RapidShare

One of the fastest growing websites in the world, is RapidShare – and I was very surprised to see that it’s currently ranked 12 globally on Alexa. RapidShare allows users to quickly and easily upload files and share them without having to register a user account. RapidShare’s daily reach has exceed Facebook & Hi5 – not bad for a company that only launched less than a year ago. It’s currently a very simple file sharing tool, but many people are using it, so I’m interested to see how they evolve the business going forward. This is definitely one to watch out for.

Update: Here is the Alexa chart comparing Hi5, FaceBook & RapidShare.

Facebook IS worth $10bn – says Microsoft

The Wall Street Journal reported today on a story that Microsoft could buy into FaceBook at a $10bn valuation.

When I wrote about my justification on why Facebook was worth $10bn a month ago, I had a lot of skeptics who thought that I was smoking some really good stuff. In fact, I saw quite a few visitors on my blog from Redmond – heck, maybe I even helped the deal go through :-)

At the end of the day, valuations are really about willing buyer, willing seller, and perceived value to the buyer (based on the value that they can extract from the deal). I’ve always said that Microsoft is the most likely buyer here, and I don’t think that Google will get this deal in the bag – in fact, it looks as if Google is going to use Orkut to compete globally.

Facebook holds the biggest opportunity to provide demographic targeted data to advertisers, and the valuation sounds about right, based on that rationale, and all the other metrics combined. Google is not going to take this standing down – watch out for an Orkut retaliation.

BlogRush

I first heard about BlogRush only about a week ago, and when I met the CEO at TechCrunch40, I told him that I thought it was a pyramid scheme for Internet traffic – or at least, that’s the impression that I got from the YouTube Video.

After he explained the business model too me – I realised that I overlooked the number of links on each widget – the penny dropped. I now think that this is a great idea to generate more traffic to your blog, and open your blog to a wider customer base, so I’m going to test it out. There’s nothing to lose – so try it out!I created an account – and here is the widget they produce for you. If you signup through my link, I get extra traffic to my blog through their network – so please click away! :-)


Update: Here is a YouTube Video, explaining how BlogRush works :

Widgetbox Blidgets

I wrote some posts on Thought Leader, the recently launched South African portal and I just wrote a post on how we’re in a social network bubble. I was trying to find a nice way to integrate the RSS feed into this blog, and then I remembered that WidgetBox has a great feature that allows you to create Blidgets (Blog Widgets) quickly and easily using RSS feeds.

Viola!:

The Evolution of Search Affiliates

The final session that I attended at CJU, was by Steve August, Operation VP of Customer Marketing for Brookstone. This was certainly the best session of the entire show, and I actually stopped writing (hence the fact that I didn’t blog it), as I was set on getting a copy of his presentation for this blog. Steve kindly obliged, so I’m posting it here. There is a lot of great stuff in here, so I really advise you to watch it – obviously not as good as being there, but some interesting stuff nevertheless.

What’s interesting to note, is that Brookstone is divesting of Search Affiliates, as they are not seeing enough margin in that business for them. From the many discussions I had at CJU, this is a growing trend and the larger Search Affiliates are reinventing themselves into technology companies (Traffic Strategies was recently acquired by Linkshare), having had many years in which to build technology platforms without the need to go through long sales cycles to close business. This put Search Affiliates way ahead of traditional SEM agencies vis a vis focusing on value and not “bid management” – which drove SEM agency revenues. We also took the business on risk, which gave us the opportunity to experiment at our own expense, and determine what the optimal PPC solution should look like, and not be bogged down by client demands in the interim. The result is Media Manager, a proprietary multi-million keyword management system, that allows customers to target ROI, focus on very detailed business intelligence and growth the revenues by optimizing their campaigns, not just increasing their bids – as most other companies propose – especially since they work on a % of spend model.

The role of networks in this evolution is still up for debate. My view is that larger networks such as CJ, Linkshare, Tradedoubler & Performics will become dis-intermediated if they do not change their business models for larger affiliates. The good news is that many of them are already having this discussion and are very co-operative in evolving their businesses into platforms. In a world of mass supply, aggregators hold much of the value of the long tail. Affiliate networks have an aggregation business model, and therefore the value is really in the long tail that they have – the super affiliates or high volume players will need to be treated differently in order to support the business model evolution. The margins for search affiliates are certainly under threat, and Brookstone is experiencing zero-sum returns – this really means that it’s lose lose for networks and search affiliates if there is no margin left for the merchant – something has to give…

Clicks2Customers realized this shift in the industry a while ago, and has quietly become an in-house solutions company, supporting in-house teams by providing access to tried and tested technology that allows them to manage and optimize their multi-million PPC keyword campaigns with precision ROI management. Our Media Manager platform was build on the back of years of generating revenue for merchants, so unlike many of our competitors – it’s a tried and tested solution that focuses on generating revenue, and not increasing bids or spending more money (as per traditional SEM agencies). We’ve only recently embarked on the change in our business model and we’ll be announcing more details in the weeks to come – for now, it’s only being offered to select partners as we roll out. Our model is still performance based and we only make money for value added to a campaign – not the amount spent. We’re evolving from a Super Affiliate to a world class performance search marketing solutions provider!

If you’d like to be considered for our product roll-out, please fill in the contact form on this site. We’re currently only targeting advertisers with spend levels above $500k/year and the budget to grow aggressively.

More news to follow soon!

MC Hammer Launches DanceJam – Its Hammer Time!

MC Hammer was at TechCrunch40 today, to announce his new company, DanceJam.  Don Dodge broke the DanceJam story on his blog today, after TechCrunch40 closed.  I managed to get a pic of yours truly & MC Hammer today!  In other news, there is a great Korean startup called MusicShake that have a fantastic product worth checking out!  It basically allows you to create your own music very easily – I played with it, using Parallels, and it was great fun.

So today, so far, I’ve seen an 80’s musician & lots of free money in Web 2.0 – does anyone smell a bubble? :-)  Actually, seriously, I think we’re in the start of a long term sustainable boom, with a few bumps along the way – there is a massive paradigm shift underway, and some of the businesses I saw today, don’t have a hope in hell of surviving through to second round funding, but hey – that’s just business in general!

I’m off now to Lucid, for the afterparty!! Long day ahead of me tomorrow though!  If you’re attending the conference, please stop by Booth 44 to see us demo Synthasite!

Facebook announces $10m FB Apps Fund

I’m sitting at TechCrunch40 and Mark Zuckerberg just announced the FaceBook $10m Apps fund to assist developers in building Facebook apps.  There will be no equity taken, and this is basically a grant.   The Web 2.0 market is going crazy… it’s certainly boom time! Free money…what next?