we’ll see more clarity emerge in ‘07.

Also worth reading in that context is this article on GigaOm (01/04/2007): For Social Networks, 2007 is about MONEY

Towards such ends, there are four critical success factors that any innovation in monetization scheme for social networks must adhere to:

And, if you’ve been following the German web 2.0 scene lately (with Facebook clone StudiVZ having been acquired for what appears to be EUR 85 million), you’ve probably noticed that there is a German contender to Slide as well: Imagelooop — who have received a total of EUR 1 million in venture capital so far. In a recent press release, they had this to say:

At present, it is completely free to use imagelooop. A re-structuring of costs through the introduction of premium membership, exclusive third-party products and advertising will take place at a later point.

We’ll see how that goes.

Reminder: Barcamp Nuremberg, December 16/17

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

Barcamp Nuremberg is fast approaching. So far, 60+ people have signed up for the December 16/17 event, so a few more seats are still available. If you live anywhere near (hint: Munich, Augsburg, Ulm, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Frankfurt, Würzburg, Leipzig or Dresden are all pretty close-by in my book), why not grab a few friends (geek or no geek) and join the fun.

Read what people have to say about Barcamp Berlin and Barcamp Cologne. Bottom line: they really, really liked it. And they can’t all be wrong, can they?

The wiki is open: present your project, demo your prototype, organize a panel, talk about whatever you want to talk about, or just ask a bunch of questions — the possibilities are sheer endless.

There’s also a plethora of podcasts and videos out there from both the Berlin and the Cologne event, should you still not be convinced that this is the single most awesome event you will attend in 2006!

There is already talk of doing more barcamps in Germany in 2007 (Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt are likely candidates) but those might not happen until summer! Summer! That’s like… ages away! So, do the right thing and don’t let this opportunity slip.

Go camping, everybody!

I want a EULA inspection agency

Friday, October 20th, 2006

So many end user license agreements (EULA), so little time…

Besides, even if I did have the time to read through all the mumbo jumbo some of these sites out there like to throw at you, how do I know I’m not getting screwed? What’s relevant, what isn’t? What does it all mean? Why aren’t there open standards that make it easier for the end user to choose and to compare and to keep track of the legal obligations one commits to? Transparency anyone, hello?

Google goes solar

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

Venturebeat reports: Google builds largest solar installation in U.S. — oh, and bigger than Microsoft

Search giant Google will begin constructing the nation’s largest solar electricity system on its Mountain View campus, the company said today.

Panels will be built for Google’s entire Mountain View campus, decking the roofs of its four main buildings plus two that are nearby. With a total capacity of 1.6 megawatts – enough to supply 1,000 average California homes – the Google system will be the largest solar installation on any U.S. corporate campus, and will be among the five largest installations in in the world.

Truly an energetic workplace.

At Lehmanns Fachbuchhandlung

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

I’m sitting at Lehmanns Fachbuchhandlung in Berlin. I was looking for an internet cafe with free wi-fi and found this one via Qype. A nice quiet place, and the mandarine cheesecake is quite yummy.

Barcamp Stanford follow-up

Monday, August 28th, 2006

Barcamp Stanford went down this weekend as part of the larger Barcamp Earth (hello, Lithuania!).

I was able to catch the following sessions:

Thanks, Todd, for taking the lead in organizing the whole thing and getting us into Stanford (from the BBQ on Friday night to Camp Fooey to the quite excellent venue).

Oh, and for all you techies slash political junkies out there, there will be Barcamp TechnoPolitics, tentatively scheduled for November 11/12, 2006, which will focus on the intersection of politics and the internet (and then some).

My tag cloud

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Music playlist

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

Podcasts I like

Friday, June 9th, 2006

A list of podcasts I actually listen to on a regular basis:

  • Om & Niall PodSessions — Weekly technology podcast from Om Malik and Niall Kennedy.
  • Edgework — Edgework is about social media, smart marketing, web apps and usability — the ways we can help people have better conversations about our organizations, products & services. How can you let go and be a great community member? By Brian Oberkirch.
  • Krautshow — A german point of view. A podcast. A pleasure.
  • Vier Nasen tanken Super (in German) — Nico, Mario, Heiko and Sebastian talk internet stuff.
  • Talkcrunch — A weekly podcast about new web 2.0 companies and products hosted by TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington.


Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

I may have mentioned this before somewhere, but 30 minutes of watching C-SPAN will sometimes get you more information, context and insight than a whole week of watching the major news networks: Reform of the U.S. Intelligence Community