SM: How did you penetrate the market and get early traction?
YB: Since there was very little competition in the field, being so relevant and unique our content was quickly picked up by Google and we’ve successfully conquered top positions for relevant keywords. In addition, the uniqueness of the site, combined with our close relations with the internet industry sparked the imagination of many bloggers and reporters who wrote about us.
SM: What stage are you at now? Revenue? Profitability? Traffic? Customers? Users? Advertisers? Any other metrics you track?
YB: We’re seeing preliminary profits from both advertisements and community activity (premium services). This month we’re expecting to see over 2.5M users and as you can see at Alexa we’re growing very rapidly. We are also starting to see high conversions to premium services, of people who are willing to pay for getting their problems solved by Experts. >>>
The Online Video momentum is driving growth and activities in the networking equipment and infrastructure industry. 3Com just reaped the benefits in form of a Private Equity transaction. Akamai is another strong beneficiary.
This post will look at the topic from the application delivery networking angle. There is an increasing use of web-based business applications and use of PDAs, smartphones, and notebook computers to access multimedia applications over the Internet. A major beneficiary of this trend is F5. >>>
Previous Post: IPTV: Next-Gen Television?
There are 3 flavors of IPTV. This blog deals with the first and most prevalent definition… telco operators. AT&T U-Verse. Verizon FiOS. Second and third tier telcos like Surewest. We will not discuss “technology.” Technology to do video over IP is prevalent, growing and indisputable, although many different forms exist. Blogs authored in Silicon Valley tend to fixate on the enabling technology behind the delivery of IP video — whether it’s downloading, P2P or streaming. So-called IPTV companies using these various forms of video delivery rarely give any credence to competitive endeavors. Typically, they see only their own initiative as the lone winner. We’ll leave tech-talk to the engineers. Instead, we will focus on 3 important legs of the chair: Business Model, Content and Consumer Experience.
Although Europe and Asia tend to lead successful IPTV deployments, particularly in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea, we will just be talking about the major IPTV leaders in the United States. >>>
Web 3.0 Framework discussion
Below is a quick overview of the Web 3.0 framework for the McClatchy sites. We have not gone into the details of all the properties, but you can review the Web 3.0 section of this site for detailed discussions on each vertical category. This segment also includes an overview of the prevalent business models in the McClatchy properties.
If you are looking for an apartment or a roommate in any of the top cities in the US, then Apartments.com is definitely the place. I found the Moving Center on Apartments.com very helpful as it provides very good information on packing and moving starting from truck rentals to moving quotes.
I also like the Research section on Cars.com. It allows users to research new and used car before they actually make the purchase. Side-By-Side Comparison on Cars.com allows users to compare cars.
CareerBuilder scores high on contextual navigation within the Jobs category. Broad job categories like College and Interns, Non Profits, etc. are well articulated.
Most of McClatchy’s Internet properties are co-owned with Belo Corporation, Gannett, Tribune and The Washington Post Company and the strength of these old media companies in delivering high quality content is evident in sites like CarrerBuilder, Cars.com, Apartments.com, ShopLocal, Topix, etc. >>>
SM: Where did you get the idea for your current venture? What is your domain experience in the segment?
YB: Like any other consumer out there, I had a hard time finding relevant and updated support information for my products, and therefore decided to create this site.
As for experience in the industry, I have managed the dating business unit at hotbar.com and before that co-founded the gaming portal 3turtles.com
SM: What was the market landscape like when you founded the company? Competition? Competitive Positioning? >>>
In my series on Online Video Beneficiaries, I have covered the network players like Cisco. In this post, I will look at the application acceleration angle. Gartner estimates that the market for application acceleration will exceed $3 billion by 2010. There has been a meteoric rise of online traffic with the online broadcast of live events and the popularity of devices like iPods and iPhones and the resulting boom in downloading as well as uploading of music and videos. A major beneficiary of this surge in online traffic and multimedia activity that requires fast and reliable transfers is Akamai.
Akamai Technologies(NASDAQ: AKAM) is the leading content delivery network (CDN) provider that accelerates the delivery of content and applications over the Internet. With the Internet playing a major role in everyday life and applications, Akamai’s business is booming. Its annual sales in 2006 went up 51% to $428.7 million and have more than doubled over 2004. It acquired one of its biggest competitors, Speedera in June, 2005. It followed this up with Nine Systems in December 2006 to build out its video serving capability. In March 2007, it acquired Netli to expand its application acceleration technology as well as its presence in the Software-As-A-Service (SAAS) market. In April 2007, it bought Red Swoosh to enhance its distributed Internet presence. >>>
McClatchy, in partnership with Belo Corporation, Gannett, Tribune and The Washington Post Company owns Classified Ventures. Classified Ventures’ objective is to collectively capitalize on the revenue growth in the online classified advertising categories of automotive, apartments, and real estate. McClatchy’s various positions in the verticals are sometimes held by the company itself, often in collaboration with Gannett, Tribune, and other newspaper companies, and sometimes held by Classified Ventures. In this section, we will take stock of what they own in which vertical, and how those online properties are doing.
CareerBuilder founded in 1995, is owned by Gannett, Tribune, and McClatchy. It is a job site where users can search or post jobs and resumes, gather information about companies and seek career related advice from experts. The site has 400 million monthly page views and over 21 million monthly unique visitors. The site averages more than 1.5 million job postings per month. Microsoft bought a minority stake in the company in May 2007.
The site has 1200 partners and is the number one job site in the US. CareerBuilder places help-wanted ads in Europe and Asia, as well as in U.S. markets. McClatchy owns 14.4% of CareerBuilder.
ShopLocal is the leading multi-channel marketplace, which links potential customers and the product sellers. Gannett, Tribune and McClatchy own it. ShopLocal LLC is growing at 30% a year and planning innovative offerings for retail advertisers. It offers a wide range of products from various large retailers like Target, Sears, The Home Depot, JC Penny and Best buy. ShopLocal has less than $100 million in revenue but has built a strong Web presence. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, ShopLocal’s home page attracted 9 million unique visitors, in March 2007 up 26% from the previous year. >>>
The VC-Entrepreneur Compensation Disbalance post has generated great discussion. In it, a theme that emerges over and again, is Bootstrapping.
You have read a few of my prior writings on Bootstrapping [Is Bootstrapping Becoming Sexy and Again? and Protect Your Dilution]. There is no doubt at all anymore that bootstrapping is, indeed, becoming sexy again.
Unlike the mid-late nineties, when Powerpoint Financing was in vogue, and VCs fell all over each other financing half-baked ideas, today, entrepreneurs are no longer really seeking financing for the ideation / experimentation phase. In contrast, in 1999, all of us raised funding on Powerpoints. Experienced entrepreneurs included.
Today, many entrepreneurs are not seeking financing at all, choosing to go straight to exit (eg. Joe Kraus sold JotSpot to Google with no VC money).
An even more interesting model is what Sridhar Vembu has done with Zoho. He has built the company to $10M+ in revenues, and has no plan of selling it ever. His sweet sauce is using a smaller “cash cow” network tools business to get into something much bigger and potentially more ambitious and disruptive, ie. On-Demand Office and CRM. >>>