I’m looking forward to attending Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona this February. It’s going to be a great show… This year, apps take center stage, and GSMA has taken a huge step forward, investing a lot of time and effort in showcasing them in App Planet, and making sure the conference agenda appeals to the people that are shaping the mobile ecosystem.
I’ll be moderating two panels on Monday, February 15, 2009 in the “Mobile Applications – Innovation Vs Fragmentation” stream. A few of the details are still being confirmed, but here’s what’s been announced so far… (more…)
I was excited to be the eyes and ears for Wireless Internet Partnerships (WIP) at DEMOfall 09 in San Diego last week – especially since WIP has been a DEMO marketing partner for years. Below, I recap my thoughts on the latest DEMO from a mobile enthusiast’s perspective and offer a few presentation tips for start-ups based on what I saw at the show… (more…)
Last night, I attended the Mobile Monday Silicon Valley event at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. There was a panel discussion on “Mobile Monetization,” which drew a large crowd, which seemed in direct proportion to the level of excitement around the topic of monetization. The panel was moderated by Julie Ask, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester, an the panelists were: (more…)
Today, Reuters published an interesting article “Social Network Sites Tempt Investors” talking about the liklihood of a flury of social networking IPOs. The article is well worth a read for all of you social media fans out there. According to the article, so called “Wall Street observers” believe that United Online Inc.‘s recent registration for an IPO of its Classmates Media Corp. arm (i.e. Classmates.com) will “test the IPO waters” for other social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
While I believe that the remainder of 2007 and early 2008 will bring more social networking IPOs than we’ve seen so far (not many), I don’t
believe that Classmates.com will be an accurate indicator of the success of future social networking IPOs. Even if Classmates.com’s IPO bombs, Facebook, LinkedIn IPO, and Bebo IPO have a strong liklihood of being successful IPOs. To have a solid IPO, a social networking company will have to do more than just link people socially. It will need to be a platform for relevancy, discovery, sharing, and search.
When Google IPOed, it was successful, not just because it enabled search, but it provided a platform that wove together search, information, email, and
more with relevant and targeted advertising. Facebook will succeed with an IPO not because it is a social networking site but because it is a social networking platform that allows 3rd party developers to plug-in and users to benefit. In other words, it is, in effect, a social media operating system. LinkedIn and Bebo will have successful IPOs if they continue to grow their user base, expand their platform capabilities, and quickly develop a useful API for 3rd party developers. However, to be clear, it will take a lot of effort, great skills, good timing, (and, perhaps, a miracle) for either Bebo or LinkedIn to have a more successful IPO than Facebook.
By engaging 3rd party developers so early, Facebook gained a clear lead over the competition, which will be hard for competitors to surpass. By creating a social networking operating system, which allows entreprenurial developers to plug in, contribute to, and profit from a wider economy, Facebook has peaked the interests of investors – not only as a company in which to invest but as an economy in which to invest. As I mentioned in my last post,
VCs are expressing a strong interest in the players within the facebook 3rd party developer economy, and is easy to see why. Facebook is creating a social media operating system that has the potential to revolutionize the web by changing the way people find and interact with content and applications.
Yesterday, Robert Scoble posted an interesting video trilogy on his blog in which he predicts that if they work together, Facebook, Mahalo, and Techmeme will trounce Google in 4 years by providing superior SEO-free, reduced-noise, social search that does more than Google. While I’d be seriously surprised if Google didn’t have something up its sleeve to compete with the vision Scoble outlines and I don’t think we’ll see the end of SEO, I do think Scoble makes some good points in his vlogs. His musings on the topic of social networking, social media, and search highlight a growing interest in social networking as a space and its potential to change the way we surf the net.
There is nothing more attractive to investors than strong possibilities and good ideas, and it’s clear in the quickly growing and evolving space of
social networking, there is a high concentration of both. Which social networking companies will choose to ride the wave with an IPO remains to be seen, but I’m betting with Reuters in thinking the numbers will increase very soon.
Note: I’m not an investment advisor, and my blog posts do not constitute financial advice.
Today, Nokia announced its acquisition of a small social media and media sharing platform company called Twango, which was founded by former Microsofters. While expensive (sources report the cost of nearly $100 Million), the acquisition has the potential to be a monumental game changer for Nokia. Regardless, it is a step in the right direction for the mobile industry.
Twango lets users seamlessly and easily share media across devices and software platforms. Twango provides a good explanation on its website:
Imagine sending a photo to Twango, then having it appear on your blog or Web site in moments and notifying your viewers—automatically. Imagine a group of friends traveling together and creating a shared media experience for those back home with nothing more than their camera phones. We also imagined that, and now those are features on our site. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Multimedia, Nokia sees the acquisition as furthering Nokia’s mission of connecting people:
The Twango acquisition is a concrete step towards our Internet services vision of providing seamless access to information, entertainment, and social networks – at anytime, anywhere, from any connected device, in any way that you choose. We have the most complete suite of connected multimedia experiences including music, navigation, games, and – with the Twango acquisition – photos, videos, and a variety of document types. When you combine a Nokia Nseries multimedia computer that is always on, always connected, and always with you together with a rich media sharing destination like Twango, people will have exciting new ways to create and enjoy rich media experiences in real time.
Mobile OEMs are looking for innovative ways to integrate mobile handheld and PC experiences, leverage web technologies on the handset, increase wireless data consumption, and improve connections between mobile users. With 2.5 G and early 3G phones, email was one of the most effective ways to do all of these things, but today, email on mobile phones is ubiquitous, and tech-savvy consumers are and will continue looking for more. Seamless sharing of media and social networking on phones and PCs is the next frontier.
I suspect that just like the key OEM acquisitions of email technologies earlier this year and in late 2006 (i.e. Nokia’s acquisition of Intellisync, Motorola’s acquisition of Good), there it won’t be long before we see more acquisitions in this space. By way of example, Sharpcast seems like one of the next likely acquisition targets. It lacks a social networking facility, but with all of the other mobile and PC-based social networking options out there, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Hi-5 I understand, but Tagged?! Whoa. That’s a whole lot of mula — especially for a social networking site that no one I know uses (especially given that I blog about Social Networking). A few friends I know that tried Tagged a while back disparaged it calling it an “agent de spam.” So, I couldn’t help but laugh when I read some of the comments on TechCrunch with similar observations:
apparently raised $15 Million from an unknown investors on a $102 Million pre-money evaluation.
- Richard Miller
Tagged’s system of invitation resembles that of a virus to me. It automatically checks all your e-mail contacts and sends invitations to a lot of people. But do you really want to tag them all? That is the question.
- Sunny Kalara
How did the spam site get a valuation of $117M? I have gotten more apologies from red-faced friends for inadvertent-spamming from using Tagged service then any other web service.
Also, can somebody explain to me why, if I click on the “browse” in Tagged, 80%+ of the pictures are of scantily dressed women? And many of them have joined on June 7, 2007; how convenient! When did the demographic of web surfer change? Why didn’t I get a memo?
Having not tried Tagged myself, I figured it wasn’t fair to question the valuation until I learned more and maybe tried it myself. I started off trying to learn more about Tagged by visiting the website. However, I couldn’t find a decent explanation of what Tagged is (beyond a social network) on the consumer site. It took jumping to the “corporate site” to find out anything about it. Even there, the explanation was basic, if not ambiguous:
Tagged.com is a premier social networking destination and an ideal place for advertisers to reach their target audience.
Tagged provides a fun, safe, and exciting environment for people to showcase their personalities and talents, and to connect with friends and meet new ones.
Tagged is experiencing dramatic growth Advertisers love Tagged because they get clear, uncomplicated access to our audience. Our team is dedicated to making every advertiser successful and can develop and support any type of ad campaign.
I couldn’t get excited about the prospect of joining a social network that none of my friends/ aquaintences participate in, that I’ve heard spam nightmares about, that doesn’t tell me exactly what “features” I’m signing up for, and which, apparently, “Advertisers love.” Joining a site that admits to giving advertisers “clear, uncomplicated access” to me and my “friends”. (Yeah, I know Google does it, but I also know exactly what I’m getting in return.) I was floored by the self-reported stats on Tagged, which illustrate that clearly my reservations aren’t shared by everyone:
- 30MM registered members
- 10MM unique visitors every month
- 1B page views per month
- 10MM hours spent/month
With numbers like that I can see why someone was willing to roll the dice with such a big investment. But, I was still unsure about why anyone would sign up. Unsatisfied with the explanation on Tagged’s corporate site and unable to find an explanation of features anywhere else, I bit the bullet and started to sign up, hoping that the registration process would tell me more. It didn’t.
After providing my name, birthday, and email address, Tagged asked me to provide my password for my Gmail account – presumably so that it could suck potential network invitees from my address list. It wouldn’t let me bypass that step. Afraid of spamming my entire address book, I terminated the registration process.
It amazes me that a company that doesn’t overtly explain what it does or what features you’ll get by signing up has been able to secure so many users. It also amazes me that so many people would actually give a company their email address and password and allow them to infiltrate their private address book without knowing what that company is going to do with the information. I guess this all proves that:
- On-line consumers aren’t as demanding of on-line privacy as I expected, and
- The bubble and big risk investment are back to stay… at least for now.
The Guardian reports that Reuters will soon be launching it’s own financial social networking site, aimed at fund managers, traders and analysts. Reuters has some 70,000 subscribers to it’s messaging service, which is the first social feature of its site. Given this large number of existing subscribers, I suspect that Reuter’s forthcoming social network has strong potential to influence the financial community.
Reuter’s Chief Executive, Tom Glocer says that the site will only be open to subscribers and it will enable “financial services users the ability to post their research or if they are traders, their trading models.” I’m curious about why fund managers/traders would want to share strategic information with potential competitors, but I can see how this social network would be useful for discussing market trends, etc. I’ll be interested to see whether members of the financial community use this tool for genuine sharing, or whether they use it in an attempt to influence the stock markets and financial markets to their advantage.