Category Archive for News

Will this rhyme make you a dime?

The More You Do This, The More You Will Make.
You can start easy. You can start slow.
The more you do this. The more it will grow.
It’s not complicated. It’s not hard.
But the income you make, can pay for your car.

The More You Do This, The More You Will Make.
You can live in a city. You can live in a small town.
You can live on an island, with no one around.
Set it up once, then leave it alone.
With the results you get, you could pay off your home.

The More You Do This, The More You Will Make.
You don’t need a product. You don’t need much time.
If you can send an e-mail, you’ll be just fine.
Do it once. And then do it again.
Before you know it, the banker’s your friend.

My silly rhyme has come to an end.
So this is my advise, I give to you friend:
The More You Do This, The More You Will Make.
Thanks for reading to the end
Now go make some moolah, my friend.

– M.C. Moolah Maker

I hope you got a kick out of that. Sure, it might be childish, but that’s the point. Making an income online is child’s play. So many people make it more difficult than it needs to be. Let’s have some fun, change our own lives and then be in a position to effect change in the world.

Instant SlideUp – Ads slide up from bottom of web page.

Instant SlideUp

Popups, slide-ins, peelaways, corner stay ads…you heard them all.

How about Instant SlideUp?

More than just “Skype Me”.

There’s really a lot more you can do with Skype than just phoning someone since its SDK has been released a long time ago. Watch the presentation to find out how you can setup Skype for conferencing, podcasting, interviews and much more. Get creative!

Marrying weddings and Web to form a multimillion-dollar business.

BRAD and Jennifer Fallon got more than they bargained for when they walked down the aisle in 2003.

Their nuptials spawned a multi-million-dollar e-commerce site that 4 years later morphed into a veritable Internet empire consisting of more than half a dozen sites. But that is what happens when a bride who is determined to find something different for her wedding marries a groom who is an expert in search engine optimisation.

When Jennifer was planning her wedding, she turned to the Internet to find favours for her guests. Specifically, she was looking for place-card holders for the reception tables.

Finding examples online was not the problem. In fact, Jennifer was overwhelmed by just how many different online merchants were selling wedding favours. But she was underwhelmed by the quality and variety.

Her fruitless Internet shopping experience did not ruin her wedding—rather, it gave her and her fiance, Brad, a great business idea. They decided to start their own online wedding favours site and to distinguish theirs from the competition with broader merchandise offerings, better design and more targeted online marketing.

Via their website, My Wedding Favors, the Fallons carry about 600 different wedding favours, as well as bridesmaids’ gifts, groomsmen’s gifts and other wedding accessories. They ship 800 orders a day from their warehouse in Norcross, Georgia, near Atlanta.

They also have several other e-commerce sites, such as Elegant Wedding Bands and Quality Bridal Shoes.com, that they cross-promote to couples planning to marry. The Fallons are also behind many other non-related Web stores like Electric Scooters Galore, The Corner Stock and Instant Poker Chips.

Just a few months after getting hitched, Brad and Jennifer launched their website, My Wedding Favors, with an initial investment of less than US$1,000 (S$1,504) including US$50 spent on a Yahoo store. They chose Yahoo specifically because it was a quick, easy and affordable way to build a Web store.

With the rest of their initial US$1,000 investment, the Fallons bought merchandise at the Atlanta Gift Mart and funded an online advertising and search engine optimisation campaign.

Their Yahoo store launched with just 40 products, but within the first month, sales reached US$11,000. By the third month—on the strength of Web advertising and marketing—monthly sales rose to US$80,000. Within 6 months, the Fallons’ sales totalled US$150,000 a month, or US$1.8 million on an annualised basis.

Now, just 3 years into their venture, the Fallons are at the helm of a US$15 million company, with one-third of its revenues coming from their wedding favours site. They have both left full-time jobs to run their entrepreneurial venture.

The true reason for the Fallons’ success is that they drive a huge volume of traffic to their Yahoo store and convert a significant percentage of that traffic into sales. The Fallons went into business knowing there was a huge demand for wedding favours, decor and related items.

Excerpted from Amy Joyner’s The Online Millionaire, published by John Wiley & Sons. This article is printed in The Sunday Times, dated September 23rd, 2007.

eBay to Be Rival of Craigslist in Online Classifieds.

Ebay introduces new online classified advertising service called Kijiji in US; new service pits eBay against company it partly owns: Craigslist, company that manages classified ad sites for 300 cities, which attract 12 million new ad listings each month; Ebay bought 25% stake in Craigslist in 2004.

EBay, the Internet auction leader, has quietly introduced a new online classified advertising service in the United States.

The new service, called Kijiji, pits eBay, based in San Jose, Calif., against a company it partly owns: Craigslist, the San Francisco-based company that manages classified ad sites for 300 cities, which attract 12 million new ad listings each month. EBay bought a 25 percent stake in Craigslist in 2004.

Kijiji, which means "village" in Swahili, is one of eBay's several classified advertising efforts outside the United States. It is the market leader in Canada, Germany, Italy and Taiwan.

EBay introduced the Kijiji site in the United States without fanfare last Friday, a move that was reported yesterday on the Web site of The Wall Street Journal. The new site has separate classified ad pages for 220 cities and allows users to buy and sell items in a variety of categories like antiques, cars, motorcycles and pets.

"This is going to be our classified ad play in the United States," said an eBay spokesman, Hani Durzy. "We look at it as competition to Craigslist and other platforms. But we think there is room for competition." Mr. Durzy said eBay was planning to keep its stake in Craigslist.

EBay plans to attract users to its new site by buying advertisements on search engines and by ensuring that listings appear in unpaid, or natural, search engine results. There are no plans to direct eBay traffic to the site, Mr. Durzy said.

Craigslist's chief executive, Jim Buckmaster, said, "One of the beauties of viewing our world through public service goggles is that there is no need to worry about what other companies are doing.

"Many companies offer classifieds, but since we don't concern ourselves with considerations such as market share or revenue maximization, we don't think of them as competition, or as a challenge to Craigslist."

This article appeared in The New York Times, July 4, 2007.

Europe plans bold challenge to Google.

But new multimedia search engine Theseus may end up another doomed EU project.

LONDON – THE European Union (EU) has authorised Germany to start developing a new Internet search engine designed to challenge the US giant Google, which currently dominates online searches.

The proposed German search engine—named Theseus, after a Greek mythological character who used a rope to trace his way through a maze—claims to be a true “killer application” for Google.

Almost everyone knows Google for what it is—a search engine originally conceived as BackRub by its developers, which hit the market in 1998 with backing from rival search engine Yahoo.

Now the world’s most popular online search tool, it gets funding of about S$1.5 billion a year.

In contrast, few details have been released about Theseus as yet.

What is known is that a consortium of more than 30 different German research companies will develop the product which, supposedly, not only classifies online content—something all search engines do—but will also be able to “draw logical conclusions”, creating new links between text, sound and pictures.

The project sounds impressive, but Europe’s recent history has been littered with many technological efforts which consumed a lot of cash, only to end in total failure.

Dr Hartmut Raffler, one of the bosses of the Siemens technology company—which is part of the consortium developing Theseus—said the project “will make it possible to generate new knowledge from what is already available”.

Theseus will become the “world’s most advanced multimedia search for the next-generation Internet”, said another member of the development consortium.

However, if the promise is so great, why are companies not financing it out of their own coffers?

Short answer: This is Europe, where it is always easier to persuade politicians to spend taxpayers’ money on any idea which promises to confront America’s technological prowess.

Back in 1982, for example, Britain and France developed the Minitel, an online service accessible through telephone lines. It was revolutionary then because the French were able to check stock prices, buy train tickets and chat more than a decade before Americans discovered the joys of the Internet.

But the Minitel was state-funded, and bureaucrats knew little about the need for constant innovation. So, far from retaining its lead, France was actually held back from the early adoption of computers due to Minitel terminals which were useful only as museum displays.

Other disasters followed: European computer companies which were meant to take on the likes of IBM or Dell but invariably ended in bankruptcy, and the Galileo system that aimed to provide an alternative to the US Global Positioning System, but had to be rescued last month with the injection of more government money.

The Airbus commercial airliner project is often trumpeted by the Europeans as their success story; it did break Boeing’s monopoly. But it remains the exception rather than the rule.

Given this poor track record, one would have assumed that Europe’s governments would be weary of similar adventures.

But not a bit of it.

The Theseus search engine idea started as a joint project between France and Germany called Quaero (Latin for “I search”).

Quaero was started not so much in response to a serious commercial need as it was to a political desire to catch up with the US.

The two governments had pledged to contribute S$1.1 billion to ‘kick-start’ funding for ‘ice-breaker’ companies.

Now, however, the German government has decided to forge ahead on its own, promising to pay S$250 million.

The French are set to proceed separately with Quaero, and have allocated about S$170 million to that end.

Already, it bears the hallmarks of another potential European flop. And it has already encountered political difficulties.

Theseus’ claim to be able to search inside video and audio clips sounds truly innovative.

However, similar technologies are already being developed by others, and the amount of money the Germans are putting into their effort is paltry compared to Google’s capital spending of around S$1.5 billion a year.

Also, it will take the Germans another five years to complete their effort. Yet neither Google nor other competitors are likely to stand still in the meantime.

So, Theseus may end up as a commercial failure.

Europe’s dream of leapfrogging America’s technological edge can be realised only by improving its entrepreneurial spirit and liberating small companies from reliance on state funding.

What Europe needs is a radical change, not a vain rush for “killer applications” bearing Greek or Latin names from ancient history.

This news article by Jonathan Eyal is extracted from The Straits Times dated July 31st, 2007.

Google’s Pay-Per-Action programs in beta test…

J.P. Schoeffel of Niches-In-A-Box just got a great piece of news concerning AdWords/AdSense: Google is beta-testing CPA ads and text link ads on the US market currently. There will be new implications to working in both programs.

For AdWords advertisers, they will be able to bid for an action, and not only for a click! This is a HUGE difference, meaning you won’t have to fear paying for all this useless clicks. In addition it will lower the “click fraud” syndrome which is a real pain with AdWords.

An action could be :

1) a lead: you will pay when the visitor has completed the form, thus becoming a ‘real’ prospect you can follow-up. The value of your bid is now connected with the potential lifetime value of your lead instead of the nanosecond value of the visitor’s click to your website. I think this spells a positive sign for opt-in pages. Is Google doing a turnaround in its perspective towards opt-in sites?

2) a sale: it’s a disguised affiliate program. But imagine the profits it could generate (especially in non-IM related niches). You will offer $5 or $10 for each sale generated. Don’t you think you will find publishers for your program?

For publishers, Google is trying out a new type of text link ad. It will be a few words of text that will be inline with your own content. It will be transparent, and your visitors will not be able to know it until they click on the ad.

For example, you will have an article. Inside a sentence, you will have a ‘natural’ sequence leading to the “action form” the advertiser bids on. If the visitor completes the action (lead, sale), you will be paid for this.

It’s kind of what some scripts do by embedding ClickBank products inside your content…the main difference is it will be much more relevant than most of the products that are presented as not so related to the content.

We keep you posted as new development arises.

Yahoo! to offer phone calls on Messenger.

Yahoo! is entering a suddenly crowded field, offering Skype-like capabilities through its instant-messaging service that will let people dial regular phone numbers using their computers or receive calls from conventional phones.

The company has not set a firm date for the availability of the new paid features to the mostly free Yahoo! messenger service, but indicated the launch was imminent.

Yahoo!’s addition of computer-to-phone capabilities follows a similar retooling of the rival AOL Instant Messenger service from Time Warner in October. It also comes just as Skype is revamping its popular service with video calling, a feature that has been available through Yahoo! Messenger for several years, though only for computer-to-computer calls.

In a similar vein, Sony introduced a free Internet-based phone service last month with an emphasis on visual calling that the company hopes will fulfill sales of its video equipment.

Yahoo!’s new “Phone Out” option enables users to call regular and mobile phones for 1 US cent per minute in the States and 2 US cents per minute to 30 other countries including Argentina, Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Korea.

On the flip side, users can sign up for a traditional phone number to receive unlimited calls to their computers from anywhere for a monthly fee of US$3 or an annual payment of about US$30.

The same services at Skype, which was acquired by eBay for US$2.6 billion in October, are 2.3 US cents per minute for computer-to-phone calls to about 25 countries and about US$35 a year for a SkypeIn phone number to receive calls.

Yahoo!’s upgrade also includes a contact search bar for its instant messenger window to make it easier to find people in buddy lists by typing parts of a name or phone number. – AP

Google tests a WiFi link.

Google is preparing to release its own wireless Internet service, Google WiFi, according to several pages found on the company’s website.

The Internet search leader refers to a product called “Google Secure Access” which is designed to establish a more secure connection while using Google WiFi”, according to a page of FAQs at wifi.google.com/faq.html. A separate page at wifi.google.com/download.html offers a free download of Google Secure Access.

Google declined to comment on the issue.

The start of a WiFi service would move Google away from its core Internet search service and into the competitive world of Internet service providers and telecommunications giants.

Speculation about a coming Google WiFi service has been rife since August, when an article appeared in Business 2.0 magazine, but the company has refused to discuss its plans.

WiFi is an increasingly popular technology that is used to provide high-speed wireless Internet access in homes, business and public spaces like airports and cafes.

Google opened a sponsored WiFi hotspot in San Francisco’s Union Square district in April with a start-up called Feeva.

The FAQ page says the Google Secure Access service is in ‘beta’ stage, meaning the company does not consider it a fully finished product.

Google, which is rapidly expanding beyond its core Internet search service, introduced an instant messaging service called GoogleTalk in August. – International Herald Tribune

TV moves into podcasting.

From radio came television—sound with pictures. Now from TV comes the podcast—audio with pictures subtracted. These listen-only downloads for computers and MP3 players let you keep up with your favourite programs any time, even on the go. The networks are suddenly rushing to ramp up their online offerings of both shows and the inside scoops on them. Among the early adopters:

1) CBS: All of Guiding Light’s dramatic doings can be heard daily, complete with scene-setting narration. CBS Soapbox interviews daytime stars. Online chats spotlight night-timers such as Jeff Probst, Charles Dutton and Stockard Channing. News downloads include audio clips from 60 Minutes and Face The Nation.

2) Fox: Recaps of a dozen-plus series, including House, Family Guy, The OC, The Simpsons, with interviews and other backstage content.

3) SciFi: Full Battlestar Galactica episode commentary from re-creator Ronald D. Moore. Podcast planned for December mini-series The Triangle.

4) Showtime: Cast chats from Barbershop and Weeds.

5) PBS: Entire episodes of NOW and Religion & Ethics weekly. – LAT-WP News Service

What is Google up to?

Started by 2 Stanford Ph.D students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, in the proverbial garage in Silicon Valley, it changed the world withs its search function and out out of business 2 earlier search engines, Alta Vista and Excite.

It gets all its revenue from keyword search advertising.

The biggest player in the global Internet advertising market, it has about US$8 billion in annual sales.

While many of its competitors like Yahoo! and AOL have introduced their e-mail, instant messaging and other similar services earlier, Google has had to play catch-up.

Without doubt it is ambitious. Google is everywhere on the computer desktop to ensure that it will be used by everyone in communications, entertainment and information handling. Hence its product pipeline is continually turning out new services which are better than its competitors, say reports in global newspapers and IT magazines.

USA Today in its online edition last week said, “To its credit, Google is often getting there by coming out with products that are better than those from competitors. Google Maps can just flat-out do more than Yahoo! Maps. GMail trumps Hotmail.”

By extending its real estate space, it is attracting visitors who uses its search service to stay longer within its space rather than simply completing the search and then clicking away. In this manner, it can monetize the eyeballs and hence, increase its advertising dollar.

Skype announces 2 new tools.

Of late, Skype has announced it will make its software more widely available and easier to use, in an effort and race against the portal giants to draw more people away from traditional land-lines and mobile networks.

2 up-&-coming ones, SkypeWeb and SkypeNet, enables creators of websites and computer software to build Skype voice and instant messaging communications into their own products or web pages.

Much as an e-mail address embedded in web text and messages can provide one-click creation of a new message, incorporating SkypeWeb and SkypeNet code would make contacting Skype users possible in a single click without the users having Skype’s software loaded in their computers.

Skype will provide all these tools and more free of charge. Watch this space for later news.

China’s Internet Boom Looks Very Familiar

Aug. 15 2005 (Bloomberg)—China is partying like it’s 1999.

The reference here isn’t to pop star Prince or the Y2K bug, but the height of the dot-com stock bubble. In the last year of the 1990s, hysteria over Internet companies that later disappointed investors reached a fever pitch. Are we seeing the beginnings of a similar phenomenon in China?

China’s dot-com boom is in its infancy, whereas 1999 marked the beginning of the end of the U.S.’s. Yet with Yahoo! Inc. agreeing to pay $1 billion in cash for a 40 percent stake in Alibaba.com, it’s hard not to wonder if Internet mania is underway in Asia’s No. 2 economy.
China’s biggest online retailer isn’t considered a corporate basket case. The question is whether Yahoo, seduced by a potential market of 1.3 billion people, is overpaying for a piece of the Hong Kong-based company.

The $1 billion figure seems like a huge amount for less than half of an e-commerce outfit with 2,300 employees that reported sales of $46 million last year. The investment is easily the biggest by an overseas company in China’s Internet industry. It certainly won’t be the last.

China’s Allure

The deal came after shares of Baidu.com Inc. soared almost fivefold in its Aug. 5 initial public offering, the biggest IPO debut in more than five years. The Beijing-based owner of a popular Web search engine instantly became the most valuable technology company in China, with a market capitalization of almost $5 billion. The IPO caught the attention of investors the world over.

It’s easy to understand the allure. China holds tremendous promise, considering that less than 10 percent of the nation has Internet access. At the moment, China has 100 million Web users, half the number of the U.S.

That’s why Amazon.com Inc., EBay Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo are clamoring for Chinese partners. But should investors be so quick to own shares in Chinese dot-coms? Haven’t we seen that such IPOs can be the financial world’s equivalent of fool’s gold?

Maybe China will prove the skeptics wrong. Executives and investors searching for the next big thing are mesmerized by the nation’s growth. The Chinese economy expanded 9.5 percent in the second quarter and retail sales rose 12.7 percent to a four-month high in July. Retail sales increased 12.9 in June.

Eye On Consumers

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao is counting on consumer spending and exports to sustain growth at the 8.6 percent annual rate of the last decade as he steers the economy away from its dependence on investment. The focus is on developing a thriving domestic market driven by household consumption.

Profiting from that growth is what Yahoo has in mind with its Alibaba.com investment.

All this is contributing to an environment where investors are ignoring Alibaba.com‘s tiny revenue and eyeing its 14 million users. This is what got so many investors in trouble in the 1990s: ignoring concrete measures such as revenue in favor of squishy numbers like “clicks” or “unique visitors” to a website. Old- economy business realities took a back seat to hype.

Any number of risks might complicate Yahoo’s plans.

For one thing, Internet censorship regulations by the Chinese government can be unpredictable. For another, China’s market for online advertising is immature at best. And there is the question of the Chinese consumers’ willingness to pay for Web services.

Dot-com Mania?

Do China’s already shaky stock markets really want to attract the same breed of investor who bet on Boo.com, Globe.com and Pets.com, companies that went bust once the frenzy passed?

For years now, a gold-rush mentality has pervaded boardrooms of multinational companies. So excited are executives about cheap labor that they’re willing to look past the warts. China’s banking system is awash in hundreds of billions of dollars of bad loans and social unrest could boil over as the gap between rich and poor widens. Analysts also worry that China’s economy may overheat.

China itself almost seems like the economic equivalent of the dot-com boom of the 1990s. It’s thought to be run by omnipotent geniuses who can do little wrong. It’s Asia’s New Economy, its potential is boundless and anyone who doesn’t see that is either a fool or a dinosaur.

Lessons Of The 1990s

All this leaves the Communist Party with the burden of achieving goals that are both unprecedented and seemingly at odds with one another: Creating hundreds of millions of jobs to maintain social stability while cooling growth to avoid inflation. It needs to accomplish both feats without traditional tools like short-term interest rates, which have little influence over China’s economy.

None of this means Yahoo’s Alibaba.com investment won’t pay off. The company already has proven its mettle in Japan, where it established itself as an important Internet power. And given China’s vast potential, not investing there would be a risk in itself.

It’s imperative that investors remember the lessons of the U.S. dot-com boom and bust and apply them to China. At the moment, it’s not clear that they are.

William Pesek Jr. is a columnist for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own. To contact the writer of this column: William Pesek Jr. in Wellington, New Zealand at wpesek@bloomberg.net.

Google Patent Revealed

The patent which Google recently filed details many points that Google uses to rank web pages. The title of the patent is “Information retrieval based on historical data” and it confirms the existence of the Google sandbox and that it can apply to all web pages.

How your web page changes influence your rankings on Google

The patent specification revealed a lot of information about possible ways Google might use your web page changes to determine the ranking of your site.

In addition to web page content, the ranking of web pages is influenced by the frequency of page or site updates. Google measures content changes to determine how fresh or how stale a web page is. Google tries to distinguish between real and superfluous content changes.

This doesn’t mean that it is always advisable to regularly change the content of your web pages. Google says that stale results might be desirable for information that doesn’t need updating while fresh content is good for results that require it.

For example, seasonal results might go up and down in the result pages based on the time of the year.

Google possibly records the following web page changes:

1) the frequency of changes
2) the amount of changes (substantial or shallow changes)
3) the change in keyword density
4) the number of new web pages that link to a web page
5) the changes in anchor texts (the text that is used to link to a web page)
6) the number of links to low-trust websites (for example too many affiliate links on one web page)

Google may use the results of this analysis to specify the ranking of a web page in addition to its content.

Section 0128 in the patent filing reveals that you shouldn’t change the focus of too many documents at once:

“A significant change over time in the set of topics associated with a document may indicate that the document has changed owners and previous document indicators, such as score, anchor text, etc., are no longer reliable.

Similarly, a spike in the number of topics could indicate spam. For example, if a particular document is associated with a set of one or more topics over what may be considered a ‘stable’ period of time and then a (sudden) spike occurs in the number of topics associated with the document, this may be an indication that the document has been taken over as a ‘doorway’ document.

Another indication may include the disappearance of the original topics associated with the document. If one or more of these situations are detected, then [Google] may reduce the relative score of such documents and/or the links, anchor text, or other data associated the document.”

This means that the Google sandbox phenomenon may apply to your website if you change your web pages.

What does this meant to your website?

First of all, you should make sure that your web page content is optimized for Google. If your web page content is not optimized, all other ranking factors won’t help you much.

Try to find out if the keywords you target on search engines require static or fresh search results and update your website content accordingly. Make sure that you don’t change too much at once so that your website won’t be put in the sandbox.

Visions Of A Google Future

I just read this really fun article about the possible futures of Google. The staff of CNN posed the question, “What kind of company will Google become in the coming decades?” to scientists, consultants, former Google employees, and tech visionaries. These are the four best responses.

I’d have to say I’m most comfortable with number 1—I don’t really like the idea of a single company running too much of my life, and I don’t want to see Google dead, either.

Which is your favorite response? Which seems most likely?