Monetising MySpace

The New York Times writes:

MySpace now displays more pages each month than any other Web site except Yahoo. More pages, of course, means more room for ads. And, in theory, those ads can be narrowly focused on each member’s personal passions, which they conveniently display on their profiles. As an added bonus for advertisers, the music, photos and video clips that members place on their profiles constitutes a real-time barometer of what is hot.

FOR now, MySpace is charging bargain-basement rates to attract enough advertisers for the nearly one billion pages it displays each day. The company will have revenue of about $200 million this year, estimated Richard Greenfield of Pali Capital, a brokerage firm in New York. That is less than one-twentieth of Yahoo’s revenue.

In buying MySpace, Mr. Murdoch also bought a tantalizing problem: how to tame a vast sea of fickle and unruly teenagers and college students just enough to notice advertising or to buy things, yet not make the site so commercial that he scares off his audience.

Changing Technorati Top 100

Publishing 2.0 writes about what’s happening in the blogosphere:

– Blogging is a global phenomenon – duh! (I cant even read a lot of the blogs that link to Publishing 2.0)
– MSN Spaces is kicking MySpaces butt in Asia
– The cross-linking power of these personal blogs makes those of us writing on professional topics look like were sitting in a very small room
– The technology blogs that dominated the early geekosphere my soon be crowded out of the Technorati Top 100
– The provincial U.S. view of 2.0 does little to help us understand the globalization of 2.0

IMF’s Challenges

WSJ has an interesting article on the challenges facing the International Monetary Fund:

the IMF faces a novel predicament: A robust global economy, growing at a 4% clip since 2003, has left the IMF with a dearth of financial firestorms to manage, and fewer countries willing to borrow from it and heed its dire lending conditions. Flush with cash and eager to regain control over their economic policies, 10 countries, from Russia to Brazil to Argentina, have repaid loans to the IMF ahead of schedule in recent years. The IMF’s current loan portfolio of $35 billion is its smallest since the 1980s.

The effect is twofold: A shrinking loan portfolio greatly diminishes the IMF’s influence over global economic policy. IMF loan disbursements are conditioned on the enactment, within defined time frames, of measures including privatization of state-owned companies, budget cuts, interest-rate increases and stiffer financial regulation. Once IMF loans are ended, the momentum for economic reform in one-time borrowers may fizzle. That’s a worry in Latin America, especially where populist politicians are winning power across the continent.

Fewer loans also means less interest income, and thus fewer dollars in the IMF coffers. In an irony that has provoked tittering among many emerging-market finance ministers, the agency that has long preached belt-tightening now must practice it itself.

Buy Side Publishing

Ross Mayfield writes:

What are the alternatives to DRM with a viable business model for content producers in an increasingly decentralized market? A new media landscape is unfolding, where revenue leakage does not stem from theft, but competition from participatory models and co-opetition from aggregation models.

Participatory models can be exemplified by Craigslist, blogs and Wikipedia. Users directly generate the content. Craigslist serves as a datapoint of disruption ($10M in revenue while disrupting $60M ). Blogspace is generating it’s own media as conversation Wikipedia is a constructive community that collaborates to create content. Production on Craigslist is driven by both market and social signals, blogs and Wikipedia largely by social signals. The first monetizes a subset of potential posting fees, the latter is all about ME, as in Monetize Elsewhere or repetitional benefits. All benefit from superior production economies, if not arbitrage conditions between social incentives and markets or firms.

Aggregation models can be exemplified by Edgeio, simplyhired and Google.

Mobile Blogs

The Economic Times has an article which quotes my colleague, Veer Bothra (who also runs MobilePundit):

If blogs have helped creating communities of like interests and bonds, moblogging takes this phenomenon to the next level, allowing people to use their mobile phones to instantly publish their life experiences on the web. You can post pictures, video and text from your camera phone directly onto the web to share your memories with family and friends.

Says Veerchand Bothra, of Blogstreet.com, Indias first portal on blogs, Since mobloggers are not tied to a desktop, mobile blogging is contextual in natureand can be done as and when the idea strikes or an event takes place.

You dont have to wait to go back to the desktop. For most people, writing does not come naturally. But everyone can take a photo or record a video with a mobile.

TECH TALK: Revolution on the Roads: Cars and Choice

The first factor in travel is the vehicle. There was a time not so long ago when in India we had a choice between an Ambassador and a Fiat. Then, along come the Maruti smaller, sleeker, and much more affordable. Now, there are new model launches from multiple automobile companies every month. Cars have become bigger and better, and with that has come greater comfort in long-distance travel.

I remember some of our Rajasthan trips of the past. The best mode for long-distance travel a decade ago on those roads was a jeep. The roads were called thus only because one could not call them anything else. Cars would not survive those roads! Times have changed. During the last trip I did in September, we rented a Toyota Qualis. The same roads which I used to shudder driving on seemed so much better. Every year, more of the roads improve.

On the Surat trip, we went by our Honda Accord. En route, I saw all types of car models. Even the smaller Maruti 800 models can offer a pleasant experience on the roads now. But with growing prosperity, the Indian upper classes have been buying a variety of cars and using them.

The Honda is the sixth car I have used in my life in India. I remember us having an Ambassador when I was very young. Then, we had a Fiat model. During my short stay in the US, I drove an old Buick I wanted to be able to pack up and return to India at short notice, so wanted a car which would not lock up a significant investment.

When I returned from the US, I drove a Maruti 800. I used to do a lot of city driving until I had an accident one night. Blinded momentarily by the headlights of a car coming from the opposite direction, my car hit a lamp-post with the bulb falling and shattering the windscreen of my car. Amazingly, nothing happened to me even though pieces of glass were all over the front seats. After that, I decided to get a driver. (That is one of the luxuries of living in India. A drivers salary is about Rs 5,000-10,000 a month. ) The next car was a Maruti Zen. I liked the compactness of the car. We then got an Opel Astra. And finally, four years ago, a Honda Accord which we still have.

I am not much of a car model person. I look at cars as serving the need of going from point A to point B. As long as that happens well, I am fine with any car! I can barely identify models looking at them. We havent been much into the long driving thing, so the car has been mostly used for local driving. We end up doing about 10,000 kms a year in the car.

Although the choice of cars expanded, the road conditions left a lot to be desired. However, as I discovered on my road trip to Surat, that has begun to change and the road revolution has begun.

Tomorrow: Real Highways

Continue reading