Category Archives: Marketing

Mobile Web 2.0 to reach $22.4B by 2013, says Juniper Research

The global market for Mobile Web 2.0 will be worth $22.4bn in 2013, up from $5.5bn currently, according to a new report by Juniper Research.  Embracing social networking & User Generated Content (UGC), mobile search and mobile IM (Instant Messaging), Mobile Web 2.0 provides a framework for delivery of collaborative applications, further enhanced and contextualized via LBS (Location Based Services).

In its latest report – ‘Mobile Web 2.0: Leveraging ‘Location, IM, Social Web & Search’ – Juniper examines how a fundamental shift in Internet usage patterns is shaping Mobile Web development, driving subscriber adoption and forcing structural changes within the industry. At the core of this evolution is the user as a creator and consumer of content (i.e. the prosumer), and the ‘social web’ – which describes a wide variety of social computing tools enabling users to develop detailed Web identities, create online communities and communicate with like-minded individuals.

“Combining the power of the social network map – namely: ‘who I know, how I know and where I know’ – with that of mobility, presents the greatest opportunity for revenue generation of any of the applications as defined within Juniper’s Mobile Web 2.0 framework,” states Ian Chard, Juniper Research Analyst and author of the new report. “The phone is carried with us most of the time and contains a huge amount of personal data, making it a logical extension for the social network and a host of other collaborative Web 2.0 applications being mobilised.”

Other findings from the report:

  • Total global revenues for mobile social networking/UGC will rocket from $1.8bn in 2008, to $11.2bn in 2013, accounting for 50% of the market, while growth in mobile search and mobile IM will be more measured;
  • Service revenues will account for the lion’s-share of total Mobile Web 2.0 revenues, although mobile advertising represents a significant opportunity;
  • Far East & China, Western Europe and North America dominate the global market for Mobile Web 2.0, but will be surpassed by the developing regions over the forecast period.

Fresh Challenges

Despite the new opportunities for players across the value chain, Mobile Web 2.0 creates fresh challenges over and above those typically associated with mobilising Internet applications. MNOs must adjust to advertising-sponsored strategies and accommodate partnerships with Web-based players, while device manufacturers and technology vendors must somehow find the means to stitch together what is at present, a highly-fragmented market. Any player in Social Web is also subject to regulatory measures concerning privacy and data retention.

Juniper Research assesses the current and future status of the Mobile Web 2.0 market based on interviews, case studies and analysis from representatives of some of the organisations leading this growing market.

 Whitepapers and further details of the study ‘Mobile Web 2.0: Leveraging ‘Location, IM, Social Web & Search’ 2008-2013 can be freely downloaded from http://www.juniperresearch.com

Juniper Research is a telecoms analyst firm specialising in the mobile and wireless sector with particular emphasis on business models, applications, content and device strategies. Juniper is headquartered in the UK and has been operational for five years. Juniper Research provides market expertise and advice to organisations operating across the telecoms and related sectors. We publish regular off-the-shelf research reports and provide business modelling, market sizing, forecasting and competitive analysis to consultancy clients across the world.

More

http://www.juniperresearch.com/
http://www.juniperresearch.com/about-us.php
http://www.juniperresearch.com/shop/viewpressrelease.php?id=119&pr=91
http://www.juniperresearch.com/shop/viewauthor.php?id=119&author=84

Live Universe acquires yet another over funded start-up on the cheap

It appears that the buyer’s profile of Live Universe is to buy web 2.0 companies in trouble on the cheap, yet preferably over funded, with some traffic and good technology, if possible. After they have bought video site Revver (also relatively cheap, price perhaps was in the $1M range) in February 2008, they have also fetched up Pageflakes just the last month for what is believed to be yet another 1M dollar deal. Yesterday we have read over Web that Live Universe has this time bought yet another start-up falling into the same profile (over funded, failed and looking for a fire sale) MeeVee. They have put themselves up for sale via press release the last month.

MeeVee is all about personalized TV guides and the company was said is having over 1.1 million organic unique users in March up from 480,000 in August 2007. The Company uses its editorial voice and proprietary technology to scour a curated list of thousands of sources to connect consumers with customized video, blog and TV programming content that matches their interests. The Company has significant issued IP, community, media relationships, a TV listings personalization engine, streaming TV directory and a compelling product roadmap. The Company has 7 full time employees, all in product and engineering.

Let’s look into the Live Universe’s shopping pattern.

Total funding for Pageflakes was $4.1M – sold out for what is known to be in the $1M range. Total funding for Revver is known to be in the $12.7M range coming from Comcast, Turner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Bessemer Venture Partners, Draper Richards and William Randolph Hearst III – sold also out for anything between $1M and $2M. MeeVee itself has also taken a whopping amount of money from the venture capitalists — $25M over the past years, we bet on it has also been sold out for anything in the $1M / $2M range. From the 3 companies above, MeeVee seems to have traffic, at least.

It is an interesting strategy to buy companies and spur growth, but we guess it is better you buy growing start-ups rather than falling stars that have spent enormous amount of capital yet did not work things out. It is yet to be seen if this strategy is going to be successful on the long term run for Live Universe. Let’s put it that way – a company that has raised $25M and did not manage to work things out is less likely to make it with less money. On the other hand buying distressed assets is something proven by the time. From Live Universe’s perspective it seems clever move that they have bought web assets that needed more than $42M to develop for $3M or something. As web 2.0 moves towards its peak and then its end (the same as what happened with the dot com boom) there would be lots of over funded and over hyped, but failed start-ups for sale on the table for Live Universe to choose from and buy cheaply.

So to conclude if your company has taken enormous amount of money, but has definitely failed to work things out and is looking for some liquidation of its assets Live Universe might be your choice to consider.

The buying company LiveUniverse is probably most popular with the fact it has been founded by one of the founders of MySpace – Brad Greenspan. With over 55M monthly unique visitors, LiveUniverse is one of the world’s largest online entertainment networks. They operate several successful and popular websites across three core verticals: Video, Social Networking & Music. LiveVideo is one of their sites, which about a year ago instigated a scandal on YouTube when it reportedly paid top YouTube users to come to its platform. LiveUniverse founder Brad Greenspan, who was involved with MySpace early on, is perhaps best known for his lawsuits protesting the company’s sale to News Corp.

Additionally in 2006, Greenspan also initiated a lawsuit and activism site against his former company, MySpace, calling attention to the fact they were censoring widget makers and software service providers using MySpace as a development platform.

More

http://www.liveuniverse.com/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/liveuniverse
http://meevee.com/
http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/080407/20080407006076.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/04/07/25-million-later-meevee-in-trouble/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/meevee
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/07/16/meevee-cuts-20-of-staff/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/20/meevee-takes-35-million-series-d/
http://www.econtentmag.com/Articles/ArticleReader.aspx?ArticleID=17395
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2006_Feb_27/ai_n16085490
http://www.techmeme.com/080407/p95#a080407p95
http://www.deftapartners.com/
http://www.labrador.com/
http://www.waldenvc.com/
http://www.jpmorgan.com/pages/jpmorgan/investbk/global/na/baef
https://web2innovations.com/money/2008/02/15/revver-the-video-revenue-sharing-site-finally-sells-out-but-the-price-is-not-hefty/
https://web2innovations.com/money/2008/04/15/pageflakes-is-acquired-by-brad-greenspan%e2%80%99s-live-universe/
https://web2innovations.com/money/2008/02/15/revver-the-video-revenue-sharing-site-finally-sells-out-but-the-price-is-not-hefty/
https://web2innovations.com/money/2008/04/08/meevee-put-itself-up-for-sale/
 

Since bought StumbleUpon’s traffic has dropped seriously down; now climbing back

Since the time StumbleUpon was bought by eBay for $75M in cash there was little to no news on the company until today. Apparently in a quest for media attention StumbleUpon (or eBay) has contacted TechCrunch with some new numbers to show off with. We are not sure what StumbleUpon is up to and why they need media coverage, but there must be something. It could be either some new plans or products in the pipelines for which they are seeking coverage or it could also be the fact that the site has just started to recover from a deep dive in the traffic late last year for which the company now wants to let the world know.

Obviously ignoring their drop in the traffic, according some traffic measurement companies, (including comScore), they seem to drag the attention of influential technology bloggers to the number of their registered users and the number of their stumbles.

After del.icio.us StumbleUpon seems to be the second popular web site from the web 2.0 generation that tries to undermine the factor unique visitors. Interestingly only companies that see decline in their traffic (the same is the case with del.icio.us) try to do that while other sites that keep on growing seem to love the unique visitor measurement standard.

They boast about already having close to 5 million registered users, but they do not clarify what is the number of the active users among them. During the first quarter of 2008 their users, they claim, have already stumbled more than one billion times and the site is on its way to reach its five billionth stumble in total somewhere during the next months. However, the truth about their unique visitors does not look that good.

At the time eBay acquired the company for $75M in cash the site had reportedly less than 2M uniques per month, which puts the value of each of their users at close to $38 or something. comScore’s number for the May 2007 was close to 4M uniques, while Compete reports for less than 1M for the same period. We don’t believe either of those numbers to be very accurate and since the company has no word on their actual traffic we are taking the average number of what is publicly available as information. Few months after the acquisition StumbleUpon’s traffic has significantly dropped down to just 1.8 million in December 2007, which in any way represents a serious and worrying decline for the eBay’s web property, which might explain their PR activity today. Since then the site’s traffic is slowly recovering and is now close to 3.2 million per month, which might still be below the traffic at the time the acquisition took place if we take the comScore’s numbers for real.

In matter of honesty one must pay attention to the fact that some users at StumbleUpon are using their site through browser add-ons and are not often visiting the site, just like what del.icio.us’s founder Joshua Schachter has explained a few weeks ago in a answer to a question why their site is declining in traffic.

Whatever the case with StumbleUpon might today be it still remains one of the few great examples for hefty exits that many of the newer web 2.0 sites try to repeat with little to no luck so far. Having raised only $1.5M in angel money StumbleUpon has managed to sell itself to eBay for $75M all in cash.

More

http://stumbleupon.com
http://www.quantcast.com/stumbleupon.com
http://siteanalytics.compete.com/stumbleupon.com/?metric=uv
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/04/23/five-million-users-and-nearly-five-billion-stumbles-later/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/stumbleupon
http://2008.thenextweb.org/agenda/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/11/14/stumbleupon-may-be-for-sale-50m/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/04/10/delicious-not-shrinking-but-another-problem-looms/ 
https://web2innovations.com/money/2007/12/31/some-of-the-web%e2%80%99s-biggest-acquisition-deals-during-2007/ 

Federated Media raises huge round of funding – $50M

 In a period full with launch of new ad networks and deals about such Federated Media has raised a huge amount of money – $50 million in a C round led by Oak Investment Partners and Omidyar Network as a returning investor from their first round. The rumor has it the company has turned down a $100M buy out offer some time ago and apparently they have chosen to go through the investors’ road. The pre-money valuation for this road is rumored to be in the $200M range, which off $22M in revenues the company is brining in per year is not that overvalued at all. The company claims to be reaching a collective audience of over 50M people in US per month, which is an impressive number, yet those eye bolls are under the control of the web publishers and they may leave, together with their visitors, any time they do not like what are being paid for bringing them in. The company’s current investment comes on top of $7.5M previously taken. Federated Media claims profitability reached in September 2007.

Oak Investment Partners is actually buying out a minority stake for their $50M and this is not really a typical funding deal as it turns out.

“Federated Media has a proven, profitable business model with some of the industry’s most knowledgeable people at the helm,” said Fred Harman, general partner at Oak, who will be joining the FM board of directors. “The company has shown clear leadership in the emerging conversational media ecosystem. FM represents some of the best publisher and advertiser content on the Web, and with productive industry relationships, the company is poised to do amazing things going forward.”

With expertise in custom, integrated conversational marketing campaigns, FM has developed deep and long-term relationships with leading brand marketers and advertising agencies. Over the last three years, the company has expanded beyond its technology roots into verticals including parenting, business & marketing, media & entertainment, video gaming, graphics arts, automotive and more.

“We’ve been an early and avid supporter of Federated’s model,” said Casey Jones, vice president of marketing at Dell. “We look forward to continuing our work with the company as it expands its business.”

FM’s full portfolio of digital media brands includes web favorites such as Boing Boing, Ars Technica, Ask A Ninja, Digg, Dooce, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman and NOTCOT, as well as social networking applications including Graffiti Wall (in Facebook, Hi5, MySpace and other social networks), Watercooler (in Facebook, Bebo and others) and many more. FM is expanding its portfolio and has just this year brought on diverse sites such as Silicon Alley Insider, Destructoid and Buzzine. FM also manages sponsorship programs for a roster of events such as the twice-annual Conversational Marketing Summit and Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival.

“FM and Oak are a great match,” said Chris Albinson, co-founder and managing director of Panorama Capital, an early investor and board member at FM. “Oak will add great value to FM’s board, and we look forward to working with Fred and his team.”

FM generates revenue for its partner sites and event organizers through integrated sponsorships, advertising and other marketing services for global brands and their advertising agencies. Recent examples of premium brand-building programs include BMW’s 1-Series drawing contest, which invited Facebook members to custom paint BMW models using Graffiti’s digital illustrating tools, and the co-publishing and promotion partnership with American Express around their OPEN Forum blog for small business owners.

“We’re proud to bring Oak on board as major investor,” said John Battelle, founder and CEO of Federated Media. “The Oak team understands the media business and has relationships within the media and Internet industries that will benefit FM with insights from Silicon Valley as well.

More about Federated Media (FM)

Founded in 2005, FM represents more than 125 conversational media entrepreneurs who run more than 150 of the world’s most respected websites, blogs, and social networking applications. The company became profitable in the third quarter of 2007.

Federated Media (FM) is an advertisement serving company that works with many of the top blogs on the web. It acts as a middle man that connects medium sized websites/companies with large and small advertisers. FM is essentially an ad aggregator for companies that are too small to have direct relationships with big advertisers yet big enough to demand higher rates than available on services such as Google’s Adsense. It can distribute ads to numerous blogs helping advertisers and ad publishers avoid an overwhelming amount of business relationships.

FM does banner as well as text advertising on a CPM (cost per impression) basis. Pricing varies per blog property and can reach upwards of $30 per thousand impressions.

Founder is John Battelle

John Battelle is an entrepreneur, journalist, professor, and author who has founded or co-founded businesses, magazines and websites. Formerly a professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, Battelle, 42, is also a founder and Executive Producer of the Web 2.0 conferences and “band manager” with BoingBoing.net. Previously, Battelle was founder, Chairman, and CEO of Standard Media International (SMI), publisher of The Industry Standard and TheStandard.com. Prior to founding The Standard, Battelle was a co-founding editor of Wired magazine and Wired Ventures. Before Wired, Battelle worked at the Los Angeles Times and MacWeek, a unit of Ziff Davis. John is currently CEO and Chairman of Federated Media.

In 2005-6, Battelle wrote The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture (Penguin/Portfolio), an international bestseller published in 26 languages. He maintains Searchblog, a daily site covering the intersection of media, technology and the internet at www.battellemedia.com.

Battelle was a founding Board member of the Online Publishers Association and sits on the board of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, as well as the Board of his children’s school.

Battelle has been named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” and “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He was a finalist in the “Entrepreneur of the Year” competition by Ernst & Young and has recently been named an “Innovator,” one of ten best marketers in the business, by Advertising Age and one the the “Most Important People on The Web” by PCWorld. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Investors include Omidyar Network, New York Times, Mitchell Kapor, Andrew Anker, Mike Homer, Tim O’Reilly, JP Morgan and Oak Investment Partners, which has given the money for their last and biggest round to date.

More about Oak Investment Partners

Oak Investment Partners is a multi-stage venture capital firm with a total of $8.4 billion in committed capital. The primary investment focus is on high growth opportunities in Internet/new media, communications, information technology, financial services information technology, healthcare services and consumer retail. Over a 28-year history, Oak has achieved a strong track record as a stage-independent investor funding more than 450 companies at key points in their lifecycle. Oak has been involved in the formation of companies, funded spinouts of operating divisions and technology assets, and provided growth equity to mid- and late-stage private businesses and to public companies through PIPE investments.

The space is very crowded and among other competitors Technorati is one of the companies holding greater chance for turning its fairly popular online brand into an ad network for blogs

More

http://federatedmedia.net/
http://www.federatedmedia.net/press/2008/04/federated_media_receives_inves.php
http://www.oakvc.com/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/federatedmedia
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/04/15/federated-medias-50-million-c-round-confirmed%e2%80%94no-plans-to-buy-up-blog-partners/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/21/federated-medias-battelle-slams-rival-hints-at-investing-in-publishers/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/21/federated-medias-battelle-slams-rival-hints-at-investing-in-publishers/
http://www.crunchbase.com/person/john-battelle
https://web2innovations.com/money/2008/03/02/technorati-is-rumored-to-be-in-preparation-of-blogger-ad-network/

MeeVee put itself up for sale

An interesting approach is taken at MeeVee. They are trying to sell themselves through a press release. This morning we have seen a short press announcement put up on Yahoo through BusinessWire giving relatively short details about the company and soliciting interested parties to contact a person at his email as indicated in the pr.

MeeVee is all about personalized TV guides and the company was said is having over 1.1 million organic unique users in March up from 480,000 in August 2007. The Company uses its editorial voice and proprietary technology to scour a curated list of thousands of sources to connect consumers with customized video, blog and TV programming content that matches their interests. The Company has significant issued IP, community, media relationships, a TV listings personalization engine, streaming TV directory and a compelling product roadmap. The Company has 7 full time employees, all in product and engineering.

So, what’s so interesting in here one may ask. First off in the press release the company claims is engaged in multiple discussions with potential acquirers that provide the greatest long term upside and synergy, but are giving a public announcement where they solicit more such interested parties to discuss with them. It is either nobody is interested in the company to date and they are trying to attract such interest or the interested parties are setting their offers too low and MeeVee is trying to establish sort of bidding war in order to drive valuations up.  You don’t normally ask for interested parties to contact a company re a sale unless the current talks (if any) aren’t going well.

So far so good, but when you go into some more details about the company you realize there is something wrong with the whole situation around MeeVee.

The company is known to have taken $25M in total funding to date and having just 1.1M ungues per month off $25M in venture capital appears no longer that attractive as in it was in first reading. That sort of information is skipped in their original press release. Their last round of funding (Series D) was taken just late last year and was in the $3.5M range, which means they have spent most, if not all, of the money they have previously taken. As to what is only left in the company from their last round remains unclear. To top it off the company has gone through some significant layoffs.

Some of MeeVee’s unhappy investors include DEFTA Partners, Edmond de Rothschild Venture Capital, WaldenVC, Labrador Ventures, The Bay Area Equity Fund (Effective January 24, 2008 the private equity investment professionals of the Bay Area Equity Fund have left JPMorgan to form DBL Investors LLC) and FCPR Israel Discovery Fund.

Over the past years we have been witnessing not only one deal where a web site with over 1M unique visitor per month has commanded acquisition prices in the $20M range, but in the MeeVee’s case we do not think that is the case. Why? Well, MeeVeee has spent $25M so far, has laid off its employees and is on its way down. If you have spent $25M the expectations for your company are for much larger reach and audience than just 1.1M visitors per month, so in the case their 1M users per month can be considered quite a failure in the context of the resources being allocated to the company.  The picture is already quite different if you take for an example a web site that has reached the 1M uniques per month mark off say less than $1M of money invested in so far, did not lay off its employees and is not on its way down as a trend on the traffic graphs of sites like Quantcast and Compete.

Whatever the case is it is hard for us to believe that 1.1M uniques per month can command a price anything above the amount of money they have taken from an army of venture capitalists. So what is then the case here? It is perhaps that the VCs are looking for a way to effectively liquidate the company and recoup whatever is possible leaving the founders with literally empty hands.

More about MeeVee

Discovering what’s online and on TV.

MeeVee is the leader in helping people navigate the growing world of online and television entertainment. Each month, over a million tech savvy, affluent and educated online users visit MeeVee to help make their entertainment choices.  These people are passionate about entertainment, and visit MeeVee again and again to track their favorites and to discover and share new entertainment choices.

Why? Today’s consumers are overwhelmed by the millions of online videos and hundreds of digital TV channels now available. MeeVee is the first destination to bring together traditional TV listings and online video from hundreds of sources in one place. Using our patented technology, consumers can personalize MeeVee to search for new TV and online video based on their interests. At MeeVee, our mission is to help them discover more of what they want to see.

Located in Burlingame, CA, MeeVee initially launched in 2005 as a television listings provider.  Using innovative new technologies, MeeVee changed the way consumers find TV programming by enabling them to personalize their guides to surface new programming choices based on people, shows, hobbies and keywords of interest. Now MeeVee is applying that same technology to the growing world of online video, helping individuals to cut through the clutter and discover interesting videos.  Today, MeeVee employs more than thirty enthusiasts who are passionate about our mission of helping consumers discover and enjoy the media they want to see. 

Supported by leading advertisers, including CBS, Netflix, Radio Shack and more, MeeVee also syndicates and licenses our television search and personalization services to leading newspapers, major online content providers and cable operators around the country. Our partners include some of the largest integrated media companies, including Gannett, Hearst and Media News Group. Our list of syndication partners is growing daily and includes USA Today, The Chicago Sun Times, San Francisco Chronicle and the Seattle Times.  Our investors, who have supported some of Silicon Valley’s most successful ventures, include JP Morgan, Labrador Ventures, Walden Venture Capital, Defta Partners, and Rothschild Ventures.

TechCrunch has called MeeVee, “an easy-to-use application and…a nice model for building a personalized web experience.”  MeeVee is a 2007 “Always On” Media 100 winner.

Well, in some of the latest posts about MeeVee on Techcrunch are surely not as positive as the sentence above and MeeVee is as of today put in the dead pool watch list.
More

http://meevee.com/
http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/080407/20080407006076.html 
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/04/07/25-million-later-meevee-in-trouble/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/meevee
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/07/16/meevee-cuts-20-of-staff/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/20/meevee-takes-35-million-series-d/
http://www.econtentmag.com/Articles/ArticleReader.aspx?ArticleID=17395
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2006_Feb_27/ai_n16085490
http://www.techmeme.com/080407/p95#a080407p95
http://www.deftapartners.com/
http://www.labrador.com/
http://www.waldenvc.com/
http://www.jpmorgan.com/pages/jpmorgan/investbk/global/na/baef

Apparently not all companies find April Fools Jokes funny

This is certainly the case with Bill Gates’s privately held company Corbis Corporation. The company’s PR guys out there have certainly taken them far too serious and have last week threatened a tiny Norwegian micro stock photography agency called Crestock with legal action over an apparent April Fools joke made by the company in a recent press release.

Ok, what’s the story all about after all. Lets put it that way: Crestock has put up a press release announcing the acquisition of Corbis in a deal valued over $600M rebranding their logo and giving Corbis independency after the deal closes. Here is the original press release as it initially appeared on Web.  Today there is clarification on the web site

Bill Gates’ Corbis Corporation is one the worlds largest stock photography sites and being acquired by a small player in the sector was kind of distasteful for them to see and they have reacted almost immediately by threatening the tiny company with legal actions.

We think Corbis has gone too far and the “megalomanic” press release, as the Norway company describes it, is more suitable as label for the Corbis’s behavior.

On the other side there is something that bothers in the press release on first reading – its seriousness and a few high-profile investors and institutions claimed to have been involved into the acquisition. Compared to Corbis with its $250M revenues per year Crestock appears quite a start up like company and perhaps no one would have taken their announcement for real if it was not the claim there are some large-scale and high-profile organizations and investors being involved in to the foolish press release such as “Scandinavian group of investors”, the Norwegian government fund organization: Innovation Norway and the European Union’s Media II Programme, whose purpose is to encourage the development and distribution of European audiovisual works. 

We think this is what made the press release read and look beyond the common April Fools jokes and have Corbis’s lawyers and PR guys pissed off.

Over the past several years corporate April fools jokes became a trend among rivals. Around April 1 every year there are thousands of April fools press releases and announcements about potential deals, acquisitions and beyond, but perhaps none is ending up in the court, if any.

Not long after the press release was posted, Corbis Corporation was notified about the story. Dan Perlet, Director of Communications, promptly went to action, emailing Crestock Public Relations representatives:

“On behalf of Corbis Corporation, I strongly suggest that you remove the April Fools press release on your website that suggests Crestock has purchased Corbis. We ask that this release be removed from your website immediately, or we may be forced to consider legal action.”

“We in no way intended to mislead or otherwise conduct ourselves in an illegal or inappropriate manner,” Crestock CEO, Geir Are Jensen stated in a statement early today.

“Receiving emails like this spices things up in your everyday work routine” Jensen, Crestock CEO continued, “Of course we didn’t remove the obvious April Fools joke, but in case the second richest man in the world comes after us with his pack of lawyers after him. We’ll have to set aside a monthly sum to cover the expenses.”

More about Creystock

Crestock`s aim is to play a leading role in the micropayment stock photo business.

The photography trade is undergoing a revolution as digital cameras and internet distribution lower the prices to a minimum. There are a few succesful companies in this particular sector of the photo business. Our goal is to be among the most sucessful  – as soon as possible. And then move further.

We emphasize:

– A high level of image quality – in fact the highest in the business
– An inspiring, fast and utterly relevant search experience for buyers
– A strong and vibrant community, based on forums and the unique and personal member console
– A friendly and warm service, even though we are the northernmost photo bureau we know of

More about Corbis

Corbis is a creative resource for advertising, marketing and media professionals worldwide, helping to bring creative work to life with the highest quality photography, footage and rights services. Corbis offers a preeminent collection of more than 100 million creative, entertainment and historic images, a comprehensive footage library, the world’s deepest rights and clearances expertise and an award-winning media management solution, as well as empowering SnapVillage, an innovative microstock web site. Based in Seattle, Corbis serves more than 50 countries worldwide. Corbis is privately held by its Chairman Bill Gates, who founded the company in 1989.

Story picked from EPR Network

More

http://www.crestock.com/news/crestock-stock-photos-acquires-corbis-for-625-million-175.aspx
http://express-press-release.com/48/Corbis%20threatens%20Crestock%20with%20legal%20action%20over%20April%20Fools%20Joke.php
http://www.crestock.com/
http://www.crestock.com/blog/
http://www.corbis.com/
http://www.crestock.com/news/corbis-threatens-with-legal-actions-over-april-fools-joke-176.aspx
 

Glam seems to be cutting off revenues for publishers

Something really interesting is going on with Glam Media. To make a long story short Glam is basically a controversial site that runs both a network of its own web sites as well as runs ads on a network of third party sites geared towards women online and has just recently raised a massive amount of funding – $85M.  The total funding for the company is already $114M. You may say yet another ad network site on Web and you might be right in part. However there was something really interesting with Glam – they were perhaps the only ad network out there that was guaranteeing ad revenues for their publishers, mainly lifestyle web sites oriented towards women. Let’s put it that way Glam’s business model was to guarantee some minimum flat pay outs to its publishers. Today, we have read on web, this practice seems to be changing – Glam is no longer going to pay for the entire ad inventory available at its participating web publishers that way effectively cutting off their revenues by 60% up to 80%.

Public information is that Glam pockets about 40 to 50 percent of the revenues it gets from advertising on its partner sites, giving the rest back to the publishing partner. What is remarkable is that Glam pays nothing to produce the content on those publisher sites, meaning it is milking those sites for a full 40 to 50 percent of their worth — merely for providing them with advertising technology.

Nonetheless the company has shown a tremendous increase of its traffic compared to the year before. ComScore reports that worldwide uniques across all sites that Glam sells advertising for had nearly 47 million unique visitors and 1.1 billion page views. Glam Network says it has over 200,000 quality articles across the sites involved.

So one starts to wonder here is this a well thought strategy for Glam to attract lots of publishers by initially paying big bucks and once it achieved its goals (to raise massive amount of funding) to cut those publishers off its network by simply no longer paying them what it has initially been promised. It is no secret that Glam Media succeeded in raising those over $100M in funding money due to its huge reach of over 40M uniques per month across various women web sites and blogs. Once the task was accomplished Glam is no longer in need from those small blogs that perhaps represent a large portion of those 44M uniques per month or is simply changing the policy in order to survive. We have put their business model under some doubts the last time we covered their massive round of funding and then we have written that in today’s hugely competitive environment ad networks are working in everything boils down to who pays more the web publishers. Glam claims it pays most to its web publishers, but it is hard to believe how Glam can out pay Google when they had just $21M in revenues last year while Google’s payout was almost $4B to its web publishers for 2007. Let’s put it that way who earns more from the ad networks is who is going to be capable enough to pay more to the web publishers. So it seems we were basically right. Glam is discontinuing their practice of guaranteed ad revenues for its publishers. 

However, the big question here is for how long those web publishers are going to stay with Glam Media and what will happen to Glam if they leave?

Here is what Glam has replied on Techrunch.

As GM of the Glam Publisher Network, my team’s #1 priority is to ensure the success of our publishers and to help them secure high-CPM brand advertising. Unlike most other networks we do not compromise on our rate card and as a result, our partners benefit from high CPM brand advertising. When we’re unable to deliver a paid ad, we have traditionally run a Glam house ad (i.e. a current house ad announces our upcoming Glam Network blogger awards). Publishers have requested more choice for the impressions that our house ads would normally fill. This default ad technology simply replaces the Glam house ads with a host of options. This is similar to standard network ‘default’ technology that’s been in general use for years.

I want to acknowledge that Glam is successful because of our publisher partners. As a company, our focus is on convincing the brands to engage in new ways with a media landscape made up of independent premium publishers with passionate audiences. We welcome the ongoing dialogue.

More about Glam Media

Glam Media’s distributed media network model is revolutionizing the very definition of what a media company is in the 21st Century.  With 44 million global unique monthly visitors (comScore MediaMetrix), Glam Media provides a compelling mix of fresh, original content created in-house with a carefully curated Glam Publishing Network of more than 450 popular and influential lifestyle websites, blogs and magazines. For premium national brand advertisers, Glam Media offers an unprecedented array of targeted options that are singularly attractive to both upscale and aspirational consumers.

About the founder

Samir Arora, Founder, Chairman, and CEO
Samir Arora founded lifestyle hub Glam Media to create a better way for brand advertisers to connect with their audiences on the Web. A tech-industry veteran, Arora was previously the chairman of Emode/Tickle, Inc, which was later sold to Monster in June 2004. Prior to that, Arora was chairman and CEO of NetObjects, Inc. where he drove the creation of the first web site building product NetObjects Fusion. Arora also currently serves as chairman of Information Capital LLC, a venture capital fund based in Woodside, Calif., that invests in leading-edge “big idea companies” in consumer publishing, media, and technology.

Other team members include:

Fernando Ruarte
Co-founder, CTO and VP, Engineering
Scott Schiller
EVP, Sales, Women’s Markets
John Trimble
EVP, New Markets Sales
Carl Portale
VP and Publishing Director
Joe Lagani
VP and GM, Glam Living
Karin Marke
VP, Sales, Western Region
Jack Rotolo
VP, Sales, Eastern Region
Bernard Desarnauts
VP, Products and Marketing
Scott Swanson
VP and GM, Glam Media Publisher Network
Raj Narayan
Co-founder and Architect
Dianna Mullins
Co-Founder, VP Glam Publisher Network & Ad Operations
Ralf Hirt,
VP, International
Jennifer Salant
VP, Business Development
Ernie Cicogna
Co-Founder and CFO

Major competitors include iVillage, AOL Women, CondeNet, Elle.com, auFeminin.com, Womensforum.com, SINA Women, QQ.com Women, BabyCenter Network, among others.

More

https://web2innovations.com/money/2008/02/25/glam-media-raises-a-massive-round-of-funding-85m/
http://www.glam.com/
http://www.glammedia.com
http://www.glammedia.com/about_glam/news/2008/02/25/glam-media-raises-85-million-in-private-strategic-financing/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/29/glam-makes-big-cuts-in-publisher-payments-up-to-80-drop-in-revenue
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/02/24/glam-closes-massive-d-round/
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120390178731489459.html
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/412152/Glam-Media-Teaser-August-2007
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/08/12/is-glam-a-sham/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/13/more-misplaced-glam-exhuberance/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/glammedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glam_Media,_Inc.
http://venturebeat.com/2008/02/24/womans-network-glam-raises-846-million-at-half-a-billion-valuation-adconian-raises-80m/
http://www.glammedia.com/about_glam/our_story/competitive_landscape.php
http://news.speeple.com/business2.com/2007/08/13/bubble-watch-glam-media-shops-around-a-200-million-private-placement.htm
http://valleywag.com/360436/glam-media-raises-84-million-far-short-of-its-200-million-goal
http://valleywag.com/tech/online-advertising/glam-media-not-looking-so-beautiful-288964.php
http://venturebeat.com/2008/02/20/trends-secretive-new-york-bank-allen-co-gets-into-silicon-valley-media-tech/
http://www.foliomag.com/2008/glam-media-gets-85m-private-equity-financing
http://samirarora.com/html/bio.html

Wisdom of the crowds principle effectively applied to predict markets, events

While doing our daily research on the web 2.0 deals we came across a very interesting start up that deserves to make our web 2.0 innovations list – Predictify.

Essentially it is a very interesting and pretty innovative idea of using the wisdom of the crowds and the collective intelligence principles to predict in behalf of advertisers and market researchers. It is community-driven prediction market that pays and rewards users for their accuracy, which guarantees user engagement at higher level.

We’ve found out the site has launched just this last October and since then it launched its platform where other companies can create co-branded prediction centers. Freakanomics was Predictify’s launch partner for the platform, where readers can predict outcomes discussed on the Freakonomics blog.

The company has announced today it has closed $4.3 million round of funding, from Sierra Ventures and Sherpalo Ventures. Mark Fernandes, a managing director at Sierra Ventures, will be joining the Predictify board. Predictify has taken so far only an angel round of funding a year ago, but the amount is not publicly disclosed.

More about Predictify

Predictify is a prediction platform where users can predict the future and build a reputation based on their accuracy, and marketers can post questions to collect actionable, forward-looking data “from the crowd”.

Predictors
Predictify provides a simple, fun way to predict the future. You can research, discuss and predict what will happen, build a reputation based on your accuracy, and even get paid real money when you’re right (tell me more). Best of all, it’s free – no points or bets required.

Advertisers
Predictify is an effective way to create interactive advertisements by posting a question related to your product or service. Users’ incentive to be accurate leads to a high level of engagement in your marketing message. The resulting data set, which includes demographic information, provides insight into the preferences of existing and potential customer segments.

Market Researchers
Predictify uses advanced statistical methods to identify experts among their users based on past predictive accuracy, and combines this with demographic information to provide unique, crowd-based insight. You can tap into this user base to collect a large sample of predictions about future events, trends, and market data. Predictify’s unique system captures the full distribution of beliefs, not just the average, and provides easy-to-use graphical tools to analyze the results.

Here is quickly how it works

Predictify is a prediction platform where users can predict the future and build a reputation based on their accuracy, and marketers can post questions to collect actionable, forward-looking data “from the crowd”.

Submit a Prediction

  • Browse or search for questions that interest you
  • Predict the outcome – it’s free, no points or bets required
  • Build a reputation based on the accuracy of your predictions
  • Earn real money – payouts increase as you achieve higher levels of expertise

Click here to predict!

Ask a Question

  • Compose a question about the future that will have an objective, verifiable outcome
  • Submit your question for approval – it’s free (or select Premium to get demographics for $1 per response)
  • View the interactive, graphical results as users submit predictions (example)

Click here to post a question!

More

http://www.predictify.com/
http://blog.predictify.com/
http://mashable.com/2008/03/25/predictify-funding/
http://mashable.com/2008/03/02/predictify-freakanomics/
http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/02/05/predictify/
http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/12/10/50FE-crowdsourcing_1.html
http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/25/a-new-prediction-market-for-the-masses/
http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/10/hiring-republic.html
http://www.webware.com/8301-1_109-9794602-2.html
http://mashable.com/2007/10/08/predictify-live/

SocialMedia totals $4M in funding and is one of the top ad platforms for Facebook

Creating Facebook applications is already big business online. Facebook created a special fund to invest in popular applications for their social platform and there are also several venture capital firms who are keeping an eye on the sector for the next hot or modern Facebook application to invest in. Monetizing the traffic generated from those applications is another story. SocialMedia is one of the top so called ad platforms for Facebook applications.

SocialMedia offers a suite of tools and services for developers building applications that run on social networking platforms including Facebook and MySpace.

SocialMedia Network’s flagship product Appsaholic sells click-throughs to other Facebook applications across a network of affiliated sites in a similar way to FBExchange’s link exchange model, but has more features and seems easier to use and has PayPal integrated. Below is some more information on how Appsaholic works.

Developers become a member of the network by tracking their application on Appsaholic and adding some embed code to their application. The embed code adds an iFrame that serves paid links on their affiliates’ applications. The links go to the highest “AdRanked” advertising developer on their live bidding market. AdRank is determined by multiplying two factors, the offered price per click, and the advertising application’s quality score. The quality score is based on a function of the application’s clickthrough rate and viral growth within the network. The idea is that higher quality applications should be rewarded with cheaper advertising. This dissuades disliked apps from spamming the service.

So, for example, a developer whose application has a quality score of 60 and is willing to bid $.10 per click, has an AdRank of 6. Since ads are served in AdRanked order, the developer could boost his AdRank and position in the queue by bidding a bit higher. Currently PPC rates are 10 to 20 cents. Appsaholic takes 12-30% of that revenue.

The company has recently taken $3.5 million Series A in a round led by Charles River Ventures that also included Marc Andreessen (Netscape) and Jeff Clavier. Charles River Ventures had previously seed funded the company with $500,000. That took the company’s total funding to $4M. 

George Zachary of Charles River Ventures said that the investment “underscores the significant opportunity for SocialMedia Networks to become the new standard for how social networks are monetized.”

Other investors include Jim Bankoff – Former EVP Programming AOL; Ted Barnett – CEO of JamJam; co-founder and CEO of When.com; former COO of Ofoto; Jeff Clavier – Manager Director SoftTech VC; Marc Andreessen – Co-founder of Netscape and Ning.com; Mark Goldstein – CEO of LoyaltyLab.com; Naval Ravikant – Managing Director HitForge; author of VentureHacks; co-founder of Epinions; Tina Sharkey – Former SVP Social Media and Instant Messsaging, AOL, Former Group President Sesame Workshop Internet, co-founder iVillage and Jeremy Wenokur – Former VP Corp Dev, Google. 

There are several other startups claiming to be the top Facebook ad platform: Lookery, fbExchange, RockYou, and Cubics but SocialMedia is one of the early players when they launched their Appsaholic advertising network soon after F8.

Some people are a bit skeptical about companies like SocialMedia arguing that some of the popular social networks themselves can’t even really figure out a profitable way to monetize themselves, let alone third party small companies going to become the standard way to monetize social networks by putting ads and stuff in a widget.

Will they ever manage to make money? Maybe, maybe not. But the potential is huge, and if someone ever succeeds in that field, the Social Media seems in a pretty good position to be among the winners.

More about SocialMedia

SocialMedia Networks is the leading provider of social platform services. It fuses together three core features – management, marketing, and monetization – into a comprehensive package that advertisers and developers can use to grow awareness, and grow their applications on social platforms.

Socialmedia.com was registered in November of 1999. It has since sat idle, waiting patiently for the right time to emerge. Nearly eight years later, that time has come.

Moreso than ever before, people all over the world are being entertained by interacting with others online. What was once simple communication has truly evolved into social media. Until recently, however, the environments in which these increasingly rich interactions took place were controlled by a few, closed entities. This changed on May 24th when facebook welcomed thousands of developers to immerse themselves within their platform.

And so, on this day, socialmedia.com was unleashed.

SocialMedia was one of the first developers on the facebook platform, launching Food Fight and Happy Hour shortly after f8. To date, more than 10 million users have installed one of these applications.

The services we provide to others were born primarily of our own needs in developing and deploying our applications. Through our personal learnings and experiences, we are now determined to offer a similar set of services to all developers and advertisers who care to delve into the world of the facebook platform, and all other platforms that are destined to follow.

Tap into the social revolution with SocialMedia – the app network!

Public information available on SocialMedia claims 1,475,837 apps installed, thus far.

SocialMedia Networks is based in Palo Alto and Mill Valley, CA.

More

http://www.socialmedia.com
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/socialmedia
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/18/socialmedia-networks-takes-35-million-series-a/
http://apps.facebook.com/appsaholic
http://fbexchange.com/
http://www.lookery.com/
http://cubics.com/

The modern Boo.com and pets.com

Just like their ancestors Boo.com and pets.com during the dot com boom times companies like Geosign and Capazoo have also spent huge amounts of money in no time and reached nothing but grand failures. But unlike those dot com stars from the past, which at least had serious business models, their modern equivalents from the web 2.0 times can barely be called real businesses.

Under no doubt the most prominent case from the past days is the $160M funding GeoSign took last year and spent in less than a year going belly up. The major lesson learned here is that the click/search arbitrage is dead. If you don’t believe us take a look at GeoSign today. Let’s put it that way Google killed them, and for reason. Given the amount of money flowing to Google, most in Geosign thought the search engine would turn a blind eye, but as it turned out Google is more concerned for its legitimate advertisers and that users would lose interest and faith in the online ad system, if more practices like the one GeoSign kept on exploiting spread across the web than earning several millions of companies like GeoSign.

The media and the bloggers called it that way: “A record $160-million VC investment. A rich Web strategy. A quirky founder. For a few weeks last spring, Guelph, Ont.’s Geosign had it all. Then mighty Google stirred. And it was over.” Now one understands why this company was so quiet over the past year despite the fact it took what is called the biggest ever venture capital funding for a technology company based in Canada.

What is anyway click/search arbitrage?

Essentially, search arbitrage involves an individual or company buying Internet traffic through the acquisition of keywords from Google, then sending viewers who click on the ad links to a site (“landing page” in Google terminology) that appears to have content, but is actually just full of online advertising linked to the original search term. Anyone clicking an ad link there makes money for the keyword holder. For example, a company might bid for the Google rights to the phrase “small town car sales” and send traffic to a website it controls, filled with more car advertisements, called “Alltheautomotive.com.” The keyword cost only 20¢, while a click on the advertising on the website might yield $1.50 return. According to Niki Scevak, an analyst at Jupiter Research in New York, the majority of those initially involved in search arbitrage were small players. “These were guys running search arbitrage out of their basements, making maybe $20,000 a month,” he says.

One of them, it seems, was Geosign. Former Geosign insiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirm that the possibility of a big payoff in search arbitrage caught Nye’s attention after he created Geosign. What’s more, he envisioned a network of thousands of websites all automated by software linking keywords to pages filled with ads, returning millions in cash in the process.

By 2005 that was exactly what was happening. Nye crafted a maze of Internet sites that included tens of thousands of Web pages and bought up even more keywords from Google. By connecting the keywords and the websites, Geosign was indeed generating more than $100 million in annual revenue and was extremely profitable. To put a value on the company at this time, analyst Scevak points to Marchex Inc., a publicly traded company in Seattle, Wash., with a comparable business model. At its peak in 2006, Marchex had a market capitalization of US$500 million.

The change in atmosphere had everything to do with measures that Google was taking to rein in those doing search arbitrage. This action was a response to two main concerns. First, that the practice was becoming so widespread, it was hurting legitimate advertisers by artificially inflating keyword prices. And second, that if too many keyword-targeted ad links only took users to pages filled with other ads, that users would lose interest and faith in the online ad system. Obviously, with advertising revenue being the key to Google’s finances, it had to respond. It did so by expanding the terms of service for its AdSense program (published on its website) to place greater restrictions on the way links could be used and by spelling out detailed landing page and site quality guidelines. A top priority there: relevant and original content. By these standards, a landing page full of ads is inadequate – as this text in its current guideline explains: “Provide substantial information. If your ad does link to a page consisting mostly of ads or general search results (such as a directory or catalog page), provide additional, unique content.” Since most companies doing search arbitrage bought both their keywords and landing page ads through Google, it was easy for the company to isolate and monitor them. Non-compliant parties risked being banned from the AdSense program. A simpler tactic, however, saw Google target those abusing the process, raising their fees and making it too costly to continue.

The end came suddenly, well before GeoSign to change the direction of its business. Google had started to look more closely at companies like Geosign, which were buying keywords from Google and ad links from Yahoo! or another provider. And soon Geosign got word that Google would now begin penalizing its Web pages that had “a low landing page quality score” – that is, lots of ads and little or no original content. While Google won’t comment specifically about Geosign, sources say it raised the prices it charged Geosign for keywords overnight. “When Google ‘shuts you down,’ that isn’t exactly what they do,” explains Jupiter’s Scevak. “Instead, what they do is start charging you $50 for what they were charging 10¢ for previously. They make the model financially unfeasible.”

GeoSign’s website is already taken down and is no longer publicly accessible.

The second popular crash down case from the last week is the one of Capazoo.

Capazoo is also based in Canada and is labeled a social networking site. The site has taken $25M in several rounds to date, which as it seems, have also been spent over the past 12 months before the company’s failure. But this is not the only interesting thing  in the story. After firing most of its staff leaving only one sysadmin to keep the site alive and put its offices up for rent some more horrible stories from ex-employees appeared publicly.

It seems that the brothers Michel Verville and Luc Verville (the company’s founders) have had fighting in court for control over the company. Another rumor goes that that the brothers embezzled money from the company. Simply put the guys were taking commissions in the 10% range from all money invested in their company. Capazoo’s $25 million was initially listed as only being “private funding” but more recently National Lampoon became an investor.

Techcrunch has some insider information as listed below:

They did the first round ($8 million) at $72 million pre-money from a bunch of athletes and non-sophisticated angels at $100k-$200k chunks. Most of them didn’t know that management was taking 10% commission themselves (despite owning all the common shares) for all funds raised.

They then raised another $5-10 million (conflicting rumors) at a $132 million pre-money, while still taking commissions. The two brothers took almost $2 million out of the company before reaching more then 10K users and ballooned the staff to 130 staff before starting to do layoffs.

Capazoo’s site is still alive as we last checked it out but for how long one sysadmin can keep it that way?

Well, compared to the 2 cases from above the next one seems relatively small, yet it worth mentioning due to the fact that it seems the founder of that company Lee Wilkins did not pay his employees from Bulgarian, Romania and Russia.

The company name is MyKinda and was a blog network focused on the Eastern European market covering various topics like politics, entertainment, business, among other topics. 

The network is said to have launched just last September and today they are already out of business. Lee Wilkins said the shutdown is temporary to ensure that money due to writers doesn’t continue to add up. The sites will remain down until, he says, “we redefine a more profitable sustainable business model.” The company had total expenses of about €319,000, with no advertising revenue to offset it. Lee Wilkins capitalized the company with €175,000, leaving €144,000 or so in unpaid debts.

Today was the first day in several years where the failure stories were more than the funding deals. In fact we bookmarked 3 funding deals for today so it appears the number is equal.

More

http://www.geosign.com/
http://www.capazoo.com/
http://www.mykinda.com/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/18/how-geosign-blew-160-million/
http://www.financialpost.com/magazine/story.html?id=324817
http://seoblackhat.com/2008/03/18/they-were-flyin-high-then-google-stirred/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/19/capazoo-blows-25-million-heading-to-the-deadpool/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/02/29/blog-network-mykinda-to-shut-down-today/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/18/national-lampoon-takes-stake-in-capazoo/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/10/capazoo-wants-to-pay-you-for-your-social-networking-time/
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=474dae19-551c-4460-9359-328c570fc36c
http://montrealtechwatch.com/2008/03/19/capazoo-lays-off-60-shops-itself/
http://communities.canada.com/MONTREALGAZETTE/blogs/tech/archive/2008/03/18/r-i-p-capazoo.aspx
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/05/mykinda-blog-network-for-eastern-europe-launches-amid-serious-drama/

Website Optimization company and CMS leader joined forces

An interesting deal happened a few months ago, announced in October 2007 and closed in November the same year. Interwoven, a public company traded on NASDAQ, has acquired the said website optimization pioneer Optimost.

The both companies then said that combination of Interwoven’s Content Management Solutions with Optimost’s Multivariable Testing and Optimization Solution will help organizations maximize online business performance.

Under the terms of the agreement between Optimost and Interwoven, Interwoven will pay approximately $52 million in cash for all outstanding shares of Optimost and assume certain existing employee stock options. From what we were able to dig up, Optimost is probably having less than $8M in revenues per year, which translates into multiple around 6X the revenues, which is not that impressive number after all. Interwoven is based in San Jose, Calif, and is making itself over $200M in revenues enjoying a market capitalization of 539.57M (March 17 2008).

As businesses continue to spend unprecedented amounts to drive traffic to their Websites through search engine marketing, pay-per-click ads, banner ads, e-mail, and other tactics, they face a significant challenge in converting traffic into revenue-generating customers. The combination of Interwoven’s content management solutions and Optimost’s optimization solution helps businesses address this challenge by providing marketers with the industry’s most complete set of capabilities for creating, deploying, testing, analyzing, and optimizing targeted content to Website visitors.

“This acquisition supports our strategy to power our customers’ online presence, and we believe it puts Interwoven at the top of the short list of a company’s must-have partners for online business,” said Joe Cowan, chief executive officer at Interwoven. “Companies today understand that maximizing their online business performance is the key to accelerating growth and profits, and that content is at the core of their online strategy. By acquiring Optimost, we are providing customers with a powerful solution for optimizing their content – which creates the connection point between the visitor and the Web – to provide the most compelling experience, faster, more efficiently, and more effectively than ever before.”

Founded in 2001, Optimost is a privately-held company headquartered in New York City, whose customers include Ask.com, Auto Trader, Delta Air Lines, FAO Schwarz, Lenovo, and MGM Mirage. Optimost has a proven track record in helping its clients achieve double-digit increases in conversion rates and online sales. For example, Delta Air Lines made changes to Delta.com based on the results of its multivariable optimization initiative, which has added up to approximately $15 million in additional revenue so far this year.

“Today’s announcement is wonderful news for Optimost’s customers,” said Mark Wachen, chief executive officer at Optimost. “When we founded Optimost, our vision was to deliver technology that allows marketers to increase the effectiveness of their online presence to drive measurable business results. Clearly, Interwoven shares the same vision and by combining forces we will be able to extend our innovative technology to a much larger market and provide Optimost customers with a more complete solution for maximizing their marketing investments. We look forward to joining the team at Interwoven.”
In just matter of couple of weeks the deal was closed on November 1st, 2007.

All Optimost employees, including the founders, Mark Wachen and Lance Lovette, have joined Interwoven and will focus on product innovation, customer support, and the continued acceleration of Interwoven’s business in the online marketing arena.

The Optimost solutions are now available through Interwoven as a standalone offering as well as in conjunction with the solutions in Interwoven’s portfolio.

Interwoven expects the Optimost acquisition to contribute in the range of $1.5 million to $2.0 million to total revenue during the fourth quarter of 2007, subsequent to the acquisition date and before considering purchase accounting adjustments to revenues of approximately $1.0 million.

More about Optimost

New York-based Optimost is a technology and services company specializing in comprehensive real-time testing and conversion rate marketing. Pioneers in the field of multivariable testing, the firm is able to create and test virtually limitless permutations of copy, offers and layouts in the time it takes to conduct a standard A/B page comparison test. By combining real-life response data with information about which variables were displayed in the test, Optimost clients are able to determine how much each individual website element contributes to the overall response rate. Client web pages can then be optimized further based on the combinations of most positive individual site elements. Optimost clients include: InterActiveCorp, Lillian Vernon, Delta Air Lines, Time Warner, QVC, and EarthLink.

More about Interwoven

Interwoven is a global leader in content management solutions. Interwoven’s software and services enable organizations to maximize online business performance and organize, find, and govern business content. Interwoven solutions unlock the value of content by delivering the right content to the right person in the right context at the right time. Over 4,200 of the world’s leading companies, professional services firms, and governments have chosen Interwoven, including adidas, Airbus, Avaya, BT, Cisco, Citi, Delta Air Lines, DLA Piper, the Federal Reserve Bank, FedEx, Grant Thornton, Hilton Hotels, Hong Kong Trade and Development Council, HSBC, LexisNexis, MasterCard, Microsoft, Samsung, Shell, Qantas Airways, Tesco, Virgin Mobile, and White & Case. Over 20,000 developers and over 300 partners enrich and extend Interwoven’s offerings.

More

http://www.interwoven.com/
http://finance.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:IWOV
http://www.optimost.com/
http://www.interwoven.com/components/page.jsp?topic=MAIN::NEWS&dcr=components/optimost.jsp
http://www.interwoven.com/components/page.jsp?topic=NEWS::RELEASES&dcr=templatedata/announcement/press-release/data/2007/dcr-2007-10-17-optimost.xml
http://www.centernetworks.com/interwoven-acquires-optimost-social-news http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/18/interwoven-acquires-optimost-for-52-million/
http://www.optimost.com/press/2007-11-interwoven-announces-close.php
 

Is MediaBids.com an alternative of Google’s AdWords?

MediaBids.com, the Newspaper and Magazine Advertising Marketplace, has recently announced the addition of over 325 new newspapers and magazines to its print advertising marketplace so far in 2008, which much or less attracted out attention.

The company claims it has over 4,600 U.S. print publications registered on MediaBids to use their online processes to sell ad space in their print editions. Publications can sell ad space via two primary online methods – a straight-sales option and a reverse advertising auction. In the straight-sale format, publications can simply post available advertising inventory for sale in the MediaBids marketplace which is then immediately available for advertisers to purchase. The patented reverse-auction method allows advertisers to place their advertising dollars up for bid using a simple online RFP auction form, and publications can then bid using their ad space as currency.

The company is known to have started back in 2003 and for just 5 years they have enrolled an impressive number of newspapers and paper magazines. One may ask is this marketplace represents an alternative of the contextual ads Google offers through its AdWords program? Google is the ultimate online ads monopoly so it might be good there are such alternatives beyond the web ads. The company says it has over 12,000 businesses registered on MediaBids.com that purchase advertising, which is still a fraction from what Google AdWords has as a number of unique advertisers but MediaBids takes a different direction and that might be their major differentiator from the competition to distinguish themselves in the ad business. The online ad networks and ad exchanges are huge business but the space is lately becoming overcrowded and the competition is fierce there and perhaps we will witness some serious reorganization and consolidation within the industry this and next year.

MediaBids has no charge associated with registering a publication, posting ad space for sale or bidding on auctions.

“It’s exciting to see publications embrace MediaBids’ advertising marketplace, with the addition of more than 325 publications in the first two months of 2008. We hope to continue this rapid rate of growth throughout the remainder of the year.” said June Peterson, Director of Media Relations at MediaBids.com.

More about MediaBids

MediaBids.com is the premier marketplace for buying and selling print advertising. Advertisers and publications can interact to buy and sell advertising in a wide-variety of print media (newspapers, magazines, journals, directories, shoppers, newsletters, trade magazines, college newspapers and direct mail) using patented online tools.

Available Print Buying & Selling Tools
Advertiser Auctions – Advertiser auctions provide a platform from which advertisers can initiate a RFP (Request for Proposal) outlining their print advertising needs. Publications can place “bids” of ad space on the advertiser auction, which advertisers can then purchase. Insertion orders are issued to both parties after a transaction has occurred. The identities of advertisers and publications are known only to participating parties.

Ad Space Offers – Ad-space offers are advertising opportunities posted by publications on MediaBids.com that are available for immediate purchase. Offers can include rate-card pricing, last-minute remnant opportunities, added-value incentives or significant discounts. Advertisers can create a list of “Favorite Publications” from which they can choose to receive e-mail alerts notifying them of new advertising opportunities.

Traditional Media Buying – MediaBids works with publications both online and offline to ensure advertisers create and execute print advertising campaigns in the right publications at the right price.

How We Started
MediaBids, The Newspaper and Magazine Advertising Marketplace, was founded in Winsted, CT in 1999 to allow print publications to broaden their market reach in a cost effective way while giving advertisers a web-based system to purchase advertising in a competitive environment.

Since its online launch in 2003, MediaBids.com has become the leading online print advertising marketplace, bringing together more than 4,500 publications and 12,000 businesses on its web site. MediaBids’ easy-to-use platform has attracted a wide range of users, from small sole proprietorships to large national corporations.

Mission & Vision
MediaBids aims to simplify and streamline the print advertising process by providing a website that both centralizes relevant publication information and provides tools that enable both buyers and sellers of ad space to conduct transactions more efficiently. MediaBids’ vision is that with these tools, advertisers will increasingly view newspapers and magazines as a choice medium to promote their products and services – thus allowing newspapers and magazines to continue to be a viable information and social resource for our communities.

This story has been picked up from EPR Network.

More

http://www.mediabids.com/
http://express-press-release.net/47/MediaBids.com%20Adds%20Over%20325%20Newspapers%20&%20Magazines%20to%20Print%20Advertising%20Marketplace.php
http://express-press-release.net/12/Mediabids,%20the%20Only%20Online%20Print%20Ad%20Space%20Marketplace,%20Saves%20Client,%20Green%20River%20Prescription%20Assistance,%2082%20Percent%20On%20Newspaper%20Advertising%20Costs.php
http://express-press-release.net/45/MediaBids.com%20Conducts%206,500th%20Print%20Advertising%20Auction.php

Video advertising networks are hot, Brightroll gets its second round, claims it already served over 1 Billion video ads

After having covered the video ad networks BlackArrow and YuMe Networks today we have discovered that yet another one called Brightroll has also recently closed its Series B funding taking $5M more. The round was led by existing investor True Ventures with Adams Street Partners and KPG Ventures as new participants. The first round’s amount is not publicly disclosed.

The company offers both pre-roll and mid-roll ads and Brightroll contextually matches the ads based on webpage information, site behavior and demographics. Assessing tags, profiles and data from ComScore, Brightroll aims to provide publishers and advertisers targeted ads, where the publishers need to do very little work to this end.

BrightRoll helps leading agencies, representing brands such as Walmart, Hewlett-Packard and Sony Pictures, launch and scale video campaigns across the industry’s leading publishers. The one-year-old start-up will use the capital to continue to grow its agency and publisher relationships, as well as accelerate product development.

“Video advertising is the future of online marketing and we are exclusively focused on simplifying the process of targeting, distributing and executing online video campaigns,” said Tod Sacerdoti, co-founder and CEO of BrightRoll. “BrightRoll provides efficiency and technology to agencies today and we will continue to expand our solutions for agencies and brands moving forward.”

“We increased our investment in BrightRoll because the company is the emerging leader in a revolutionary category,” said Jon Callaghan, a partner at TRUE Ventures. “This is my third time working with the founders, Tod Sacerdoti and Dru Nelson, and I could not be more ecstatic about the team they are building.”

BrightRoll can execute video campaigns across more than 50% of the top 100 online media properties in the United States. The average BrightRoll video campaign reaches over 50 million unique users over a six week period. A video advertising innovator, BrightRoll is built entirely on proprietary video ad serving, targeting and optimization technology.

The market

Video advertising is promising to be huge opportunity online and the sector is extremely competitive with new players entering every couple of weeks. Venture capitals also do think the online video advertising holds the chances to be the next big thing on Internet to bring billions of revenues in and are pouring big money into start-ups with the hope they come up to the groundbreaking technology that might shake the sector and make them the huge ROI.   

No matter what standard for video ads the sector might adopt – pre-roll ads, mid-roll adspost-roll ads, watermark ads, viral ads or overlay ads, the undisputed leader remains Google’s YouTube with its huge number of eyeballs. That’s why the smaller players are focusing not on the reach but on different approaches and technologies to more effectively serve, track and measure these video ads. The video ads are in their infancy on Web and there is plenty of room for innovation and growth and all those small start-up companies hold their good chances for success.

Some companies, as we know them, include BlackArrow, BrightRoll, XillianTVPodaddies, VMIX and MeeVee. BrightRoll video ad network itself has raises $5 Million while VMIX, yet another video network company has also raised a whopping amount of money $16.5M to expand its business. Other video advertising players include Revver, VideoEgg’s TheEggNetwork, ScanScout, Adap.tv, AdBrite’s InVideo platform, BroadRamp and Blinkx.

eMarketer predicts online video advertising to nearly double in 2008 to $1.3 billion, but no one’s really nailed a scalable ad platform for video. However, Google’s been quietly testing their own system and there are a bunch of other startups tackling it as well.

More about BrightRoll

Led by a team of Internet advertising veterans and engineers, BrightRoll has served billions of advertisements since we got started. We achieved this growth by enabling agencies and brand advertisers to execute smart video ad campaigns across the industry’s leading publishers, including over half of the top 250 websites in the United States.

Dozens of advertising agencies work with BrightRoll to execute campaigns for their premier brands. By offering full site disclosure, detailed performance reports and flexible targeting, we provide advertisers with the reach, frequency, scalability, and transparency needed to achieve their goals.

Hundreds of branded publishers work with BrightRoll to maximize the value of their online inventory. We are fortunate to work with many of the Internet’s leading branded publishers, including multiple television properties, and most of the leading high-volume video sites.

The company was launched in 2005 and has offices in San Francisco and New York City. Founders are Tod Sacerdoti and Dru Nelson.

The Team

Tod M. Sacerdoti, CEO, Founder

Tod M. Sacerdoti is the Chief Executive Officer of BrightRoll and co-founded the business in July, 2006. Most recently, Tod was the Director of Revenue and Business Development at Plaxo, one of the fastest growing companies in the history of the Internet. Previously, Tod was the Director of Business Development at Spoke Software, an enterprise software firm providing tools to sales forces to better leverage relationships. Tod also worked at Interscope, Geffen and A&M Records, a division of the Universal Music Group and was an analyst in both the Mergers & Acquisitions Group and the Internet Corporate Finance group at Robertson Stephens. Tod has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and has a B.A. in Economics from Yale University.

Dru Nelson, CTO; Founder

Dru Nelson is the Chief Technology Officer of BrightRoll and co-founded the business in July, 2006. Dru brings over twelve years of senior software development expertise to the company. Prior to BrightRoll, Dru was a Senior Software Engineer at Plaxo Inc. , where he was also the first Engineer hired and the first Client Engineer. Previously, Dru was the Director of Service Operations at eGroups (sold to Yahoo), Senior Software Engineer at Diva Systems (spinoff of SRI Research) and a Software Engineer at Four11 (sold to Yahoo and became Yahoo!Mail). Dru also has previous experience at the Florida State University Supercomputer Research Institute (SCRI).

Charlie Whittingham, Vice President, Sales

Charles Whittingham is the Vice President of Sales at BrightRoll and brings over 25 years experience in media, advertising and building Internet sales teams. Most recently, Charles was the Vice President of Sales, Western Region, for Advertising.com (a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL). Previously, he was Regional Vice President of Sales for About.com (owned by the New York Times), Regional Vice President of Sales for The Excite Network (owned by IAC/Interactive Corp.) and Executive Vice President, Sales Marketing at Wired Magazine. Prior to his Internet experience, he held senior positions as Director of New Business Development for advertising agencies McKinney & Silver and J. Walter Thompson, Southeastern Sales Director at The National Sports Daily and Sales Manager with People Magazine.

Lewis Rothkopf, Vice President, Network Development

Lewis is charged with broadening BrightRoll’s audience reach and enhancing client value by building strategic partnerships with the web’s top publishers. Prior to joining BrightRoll, lewis was Head of Distribution for the national Broadband Company (NBBC), NBC Universal’s digital video syndication business, where he was responsible for connecting premium digital video owners with the web’s premier publishers. Active in the digital media community for a decade, Lewis spent five years at DoubleClick Inc.’s TechSolutions for Publishers business, most recently as a sales and account management leader. He was at LightningCast Inc., one of the first video advertising companies, as a director of sales for the video ad insertion technology business, where he helped ready the company for acquisition by AOL LLC. In those capacities, he spearheaded technology and media solutions for numerous industry leaders, including AOL, Washington Post, Newsweek Interactive, Disney/ABC, Scripps, Networks, MTV Newworks, CBS Inc., Knight Ridder Digital, United Online, among many others. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Boston University and lives in Manhattan with his wife Nicole.

Calton Chan, Director of Sales, Eastern Region

Calton Chan is the Director of Sales, Eastern Region at BrightRoll and brings over 10 years experience in media, advertising and building Internet sales teams. Most recently, Calton was the Vice President of Agency Relations for ContextWeb, one of the leading contextual ad networks. Previously, he was Sales Director at The Excite Network (owned by IAC/Interactive Corp.) and Director of Sales for About.com (owned by the New York Times). Prior to his Internet experience, Calton worked in software sales for Autodesk. Calton has a B.A. in Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Mike Enomoto, Director, Media

Mike Enomoto is the Director of Media at BrightRoll and brings over eight years of managing media buying, ad ops, campaign management, and publisher relationships. Most recently Mike managed sales and distribution for Adteractive, one of the largest online lead generation marketers. At Adteractive, Mike was responsible for buying display media, creative and product strategy, and client development. Previously, he was the primary display media buyer for the Alena division of Intermix Media (acquired by News Corp) where he was responsible for all portal media relationships and campaign profitability. Mike began his career with MaxOnline (acquired by IAC / Interactive Corporation), one of the pioneering online ad networks. Mike has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

About the Investors

About TRUE Ventures

True Ventures invests in promising entrepreneurs at the earliest stages in the highest-growth segments of the technology market. The Partners at True have started over ten companies as founders, and True is designed by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. The firm clearly understands both opportunities and challenges in the earliest stage of development and provides young companies with a powerful, seasoned partner.

About KPG Ventures

KPG Ventures, a San Francisco based venture capital firm founded by Vince Vannelli, brings capital, experience and strategic relationships to early and seed stage companies. KPG is committed to investing in talented people and actively supporting each portfolio company in building their business.

Adams Street Partners, LLC

Adams Street Partners has been making investments in private equity since 1972 and is also credited with establishing the industry’s first institutional private equity fund of funds in 1979. Adams Street Partners has made over 140 investments with the objective of backing experienced management teams focused on high-growth markets. Investments are made primarily in companies in the technology, life sciences, and technology-enabled services sectors. Adams Street Partners currently manages $15 billion and has offices in Chicago, Menlo Park, London and Singapore.
 
Private investors include Jeff Clavier (SoftTechVC), Fabrice Grinda (Co-CEO, OLX and Founder, Zingy), Auren Hoffman (CEO, Rapleaf), Oliver Jung (Partner, Adinvest), Ariel Poler (Founder, Topica), Aydin Senkut (President, Felicis Ventures), Michael Tanne (CEO, Wink & Founder, AdForce), Colin Wiel (President, Keiretsu), Jeremy Wenokur (Former Corp. Dev., Google).

More

http://www.brightroll.com/
http://blog.brightroll.com/
http://www.brightroll.com/2007/10/23/brightroll-secures-5-million-in-venture-capital-funding/
http://www.brightroll.com/2007/10/24/brightroll-serves-1-billionth-video-advertisement/
http://mashable.com/2007/10/19/brightroll-funded/
https://web2innovations.com/money/2008/02/10/yume-a-broadband-video-advertising-network-has-taken-16m-so-far-to-tackle-the-video-advertising/
https://web2innovations.com/money/2008/02/09/blackarrow-took-12-million-to-tackle-the-video-advertising-relies-on-cable-companies/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/brightroll
http://www.todsacerdoti.com/

Pluck acquired by Demand Media

Demand Media, a major buyer and operator of Internet domain name companies, has announced just a few days ago it has acquired the Austin-based social media company Pluck after about reportedly two months of negotiations. The price is $75M in all cash deal. Pluck revenues are around $10 million/year and the company has raised $17 million in three rounds of funding, which makes the deal a nice exit for Pluck’s investors among which are Austin Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Reuters. Michael Arrington from Techcrunch however does not seem to agree with that constatation and calls it that way: VCs who aim for 3x their money tend to go out of business.

Pluck, a provider of social media tools and technologies, is serving more than 200 media websites, which are reaching over 100M users, and serving over 1.5 billion interactions per month. The acquisition expands Demand Media’s social media platform beyond its owned network of web sites to power leading media properties and brands worldwide including Gannett/USA TODAY, Guardian Unlimited, Hearst Corporation, Fox, The Washington Post, Scotts and Circuit City.

“We founded the company with a vision for expanding social media beyond the traditional social networking portals. To that end, we have acquired and developed the components necessary to create, distribute and monetize web sites and content,” said Richard Rosenblatt, co-founder, CEO and chairman of Demand Media. “Now, we are ready to expand the platform and model beyond our proprietary network. Pluck provides the technologies, people and partners to accomplish this vision.”

Demand Media’s social media platform currently supports more than 64 million unique visitors per month according to the company’s own Google Analytics data from January 2008. The platform features multiple social media applications such as social Q&A and a vast wholly-owned and rights-cleared content library of Pro Amateur text and video. All this will be enhanced by Pluck’s widget and API-based social media technologies.

“This combination will allow us to provide our customers with an even broader suite of social media products and monetizable content,” said Dave Panos, CEO of Pluck and executive vice president for Demand Media. “The combined expertise of our two companies in platform technology development, content creation and community management is truly un-matched.”

Since its inception in May 2006, Demand Media has raised over $350 million in equity capital and pioneered a new formula for building an interactive media company. Through its social media platform, Demand Media has grown its vertical network into one of the Internet’s largest.

Pluck was founded in 2003 and built a world-class social media platform that enables leading publishers, brands, and retailers to grow their audiences by seamlessly integrating content, community and social media technologies directly into their existing web properties.

More about Pluck

A leader in social media software solutions, Pluck helps transform how publishers, retailers and major brands engage their audiences and customers to discover, create and distribute information online. Providing the technologies for content generation, syndication, social networking and news personalization, Pluck helps its customers more easily consume and leverage the new open content model that has emerged as the cornerstone of Web 2.0.

Products
If your goal is to drive brand recognition and revenue by leveraging the power of user contributions and interaction on your web site, Pluck offers a complete suite of rich Social Media products called SiteLife. Ready for embedding into any web site, SiteLife helps build vibrant communities of active bloggers, citizen journalists and consumers while driving the creation of new content, traffic and repeat visits.

For bloggers and publishers, Pluck offers BlogBurst, a syndication service that places blogs on top-tier online destinations. With BlogBurst, publishers weave the rich and diverse fabric of the blogosphere into their sites to drive site traffic, while bloggers gain visibility and grow their audience and reach.

Management Team

Pluck was co-founded in 2003 by Dave Panos and Andrew Busey, two executives with entrepreneurial experience in some of the industry’s earliest efforts in instant messaging, real-time collaboration, e-commerce, and e-learning. Meet the Pluck management team.

Dave Panos – Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder
 
A software industry veteran with more than 16 years of start-up experience, Dave has helped define new markets across a range of Internet and Enterprise sectors. He co-founded Pluck as a Venture Partner at Austin Ventures. Previously, he was a co-founder and executive vice president for B2B eCRM provider Question Technologies (sold to Motive). For seven years, he was vice president of marketing and business development at web collaboration pioneer DataBeam before their successful sale to Lotus/IBM. Previously, Mr. Panos ran product management at Easel Corporation, a popular software development tool company that went public. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and his undergraduate degree from Furman University.

Will Ballard – Vice President and CTO
 
In his role as Chief Technical Officer at Pluck, Will oversees a team of 20 engineers responsible for the company’s software architecture, design, development and quality assurance. He is also responsible for the design and operation of the growing data center that runs key aspects of site services for Pluck customers, including Hearst Magazines, WashingtonPost.com, TheStreet.com and Cox Newspapers. Prior to joining Pluck, Will served in a variety of software development leadership roles where he designed and managed the development of massively scalable, high-velocity software platforms at NetSpeed (now Cisco), the outsourced network management and security provider for more than 10,000 businesses; NetSpend, high availability provider of credit card transaction services for leading financial institutions; and Works.com (now Bank of America), the automated corporate purchasing solution for corporate treasury operations.

Ken Nicolson – Chief Marketing Officer
 
As Chief Marketing Officer, Ken leads market and product expansion for Pluck social media platforms to further serve the audience engagement and analytics needs of digital publishers and advertisers around the globe. Prior to joining Pluck, Ken served as president and CEO at Veridiem, a software firm that helped global brands plan, measure and optimize their return on marketing investments. Before joining Veridiem, Ken served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Alphablox Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based analytics applications. He has also served in executive marketing positions at Kiva Software, Red Brick Systems, Informix and IBM. Ken received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Duke University.

Rachel Brush – Vice President of Operations and Content Services
 
As vice president of Operations and Content Services, Rachel oversees finance, legal and human resource operations for Pluck in the U.S. and Europe. She also leads the editorial and account management teams for the BlogBurst™ syndication network, which serves content from more than 4,000 top bloggers to leading media sites around the world. Before joining Pluck, Rachel spent eight years in leadership roles at Hoover’s, Inc., where she held various senior management positions, including serving as vice president of Content and vice president of Customer Operations and Quality. Previously Rachel worked in retail operations for industry giants, including Ann Taylor, LensCrafters and The Limited. Rachel holds a BA in English from The University of Texas at Austin and is pursuing an MBA in Operations and Business Management at St. Edward’s University. Rachel is also an Advisory Board Member of The Periwinkle Foundation, which provides summer camps and other activities for children with cancer.

Eric Newman – General Manager
 
Eric has a history of delivering successful embedded solutions for leading Internet and software companies. Prior to joining Pluck, Eric ran product management for data integration provider Pervasive (PVSW). He previously served as vice president of marketing at Powered, a provider of embedded internet marketing solutions. He was also director of portal solutions at AskJeeves (ASKJ) and served in various management roles at Lotus/DataBeam and Convergys. Eric earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his undergraduate degree in Marketing and Management Information Systems from the University of Cincinnati.

Steve Semelsberger – Vice President, Sales & Business Development
 
Steve manages the team responsible for global revenue and partnerships. Prior to Pluck, he spent nearly six years with Motive (MOTV) in Director roles over Alliances, EMEA and Segment Marketing, helping the firm grow to ~$100M in revenue and complete an IPO in 2004. Previous experience in Steve’s 15-year career includes product management, marketing and sales positions with iChat, NetRatings and several media and services companies. He holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Spain’s IESE, along with a BS in management from Binghamton University.

Stephanie Himoff – Vice President of UK Sales and Business Development
 
As vice president of UK sales and business development, Stephanie will direct UK and European sales operations. Stephanie brings to Pluck over a decade of experience spearheading the growth of Internet businesses in Europe. Most recently she worked with US-based travel search site, SideStep, on its expansion in the UK. Previously Stephanie served in executive management positions for European operations at DirectoryM, a premier online advertising network used by top publishers, including Newsweek and ZDNet. Stephanie also served as Managing Director in the UK and France for AltaVista, a web search company now owned by Overture, a division of Yahoo. She holds an MBA and a BA from the University of San Francisco as well as a masters in French from IESEG.

Adam Weinroth – Director of Product Marketing
 
Leading product marketing for Pluck, Adam plays a central role in formulating the vision, definition and delivery of the company’s syndication and publisher software services including the groundbreaking BlogBurst syndication network and SiteLife Social Media Suite. Adam joined the company in 2005 when Pluck acquired Easyjournal, a community blog publishing platform which Adam founded and grew to more than 100,000 registered users. Prior to creating Easyjournal in 2002, Adam held leadership roles in new product development and technology marketing with Mediatruck and IntelliQuest. Adam has a BBA in Marketing and an MBA focusing on Technology Marketing Strategy from The University of Texas at Austin.

Pluck is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and has received funding from Austin Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Reuters. Company was more known as rss software focused one when they started back in 2003.

More about Demand Media, Inc.

Demand Media™ is a leading social media company that provides an interactive, personalized and vertically-focused media experience for over 64 million unique users. By using its proprietary social media tools and the unique distribution platform of the world’s second largest domain registrar, the company connects content creators and audiences to grow its network of vertical media web properties. The privately held company was founded in May 2006 and is based in Santa Monica, CA, with offices in Bellevue, WA, Austin, TX and San Francisco, CA.

Demand Media was founded by former MySpace CEO Richard Rosenblatt. The company has been buying content sites and is rumored to be in preparations for a possible 2009 IPO, if and when the economy recovers. Their last round, $100M, was announced in September 2007. They’ve raised a total of more than $350M to date.

More

http://www.demandmedia.com/
http://www.pluck.com/
http://www.pluck.com/press/PluckPR-030408-Acquisition.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/04/demand-media-buys-pluck-for-50-million-to-60-million/
http://www.quantcast.com/pluck.com
http://siteanalytics.compete.com/pluck.com/?metric=uv
http://www.austinventures.com/
http://www.mayfield.com/
http://www.reuters.com/
http://riverace.statesmanblogs.com/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/pluck
http://www.demandmedia.com/demand-media-executives.asp
http://www.richard.tv/
http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSWEN431620080305

Taylor Nelson Sofres buys Compete.com

Compete, which started out in 2000 as an Idealab company, raised over $40M in funding to date, incurred $4.5M losses for the last year off $15M revenues and had hard time lately to compete with Quantcast has its exit day today. Compete has been acquired by the market research leader Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) for $75M plus another earn-out $75M through out 2008-2010 if certain conditions are met. Total acquisition price could possibly reach $150M. Compete.com calls that brilliant in their blog, which might be true taking into consideration that they have clearly lost the battle with Quantcast in the free traffic measurement space online. According to Compete’s own stats, it attracts about the same number of U.S. visitors a month as Alexa (727,000 for Compete versus 758,000 for Alexa), but Quantcast is the leader with more than double that (1.9M uniques). The deal and its price tag could also be called brilliant for Compete when compared to the comScore’s current market capitalization – $570M.

Since 2006 Compete tried almost everything on the PR front to gain popularity, create buzz, and increase its service awareness, but it had little to no success at all. In many aspects Compete’s traffic measurement, just like Alexa btw, is way inaccurate and incomplete when compared to quantified sites at Quantcast and perhaps TNS decided to buy the third or forth in the market due to a possible higher price Quantcast is currently looking for (or being not for sale) and the current market value comScore has. Both of them have been M&A targets for a while although no public facts are available as to whether TNS has been one of the suitors for either of the companies mentioned. By comparison, in 2007 Experian Group Ltd. paid $240 million to acquire another leading Web intelligence company, Hitwise Pty Ltd., which made money and had annual revenues of roughly $40 million. In other words, at a price tag of $75 million TNS is offering roughly 5 times Compete’s revenue, and it will pay 10 times sales if the target reaches the financial milestones stipulated under the earn-out clause. Experian paid a multiple of only 6 times sales for Hitwise.

One of the company’s latest developments was the partnership they made with Ask.com to provide compete data for sites on ask.com’s binoculars.

TNS is acquiring Compete primarily from a consortium of private venture capital companies. Compete is said it will continue to operate as a stand-alone company, but it has already identified stellar new product opportunities to develop with the TNS media intelligence and custom research teams.   

In additional to Idealab, Compete’s other investors include Charles River Ventures, Commonwealth Capital Partners, North Hill Ventures, Split Rock Partners, and William Blair Capital Partners. Total funding to date is $43M. Their investors were undoubtedly probably hoping for a much better outcome, but a solid double is better than nothing.

This acquisition brings together the global market information strength of TNS with Compete’s digital intelligence products and capabilities.  Digital intelligence combines data on user behavior and interactions on the internet with demographic and competitive information, to help businesses and marketers make critical, strategic and tactical business decisions. 

Through this acquisition, TNS will provide clients with new and valuable insights into how online consumer behavior affects purchasing decisions, enabling clients to improve their marketing effectiveness, both online and offline. Together, TNS and Compete will provide consumer, brand and media research and measurement services that will help businesses succeed in the digital marketing environment.

Compete conducts continuous analysis of internet clickstream data from close to 2 million people, weighted to match the US online population.  This information is used to measure how consumers consider, engage with and buy a client’s products or services online, relative to those of its competition.  This ability to analyze online behavior before a purchase is made enables Compete to advise clients on how to target online communications to individual consumers, to influence both their online and offline purchasing behavior.

As internet usage and e-retailing increases, clickstream data is expected to become a significant information source around which market research and analysis is based.  Recent estimates suggest that the US market in which Compete operates will grow from $325 million in 2007 to $500 million in 2009.  (Morgan Stanley research and Jupiter Research estimates of on-demand US web analytics market)

TNS will apply Compete’s ability to profile, measure and segment the online behavior of consumers to its own 6th dimension access panels.  This will start in the US, where TNS has a fully managed access panel of more than one million people and will then be extended across its network.  This will give TNS an unmatched ability to provide insight based on online and offline behavior and on consumer attitudes. 

David Lowden, Chief Executive of TNS, said: “This acquisition is an important move for TNS that builds on our ability to help clients understand consumer behavior in the new and highly complex digital world.  Compete has built a world-class digital intelligence capability that delivers multiple perspectives on how consumers engage with brands online. Its strength lies in its ability to provide competitive analysis of individuals’ online behavior, a rapidly growing section of the market that has enormous potential. 

“TNS will enhance this offering by putting it together with the understanding of consumer attitudes and behavior that we gain from our access panels.  We will use our network to offer this powerful combination to clients across the globe.  In the longer term, we will look at the opportunities to add further value by using our Worldpanel, Retail & Shopper and audience measurement capabilities to integrate data on purchasing and viewing behavior with internet search and shopping behavior.  We believe this will allow TNS to develop new syndicated and custom products, unique in our industry.”

Donald McLagan, Chairman and CEO of Compete, said: “We welcome this exciting opportunity to join one of the world’s most respected market information and insight groups.  Whether consumers buy online, or simply research online as they reach a purchasing decision, the marketing platforms they encounter bring major opportunities for brands.  Companies need to understand how the internet affects consumer preferences, attitudes, knowledge, understanding and motivation.  They also need help in maximizing the new online sales and marketing opportunities to target their prospective customers more effectively.  For the first time, we have given clients the opportunity to measure their effectiveness across all their marketing programmes.  This ability will be greatly enhanced when we are part of TNS.”

More about Compete

Compete, Inc. is a provider of analytics, research, and business intelligence. Compete gathers web behavior information from users who sign up at their site, then analyzes these data to create customized reports for client companies. Compete also offers a free web analytics tool for the general public at Compete.com.

Compete was founded in 2000 and is based in Boston, Massachusetts.  It analyses internet clickstream information received from its own panel and from internet service providers.  Compete uses proprietary data methodologies to normalize this data, making it representative of the entire US online market place. It specializes in the telecoms, media, automotive, financial services and travel industries, with a sector-based organization mirroring that of TNS.  It also has expertise in the field of online search evaluation.  Current management will remain with the company.  Clients, who include some of the world’s best-known brands, are engaged on a subscription basis, with analysis provided weekly or monthly.  The company has won a range of awards, including the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 two years in a row, the US Advertising Research Foundation David Ogilvy Award and the AdAge Power 150. Bill Gross is the company’s founder who had previously helped create the search engine that became Overture and later was acquired by Yahoo!.  

Compete has several competitors in enterprise-level web analytics and market research, including Nielsen/NetRatings, Hitwise, comScore, Amazon’s Alexa and Quantcast.

More about TNS

TNS is the third-largest market research firm across the globe (Honomichl)
TNS is the biggest provider of online market information in the world
TNS does more custom market research than any other firm worldwide
TNS Media Intelligence is the top-ranked ad spend measurement company
The TNS 6th Dimension access panels reach over two million consumers globally

The 1960s saw the creation of five of the market research companies that are at the heart of the Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) group today:

  • Intersearch in the USA in1960
  • AGB in UK in 1962
  • Sofres in France in 1963
  • Frank Small Associates in Australia in 1964
  • Taylor Nelson in UK in 1965
  • But the very first seeds had been sown in the USA in 1946, when NFO (National Family Opinion) opened for business.

In the 60s, 70s and 80s, all these companies grew significantly, introducing a wide and increasingly sophisticated range of research solutions and using the latest technological developments. And as they and their clients grew, they started to create their international networks:

Sofres opened offices in six European countries, the US and 12 countries in Asia Pacific
 
Taylor Nelson and AGB each developed a UK network of offices and began to acquire businesses in Europe

NFO grew to become the by-word for managed access panels in the USA
It soon became clear that brands were becoming global, and brand owners would need global market information partners.

In the 1990s, the market research industry started to consolidate, as major clients demanded an increasingly international service.

NFO made a series of acquisitions around the world and the companies that now form TNS responded to the changing market by joining forces, enabling them to deliver consistently high quality services to customers around the world.

  • Sofres acquired Secodip (1992)
  • Taylor Nelson joined with AGB  (1992)
  • Sofres combined with FSA (1995)
  • Sofres acquired Intersearch (1997)
  • Taylor Nelson AGB and Sofres merged (1997)
  • TNS acquired NFO (2003)

More
 
http://www.tnsglobal.com/
http://www.tnsglobal.com/investor-relations/news/news-E4DA1FFE67594CB6A72742C5A415BD1B.aspx
http://blog.compete.com/2008/03/03/tns-acquires-compete/
http://www.compete.com/
http://www.competeinc.com/
http://blog.compete.com/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/03/tns-buys-compete-for-75-million/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/compete
http://www.quantcast.com/
http://www.alexa.com/
http://www.comscore.com/
http://www.thealarmclock.com/mt/archives/2007/08/compete_ups_ant.html
http://www.competeinc.com/news_events/pressReleases/114/
http://blog.compete.com/2008/02/11/press-release-compete-celebrates-fifth-straight-year-of-record-growth/
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-compete-bought-by-tns-for-up-to-150-million/
http://www.centernetworks.com/tns-acquires-compete
http://www.thealarmclock.com/mt/archives/2007/08/compete_ups_ant.html
http://www.centernetworks.com/ask-partners-with-compete-binoculars
http://www.techconfidential.com/money-out/blog/money-out/british-market-research-firm-t.php
http://blog.arhg.net/2008/03/competecom-bought-for-75m.html
http://mashable.com/2008/03/03/compete-acquired/
http://searchengineland.com/080303-105153.php

Technorati is rumored to be in preparation of Blogger Ad Network

Rumors online claim Technorati is in serious preparation to lunch soon its own advertising network aimed at bloggers. The online advertising market, as we said a few times in our blog posts so far, is perhaps the hottest thing on web over the past 2 years and 2008 appears to be giving no signals of slowdown in the space. Basically there are many ad network players in the blogging space on Web like, of course, Google, AdBrite, FM Publishing, Glam Network, ReviewMe, and not last the controversial PayPerPost (now Izea) but from sentimental point of view Technorati has the best chances to make a bloggers ad network due to its first-to-market factor (Technorati was the first company to search in and deal with blogs anyway), devotion and dedication to the Bloggers on Web. Technorati is currently tracking 112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media so it makes sense to us if they can in one way or another turn those blogs into quiet participants into the newly planned bloggers ad network by Technorati. Many newly launched ad networks try to focus on relevancy and targeting technologies but, in our view, they are missing the core factor of being successful in running an ad network on Web – the amount of money you are going to pay your web publishers (bloggers). And the amount of money you pay is correlative to the amount of money you earn. In that parameter Google remains unbeaten at this moment with almost $4B pay out for the 2007.
 
Technorati is being said to be pitching venture capitalists on another round of financing since from what they took back in 2006 there might be little to nothing left over to keep their company and 25 employees alive. Another rumor claims the company has hired an investment bank in an attempt to shop itself around for potential buyers, simultaneous to their funding pitches.

The network is rumored to be something like a self-serve ad exchange for bloggers as well as for advertisers, perhaps something like bloggers ad exchange. Ad units will include both display and text ads, and will allow units to be charged on both a CPM and CPC basis.

Whatever the case is it is an interesting and predictable move for Technorati but the online ad market is getting more and more crowed. May be it has something to do with the most recent online ad data released by IAB putting the total number for the entire market at more than $21B for 2007.

More about Technorati

Technorati is currently tracking 112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media.

Technorati is the recognized authority on what’s happening on the World Live Web, right now. The Live Web is the dynamic and always-updating portion of the Web. We search, surface, and organize blogs and the other forms of independent, user-generated content (photos, videos, voting, etc.) increasingly referred to as “citizen media.”

But it all started with blogs. A blog, or weblog, is a regularly updated journal published on the web. Some blogs are intended for a small audience; others vie for readership with national newspapers. Blogs are influential, personal, or both, and they reflect as many topics and opinions as there are people writing them.

Blogs are powerful because they allow millions of people to easily publish and share their ideas, and millions more to read and respond. They engage the writer and reader in an open conversation, and are shifting the Internet paradigm as we know it.

On the World Live Web, bloggers frequently link to and comment on other blogs, creating the type of immediate connection one would have in a conversation. Technorati tracks these links, and thus the relative relevance of blogs, photos, videos etc. We rapidly index tens of thousands of updates every hour, and so we monitor these live communities and the conversations they foster.

The World Live Web is incredibly active, and according to Technorati data, there are over 175,000 new blogs (that’s just blogs) every day. Bloggers update their blogs regularly to the tune of over 1.6 million posts per day, or over 18 updates a second.

Technorati. Who’s saying what. Right now

Technorati Management Team

Richard Jalichandra
President & Chief Executive Officer
Richard is a veteran Internet executive whose media experience includes leadership roles across the media spectrum: as a client, at an agency, as a publisher, and with an advertising network. Most recently, he worked as an M&A and strategy consultant for several Internet properties and investment firms, and also served as SVP of Corporate Development for Exponential Interactive, Tribal Fusion’s parent company. Previously, he was SVP of Business Development for Fox Interactive Media, and was the Vice President of Business & Corporate Development at IGN Entertainment (acquired by Fox Interactive), where he led the company’s M&A, business development and international activities. Before joining IGN, Richard led national accounts sales at Lycos, was Vice President of Business Development at Neopost Online, served as Senior Vice President/Managing Director of Answerthink, and founded K23 Creative Services in Singapore. His early career included management roles for Ford, IBM and Siemens, and he has a B.S. in business administration from the University of Southern California and an M.B.A. from the University of Washington.

Dorion Carroll
Vice President of Engineering
Dorion Carroll is a 20-year veteran engineer with deep experience developing product and services in areas including search, email processing, e-commerce, personalization, ad targeting, CRM, data warehousing, order management and financial services. Prior to joining Technorati, Dorion was director of engineering at Postini, Vice President of Engineering and General Manager of Neomeo (which was acquired by Postini), Technologist-in-Residence at Softbank Venture Capital, and Senior Director of Engineering at Excite@Home, among other roles. Dorion has a Bachelor of Arts from Pitzer College, with four years Mathematics / Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont, California.

Peter Hirshberg
Chairman of the Executive Committee & CMO, Technorati Inc.
Peter Hirshberg is an entrepreneur and marketing innovator who has led emerging media and technology companies at the center of disruptive change for more than 20 years. As Chairman & Chief Marketing Officer of Technorati, he oversees the company’s sales, marketing and business development activities as well as its partnerships with the media, entertainment and marketing industries. Previously Hirshberg served as president and CEO of Gloss.com, the online prestige beauty business co-owned by Estee Lauder Companies, Chanel and Clarins; he was Chairman of Interpacket Networks, the global leader in Internet-by-satellite (sold to American Tower in 2000), and was founder and CEO of Elemental Software (sold to Macromedia in 1999). Peter was at Apple Computer for nine years where he held a number of leadership positions, including Director of Enterprise Markets. He is a Trustee of The Computer History Museum and a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Peter earned his bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth College and his MBA at Wharton.

Joi Ito
Vice President of International Business and Mobile Devices, Technorati Inc.
Joichi Ito is in charge of international and mobility development for Technorati. He is founder and CEO of Neoteny, a venture capital firm which is the lead investor in Six Apart, and is on the board of Creative Commons. He has created numerous Internet companies including PSINet Japan, Digital Garage, and Infoseek Japan. In 1997, Time Magazine ranked him as a member of the CyberElite. In 2000 he was ranked among the “50 Stars of Asia” by Business Week and commended by the Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for supporting the advancement of IT. In 2001 the World Economic Forum chose him as one of the 100 “Global Leaders of Tomorrow” for 2002. He was appointed as a member of Howard Dean’s Net Advisory Net during the Dean campaign.

Teresa Malo
Chief Financial Officer
Teresa is a CPA with over 17 years experience in finance and operations, and she’s responsible for Technorati’s financial, legal, and HR organizations. She has worked with technology startup companies such as Calico Commerce and Zambeel, as well as with established companies, including Arbor Software and Silicon Graphics. Teresa started her career as an accountant with Pannell, Kerr, Forster, a national public accounting firm. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Computer Information systems from Arizona State University and the University of Washington.

Technorati Board of Directors

David L. Sifry
Founder & Chairman of the Board, Technorati, Inc.
David Sifry is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of software development and industry experience. Before founding Technorati, Dave was cofounder and CTO of Sputnik, a Wi-Fi gateway company, and previously, he was cofounder of Linuxcare, where he served as CTO and VP of Engineering. Dave also served as a founding member of the board of Linux International and on the technical advisory board of the National Cybercrime Training Partnership for law enforcement. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. Dave can often be found speaking on panels and giving lectures on a variety of technology issues, ranging from wireless spectrum policy and Wi-Fi, to Weblogs and Open Source software.

Peter Hirshberg
Chairman of the Executive Committee & CMO, Technorati Inc.

Joi Ito
Vice President of International Business and Mobile Devices, Technorati, Inc.

Ryan McIntyre
Principal, Mobius Venture Capital
Ryan McIntyre joined Mobius Venture Capital in 2000 as an Associate Partner and was promoted to Principal in 2001. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. McIntyre co-founded Excite in 1993, which went public in 1996 and later became Excite@Home (Nasdaq:ATHM) following the merger of Excite and @Home in 1999. There he held the role of Principal Engineer and was a key technological contributor to the company’s search engine and content management systems, and also led the design and implementation of Excite’s community and commerce platforms. Mr. McIntyre holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University. While at Stanford, he published research on genetic algorithms in the The First IEEE Conference on Evolutionary Computation, and studied at Stanford’s overseas campus in Berlin, Germany.

Sanford R. Robertson
Principal, Francisco Partners
Sanford R. Robertson is a principal of Francisco Partners, one of the world’s largest technology buyout funds. With a focus on structured investments in technology and technology-related businesses, Francisco Partners is a pioneer in the private equity category of Technology Buyouts. Prior to founding Francisco Partners, Mr. Robertson was the founder and chairman of Robertson, Stephens & Co., a leading technology investment bank formed in 1978, and sold to BankBoston in 1998. Mr. Robertson was also the founder of Robertson, Colman, Siebel & Weisel, later renamed Montgomery Securities, another prominent technology investment bank. He has had significant financing involvement in more than 500 growth technology companies throughout his career, including 3Com Corporation (Nasdaq: COMS), America Online, Inc., Applied Materials, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), Ascend Communications Inc., Dell Computer Corporation (Nasdaq: DELL), E*Trade Securities, Inc. (Nasdaq: ETFC), Siebel Systems, Inc. and Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW). Mr. Robertson received both a B.A. and an M.B.A. with Distinction from the University of Michigan.

Andreas Stavropoulous
Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Mr. Stavropoulos focuses primarily on software investments (enterprise infrastructure and consumer/Internet), wireless networking, and technology-enabled services. Prior to joining DFJ, Mr. Stavropoulos was with McKinsey & Company’s San Francisco office, where he worked with senior management teams of corporate clients with an emphasis on information technology. Prior to McKinsey, he was a Senior Analyst at Cornerstone Research, a financial and economic consulting firm that helps resolve complex issues arising in high-profile business litigation. Mr. Stavropoulos holds Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in computer science from Harvard University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar and graduated first in his class.

More

http://technorati.com/
http://technorati.com/weblog/
https://web2innovations.com/money/2008/01/13/technorati%e2%80%99s-total-funding-revealed-216-to-date-in-3-rounds/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/02/29/technorati-to-launch-blogger-advertising-network/
http://www.sifry.com/alerts/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/04/exclusive-technorati-relaunches-to-focus-on-core-blogging-audience/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/technorati
http://www.niallkennedy.com/blog/2006/12/google-blog-search-technorati-market-share.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/05/technorati-drops-content-older-than-6-months-old/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/12/28/google-v-technorati-and-hitwise-v-comscore/
http://www.centernetworks.com/why-comparing-technorati-to-google-blog-search-is-not-valid
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Blog_search_engines
http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000492.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/04/03/technoratis-mating-dance/
http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000492.html
http://atomicbomb.typepad.com/
http://www.centernetworks.com/web-apps-customer-service-face-off#technorati
http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1638266_1638253_1638241,00.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/01/new-technorati-ceo-has-a-challenge-ahead/
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=prnw.20071001.AQM180&show_article=1&lsn=1
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/08/16/watching-technorati-and-podtech-fall-apart/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/30/techmeme-leaderboard-to-launch-attacking-technoratis-last-stronghold/
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/0/2/9a2 (Richard Jalichandra)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-thu_tagsjun14,0,3843733.story?coll=chi-business-hed
http://valleywag.com/tech/rumormonger/technoratis-search-247549.php
http://markevanstech.com/2007/04/03/talking-up-technorati/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,1937507,00.html
http://www.time.com/time/globalbusiness/article/0,9171,1565540,00.html
http://sramanamitra.com/2006/02/23/technorati-valuation-without-revenue/
http://www.iac.com/businesses.html
http://mysqluc.com/presentations/mysql06/carroll_dorion.ppt

The entire internet advertising market was estimated at $21B in 2007

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has today released its estimation about the total online advertising market for the entire 2007, which was said has been over $21B with nearly $6B in Q4 2007. 

Both IAB and PwC say that this is yet another record year measured year-over-year – a 25% increase over the previous revenue record of nearly $16.9 billion for full year 2006.

Other research companies like the Kelsey Group and IDC put U.S. Internet advertising for 2007 at $22.5B and $25.5B respectively. The Kelsey Group also provides a global estimate of $45 billion for Internet advertising, which is 7.4 percent of the total $600 billion global advertising market. This perhaps can explain why 2007 was full with deals for any type and size of online ad networks, companies and exchanges. We do expect the trend to be preserved for the next 2 years. The internet advertising market in its various types and media is growing more than ever before and is creating huge opportunities for all new entrants as well as for the serious players like Google, which is the dominant force on the market of online advertising with over $10B in annual revenues from contextual ads.

“Interactive media continue their unabated growth,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the IAB. “There is no media as measurable as interactive, and they provide products and services at the precise moment a consumer desires them. I applaud the industry on maintaining this extraordinary momentum of innovation, which has fundamentally changed the way we live today.”

“The record $21.1 billion year of interactive advertising is the culmination of consecutive record quarters throughout 2007,”said David Silverman, partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers. “The continued record growth evidences the importance and uniqueness of interactive media to both consumers and the marketers that are trying to reach them.”

The IAB sponsors the Internet Advertising Revenue Report, which is conducted independently by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The full report is issued twice yearly for full and half-year data, and top-line quarterly estimates are issued for the first, third and fourth quarters. Fourth quarter and full-year online ad revenue estimates result from surveying and aggregating data from the top 15 online ad sellers, and then extrapolating those to calculate the total estimated industry revenue figure.

Some people have commented online that they think this is causing Google’s stock to drop today with almost 6%. Their current market cap is roughly $144B which is more than 6x the total market for their entire industry per year. That’s also half of what Microsoft has offered for Yahoo! alone.

About PricewaterhouseCoopers
PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. More than 146,000 people in 150 countries across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. “PricewaterhouseCoopers” refers to the network of member firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.

About the IAB
Founded in 1996, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (www.iab.net) represents over 375 leading interactive companies that actively engage in and support the sale of interactive advertising. IAB members are responsible for selling over 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the continuing growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices, fields interactive effectiveness research, and educates marketers, agencies, and media companies, as well as the wider business community, about the value of interactive advertising.

About The Kelsey Group’s Annual Forecast
The Kelsey Group has published a five-year forecast covering the broadly defined directional and Internet media market annually since 2003. The firm draws from its proprietary data, primarily the Local Commerce Monitor, User View and Global View studies, as well as from company, industry and country information in the public domain. Further, Kelsey Group analysts engage clients and non-clients in numerous discussions about the direction and pace of development in the local media marketplace. The Kelsey Group’s Annual Forecast is available to clients of the firm’s continuous advisory services. This forecast does not include mobile ad platforms. The Kelsey Group’s mobile forecast, released in September 2007, will be updated later in 2008.

About The Kelsey Group
The Kelsey Group is the leading provider of research, data and strategic analysis on directories, small-business advertising, online local media, vertical market advertising and mobile advertising. Founded in 1986, the company has built a reputation as the premier analyst firm covering the directory publishing community and the emerging local search marketplace, providing advisory services (The Kelsey Report®, Interactive Local Media and Marketplaces), publishing (Global Yellow Pages™), consulting (more than 400 individual assignments) and conferences (71 events).

More

http://www.iab.net/about_the_iab/recent_press_releases/press_release_archive/press_release/195115?o12499=
http://www.kelseygroup.com
http://www.iab.net
http://www.pwc.com
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/02/26/estimates-put-internet-advertising-at-21-billion-in-us-45-billion-globally/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/12/iab-internet-advertising-continues-to-head-north/
http://www.kelseygroup.com/press/pr080225.asp
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/02/11/idc-googles-ad-market-share-slipped-in-fourth-quarter/
https://web2innovations.com/money/2007/12/31/some-of-the-web%e2%80%99s-biggest-acquisition-deals-during-2007/

Glam Media raises a massive round of funding – $85M

A controversial site Glam that runs both a network of its own web sites as well as runs ads on a network of third party sites geared towards women online has raised a massive amount of funding – $85M.

Glam Publishing Network operates more than 450 popular and influential lifestyle websites, blogs and magazines, but it seems Glam.com is the main anchor with the largest reach among those web properties. They also sell advertisements for other sites, which make up the vast bulk of its huge amount of page views. The network has been criticized in the past for claiming to be the largest women’s site on the Internet, and the fastest growing site in the U.S., based on traffic coming from third party sites they sell ads for. We tend to agree with those arguments because we do believe it is inaccurate for an ad network to claim the traffic of its participating web publishers for its own. ComScore allows publishers to “assign” their traffic to another organization, letting ad networks pool the traffic from all client sites. If a widely used ad network like Google AdSense used this system, Google’s network would be by far the largest. But, it’s a disingenuous statistic, especially since Glam likes to pretend it’s not an ad network.

Glam, opposes that it’s more than a network: They say, like Microsoft has done with Facebook and Digg, and Google has done with MySpace, their network buys up some sites’ ad inventories at a guaranteed rate. That means the profit — the loss respectively — from those ad buys is entirely Glam’s. But it’s said to be a very risky business model. For an example even the mighty Google has recently said, in their earnings call, that ads on MySpace weren’t performing quite well, which means losses for Google. So what will happen to Glam if the ad inventory they are buying does not perform well too?

Public information is that Glam pockets about 40 to 50 percent of the revenues it gets from advertising on its partner sites, giving the rest back to the publishing partner. What is remarkable is that Glam pays nothing to produce the content on those publisher sites, meaning it is milking those sites for a full 40 to 50 percent of their worth — merely for providing them with advertising technology.

Nonetheless the company has shown a tremendous increase of its traffic compared to the year before. ComScore reports that worldwide uniques across all sites that Glam sells advertising for had nearly 47 million unique visitors and 1.1 billion page views. Glam Network says it has over 200,000 quality articles across the sites involved.

Glam has landed some top-tier investors like Hubert Burda Media, GLG and DAG. Glam has offices in Brisbane, Calif. and New York and the pre-money valuation is said to be $425M.

Glam Media, Inc. has closed $84.6 million in private financing, with $64.6 million in Series D funding and $20 million in revenue-based debt financing. Proceeds of the financing will be used to accelerate the growth of the company’s distributed media network that connects premium brand display advertisers with online audiences worldwide.  The equity financing round is led by Hubert Burda Media, an international media powerhouse and publisher of more than 260 magazines titles and an investor in more than 25 high-growth digital holdings.
 
Other investors for the round include:  GLG Partners, a leading alternative asset manager; Duff Ackerman & Goodrich Ventures (DAG), a leading crossover fund with a rich history in Internet and TV networks; and existing investors Accel Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Walden Ventures and Information CapitalHercules Technology Growth Capital, a leading provider of debt and equity capital, will provide the debt financing.

The new funding will fuel Glam Media’s aggressive global expansion in 2008 across new territories and categories, focusing on transforming brand display advertising on the Web as the market shifts away from the dominance of portals and destination sites to the distributed media network model that Glam Media helped pioneer. The funding will also be used to make strategic acquisitions, invest in technology to grow the distributed media model and further global growth.

Christiane zu Salm, who joins the executive management board of Hubert Burda Media in April 2008, will join the Glam Media Board of Directors as an observer.  Ms. zu Salm was founder of interactive TV network Neun Live and formerly managing director of MTV Central Europe.  Dr. Marcel Reichart, managing director of Research & Development, Marketing and Communications at Burda, and co-founder of the prestigious DLD conference, will oversee the relationship between Burda and Glam.  In a separate announcement today, Glam unveiled its rollout in key international markets starting in the United Kingdom, where Glam along with its publishers is already number one in audience reach, ahead of long established media companies including iVillage and CondeNet.

“Glam Media is well positioned to enable global brand advertisers via their distributed media network model,” said Dr. Marcel Reichart of Hubert Burda Media.  “The investment by Burda leverages our strong position in women and lifestyle media brands and further enables our transformation towards digital media.”

“Glam Media is ideally situated as an influential player in the emerging global digital media landscape,” said Samir Arora, chairman and CEO of Glam Media.  “In 2007, Glam Media was the fastest-growing in comScore Media Metrix Top 50 properties, becoming the number one women’s property on the Web in the U.S. with unprecedented speed.  With fragmentation increasing on the Web, our proven distributed media network model both supports our key publishers and is the optimal way to bring premium brand display advertisers to the Web.”

Banc of America Securities and Allen & Company served as the lead placement agents, with Deutsche Bank as a participating investment bank helping in the placement of this round.

Glam Media continues to experience significant growth both in traffic to Glam-owned-and -operated properties and via the reach of its publisher network of 450+ lifestyle websites and blogs.  Recent strategic hires—including senior sales executive John Trimble from Fox Interactive, former Yahoo! Smart Ads platform executive Dr. Kiumarse Zamanian and Joe Lagani, former Conde Nast publisher—further position the company to take advantage of the market focus and demand for premium brand display advertising.

Glam Media’s distributed media network currently includes Style, Living, Entertainment, Wellness and Shopping channels.  Each channel brings together a blend of original editorial, syndicated and media partner content and curated content from the 450+ sites in the Glam Publisher Network.  Glam Media provides media services—display and video advertising, content syndication, advertorials, search and other application services to its highly select network of publishers and managed vertical networks for traditional media companies.  Glam Media’s pioneering distributed media model has helped hundreds of publishers start and build their businesses by helping them focus on what they love doing the most—creating original content and engaging their audience—while Glam Media creates the “ecosystem” that helps support and leverage the publishers’ power for advertisers worldwide.

More about Hubert Burda Media

Hubert Burda Media is a $2.4 billion in revenue international media group with more than 7,000 employees that first entered the market more than 100 hundred years ago.  Today, the company’s portfolio comprises more than 260 magazines worldwide, over 25 digital holdings, radio networks and television productions as well as media sales, printing and direct marketing operations.

More about Glam Media

Glam Media’s distributed media network model is revolutionizing the very definition of what a media company is in the 21st Century.  With 44 million global unique monthly visitors (comScore MediaMetrix), Glam Media provides a compelling mix of fresh, original content created in-house with a carefully curated Glam Publishing Network of more than 450 popular and influential lifestyle websites, blogs and magazines. For premium national brand advertisers, Glam Media offers an unprecedented array of targeted options that are singularly attractive to both upscale and aspirational consumers.

About the founder

Samir Arora, Founder, Chairman, and CEO
Samir Arora founded lifestyle hub Glam Media to create a better way for brand advertisers to connect with their audiences on the Web. A tech-industry veteran, Arora was previously the chairman of Emode/Tickle, Inc, which was later sold to Monster in June 2004. Prior to that, Arora was chairman and CEO of NetObjects, Inc. where he drove the creation of the first web site building product NetObjects Fusion. Arora also currently serves as chairman of Information Capital LLC, a venture capital fund based in Woodside, Calif., that invests in leading-edge “big idea companies” in consumer publishing, media, and technology.

Other team members include:

Fernando Ruarte
Co-founder, CTO and VP, Engineering
Scott Schiller
EVP, Sales, Women’s Markets
John Trimble
EVP, New Markets Sales
Carl Portale
VP and Publishing Director
Joe Lagani
VP and GM, Glam Living
Karin Marke
VP, Sales, Western Region
Jack Rotolo
VP, Sales, Eastern Region
Bernard Desarnauts
VP, Products and Marketing
Scott Swanson
VP and GM, Glam Media Publisher Network
Raj Narayan
Co-founder and Architect
Dianna Mullins
Co-Founder, VP Glam Publisher Network & Ad Operations
Ralf Hirt,
VP, International
Jennifer Salant
VP, Business Development
Ernie Cicogna
Co-Founder and CFO

Online sources have reported than Glam was looking to raise as much as $200M in August 2007. A document from Glam’s financial advisers, leaked on the Internet last year, suggested the above whopping amount but Mr. Arora says that Glam didn’t plan to raise that much in this round, and that the funds actually raised exceeded its board’s targets. He says the company expects to continue to increase its debt financing to as much as $100 million, in line with its revenue growth. Theresia Gouw Ranzetta, a Glam director and general partner at Accel Partners, a Glam investor, says she had initially wanted the company to raise just $40 million or $50 million. She concluded it wouldn’t be bad to raise a bit more as a “rainy-day fund” because of current macroeconomic uncertainty. The company, according to their original offering document is not yet profitable. They lost around $3.7M on $21M in revenue in 2007 but they project revenues in $150M range for 2008 with promised $40M in profit. The company was launched in 2005 and had previously taken $30M. The company has an ambitious plan to build its own “AdSense”, which they call Glam Evolution Ad Platform.

Major competitors include iVillage, AOL Women, CondeNet, Elle.com, auFeminin.com, Womensforum.com, SINA Women, QQ.com Women, BabyCenter Network, among others.

In today’s hugely competitive environment ad networks are working in everything boils down to who pays more the web publishers. Glam claims it pays most to its web publishers, but it is hard to believe how Glam can out pay Google when they had just $21M in revenues last year while Google’s payout was almost $4B to its web publishers for 2007. Let’s put it that way who earns more from the ad networks is who is going to be capable enough to pay more to the web publishers.  
More

http://www.glam.com/
http://www.glammedia.com
http://www.glammedia.com/about_glam/news/2008/02/25/glam-media-raises-85-million-in-private-strategic-financing/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/02/24/glam-closes-massive-d-round/
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120390178731489459.html
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/412152/Glam-Media-Teaser-August-2007
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/08/12/is-glam-a-sham/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/13/more-misplaced-glam-exhuberance/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/glammedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glam_Media,_Inc.
http://venturebeat.com/2008/02/24/womans-network-glam-raises-846-million-at-half-a-billion-valuation-adconian-raises-80m/
http://www.glammedia.com/about_glam/our_story/competitive_landscape.php
http://news.speeple.com/business2.com/2007/08/13/bubble-watch-glam-media-shops-around-a-200-million-private-placement.htm
http://valleywag.com/360436/glam-media-raises-84-million-far-short-of-its-200-million-goal
http://valleywag.com/tech/online-advertising/glam-media-not-looking-so-beautiful-288964.php
http://venturebeat.com/2008/02/20/trends-secretive-new-york-bank-allen-co-gets-into-silicon-valley-media-tech/
http://www.foliomag.com/2008/glam-media-gets-85m-private-equity-financing
http://samirarora.com/html/bio.html

Peanut Labs closes its Series A round of funding

Yesterday we were tipped off that both LeapFrog Ventures and BV Capital have invested in San Francisco start-up called Peanut Labs. The funding is in the $3.2M range and is the company’s Series A round.

Peanut Labs helps social networks monetize, not through the traditional ad-based models, but via market researches and online surveys. The company also says that publishers — more than 70 found on social networks, applications and online communities like Facebook, MySpace, and members of Google’s OpenSocial — receive on average $20,000 per publisher a month.

CEO and Founder Murtaza Hussain isn’t new to the business. Peanut Labs developed their technology based on their own efforts to monetize Xuqa, the now-profitable social network in Turkey. By expanding this business model across several social networks, Peanut Labs proves that social networks and Facebook apps can create profitable revenue streams.

Peanut Labs is said to be profitable but no public information as to the revenues and profits is available, aside claiming profitability and seven figure revenues. The same is for the next year – Peanut Labs expects eight figure revenues in 2008. It can be anything between $1M and $9M and it could also mean anything between $10M and $99M respectively!?

The $3.2 million cash infusion will be used for continued product development towards Peanut Labs’ patent pending market research sampling technology, which is highly effective at reaching the sought after 13-25 year-old demographic known as Gen-Y.  The funding will also be used to actively service Peanut Labs’ burgeoning list of market research clients and enhance the survey-taking experience, a crucial part of Peanut Labs’ Sample3.0 technology.

“With surveys from the gaming, consumer products, entertainment, automotive and cellular industries, the demand for our uninhibited access to this taste-making demographic is exploding.  This round of funding will allow us to expand service to our active list of premier market research clients to give them the highest quality sample,” said Murtaza Hussain, chief executive officer and co-founder of Peanut Labs.  “We feel our business model proves that social networks have alternative ways to maintain profitability that yield revenue increases up to five times higher than with ineffective, ad-based models.”

Found across more than seventy social networks, Peanut Labs helps web publishers create revenue streams through market research surveys.  Each time a member of the social network completes a survey, the publisher earns a sum of money.

“Partnering with Peanut Labs has proven to be a most profitable way to monetize our Facebook applications,” said Josh Liptzin, CEO of Phase 2, Inc., a Peanut Labs publisher.  “There has been much talk surrounding the effectiveness of advertising as a means of revenue, but there is no question that Peanut Labs’ market research surveys are an excellent source of income and appealing to our users to enhance their overall experience.”

More about Peanut Labs

Peanut Labs is a rapidly growing provider of market research services backed by the investors of Skype, Yahoo eGroups and Del.icio.us. We provide access to hard-to-reach demographics for market researchers – and are the leading provider of Gen Y sample for market researchers today.
 
We have developed a research technology integrated across 70+ social networks and an online community that has demographically profiled, aggregated, and engages with millions of members each day. Our technology provides access to a recruitment audience of more than 27 million users.
 
Peanut Labs has partnered with many of the most popular MySpace, FaceBook and Google Open Social applications.

The company claims their network is able to reach more than 10 million users. Their platform enables publishers to better monetize their communities by allowing their users to participate in market research studies. On the other side their platform enables market researchers to gather high-quality data from Gen Y users by reaching them where they spend most of their time – on the Net. Because of their recruiting methods, their panel is free of professional survey takers. Peanut Labs enables access to hard-to-reach groups for the market research community.

Peanut Labs claims to have more than 70 sites participating in their network with total audience of 27M where the daily reach is said to be 4M. The site also claims to have 58 new sites applying to join the network monthly with only 10% of them being accepted.

The company also claims to be able to increase your revenues 3x – 5x more than what your are earning from advertising, which means 100,000 – $1 million in net profit for your organization in one year.

To be eligible, your site needs to have an Alexa ranking of 10,000 or better. At least 25% of your users must be from the US. You must have some way to communicate with individual, registered users (such as on-site messages or emails) on your site. And you need to have some type of incentive system (point, virtual items, community rankings, premium content, locked features etc).
 
Alexa ranking is seriously discredited so we do not understand why Peanut Labs is relying on Alexa to determine the real number of visitors a web site has.

The People

Murtaza Hussain, Chief Executive Officer Murtaza Hussain is the co-founder and CEO of Peanut Labs, provider of advanced market research services and developer of Sample3.0. In his role, Murtaza leads the company’s overall strategy and product direction. Murtaza has been instrumental in forming industry changing partnerships that bridge social media and online communities with the business application needs of the market research community.
 
In recent years, Murtaza has been heavily involved in the technologies supporting social media, and is has developed expertise in the practice of building online communities. Murtaza participates regularly as a speaker at industry events, including the Facebook Developer’s Conference, Widget Summit 2007, SNAP Summit, and Community Next.
 
He was most recently co-founder of XuQa.com, a leading online casual gaming community, which was built to 2M+ users and profitability. In 2001, Murtaza founded Gaming Ventura, an international entrepreneurship holding group which he has successfully been leading in his capacity as President for the previous 6 years.
 
Murtaza is a natural inventor and web developer, leading his team to three consecutive first-place finishes in the Intel International Schools Educational Olympiad from 1999-2001. He was the captain of Team Pakistan in the International Enterprise Olympics, where his team finished third globally. For two seasons, Murtaza also hosted a national youth TV show in Pakistan that boasted a viewership of more than 10 million.
 
He was pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology at Williams College, MA prior to leaving academia to start the company.

Other members of the management include Ali Moiz, Prosper Nwankpa, Sean Case, M. Noman Ali and Lisa Duryea.  Board of Directors include Murtaza Hussain, Prosper Nwankpa, Thomas Gieselmann, Pete Sinclair and Simon Chadwick.

Investors

BV Capital
Silicon Valley and European based BV Capital invests in new opportunities and innovations in the internet space. BV Capital’s portfolio includes companies that are significantly changing the landscape of business and communication today including Angie’s List, Cranite, and shopping.com (eBay).
LeapFrog Ventures
Enablers of great ideas, LeapFrog Ventures has invested in companies that are well positioned for high growth. Known for their commitment to excellence, LeapFrog has had a selective portfolio companies including Octel, Symantec, Intrisa, Striva Software and Netli.

The company has also been named one of 50 “Companies to Watch in 2008” by the Dow Jones VentureOne Summit advisory board.

Similar companies include AdFish, PollDaddy.com, Constantcontact.com/survey, surveyclub.com and BoxTticker.com, among others. 

More

http://www.peanutlabs.com
http://www.peanutlabs.com/peanutlabs/files/documents/PeanutLabs_Sample3.pdf
http://ventureonesummit.dowjones.com/
http://en.oreilly.com/gspwest2008/public/schedule/speaker/2026
http://www.pehub.com/article/articledetail.php?articlepostid=10405
http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/gen/company.html?gcode=74717C66139341F49A7F47D27A548B82
http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2008/02/18/daily6.html
http://www.leapfrogventures.com
http://www.bvcapital.com/

After Internet Brands, LogMeIn, now Al Gore’s Current TV files for an IPO and plans to go public

It seems it is time for small-sized Internet and technology IPOs. After Internet Brands, Inc. went public on NASDAQ, LogMeIn, Inc. filed to do so now Al Gore’s Current is looking forward to do the same. Unlike Internet Brands Inc and LogMeIn, Inc, Current TV is purely from the web 2.0 age, so it would be of particular interest for all companies from the web 2.0 sector to see how the company goes public and what is going to happen after their IPO. The company is planning to raise $100M on $63.8M revenues for the last year with operating losses in the $6M range.

Current TV is, under no doubt, mostly popular due to its co-founder the ex Vice President Al Gore. The registrant is Current Media, Inc., which is the parent company for current.com and Current TV. It has filed to trade on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol CRTM.

Current is a global participatory media company with the goal of democratizing media by engaging, informing and enriching our young adult audience and encouraging their participation across platforms. The company operates a television network, Current TV, and a website, Current.com, where they all distribute viewer-created content as well as internally developed and acquired content that is relevant to the lives of young adults. The company believes the combination of their television and Internet platforms creates an immersive and interactive viewer experience for our growing global audience, where the audience participates in both the creation and selection of the content it engages with on both Current TV and Current.com.

The company’s primary sources of revenue are affiliate fees and advertising. Affiliate fees are derived from long-term distribution agreements with cable, satellite and telecommunications operators who pay Current Media, Inc. a monthly fee for each subscriber household that receives Current TV. In the United States, the company’s affiliate customers include DirecTV, Comcast, EchoStar, Time Warner and AT&T. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, affiliate customers include British Sky Broadcasting, or BSkyB, and Virgin Media. In the Spring of 2008, the company has plans to launch in Italy on Sky Italia. Advertising revenue is derived from advertisers who pay for sponsorships and spot advertisements. Selected advertising customers include Toyota, T-Mobile, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Geico and L’Oreal. Affiliate revenues accounted for 84% of the company’s total revenues for 2007.

Current TV was launched in August 2005 in approximately 19 million subscriber households in the United States and is now available in approximately 51 million subscriber households in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland. In 2006 and 2007, the company recorded revenue of $37.9 million and $63.8 million, respectively where the operating losses were $4.8 million in 2006 and $6.1 million in 2007.

The company intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to repay in full the principal and accrued interest on an outstanding loan from Dylan Holdings, Inc., which amounted to $30.4 million as of December 31, 2007. The loan is in the form of a senior purchase money note, has an interest rate of 9.25% and matures in May 2008. The company issued this note in May 2004 as part of the purchase price for our acquisition of the NWI television network. NWI television network was purchase in 2004 for $70.9 million, including intangible assets consisting of affiliate distribution arrangements valued at $13.7 million.

The company also intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to repay in full the principal and accrued interest on their outstanding promissory notes, which amounted to $6.1 million at December 31, 2007. The entered into a note purchase agreement in September 2006 with a consortium of lenders pursuant to which they issued the revolving promissory notes. All of these lenders are currently equity investors in the company. Under the terms of these notes, they borrowed $5M and have made no payments. These notes bear interest at a rate of 15% for the first year and 18% thereafter, which compounds quarterly. In accordance with the terms of these notes, interest is added to the principal through May 4, 2008, at which time the unpaid principal and interest become payable in full.

The company intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to repay in full the principal and accrued interest on an outstanding note payable to Oracle Credit Corporation, which amounted to $64,000 at December 31, 2007. The company entered into this note payable in May 2006 in connection with the purchase of software and support. The note bears interest at the rate of 9.83%. Under the terms of the note, interest is added to the principal balance. The note requires annual payments of $36,000 on the first day of September of each year until 2009, at which time the final payment of $36,000 is due.

The remaining net proceeds from this offering is planned to be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes. Additionally, the company might also expand their existing business through acquisitions of other complementary businesses, products, services or technologies, although no agreements are currently in place for such acquisitions at this time.

Basically Current relies on its innovative approach, although it is called in their prospectus “innovative but unproven”.

Current was founded with the goal of cost-effectively engaging young adults with news, entertainment and lifestyle programming centered on what is going on in their world. We recognized that to reach young adults it was necessary to reach them via television, where they spend a lot of time and where there is a proven business model, as well as on the Internet, a medium where they are also very active. To do this, we launched a television channel, Current TV, and more recently a website, Current.com. The two serve as distinct consumer destinations, but they are also symbiotic and form a combined platform with which Current engages its audience. Key aspects of our solution include:

Current’s new network model.
Our focus on user-generated content provides a unique connection with our young adult audience. We engage young adults by telling stories in their voices and from their perspectives. We have redefined the scope of “news” for young adults, and broadened our programming to include an array of subjects that are important to our audience.

Current’s programming.
Current has developed a programming model built on several unique content offerings, all designed to reflect the tastes and lifestyles of our target 18-34 year-old audience. Our programming is presented in short segments that we call “pods,” which are typically 2-10 minutes in length, rather than traditional half-hour or hour-long programming blocks.

Current’s innovative advertising solution. 
Our advertising model is designed to appeal to the lifestyles, tastes and needs of young adults. A key solution that we provide advertisers is the ability to let our young adult viewers create commercials that we then air on Current TV. In addition to these viewer created ad messages, or VCAMs, we offer other attractive sponsorship solutions, in which advertisements are integrated with and embedded into our content, providing advertisers a marketing forum that is free from ad-skipping.

Current’s all digital broadcast facility. 
Our TV broadcast facilities are built on an open IP architecture as opposed to traditional broadcast television legacy systems. Unlike high-cost production facilities at traditional cable networks, we have deployed a new, all-digital infrastructure that allows us to produce, acquire and distribute high quality content at a low cost.

Current.com.   
Current.com serves several purposes: it is a news, information and entertainment source for young adults online; it is a real-time connection to programming on Current TV; and it is a platform for collaborative media production. At its core, Current.com is a social news feed.

More about Current TV

Since its inception in 2005, Emmy award-winning Current TV has been the world’s leading peer-to-peer news and information network. Current is the only 24/7 cable and satellite television network and Internet site produced and programmed in collaboration with its audience. Current connects young adults with what is going on in their world, from their perspective, in their own voices.

With the launch of Current.com, the first fully integrated web and TV platform users can participate in shaping an ongoing stream of news and information that is compelling, authentic and relevant to them.

Current pioneered the television industry’s leading model of interactive viewer created content (VC2). Comprising roughly one-third of Current’s on-air broadcast, this content is submitted via short-form, non-fiction video “pods”. Viewer Created Ad Messages (VCAMs) are also open to viewer’s participation.

Current’s programming ranges from daily pop culture coverage to political satire in “SuperNews,” unprecedented music journalism in “The Current Fix,” and unique insights into global stories through Vanguard and Citizen Journalism.

Current is now viewed in the U.S. and U.K. in more than 51 million households through distribution partners Comcast (Channel 107 nationwide), Time Warner (nationwide), DirecTV (channel 366 nationwide), Dish Network (channel 196 nationwide), Sky (channel 193) and Virgin Media Cable (channel 155).

The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California and as of December 31, 2007 employed 391 full-time employees. They also have an office in London, production studios in Los Angeles and an advertising sales office in New York City. The company was initially formed as a limited liability company in Delaware in September 2002 named INdTV, LLC. On May 4, 2004, they have purchased Newsworld International, or NWI, a traditional cable and satellite network. This acquisition enabled the company to gain access to cable and satellite distribution as an independent network. In connection with that acquisition of NWI, they’ve changed their name to INdTV Holdings, LLC and concurrently formed a wholly owned subsidiary INdTV, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and transferred all of their operations to INdTV, LLC. Since that time, they have had no operations because all operations are conducted by their subsidiaries. On April 4, 2005, they changed the name of INdTV Holdings, LLC to Current Media, LLC and INdTV, LLC to Current TV, LLC. On August 1, 2005, they terminated NWI’s existing programming and launched Current TV in the United States.

The company faces significant competition in both the cable television and online markets in which they operate. Current TV competes with other television networks that target young adults. These networks include Comedy Central, Fuse, G4, MTV, Spike TV and other major cable networks that are owned by large media conglomerates, such as Comcast, Disney, Time Warner and Viacom. Current.com faces competition from companies that are consumer destination websites, such as AOL, Google, MSN and Yahoo!, online video aggregators, such as Hulu and YouTube, and news and social network platforms, such as del.icio.us, digg.com, Facebook and MySpace.

Executive officers

Albert Gore, Jr. co-founded Current in 2002. He has served as our Executive Chairman and as a member of our board of directors since September 2002, and was elected as Chairman of our board of directors in May 2004. Mr. Gore has served as a Senior Advisor to Google, a global Internet company, since February 2001, and a member of the board of directors of Apple, a consumer electronics company, since March 2003. He has also served as Chairman of Generation Investment Management, an investment management firm, since 2004 and joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm, as a partner in November 2007. He has served as a visiting professor at Middle Tennessee State University. Mr. Gore served as the 45th Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001, during which time he also served as President of the United States Senate and as a member of the Cabinet and the National Security Council. Prior to 1993, he served eight years in the United States Senate and eight years in the United States House of Representatives. Mr. Gore was co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Gore holds an A.B. from Harvard University.

Joel Hyatt co-founded Current in 2002. He has served as a member of our board of directors and as our Chief Executive Officer since September 2002. Mr. Hyatt has served as a member of the board of directors of Hewlett-Packard Company, a computer electronics company, since May 2007 and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Brookings Institution since May 2001. From September 1998 to June 2003, Mr. Hyatt was a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Previously, Mr. Hyatt was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hyatt Legal Plans, Inc., a provider of employer-sponsored group legal plans, and of Hyatt Legal Services, a multi-state legal services firm. Mr. Hyatt holds an A.B. from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Mark Goldman has served as our Chief Operating Officer since December 2003. From July 1999 to December 2003, Mr. Goldman served as a consultant in the media and communications industries. Prior to that time, Mr. Goldman served as Chief Operating Officer for Sky Latin America, a division of News Corp., which provides satellite television service to Latin America, and as an executive at MCA/Universal Television, where he was responsible for business development and the launch of several international cable networks. Mr. Goldman has a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Paul Hollerbach has served as our Chief Financial Officer since October 2007. From August 1997 to January 2007, Mr. Hollerbach worked at Yahoo!, a leading global internet company, where he held a broad range of senior financial roles. At Yahoo!, Mr. Hollerbach most recently served as Vice President, Finance and Investor Relations, and previously served as Vice President, Corporate Controller. Prior to Yahoo!, Mr. Hollerbach held various finance positions at Silicon Graphics, a computer electronics company, and served at KPMG LLP and Ernst & Young LLP, managing technology clients in their assurance practices. Mr. Hollerbach holds a B.S. in Business Administration from California State University, San Luis Obispo and is a licensed CPA in California.

David Neuman has served as our President of Programming since October 2004. From October 2003 to October 2004, Mr. Neuman researched the development of several television and feature film projects and incorporated his own production company, Blackrock Productions, working on primetime television and feature film projects. From January 2001 to October 2003, Mr. Neuman was Chief Programming Officer of CNN Networks, an international television news organization. Prior to that time, Mr. Neuman served as President of Walt Disney Television and Touchstone Television, a television studio. Mr. Neuman graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1983 with an A.B. in Communication Studies.

Joanna Drake Earl joined us in September 2002 and has served as our President of New Media since October 2004. From September 2002 to October 2004, Ms. Drake Earl served as our Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. From February 2001 to July 2002, Ms. Drake Earl was Vice President, Content Strategy, at Digeo, Inc. (formerly Moxi Digital, Inc.), which develops multi-media devices and consumer media applications. Previously, Ms. Drake Earl served as a senior media industry consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton, an international consulting firm. Ms. Drake Earl holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.A. from Stanford University.

Joshua Katz has served as our President of Marketing since December 2006. From February 2006 to December 2006, Mr. Katz served as Chief Marketing Officer at TiVO, a provider of digital video equipment and services. From July 2005 to January 2006, Mr. Katz was Vice President of Marketing for Lucasfilm, a film studio. From March 1999 to June 2005, Mr. Katz was President of The Halo Effect, a marketing and brand consulting firm. Previously, Mr. Katz served as Senior Vice President of Marketing at both the Cartoon Network and VH1 cable networks. Mr. Katz has a B.A. from Tulane University.

Directors

Richard C. Blum has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2004. He is the Chairman and President of Richard C. Blum & Associates Inc., the general partner of Blum Capital Partners, L.P., a long-term strategic equity investment management firm that acts as general partner for various investment partnerships and provides investment advisory services, which he founded in 1975. He has also served as the Chairperson and a member of the board of directors of CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. since 2001. Mr. Blum holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Ronald Burkle has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2004. Mr. Burkle is managing partner and majority owner of The Yucaipa Companies, a private investment firm that he co-founded in 1986. Mr. Burkle has also served as a director of Occidental Petroleum Corp. since 2005, KB Home Corporation since 1995, and Yahoo! since 2001.

Edward Renwick has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2004. Mr. Renwick is a partner of The Yucaipa Companies, a private investment firm where he has worked since 1999. Prior to that, Mr. Renwick served as a consultant at The Boston Consulting Group, a strategic consulting firm. Mr. Renwick holds a B.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. and M.P.P. from Harvard University.

Mark Rosenthal has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2004. From June 2005 to December 2006, Mr. Rosenthal served as Chairman and CEO of Interpublic Media, the media operations organization of the the Interpublic Group of Companies. From July 1996 to July 2004, Mr. Rosenthal served as President and Chief Operating Officer of MTV Networks, a cable network. Prior to becoming President and COO of MTV Networks, Mr. Rosenthal rose through positions of increasing responsibility in the affiliate sales and marketing organization at MTV Networks and its predecessor company, Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Company, ultimately supervising the sales, distribution and marketing for all of MTV Networks’ domestic television networks. Mr. Rosenthal joined Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Company in 1982. He has also served as a member of the board of directors of CNET Networks since April 2007. Mr. Rosenthal has a B.A. from Kenyon College and an M.F.A. from Yale University.

Orville Schell has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2004. Since January 2007, Mr. Schell has been the Director of the Center on U.S.-China relations at the Asia Society. From January 1997 to January 2007, Mr. Schell served as the Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Schell holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Major stockholders include Al Gore, entities affiliated with Blum Capital Partners, L.P., Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund I, L.P., DirectTV, Inc. and Comcast CTV Holdings, LLC. Underwriters include J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., Lehman Brothers Inc. and Pacific Crest Securities Inc.

More

http://current.com
http://current.com/tv
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1424470/000104746908000572/a2182152zs-1.htm
http://current.com/items/88827879_current_files_for_100m_ipo
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-current-media-files-for-100-million-ipo/
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/current_files_for_ipo.php
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/current_tv.php
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/al_gore_current_re-defining_television.php
http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=technologyNews&storyid=2007-10-16T030718Z_01_N15319230_RTRUKOC_0_US-INTERNET-TELEVISION-CURRENT.xml [the story is down]
https://web2innovations.com/money/2008/01/15/logmein-files-for-an-ipo-hoping-to-raise-86m/
https://web2innovations.com/money/2008/01/14/internet-brands-inc-went-public-on-nasdaq/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore
http://www.hoovers.com/yucaipa/–ID__40153–/free-co-factsheet.xhtml