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MySpace portal, Netscape diggs, Silicon Valley's shortcoming...

The latest Silicon Valley tech action:

MySpace uses Simply Hired for its jobs board; starts to look like portal -- Simply Hired, the Silicon Valley start-up for job classifieds, has been selected by the fast-growing social network MySpace to offer job listings via MySpace Careers. This comes just two months after Fox Interactive, which like MySpace is owned by News Corp, invested in the start-up.

MySpace is now looking like a full-fledged portal (click below to enlarge). All MySpace needs to add to the search bar are tabs for a few things like "news" search and "maps" and -- voila -- it will be competiting with Google, Yahoo and MSN -- and may even be more fun!

AOL's Netscape.com to be revived as Digg-like site -- paidContent.org says that Jason Calacanis, who joined AOL after it acquired his blog network, WebLogs, will take over Netscape.(UPDATE: Turns out this is an old link)..

Did Google Earth almost take down a fire agency on SF peninsula? -- Here's a note by someone who talks about the problem of Web-based software of the type that Google is offering via Google Spreadsheets. In this case of Google Earth and the fire agency, a "designer who wrote the program decided to store the map cache in the users profile. While it's great for home users, corporate users who have roaming profiles suddenly had a profile that was 20GB to download. The bandwidth consumed by users logging on choked the network. Again, only tech support via e-mail, even after calling Google directly and pleading for live assistance for a public safety organization."

HP is the new Big Blue -- Notable factoid by BusinessWeek, about how HP has become the largest technology company. The Palo Alto personal computer and printer company moved ahead of IBM in sales last quarter.

What's up at Ultrawideband chip company Tzero? -- The Sunnyvale company has a write-up in the WSJ article today which says it will start selling its chips in July. Not mentioned, though, is that this three year old company has been going through a lot of CEOs lately -- it is on its third already over the past several months, and the latest, Mike Gulett, is apparently only interim. We tried going to the Web site, to contact the company, but the site -- or at least the site listed for Tzero by Google and other sources -- has been down all morning.

TZero earlier raised around $15.5 million in venture capital August Capital, U.S. Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and VentureTech Alliance, and was recently searching to raise $25 million more.

UltrawideBand can transmit up to a whopping 500 megabits of data a second -- roughly 10 times today's Wi-Fi speeds, but companies like Palo Alto's Airgo Networks say their technology can do just as well as Tzero's effective 100 megabits of data per second.

How to improve Silicon Valley? -- Paul Graham continues his insightful screeds about entrepreneurism:

To start with, Silicon Valley is too far from San Francisco. Palo Alto, the original ground zero, is about thirty miles away, and the present center more like forty. So people who come to work in Silicon Valley face an unpleasant choice: either live in the boring sprawl of the valley proper, or live in San Francisco and endure an hour commute each way.

The best thing would be if the silicon valley were not merely closer to the interesting city, but interesting itself. And there is a lot of room for improvement here. Palo Alto is not so bad, but everything built since is the worst sort of strip development. You can measure how demoralizing it is by the number of people who will sacrifice two hours a day commuting rather than live there.

(Via Slashdot)

Intel is in crisis -- If you are interested in Intel and the chip industry, Dean Takahashi, the Merc's expert on chips, has a piece about how Intel is "in a crisis."

Oracle keeps buying, but is it making a difference? Oracle has bought more than 20 companies in the past few years, and our colleague Therese Poletti writes in the Merc about how it has yet to pay off. Other Silicon Valley giants are hungry too. San Jose networking company, Cisco, has just acquired two more companies, for a total of 12 already in the past year.

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Ive read previous blogs of yours referring to My Space, so I thought you might be interested this BusinessWeek Online article detailing the race to make money off the phenomenon.


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JUNE 16, 2006
News Analysis
By Steve Rosenbush
Mining for Gold on MySpace
The mushrooming social site wants a search engine. Expect a fierce battle to land the job from the likes of Google, Yahoo!, and MSN
There were plenty of doubters last July when News Corp. (NWS ) closed its $580 million acquisition of social-networking phenomenon MySpace. Critics said the media giant run by billionaire Rupert Murdoch would kill off growth at the site, which had 17 million unique monthly visitors at the time.

But the growth of MySpace, whose mostly younger users communicate through home pages loaded with messages, photos, music, and more, has continued to surge. Researcher comScore Media Metrix says it had a stunning 51.4 million unique users in May, giving it the seventh-largest audience on the Web. Each month, the site gets more visitors than Amazon (AMZN ), Apple Computer (AAPL ), or The New York Times Digital (NYT ).

Yet for an operation of its size, MySpace still generates only a small amount of revenue. Its nearest rivals on the Web are multibillion-dollar companies. News Corp. won't say how much revenue MySpace generates, but one person familiar with the company says it makes about $100 million in banner ads. That's not bad for a startup, especially since industry insiders say it was generating several million dollars a year in profit before News Corp. bought it. However, it's not nearly enough to move the needle at giant News Corp., where money is measured in billions.

RICH IN DATA. Senior News Corp. management is working to bring MySpace's business model up to scale. Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin announced a big step in that direction during a speech on June 13 in which he outlined the company's new online search strategy. Search is a driver of traffic and advertising revenue for other major Web destinations, but it's a largely untapped source of growth for MySpace and other Fox Interactive Media (FIM) properties such as online gaming site IGN and sports site Scout (see BusinessWeek.com, 5/2/06, "News Corp.'s New Net Bets").

Given MySpace's power, Google (GOOG ), Yahoo! (YHOO ), and MSN (MSFT ) are expected to compete fiercely for the right to be the search engine of choice for MySpace and the rest of Fox Interactive. News Corp. won't say how much money it expects to derive from a deal, but industry experts say it could conceivably boost MySpace's annual revenue several times over. "The deal will probably be worth hundreds of millions of dollars," says Chris Sherman, executive editor of Searchenginewatch.com.

FIM has been reevaluating its search strategy for some time. It currently has a deal with Revenue Science, a company that sells a souped-up version of Yahoo Search. Revenue Science specializes in targeting search ads based on users' behavior. That's a natural for MySpace, which gleans lots of valuable demographic data from its users' profiles. But Sherman suspects MySpace gets very little, if any, revenue from that deal. By dealing directly with a powerful search engine, MySpace could move search from the expense to the revenue column, he speculates.

TRAFFIC ACCELERATION. Last year, FIM considered buying a search-engine company and building its own search capability, just as Yahoo and MSN did. But basic search has become more commoditized, and MySpace has become bigger and more powerful. That gives MySpace leverage to strike a good deal with a big established player.

MySpace already drives a huge amount of traffic to search engines. It generates 100 million searches a month. In fact, 5% of all searches on the Web and 8% of all searches on Google are originated by people who come directly from MySpace. Given its power, MySpace may be able to bargain for 25% to 35% of all the advertising revenue on pages that it generates for a search partner, according to Ali Diab, a former Yahoo search executive.

A good search deal could have several economic benefits for MySpace. It would boost traffic, because users would be less inclined to leave the site to conduct their searches. And that added traffic would raise the value of advertising on MySpace. FIM won't say how much it charges advertisers now, but it's believed to be less than $1 per million impressions. There are parts of Yahoo and MSN that charge many times that rate.

MODEL IN THE MAKING? There are several reasons why MySpace rates are lower. Some advertisers are reluctant to be associated with the freewheeling site, which has concerned some as a potential hunting ground for sexual predators (see Businessweek.com, 5/12/06 "No Space for MySpace?"). And Diab notes that other sites, such as Yahoo, generate searches that are directly related to commerce. That's more lucrative than MySpace searches, which tend to be more about finding individuals or groups of people, he says (see BusinessWeek.com, 5/8/06 "Guide to MySpace").

Search will become an increasingly important tool within MySpace. Sherman says that until now users have navigated by clicking on profiles found on long lists of "friends." But with 51.4 million users last month, "a more efficient way of finding people will become necessary," he says.

One way or another, MySpace and FIM will need a search engine with strong video and audio capability. MySpace is a popular site among musicians and their fans, and videos are popular as well. It isn't out of the question that FIM could still develop a relationship with a cutting-edge search engine such as Blinx, a leader in video search, Sherman says.

WORK IN PROGRESS. For the moment, it appears that MySpace has proven itself to be more than just a passing fad. But it remains to be seen whether a business model which is effective for a startup can have a major impact on the multibillion-dollar bottom line at News Corp.

Creating an effective search strategy could be a crucial element in FIM's emerging business model.


Rosenbush is a senior writer for BusinessWeek Online, based in New York

David on June 16, 2006 9:40 AM
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emily on July 1, 2006 1:07 PM
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