Non-Domain Related

Making Purchases Online

Beat the mobs on ‘Cyber Monday’

According to the article and a study from the National Retail Federation, nearly 75% of online retailers will offer special promotions on “Cyber Monday,” which falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving (tomorrow). Up until last year, I had never heard about Cyber Monday, but apparently this is one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.

CyberMonday.com, a website powered by Shop.org and owned by the National Retail Federation, offers links to many retailers who have “Cyber Monday” deals.  

CNN.com  offers some good online shopping tips to help save money and ensure a safe shopping experience.  As with all shopping, people should use their best discretion, and they should use common sense when making purchases online.  

Pump your Gas and Google

Ever find yourself at a gas station looking for directions?   When I was younger, my family pulled into a gas station in the Bronx, New York looking for directions out of the Bronx.   My dad asked the station clerk for directions, and she replied, “fill up your tank and I can help you.”   My dad filled up the tank and went back for the instructions, to which the woman replied “sorry, no hablo English.”

Soon, you won’t have to rely on the gas station service clerks for directions.   According to a CNN article  and the Gilbarco Veeder-Root website, Google has formed a partnership with gas station pump maker Gilbarco Veeder-Root, which just introduced their Applause Media System.    Gilbarco’s  pumps will  now include an Internet connection displaying Google’s mapping service on a small screen.

At first, pumpers will be asked to find their location by scrolling through many popular categories, including hotels, restaurants and hospitals selected by the gas station’s owner.   Once a destination is selected, the pump will print out directions.

This is another way Google is becoming involved in the search business.   Some of the other non-traditional search engine searching you can do include:

  • Dialing 1-800-GOOG-411  for free phone number services.
  • Texting “GOOGL” along with a business and city, and Google will send you the address and phone number.
  • Searching using  a Blackberry or other handheld device – Google.mobi

Someone asked me what I thought the % of people who would use the Google  pump maps  vs. in-car GPS systems.   That got me thinking, why doesn’t Google  develop an inexpensive  Google Maps branded GPS system?   Better yet, why not develop an in-car computer system to allow motorists to connect to the Internet using Google’s technologies?

Online Impact of Writers Guild Strike

When the Writers Guild of America held their first labor strike in 1988, television viewers turned to cable as an alternative to the regular shows they were missing, and they clearly embraced the programming.    That first strike lasted 22 weeks, and the impact of  it can still be seen today in America’s television viewing habits, which continue to rely on cable television as its main source of entertainment.

How will the Writers Guild strike of 2007 impact us in this day and age of the Internet?    If the first strike was indicative of what will happen,  people  will probably  spend more time entertaining themselves online rather than watching reruns on television.    User generated content, which is always  well stocked,  should be in high demand.   Sites such as YouTube will certainly benefit from the strike.

Unique content will be key to turning eyeballs into dollars.  People will be looking to satiate their viewing needs, and if they can get their fix on the Internet, they will certainly be back for more.  This could be a great opportunity for some websites to become more mainstream and capture a new audience of Internet savvy viewers.

I think  Doug Aamoth said it best on Crunch Gear,

“To those of you in the Writers Guild; whether or not I agree with the reason you’re striking, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you consider creating content for the web. And if you do, I hope you’ll realize that you don’t need the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to get that content onto the Internet.” — Source: Crunch Gear

My Introduction to Google Books

I was browsing Google today and noticed they added a feature at the top of the search results. In addition to the “Web” and “Video” links, they also added a “Books” link. When you do a Google search for a person, Seth Godin for example, you are given the standard results and an opportunity to click on the “Books” link, taking you to a page with all of the books that  author penned.

When you click on  one of the author’s books  “Permission Marketing” as an example (a book I read in graduate school) you are taken to a page that offers reviews, images and content from the book. There is also a box to the right where you can click on your favorite bookseller to buy the book.

This  is a HUGE revenue opportunity in my opinion. I receive 4% commission on certain products as an Amazon affiliate, and I am sure Google has a nice deal worked out with these book industry goliaths. I did encounter a problem when I clicked through on the Amazon.com link for this book – a 404 error page.

Special Thanks to Scott Silver

My brother, Scott Silver, is going to be an incredible attorney. He is currently in his first year at Suffolk Law School in Boston after spending a few years working at two top law firms in Maryland. Over the past year and a half, Scott has been a big help to me. There are always risks in business, and his advice has helped to mitigate many of those risks for me.

I doubt that he will be interested in going into the field of Internet Law once he graduates, but if he does, he will have his first client.

IAC, CollegeHumor.com, Boobs, “Erection Election” & More!

In 2004, CollegeHumor.com was (and still is) a clever up and coming social website targeting college students, skewed towards males. One of the big draws to the site was the photo section, frequently filled with topless girls with naughty notes on their chests expressing their love for College Humor.

During the 2004 presidential election, girls (mostly) started submitting topless, bottomless, headless, and even “Bush”less photos with the name of their preferred presidential candidate. I did my research and saw slogans like “Boobs for Kerry,” “Vote Kerry ’04 – Bush can’t touch this,” and of course “NO MORE BUSH IN 04′ – Election Erection 2004.” These photos were all submitted under the theme, “Election Erection.”

In August of 2006, Barry Diller’s IAC purchased a 51% stake in the company that founded CollegeHumor.com, Connected Ventures, LLC. According to the press release at the time:

“NEW YORK, Aug. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI) announced today that it has acquired a 51% stake and full voting control of Connected Ventures, LLC, parent of leading comedy site CollegeHumor.com. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. CollegeHumor is the first site to join IAC Programming, launched earlier this year to buy and build branded online content properties that engage passionate communities.”Source: Gawker

Shortly after the success of “Election Erection,” Connected Ventures, LLC purchased the domain name ElectionErection.com. Thinking it might all link back to CollegeHumor.com and the photo section tagged “Election Erection,” I navigated there and surprisingly found an adult site needing me to certify I was of proper legal age (well, that’s not the surprise). To my surprise, it forwards to a male gay adult site (LikeMyGayPhoto.com) owned by FriendFinder.

My question…. why would a site whose name was founded on the premise of girls flashing the camera be a gay adult site? Shouldn’t they leverage the brand they created and celebrate the 2008 presidential election accordingly? I guess it might be strange to see a topless girl with whose boobs are tagged, “Bush is Gone; Vote Hillary!”

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