Oliver of agenturblog pointed me to Rollyo. It’s a very interesting new project built upon, so it seems, the Yahoo! search engine API. The idea is that you can choose up to 25 different web sites to search, and Rollyo builds a special search box for you that searches only those sites. I already built a special box that only searches my own sites, which is very nice indeed. They have a good interface too. Check them out.
Monthly Archives: September 2005
Slashdot pointed me to a post on ZDnet about available offlice like apps for the web. There is some really nice stuff in there. FCKEditor is a seemingly very nice editor, but there are a lot of those out there. Writely seems to be very nice indeed though. Kiko allows you to do a spreadsheet online and S5 is a framework for building presentations online via CSS. Nice stuff indeed.
Now there is a story (source). SAP has invested $850k into Socialtext and this might be an interesting match to say the least. Somebody from SAP who has given feedback on where Socialtext should go is seriously in the know. He sold TopTier to SAP (it became SAP Portals I think) in 2001. Right around that time, I think about a year earlier, I did a consulting gig for a big pharmaceutical company to have a look at EIP (Enterprise Information Portals) and in this quest I found TopTier and had to say that it has won hands down. Sadly the company opted to wait and only went for an EIP later but based on Microsoft software and further developed by their own internet staff as I have learned some time ago. Ah well, it’s been a long time and maybe Microsoft does have a product there now that is worth it. But anyway …
The nice thing here is that TopTier had a very good system to allow applications to be put together based on data in different databases. You could for example have the tracking number of a package in the list of ordered items by your client. Simply take that number, and drag-and-drop it over to a FedEx button and you see where it currently is. Pull it over to the billing app and you see what the status is there. Lots of interesting little bits and a very slick interface.
Now we know that JotSpot is going the applications route (and they have just released Jotlive which is a nice collaboration tool spun out of their hackathon.) and this quasi investment by somebody really being accumstomed to enabling data to be shared inside the intranet is an interesting twist. Maybe Socialtext will work more closely with ex-TopTier, or it will gain some insight into what they have learnt. All in all, this is a very interesting partner though. Congratulations Ross.
In the old times you would squeeze the suppliers and leverage your buyer relationship. The end result would be more profit. In the future we will be trading a lot more in information, a resource that doesn’t diminish with use. Information and knowledge gain value when used. As such, a cooperative environment can help all partners involved in a transaction. In performance marketing, I can share performance values with everybody and they will still be there, hence the start of a collaborative business model.
Of course all this sharing of information means that you will have to build up very specific knowledge within your enterprise and knowledge is not easily shared, especially when it is embedded in your processes. You need to make sure that you are very efficient and focussed on your part of the value chain of the collaborative. With the advent of Web Services, the automation capabilities rise and this automation brings swifter turn around, adaptability and scalability of the value chain. You can also hide the inner workings of your system while having the ends open and public. Knowing the eBay of Google Awords API doesn’t mean you can replace them, just that somebody else doing the exact same thing might have an option to get in, or get a small share of the value generated by being a second partner in this part of the value chain. For that to happen this company then needs to have built a similar amount of knowledge or have optimized its value chain more efficiently than the other party. This might be done by going into a specific niche and being better in that niche only. A good a robust API that can interconnect with existing cooperatives, will allow you to then take part of the system.
While the internet has been used by a lot of old economy businesses to share more information across the value chain, internet advertising has made little use of it for a long time. In the early years of the internet, we had a lot of CPM based placement, coming from the understanding of how the print market works. Prices were dictated by publishers, trying to take an as large as possible share of the value generated by advertising. A lot of buyers of advertisement have hence gone out of business or at least burnt themselves in the process, making prices drop as the advertisers learnt about the real value that online advertising brings. Publishers believed that prices will be stable or rise as more companies push into the internet advertising market. This has been a wrong assumption as prices had been overblown or at least have had to come down considerably as the Internet matured.
Internet businesses took a long time to share information and build cooperative agreements between different parties. With the rise of performance marketing this is changing. Suddenly a sustainable long term business model emerged and the market will make sure that over time, a fair market price will be found.
The performance marketing business is largely self-priming in that the higher the performance, the more of a win-win-win situation it is. If the publisher tries to increase the performance of their placements, these placements will make them more money on an eCPM basis. If the target site has a better performance, higher prices can be paid on a lead basis or less money asked for on a lead basis. If the merchants make a better conversion because of better lead quality, they can get more profit and make more on a per lead basis.
If one of the parties in performance marketing tries to maximize their gain, the inhibit the profit of the entire value chain, and therefore the possibility of a long term growth of the collaborative. This can only be the best route if it is believed by that one party that other players will emerge that pay more for what they deliver in the future, even if the current partner breaks away.
This means that a close and cooperative relationship between different players in the internet advertising value chain can lead to higher prices in the long term, as more knowledge of all parties gets embedded in the overall process. This will lead to a collaborative that is hard to break into by another player without a specific value added in a niche as they would need to build up additional knowledge beyond that in the collaborative.
This enforces again the Web 2.0 idea of focussing on one specific problem and making different parts interconnect. Welcome to the age of the long-term collaborative enterprise.
Loic posted about it and I can’t help myself. Not having been there last time (last MBA exam, so a good excuse ), I needed to be there this time. The registration has been sent out and I am looking forward to a great conference. It’s two days with lunch and a good cocktail reception on monday.
The venue doesn’t seem to be clear yet, so I’ll wait for the hotel. Maybe we can organize a blogger hotel somewhere near so we don’t all have to split up.
Ok, no it isn’t. The price is crazy already, but … but … but … what if they become the biggest free ISP in the world, pushing the internet on their own network. Business 2.0 has article entitled Free Wi-Fi? Get Ready for GoogleNet and it does make you think. I just talked with Ingmar and the thinking cleared a bit further just now.
Imagine a company, with oodles of servers sitting in data centers all around the world, pushing out huge amounts of data, paying huge bandwidth fees. An alternate strategy would be to become a giant network and get peering agreements but from what I understand from peering agreements, it means that you only pay for what goes in or out extra. I have 12mbit/s, you have 10mbit/s, so I pay you 2. I could be wrong, but lets play with it. As the company pushes around so much bandwidth, it starts to not make sense to do a peering agreement as you still end up paying. So you need to get people on your network. Welcome wifi.google.com. Suddenly, people are on the company network, but hey, the internet is still not on the network. Welcome the Google Toolbar with caching. Hey, you have a large part of the internet suddenly on your network. Disallow filesharing with the likes of bittorrent on the network (it’s free, so you can say that), and you quasi have the internet on your servers. And as it is your internet you know what happens on your internet. Your internet becomes the internet due to statistics that can just extrapolate. You become the world. Managing the worlds information then becomes possible.
And that’s what you need another $4.2 billion for.
Ok, maybe it is still time to invest.
Fred Wilson posted about Hackoff.com and I did subscribe and read the first two chapters or episodes. The site is a blook (as they call it), meaning it’s a book written in a blog. A murder mistery in a blog. Interesting system, with comments open, and it remains to be seen how much of a community builds around it. Reading it per RSS is easy enough and only takes a few minutes per post, but I for one am not sure if I will dive into the comments.