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Friday, June 10, 2005

Skype Buyout: It'll Happen

Someone rumors that Yahoo is in talks to buy Skype. Om Malik picks up the story and suggests pros and cons. Russell Shaw argues that it definitely isn't going to happen, because the price tag will probably be too hefty and SBC "wouldn't tolerate Yahoo getting within four parsecs of Skype."

Does SBC really tell Yahoo what to do? Do "stable - if not prestigious" (in Shaw's words) pre-existing relationships determine long-term corporate strategy for companies like Yahoo? I don't see why they'd accept having that millstone around their neck when they're a company of similar size and clout, with a healthy stock price (which incidentally can be used as currency in buyouts of seemingly "overvalued" companies -- if your own stock is overvalued, that'll negate the "overvaluation" problem).

Skype appears to be one of those viral Hotmail-like growth stories that could (repeat, could) really take off. When you start getting international clients asking you if you'd rather chat by Skype, it's worth paying attention. This thing could catch on. For Google and Yahoo, in particular, leadership in this category could be a major strategic advantage.

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Power Users Not the Secret to Alternative Browser Adoption

Mozilla product release manager Asa Dotzler argues that the real takeoff of Mozilla happened when Firefox came along and made it easy for "non-technical" users to switch away from IE. (Hat tip to Jeremy Zawodny for the reference.)

Racing ahead Firefox is, indeed. Market share seems to still be rising.

Although this does not apply across the board, I was looking at some recent client site stats. This client gets a steady stream of search referral traffic as well as existing client traffic, paid search traffic, and direct navigation. They are in a technical business, but the audience coming in through the search referrals is still "mainstream," since many aren't customers and never will be. For this group, in the past month, market share of "other browsers than IE" coming to the site is 40%! Most of that is Firefox, but Opera is in the mix, too. It's a fairly large sample size.

Basically, then, we are seeing pockets of the world where IE is on the way to 50% market share.

Ironically, the client told me that to use the analytics package, I'd be better off logging in using IE.

Both techies and ordinary people seem eager to switch away from IE. Where will this growth pattern level off? At 20% market share for Firefox? Or 50%?

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Monday, June 06, 2005

FindWhat Gets Pretty New Logo, Ticker Symbol

Findwhat, Espotting, and Comet Systems, disparate properties which have been brought together through acquisition, will now come together under the Miva brand, the e-commerce storefront company that had also been part of the group. For online businesses, there is a lot of heavy lifting to be done in the effort to gain new customers. Miva sounds like a nice quiet brand for that effort. Putting Comet cursors with shopping carts with PPC is definitely messy, but then, so is business consulting in general. As it's no longer a benefit to be seen in the financial markets as a big-ass "pure search play," the timing of this change to a steady-growth player in a variety of niches seems apt. The only difficulty there will be in getting press coverage, since writers won't know what to talk about. But FindWhat had its 15 minutes, so quieter organic growth makes perfect sense.

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Shout Out to Backpack

You can't read many blogs lately -- especially those relating to the ubiquitous getting things done (GTD) meme -- without stumbling across a glowing review of Backpack.

Backpack is a new web-based information management service created by 37Signals, the creator of a popular project management system called Basecamp. With Backpack, you can create pages to track every little thing in your life. I use it for personal stuff and work stuff, and I am finding it to be more and more useful every day.

Before Backpack, I would store my notes in a confusing mess of Word documents, Notepad notes, e-mails and so on. But, nothing seemed to have the perfect balance of robustness and accessibility, until Backpack.

If you need to get things done, you should give Backpack a try. The basic version is free. I tried it for one day and decided to upgrade to one of the premium plans. It isn't every day that I actually pay a monthly subscription for something that is mostly for personal notes, but that just shows how clever of a tool it is! :)

Posted by Cory | | | Permalink

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