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Trouble ahead for the online gaming industry after reports that the US Justice Department has charged BetonSports and three other companies with racketeering, conspiracy and fraud.
AIM-listed BetonSports suspended shares just before 8am this morning, pending an announcement, while AFX is reporting that "the indictment seeks forfeiture of 4.5 bln usd from Kaplan and the co-defendents, as well as various properties", which would spell more trouble for BetonSports investors (shares fell by almost 20% yesterday).
We recently analysed the major factors that influence our visitors to subscribe. The results? The surest sign of a subscriber-to-be was one who used our site search box. So naturally we’re looking into improving it, but that's not actually relevant here. Far more important here is getting more people to use it in the first place.
People aren’t search-shy, we know this from Google’s original search-box-only interface. According to DoubleClick, less than 20% use on-site search (the actual figure varies by sector, of course). So looks like the majority of visitors are finding just what they want right away, right? Much more likely, they don’t trust the onsite search box. Aha.
If you’re a user of Digg, you should know that it recently redesigned and relaunched its website. This in itself is not that interesting since we always knew that was coming soon – however, what is interesting is that new categories have been added which make the site more useful to a wider audience.
The online gaming sector is reeling this morning after BetonSports CEO David Carruthers was seized by The Feds in the US, while waiting to transfer onto an aircraft destined for Costa Rica, where the company’s customer services centre is based.
On the topic of blogging, it seems worthwhile to talk a little about the blogging ecosystem, both for discussion and future reference (things change fast!). Like an ecosystem, blogging is a feedback mechanism, is most useful when you understand what is being said about you on the blogosphere, and unlike an ecosystem giving freely is more beneficial.
If you’ve been reading the national media press recently you may well have read more than an article or two by established journalists which attack the rise of blogging. Principally, they criticise the lack of quality (fact checking, grammar, sources, regulatory compliance etc.) exhibited by many bloggers.
But are they really just annoyed that bloggers are threatening their status? Are journalists asking themselves similarly tough questions about how their readers perceive them?
The online advertising market seems to be on an inexorable path of steep growth.
No less an advertising authority than Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of the advertising behemoth WPP, was yesterday reported as saying that he expects online advertising to double in a few years.
"About 15% of our business is internet, and this will be 30% in 10 years," he told the New York Sun.
There were three engaging presentations about the Future of Online Marketing at the Commission Junction University event for advertisers and publishers in London this week.
The message coming through loud and clear was that marketers need to wake up quickly to the shifting balance of power on the internet.
There is no escaping the fact that consumers will increasingly hold sway in the fast-changing digital environment.
Paul Graham, one of the founders of web incubator Y Combinator, says we’re not in a bubble, and he’s right. There’s way too much talk about this mythical bubble. It ain’t a bubble, folks.
However, I think Paul is wide of the mark on a number of his assertions made when interviewed by Ian Delaney, who is currently writing a book on Web 2.0. Paul says he has spotted “a social trend that will last”, namely: “the startup world will increasingly be ruled by technical people rather than business people”.
I’m amazed that a savvy investor would think that way. Paul is a hacker himself of course, and a successful entrepreneur to boot, so I could be wildly out on this one. It just seems… wrong… on… so… many… levels…
Wow, Google’s Quality Score is really starting to bite hard on some PPC budgets. I’ve just taken a call from Auctioning4U, a UK-based firm that helps people sell goods on eBay, and they are reporting that average click costs have risen by almost 2,000% in just one week.
Trevor Ginn, Head of Consulting at Auctioning4U, told me that one keyphrase has jumped in price from 12p to £2.75 in the last week.
In another example, the price went up from his default of 30p (which paid for an average Adwords position of 1.3) to £5.50. “Feel my pain,” he says, not without reason.
Naturally, Trevor is wounded and reeling, and puzzled as to what he’s done wrong. He’s not really done anything wrong. It is simply a case of Google shifting the goalposts.
Yup, this PPC hyperinflation is linked to Google’s newly-enhanced focus on ad quality. It could be a case of too much, too soon.
TechCrunch posts a heads up on ActiveCollab, a new open source alternative to popular online project management tool Basecamp, by Web 2.0 poster children 37Signals, and talks about the possible threat to current monopoly and current business model if the software is of high quality.
Recently Dell launched a blog where their “intention is to address issues that are important to use and our customers”, and at present I feel that can only be a good thing, so long as Dell are committed to listening and acting on what they’ve already stated.