Category Archives: internet

10 New Ways to Make Money Online

Web Worker Daily has a great post that lists 10 new ways to make money online. No, this isn’t the typical Nigerian email spammer opportunity but rather a few good ideas (some better than others) that are easily doable. Below is the list, but check out the full article here, for more details.

1. Offer your professional expertise in an online marketplace
2. Sell photos on stock photography sites
3. Blog for pay
4. Or start your own blog network
5. Provide service and support for open source software
6. Online life coaching
7. Virtually assist other web workers
8. Build services atop Amazon Web Services
9. Write reviews for pay or perks
10. Become a virtual gold farmer

If I were to pick off of this list, I’d go for #5 and/or #1. These are by far and away possibly the easiest to get up and running quickly and provide low to nill out of pocket costs if you have the required skills to do so. Essentially, it’s consulting. Very simple and straight forward – thought this was interesting… boy have times changed!

Digital Ethnography

I was cruising around the Internet after the festivities this evening (congrats Peyton and the Colts), checked my RSS feeds and saw a posting from my friend, Greg Verdino about a video he uncovered. The online video was created by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University and it shows how the Internet has changed over the years and how “Web 2.0″ is helping change culture. This is a must watch video for anyone who is interested in Digital Media, Ethnography, or the technology. Enjoy it!

Because WordPress can’t embed video files (at least mine can’t), you can click this link to view the video on GooTube. It’s roughly 5 minutes. All I have to say is, “wow.”

Information in the Digital Age

While laying in bed last night, I watched Fred Wilson‘s 18 minute keynote presentation at the Software and Information Industry Association 2007 Summit in New York City. The presentation covered topics ranging from whether there’s such a thing as proprietary data anymore, syndication and business models and the ever popular, how copy protection has largely failed.

This presentation made me think quite a bit about the many startups who are emerging that are looking to leverage content. We like to say that content is king but creating good sustainable content can be expensive and prohibitive (without the right tools). We have millions of prosumers (producers + consumers) who are contributing to sites like YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, and others that have created some form of content and are looking to distribute it. These produced videos are content and appeal to someone (or many folks) on the Internet. There are plenty of examples of this including Rocket Boom, WallStrip, LonelyGirl15, and others.

Back in 1998 I was spearheading a fairly large dot com and we had to watch our bandwidth and storage costs. We had to make sure that our pages didn’t just load fast, but they couldn’t be larger than a certain size so that we could control our costs. Most websites do not have to think about this but when you’re in the top 100, you certainly do, as the bandwidth bill may ring up higher than expected.

The marginal cost of distributing content online is almost $0. Bandwidth and storage are now commodities due to their falling prices. How can a company create a model around content where it’s essentially free? If you can get content from multiple sources (freely), how do you pick which source delivers it to you?

Services around the presentation and access to content are more important than ever. The winners in tomorrow’s gold rush understand this and are working hard to create a model around this. Look at Flickr, a site that doesn’t create content, but rather, leverages content created elsewhere and builds upon it. Another fantastic example is Haystack.com, a site that starts at the core with music, but then adds layers on top of it including tour photos, videos, user created content, and many other sticky options for users.

Since content essentially is becoming free, Wilson argues that the money is in attention. How do you leverage attention? If you are involved in marketing strategy, your job is going to become much more important. The maximum mindshare that a person has is 100%. How can you vie for mindshare of that person for your content? Time to get creative. It’s not so much about the product/service itself anymore, but about what it offers you at a particular moment in time. I believe that if the money is in attention and content is essentially free, our marketplace will become much more efficient.

Why will it become more efficient? We can only consume so much content per day, so eventually, the content that we do choose to consume must grab our attention quicker and more transparently. Once this happens, we are able to consume more content because of the efficiencies.

As example of this is Kayak.com. If I’m searching for a flight to Las Vegas, I do not want to have to check the websites of JetBlue, Delta, American, United, etc – but I’d rather check all of the sites at one time. In less time, I can check Kayak.com, get price quotes and book my tickets potentially cheaper than if I went and searched through each one of the above sites. I can cut my time down dramatically, essentially creating an efficiency. Does this mean that all meta-search engines will be the next hot area? Possibly – but anything that will become the next hot area will have a fantastically designed user interface and will be transparent.

To view Fred Wilson’s speech, check out the link here.

Online Storage vs. Upstream Bandwidth

Amazon Web ServicesWhat would happen today if there was a significant increase in upstream bandwidth and uploading content (consumer generated, etc) was efficient? Will YouTube (and such sites) need to add a plethora of servers to host the influx of videos?

I had an intriguing conversation with Ken Rossi this past weekend over coffee at my local hot spot and we briefly touched upon this subject but I think it should receive more attention. If it really is simple and quick to upload your content, would more people do so? Would the quantity of content uploaded to servers increase? My thoughts are: yes.

Andrew Parker, a friend of mine and colleague over at Union Square Ventures has a nice tangential posting about Approaching the Limit of Zero (bandwidth/storage costs). Certainly a good read.

Storage space will need to increase but so will databases and search software functionality. Does Amazon realize this with their storage cloud, S3? Do they have a glimpse of the future and striving to become an early leader? Thoughts?

Pew Internet Study – A Great Resource

Every few months, the Pew Internet & American Life Project releases a study that gives us insight into a certain subject such as Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview and Teens and Technology (amongst many others). The resource is available to anyone and is fairly in-depth. Much of the research can be used in new venture pitch presentations or advertising/media planning (I certainly see it over and over).

In the most recent study, 55% of teens use social networking sites. That’s more than half. Impressive as the bulk of social networking sites came into existence in the past 3 years. Most interesting to me is that older teens, particularly girls are more likely to use these sites. Girls find social networking sites are primary places to reinforce pre-existing relationships; for boys, the networks provide opportunities for flirting and making new friends. Another statistic that stands out to me is that 3 out of 4 teens say that they use social networking sites to make plans with friends…. bridging online with offline. I love it.

In a time where we want “engagement” metrics… we better find a way to figure out how to measure the value of engaging a user-base because more than 4 in 5 social network users have posted messages to a friend’s profile or page. How can we leverage this for brands?

The survey was conducted via telephone interviews from October 23 through November 19 2006 among a national sample of 933 youths.

It's About Time

If you’re an avid reader of the Web 2.0 blogosphere, you’re probably sick of reading about the response to Time Magazine’s Person of the Year… you.

I was debating whether or not to write about about this article as I wanted to avoid repetition but wanted to voice my own opinion. I am extremely excited that such a major magazine and honor has been given to the consumer generated media world. The issue though is that it’s been happening since the inception of the Internet. Web content and publishing services (Geocities, Homestead, FortuneCity, Tripod, Six Apart, etc) have all allowed for consumers to generate and publish their own content and have been around since the inception of the Internet. The “You/Me” in all of this has been around since day 1, but I guess ~15 years later, we are finally recognized for our contribution to society.

I have read a few different blogs that have approached the subject and have to agree with Don Dodge about his thoughts on Web 2.0. For those of you who haven’t read Dodge’s posting, you can view it here. In his posting as it related to the Time article, he notes 5 reasons why the Internet “boom” is different this time:

- Pain
- Profit
- Bill Gates
- Food
- Burn Rates

I particularly like his thoughts about pain. During the first boom, you may have noticed that almost every dot com tried to go public (that’s a stretch, I know). Once a company goes public, it’s shares are publicly traded on the stock exchanges so every day consumers are allowed to invest in a company. When the bust occurred, the actual consumer who invested into the company (thru purchasing stock) was hurt… and sometimes badly. During the current boom, Dodge talks about how this current boom is funded by major media companies and VC’s and the pain of the boom will be confined to a confined space and not passed along to the general public.

Some other good takes on the article:

GigaOm

Atlas Acquires Accipiter

Accipiter LogoIf you’re serving ads on your website, there is a chance that you’re potentially using Atlas DMT or Accipiter. According to this news release, Atlas has acquired Accipiter which has helped boost its marketshare and user base. Accipiter has been used in previous companies I’ve been involved with and we’ve had very little hiccups.

The Accipiter business was founded in 1996 and has operated independently since 2002. From 1996 to 2002, the Raleigh, North Carolina-based company operated under various corporate parents, including Engage and CMGI. Joining Atlas will be the long-standing Accipiter management team with co-founder and CEO Brian Handly leading the team in Raleigh as senior vice president, Atlas. European operations will join Atlas EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa).

An all cash deal totaled around $30mm.

Top 10 Worst Internet Acquisitions Ever

I’ve seen a few lists about the worst Internet acquisitions but think that James Nicholson did a great job with this one. I may argue the order of the list, but for the most part, he’s nailed it. The companies that he has listed are:

10. Hotmail
9. Skype
8. MySimon
7. BlueMountain.com
6. Lycos
5. Netscape
4. Geocities
3. Excite
2. AOL
1. Broadcast.com

The article that James has written can be found on his blog.