I love Google Alerts and I get 50-100 per day on my blackberry. But what I really want is an intelligent alerts system that cuts across all media types (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, business conferences, and podcasts) and prioritizes all of this media based on a profile that I build. For example, I would set up a list of topics, people and companies that I am interested in. And I would create some rules about the kinds of content that I consider most authoritative: perhaps listing my favorite types of content, or publishers that I consider most credible.
My 44 BusM 457 students gave class reports today on the 18 pay-per-click campaigns that they ran this semester for businesses. I was very impressed. Almost all the student teams had prepared effective powerpoint slides which included how they approached their projects, how they brainstormed and chose keywords, and how they started running ads, using analytics, and then optimizing the campaigns. Many of them showed actual click through rates and even conversion rates, since they had worked with the business webmasters to put tracking codes on the sites.
British broadcaster ITV is acquiring UK-based Friends Reunited for up to $305 million (including a possible payment in 2009 based on performance). While the company has several web sites, Charles Allen, ITV CEO, says that the genealogy site is "the real engine for growth" for the company.
Piper Jaffray estimates that the total online advertising market will reach $55 billion in 2010. That's a 27% CAGR from 2005 levels. SG Cowen says companies will spend $17.3 billion in paid search and $12.4 billion in other forms of online advertising. So this is a huge growth industry. A professor of entrepreneurship once told me that while most start-up companies go out of business in the first five years, he claimed that 80% of businesses started in an industry whose growth rate exceeded 10% annually would be in business after five years.
Check out this article from Reuters: Cell phone makers aim to get production costs to $20 per handset by 2007 and to $15 by 2008. Approximately 810 million mobile phones will be sold this year up from 680 million last year. 3.5 billion people live in areas with coverage who cannot afford their own handset, so lower prices means more market penetration.
Phil Burns, aka Phil801, COO of Provo Labs (which will be announced soon), flew to San Jose last night to attend Esther Dyson's When 2.0 seminar at Stanford University. Sometimes you look at the list of speakers and attendees at a conference and you think it would be worth any price and any sacrifice to be there. In this case you've got Ray Ozzie (running Microsoft's strategy for Windows Live and Office Live), Mitch Kapor, and key people from Technorati and Riya among others.
Many entrepreneurs don't know this, but Provo City has a revolving loan fund that typically makes $10,000 to $100,000 loans to companies that are having trouble getting financing. The Provo web site seems to be down right now, but here is a link to a short description of the Provo BDC. I am serving on the BDC committee. We meet every month or two to consider companies that qualify for these small loans. Roger Andrus works for Provo City and helps companies prepare for their presentations to us.