Pete Cashmore reviews possible alternatives to Memeorandum. Here is what Pete writes about it: “If youre into tech or US politics, Memeorandum is unbeatable. It delivers the top news from the blogosphere and mainstream news sources with the added benefit of threaded discussions. Its only weakness is a lack of breadth – it would be nice to explore topics beyond tech and politics, or to drill down into more specifics.”

Also: Don Dodge interviews Memeorandum creator Gabe Rivera.

Google’s Internet Plans

The Times writes:

Google is working on a project to create its own global internet protocol (IP) network, a private alternative to the internet controlled by the search giant, according to sources who are in commercial negotiation with the company.

Google has long been rumoured to be planning to launch a PC to retail for less than $100. The Google computers are likely to be low-grade machines that require a connection to Google to be able to perform functions such as word processing and spreadsheet manipulations. While using the computers, it is understood that consumers will be shown personalised advertising from the company’s AdWords network.

US Mobile Rates

C. Enrique Ortiz offers a look at mobile rates in the US. His conclusion:

We are talking of a minimum of $70, before tax, per month, to have a cellphone with basic voice service, that can be used to surf the web (unlimited), and that can send and receive 1000 text messages — that doesn’t include MMS, ringtones or applications.

When I ask people how much extra they are willing to pay a month for extra services for their cellphones, the typical answer is around $20. This is why voice, followed by text messaging are the top two usages of cellphones. This is why data plans and thus access to the web comes next, but far behind voice and text messaging. And this is the same reason why mass adoption of MMS won’t happen any time soon — it is too expensive. Consumption of individual items, such as ringtones and applications and songs, will continue to happen, as such consumption is occasional.

Location-based Marketing

Russell Buckley has a 3-part series:

Part 1 identified that the key to success is the type of messages that marketers plan to send in the channel. Its key to getting potential users to sign up in the first place (opt in), stopping them from opting out on an ongoing basis and its key if the messages are going to work and that recipients will respond to them.

In Part 2, we looked at some of the physical characteristics of LBM messages, that are essential to success, such as they should be free, not interrupt the mobile user and that they should quietly disappear when they have stopped being relevant.

In this final part, Im going to look at the content of the advertising itself.

TECH TALK: India Internet and Mobile: Issues and Numbers

The US-based VC firm, Kleiner Perkins, along with Ram Shriram, had organised a panel discussion recently amongst 15-odd entrepreneurs in the Indian Internet and mobile space to discuss three issues:

  • We would like to explore the salient challenges facing businesses predominantly driven by Internet & Mobile.

  • What is required to service 300 million mainstream connected Indian consumers with diverse usability requisites & language barriers?

  • What is the role venture capital can play in addressing these challenges?

    Because of the limited time, each person got an average of five minutes or so to get their points across. I figured that the questions were interesting enough to merit a longer and deeper discussion. This Tech Talk series will provide my views to the three issues. More broadly, it will focus on the challenges and opportunities in the Indian Internet and mobile space.

    Let us begin by putting together some numbers. I have put these together from a variety of sources and some extrapolation. (I have also put the financial figures in dollars that seems to have become the lingua franca for money-related discussion in India! For easy conversion: $1 = Rs 45; $1 million = Rs 4.5 crore)

    India Per Capita Income: $600 [Population: 1 billion]

    PCs: 18 million; growing at 5 million/year
    Internet users: 35 million; growth 50%/year
    Cybercafes: 100,000; accounts for two-thirds of Internet access
    Landlines: 45 million (declining slightly)
    Broadband users: 1 million (most additions in 2005)
    Broadband: $5 per month for 256 Kbps with 100 MB download
    eCommerce: $250 million; growing at 100%
    Online Advertising: $35 million; growing at 30%; 1.2% of total advertising spend

    Mobiles: 75 million; growing at 4.5 million/month; 77% pre-paid; 75% GSM; 25% CDMA
    Mobile Voice calls: 3c/min (avg); SMS: 2c/message
    In India, calling party pays for calls. There is no charge for receiving SMSes.
    GPRS-enabled phone: $80+
    GPRS Tariff: $8+/month for 100 MB download (plans vary across operators)
    Mobile VAS: $90 million; growing at 40%
    Mobile ARPU: $8.50 [Split: Voice: 70%; Rentals: 20%; VAS: 10%]
    Mobile VAS Split: Person-to-Person SMS, Caller Line Identification, Roaming: 70%; Content: 30%
    Content: Ringtones, Ringback Tones, Games, Wallpapers, Interactive Voice Response, Person-to-App SMS
    Content Providers get about 10-30% of revenue for their content

    This lays out the background for our discussion on the three issues.

    Tomorrow: Internet Challenges