Net Businesses

A present success, and a prospective one — from BusinessWeek

  • MySpace: No Free Ride in Europepdf

    With more than 100 million users, MySpace has taken off in the U.S. by attracting a loyal following of young, Web-savvy consumers. Repeating that success in the big, fragmented European market won’t be a cakewalk, analysts say. MySpace’s competitors in Europe already have established themselves with local audiences, offering targeted content in native languages.

    “MySpace is entering an extremely competitive market,” says Stan Chudnovsky, general manager for California-based Internet company Tickle, owned by Monster Worldwide (MNST). “It must come up with new features to appeal to a European audience.”

    Note: Don’t miss the story about a MySpace nut, either: Rage over MySpace photo leads to arrestpdf

  • YouTube: Waiting For The Payoffpdf

    YouTube Inc. is the Internet company to beat these days. Wowed by its meteoric rise — the 19-month-old site dishes up 100 million daily videos — startups and giants alike are crowding into the video-sharing market. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT ) is developing its own service. And this fall, the founders of the Skype (EBAY ) and Kazaa services will unleash the Venice Project, a wannabe YouTube killer built on file-sharing technology.

    […] Even more important, though, is the tricky question of how YouTube can make money off its phenomenal growth while maintaining the promise behind that popularity. YouTube could easily alienate its users by overwhelming them with ads. And the startup has to figure out how to attract a broader group of marketers by filtering more for copyrighted or offensive videos and by creating more channels of similar content.

OT: My Kind of Smartass

But I expect she’ll only get ink on the coasts: Rosa Brooks: Students, Beware Professor Osamapdf

WITH SEPTEMBER upon us, it’s time to reflect on that perennially popular back-to-school activity, Bash the Professors.

[…] Universities aren’t neutral marketplaces in which all ideas should be presumed equal, but rather, institutions to foster knowledge. And despite their supposed lack of ideological diversity, most U.S. universities have robust disciplinary norms for distinguishing between persuasive analysis and sheer dogma, and between sound theories and those unsupported by facts. That’s why students come here from all over the world — even from countries where a lot of people really hate liberalism.

[…] The right-wing assault on supposedly liberal universities appeared to have run out of steam after the ’80s, but it revived after 9/11. Capitalizing on increased anxiety about national security, [David] Horowitz and his ilk were able to start denouncing the academics they disliked as not merely liberal but pro-terrorist “sympathizers … of Osama bin Laden.”

Last week, they insisted that universities be purged of liberals and “improved to serve national security,” and they urged students to “strongly criticize … the continued presence of liberal and secular professors.”

Oh, wait — whoops! Those quotes were from — respectively — Ayatollah Abbasali Amid Zanjani, the hard-line Islamist president of the University of Tehran, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Silly me, getting my militant conservative Islamic extremists mixed up with my militant conservative Judeo-Christian extremists! Though now that I think about it, they seem to have an awful lot in common.

Anybody Else Bothered By The Zune Positioning?

I mean, if Microsoft’s argument is that the wireless capability means that communities of users will be serving as music promoters, shouldn’t there be some kind of quid pro quo? What’s in it for me to become a record company promoter? A price break on the player? The music? Music Player From Microsoft Offers Wireless Song-Sharing

With the Zune, Microsoft said, users will be able to wirelessly send other Zune owners a full-length song, which the recipient can listen to three times within a three-day period. After that, the recipient will need to buy the song to play it again.

By focusing on the sharing of music, Microsoft hopes to differentiate its device from the industry-leading iPod, which has no wireless or sharing features.

[…] “It turns people into street teams,” (promoters who try to popularize music through word of mouth), Mr. Lee said.

So, in exchange for the privilege of buying a Zune and DRM-crippled music for it, I get to be part of the music industry’s viral marketing programs? I don’t get it but, as I’ve already indicated, I’m getting old.

The LATimes article indicates that Microsoft hasn’t yet gotten the record companies to “buy” their sharing model, and also includes some market assessment — Microsoft Seeks to Share in Portable Music Marketpdf

Susan Kevorkian, an analyst with IDC, said Microsoft had designed an attractive device that was easy to use. But its failure to match Apple’s distribution of television and movies — or fully exploit its wireless capability, so consumers can buy music directly from the device — put it at a competitive disadvantage.

“It will be confusing, initially, for consumers to understand the Zune value proposition,” Kevorkian said. “And confusion in the Apple competitor camp means opportunities for Apple.”

I am also reminded of a thought experiment that came up at a workshop at the OII; what’s the possibility that this Zune “social networking” capability will end up having more to do with the possible ubiquity of intercommunicating personal wireless devices and less with the music business at all? After all, do you really think that the Zune is not hackable? And what might one be able to do to take social networking out of the hands of MySpace and their ilk?