Digg’s Challenges

Evan Roberts writes:

Digg’s fundamental principle is social-generated content, the new media where the users are the reporters and that only stories that the users aka “Digg-nation” finds interesting. But this principle is in jeopardy as the blogosphere has buzzed many times about “Digg-Gangs” and how certain users who digg something carry more weight then other digg users which allows stories to get to more prominent positions such as the home page and category home pages.

Now I can understand why this is in place. To help prevent spammers and such from getting their stories in a prominent position but the negative effect of this is you are isolating new users who are submitting quality content.

Qualcomm vs Intel

WSJ writes about the battle for the wireless Internet:

Both companies are racing to develop new technologies to better permit consumers to connect wirelessly to the Web, whether by cellphone, laptop, handheld gadget — or potentially even devices such as MP3 players and video cameras.

Whoever prevails in the face-off, consumers will end up with yet more options to connect to the Web. Today, they mostly rely on wired high-speed Internet connections from cable and phone companies. While the technologies Intel and Qualcomm are pushing are still untested on a large scale, they promise to give people new ways to get online at work, in the backyard, in a park — almost anywhere — and eventually with a whole array of new devices.

Web 2.0 Economic Conundrum

Steve Rubel writes:

Quietly, an entire Web 2.0 economy has blossomed. The Web sites and blogs that cover Web 2.0 – sites that I really love – are largely supported by ads from startups that also are hoping to capitalize in the rising interest in online advertising. This creates a vicious cycle that’s unhealthy for the earning potential of bloggers who cover Web 2.0.

Once again I turn to history as my guide. Back in 2001 Yahoo faced a similar problem. It was too dependent on dot-com advertisers. Yes, times were different then. Yahoo was a big company with big infrastructure. Today, to publish, the cost of doing business is zilch.

The solution, just as with investing, is to diversify. The ad-supported Web 2.0 blogs and communities must – I repeat – must find a way to diversify their revenue streams beyond Web 2.0 related advertisers if they are to thrive as businesses. Some are doing this nicely. Others have their work cut out. Root for them.

Asia’s Young Entrepreneurs

Business Week writes about entrepreneurs under 25 years of age:

Led by China and India, Asia’s superfast economies have dazzled observers for the last decade. But until recently the defining feature of most of them was corporate bigness.

Divyank Turakhia, co-founder and director of Bombay-based Directi Group, was doing Internet consulting at age 14 before launching his domain-name registration and site-building company two years later with $600 he borrowed from his parents. At 24, he runs a profitable company with more than 250 employees and clients around the world.

Ads on Mobiles

WSJ writes:

Cellphone companies are eyeing ads as a way to combat declining revenue from voice calls, which have been getting cheaper to attract new customers. At the same time, carriers have come under pressure to introduce advertising from media companies that are investing heavily to bring sports, news, videos and other entertainment to wireless devices. Content providers are looking for a new revenue source partly because many have been disappointed with consumer response to efforts to sell such content for a fee.

Many marketers are intrigued by cellphone ads because they can target customers more precisely than ads on television, online or in print. Phone companies have a lot of their customers’ personal information, from billing records, and locations where they are using their phones in real time. Carriers can potentially track which wireless Web sites a customer is browsing, for instance, and send them targeted ads while they’re using the service.

TECH TALK: Mobile Internet: The Bigger Picture

The mobile Internet needs to be put in context with other communications channels. We have one-way broadcast media like newspapers, TV and radio. The PC-based Internet, SMS and voice-based access via mobiles are the modes of interactive access. Over time, I believe that the mobile Internet will dwarf them all. The PC is not available to us all the time. SMS has an inherent limitation in the size of the message (160 characters). Voice-based access is great for request-reply type interactions. The mobile Internet in emerging markets will be equivalent to the PC-based Internet in the developed markets from an information access and transaction perspective.

In India, the sweet spot is in the middle of the pyramid the 30 million audience which today goes to cybercafes to access to the Internet. They all have or will have soon GPRS-capable mobiles. A combination of two technologies will transform their lives.

The first is the mobile Internet as we have discussed in this series. What the users will need to do is to activate GPRS on their phones. The current high tariffs of operators will give way over time to pay-as-you-go pricing (as Hutch as done in India with its 5 paise per 10 KB plan) and to reasonable flat-rate data plans (Rs 50 per month is likely to be a reasonable figure). This, combined with a proliferation of mobile publishing, will make the mobile Internet come alive.

The second technology is network computer, which becomes the big screen in the lives of these users. The network computer brings computing home with the server grid at the telco. The network computing should be available at a one-time cost of Rs 5-7,000 and a monthly payment of Rs 500-700 (for computing, connectivity, storage and applications).

Taken together, these two technologies will make the digital world a reality for Indias youth. They will be always connected via the mobile Internet. And they will have access to a big screen computer at home for education and entertainment. In both cases, their information will reside in the network cloud, providing them access to it anytime and from anywhere. This will serve as the digital foundation for a new India.

India grew from a few million mobile users in 2001 to over 100 million users currently. Users accessing the mobile Internet are just a few million. Also, broadband is where the mobile industry was in 2001. We have just over a million broadband users. It is possible for India to grow both its mobile Internet and broadband user base to 50 million in the next 4-5 years. Indias lack of legacy can be turned into an advantage. The building blocks to enable both are there. Whats needed is a mix of vision and will to make this new world a reality.

Continue reading TECH TALK: Mobile Internet: The Bigger Picture