September 26, 2008

The Strange Case of Dr. User and Mr. Ads

MySpace just came up with a brilliant idea (IMHO):  a new advertising platform to "Promote You". Check it here.
Given the quasi-monopolistic situation of the web-advertisement market, it was key to establish direct relationships with advertisers, to get better returns for the huge inventory held with MySpace.
In fact, this is quite common for most of the big Internet services, which have an in-house department of ads sales, in order to fight Google position as main ads broker.
The original strategy undertaken by MySpace is to sign-up its own users as advertisers.  In this way, MySpace is creating new ads demand, while granting very targeted service to its users/advertisers.
Although in theory everybody, including businesses, could place his ads on MySpace, because of the demographic of MySpace's users, it is more likely that the most active advertisers will be just the most engaged users.  After all, we know that these users are artists, musicians who are already promoting themselves on MySpace.  Now they might enjoy a more powerful tool to do so, and guess what, they will be paying for that.
I think this strategy may represent a partial solution to the shrinking of ads revenue coming from traditional advertisers, namely off-line business.  Not to mention that having a relevant presence in the ads brokering market can surely be beneficial for such a concentrated market.

September 25, 2008 - Best of the lot

The past few days have been pretty hectic. Working on the incorporation, the user interface, the focus groups, the ads and their respective "screen real estate"...
However we hit a very important milestone:  we register the domain name for our website.  Of course, it is a temporary solution - but in case nothing better pops-up, it's going to become permanent.  Just like everything else in life...
The domain name we chose is:
I look forward to receiving some feedback on it.

P.S. do not bother checking: noting has been published at that URL.

September 12, 2008

WIPO Reports Increased Internationalization of Patent Filings

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently published  World Patent Report 2008.  The report, based on 2006 figures, shows that patents granted worldwide increased by 18%, with 727,000 patents granted in 2006 alone.  According to these statistics, the total number of patents in force worldwide at the end of 2006 was approximately 6.1 million.
The Report also shows that North East Asian countries (mainly China and the Republic of Korea) and the United States of America led the overall growth in worldwide filing of patent applications.  According to the Director General of WIPO, Dr. Kamil Idris "this reflects a consolidation of earlier trends which demonstrate a marked shift in innovation hubs around the world.” 
The increased internationalization of patent activity is demonstrated - according the Report -  by the growth in international filings through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the multilateral agreement administered by WIPO which provides a simplified method for international patent filing.  The number of international patent application submitted via the PCT in 2007 is estimated to be 158,400, representing a 5.9% increase over the previous year.  
The statistics, however, confirm a certain concentration of the innovative activity, since the Report pointed out to a growing tendency for traditional applicants to file their applications in multiple countries.  In fact, the USA keeps being by far the largest user of the PCT system.  In 2006, 33.6% of all PCT filings originated from the USA, almost twice that of the next largest user, Japan, which accounted for 17.5% of all PCT filings.

September 5, 2008

User Interface - Join Our Focus Group!

In case you want to complain about the upcoming "New Facebook", that's exactly what I'd love to hear from you.
Designing a useful, enjoyable and accessible User Interface (UI) is a crucial step for every web-service.  The UI represents more than the look and feel of a website.  A good UI captures the website's utility as a tool to perform specific tasks.  
Thus, if a UI is not functional, no matters how sophisticated is the technological back-end, the web-service becomes virtually useless.
We do not want to take this risk - here is why we need your help!

Next week, Ira and I will organize a focus group to analyze the user behavior, with respect to some of our competitors' websites.  If you are interested in joining the experiment, please send me a message, and I will sign you up.
The nature of the experiment requires to gather a focus group of 4-6 people, who will meet in the same physical location.  Therefore, we plan to have a meeting in the Stanford area.  
After trying different web-sites, we will start an open discussion and all participants will be asked to comment individually on certain specific web-features or designs.
I promise you will enjoy it.  
Besides, it is going to be an opportunity to discuss about web design, meeting interesting people and the event includes a social side: some food and drinks all together.  
We look forward to having you in our first UI focus group!

TV vs. Web

We all know that: the Web is much better than the TV.  Have a look at this video to find out why...