Thursday, June 01, 2006

Online Used-Vehicle Classifieds Outpace Print Ads Two to One

More than twice as many late-model used-vehicle buyers find the vehicle they purchase through the Internet than both newspaper and magazine classified ads combined, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Used Autoshopper.com Study(SM) released today. The study finds that in the past five years, the percentage of buyers finding their used vehicle through a traditional newspaper or magazine classified ad has been cut in half (from 14% in 2002 to 7% in 2006). During the same period, buyers who found their vehicle through an online classified has doubled (from 8% in 2002 to 16% in 2006). "Print continues to serve an important purpose in marketing, but its role in the area of classified listings is diminishing quickly," said Min Cho, senior analyst at J.D. Power and Associates. "The domination of the Internet over print in the used-vehicle market will only increase as today's younger buyers become a larger buying force in the market. Buyers under the age of 35 are more than four times as likely to be led to the vehicle they purchase by information found online than by print classified ads."

Full Article: Online Used-Vehicle Classifieds Outpace Print Ads Two to One

Microsoft Considers eBay Acquisition

Microsoft has been in talks for several weeks about a possible acquisition of eBay, reported the New York Post on Friday, citing sources close to the issue. Apparently, Microsoft has considered buying eBay and merging it with MSN in a bid to challenge Google for internet supremacy, but as a result of antitrust concerns the talks have "cooled somewhat," according to the Post.

Full Article: Microsoft Considers eBay Acquisition

Google launches its database service called "Base" in Germany

Google has launched its database called Google Base in Germany, which may allow it to enter into competition with online auction site eBay, among others. Surfers can use Google Base to put all kinds of information -- such as news, job offers, recipes, and classifieds -- online; the offers can then be found via a normal Google search, in Google Maps, or in the product search Froogle. This Wednesday, the Internet search engine operator has launched the beta version of its database service in Germany and Great Britain.

Full Article: Google launches its database service called "Base" in Germany

Monday, May 29, 2006

Yahoo, eBay Will Work Together To Boost Revenue

Yahoo and eBay said they'll work together to boost advertising and other sources of revenue.
Hard to believe, but Yahoo is now 11 years old, making it old dog, senior citizen by Silicon Valley measures. At today's shareholder meeting, top executives said the best is yet to come, even with tough competition from rivals such as Google.
It's the one time a year that small investors can gather and hear directly from top management. Yahoo is still the number one web site. It claims 500 million people visit yahoo every month around the world.
Shareholders learned how Yahoo has updated its home page, improved its popular email service, and is looking for ways to boost advertising revenue.
Yahoo Shareholder: "They keep re-inventing themselves. When you look at General Motors and some of the other companies, they've really had to struggle. But Yahoo they're looking five, 10 years out. They see the big picture."
Yahoo executives said they're planning to be big in China. But that raised criticism how Yahoo's cooperation with Chinese authorities may have put a journalist and others in prison.
Anthony Cruz represents Amnesty International and challenged Yahoo chairman Terry Semel:
"I asked him specifically, would he call on the Chinese government to release these prisoners in China, and there was not a 'yes' or 'no' answer, so, no, I wasn't satisfied."
Other shareholders recognize yahoo is caught in a tough spot.
Dick Hackenberg from Berkeley: "I don't know that they could actually come out and challenge the Chinese government. I don't think that would have been prudent from a business standpoint. But certainly from a human rights and a moral standpoint, under the mission that yahoo has, I would have liked to hear something more specific about that case."
A retired teacher thinks Yahoo should be reaching out to students.
Lillian Reiter: "These children come home with these names, like Google, Google. And I didn't hear Yahoo as much as I heard Google."
Yahoo shareholders clearly see Google as its main competition.
We did request interviews with Yahoo senior executives, but they turned us down.

Source: www.abclocal.com, May 25th 2006

Yahoo, eBay form Web advertising alliance

NEW YORK, May 25 (Reuters) - Internet media company Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and online auctioneer eBay (EBAY.O: Quote, Profile, Research) on Thursday said they reached a multi-year advertising and commercial partnership aimed at boosting their position against Web search leader Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research).
According to the deal, Yahoo will be the exclusive third-party provider of all graphic ads throughout eBay's auction site. Yahoo has also chosen eBay's online payment system PayPal to allow its own customers to pay for Yahoo Web services.
Yahoo and EBay said they will begin to roll out their joint initiatives this year.

Source: http://today.reuters.com, May 25th 2006

eBay, Yahoo Alliance Rumored

Wall Street is apparently abuzz about a huge potential internet alliance - most likely a Yahoo-eBay partnership - but also possibly involving others, including Google and Microsoft, writes the New Zealand Herald, citing a JP Morgan report. According to eBay spokesman Hani Durzy, the company works closely with the major search providers, but he would not address a potential Yahoo relationship. "We don't comment on rumors and speculation," Durzy is quoted as saying.

Full Article: eBay, Yahoo Alliance Rumored

News Ltd, PBL merger 'unlikely'

The federal Communications Minister says it is unlikely that media companies News Limited and PBL would be allowed to merge under the Government's planned media law changes.
Senator Helen Coonan has told a Senate estimates hearing she hopes to finalise proposed changes to media laws soon.
In March, the Government released a discussion paper on plans to relax media ownership restrictions. Senator Coonan says the laws will include safeguards making a merge between major companies News Limited and PBL unlikely.
"Well I mean that's not, this is not going to be a legislated outcome ... and the processes are there that will be run by the regulator, so it's not for me to be guaranteeing," she said.
"But my very firm view is that it would be unlikely to be capable of that sort of outcome with the safeguards that I have talked about."

Source: www.abc.net.au, May 23rd 2006

New online shopping site targets Aussies

A new online shopping site from eBay is ready to take over the way Australians buy goods in cyberspace. And the company says it will dominate its competitors as it looks to pounce on the five and a half million Australian internet shoppers. The shopping.com website allows consumers to view more than half a million products from wine to digital cameras, from more than 200 retailers. Buyers can read reviews and compare prices before being directed to the retailer's web page to purchase products. The site was first launched in the United States in 1999, and local versions have since been introduced in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. It has more than 40 million visitors a month globally.

Full Article: New online shopping site targets Aussies

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

PBL eyes bigger stake of Carsales

PUBLISHING and Broadcasting Ltd is considering increasing its 41 per cent stake in online car ads business carsales.com.au, as James Packer continues his push into new media.
It is believed PBL has approached some shareholders, including John Fairfax Holdings (owner of The Age), which has a 7 per cent stake in carsales, with a view to getting financial control of the business. PBL also owns a quarter-stake in leading online job ads company Seek and is believed to be keen to develop a strategic partnership between the two businesses or potentially merge them.
Carsales is an unlisted public company with more than 50 shareholders, many of whom are car dealers. PBL took up its 41 per cent stake last October as part of a merger between its own online trading sites — including carpoint.com.au and boatpoint.com.au — with carsales. An independent expert's report by Grant Samuel valued the merged business at up to $184 million.
Carsales reported a 72 per cent jump in net profit after tax to $2.1 million in the December half, in line with expectations. Profit before tax more than doubled to just under $3 million, according to accounts filed with the corporate regulator. (Carsales reported a smaller rise in the bottom line because historical tax losses meant that no income tax expense was booked in the half-year to December 2004.)
PBL takes out three of the seats on the company's five-member board, giving it effective control. Its directors are PBL chief executive John Alexander, head of classified strategy and business development Gregg Haythorpe and Mr Packer.
Mr Haythorpe did not return calls.
Seek's joint chief executive, Andrew Bassat, last week denied there were any plans for a tie-up with carsales.
"Our focus is very much on the growth in employment and the growth in the learning, which is a new business for us" he said. "At some point, we might look outside that but not right now."
Carsales chief executive Greg Roeback told shareholders in a statement that in March its web site listed over 90,000 cars for sale.

Source: www.theage.com.au, May 22nd 2006

Ebay China and Taobao.com have started a war on a new battlefield.

Ebay China and Taobao.com have expanded their intense competition from the customer-to-customer (C2C) market to the business-to-customer (B2C) market. Both have launched online stores in cooperation with dozens of premium brands. In China’s emerging e-commerce market, Ebay China, the Chinese unit of US online auction service eBay Inc, and Taobao.com, a unit of Alibaba.com, have been long-time rivals. In the latest survey available, Taobao.com had a 67.3 percent share of China’s C2C market in terms of user numbers by the end of March 2006. That was followed by Ebay China which had a 29.1 percent share of the market. Now the battlefield between these two arch rivals has been expanded to the B2C market. In early May, Taobao.com set up online shopping stores which have attracted companies such as Motorola, Nokia, Qingdao Haier, and Lenovo. As always, Taobao.com does not charge any fees to companies who want to set up shops on its website. Nor does it take commissions from any deals that have been successfully completed.

Full Article: Ebay China and Taobao.com have started a war on a new battlefield.

eBay launches Australian shopping

ONLINE shopping is gaining pace: close to 6 million people now buy items ranging from cars to groceries on the internet. Today eBay, the world's largest online auction house, will launch an Australian version of its US online retail enterprise, shopping.com.
More than 200 merchants have signed up. They include Dick Smith, Apple Computer, Dell, Peter's of Kensington, Deals Direct and Strawberrynet. Lorrie Norrington, president and chief executive of shopping.com in the US, led the Australian launch. She said that while the Australian market looked small compared with the US, "there are heaps of opportunities here".
Shopping.com, founded in 1999, was originally called DealTime and focused on price comparison. In 2003, it merged with ePinions, which provided consumer reviews of products.
Its staff is mainly in San Francisco, with programmers in Israel and another in Britain, where it opened for business in 2001. In 2004 the company listed on the Nasdaq and last year it was bought by eBay and expanded into France and Germany. Australia is its fifth branch.
Ms Norrington said the company began researching Australia last year and discovered higher than average interest in online shopping.
"As broadband grows we expect internet adoption to grow more," she said. "There are 12 million internet users in Australia and 7.5 million online shoppers, of whom 5.5 million shop frequently.
"In addition, 87 per cent of all Australian internet users have bought something online, which is well above the (developed country) average of 77 per cent.
"Fifty-three per cent of those people say they have bought something in the last month. So we see the velocity increasing in the Australian market."
Shopping.com Australia manager Sean Cornelius said the online shopping population in Australia was growing by more than 40 per cent a year.
"We know that retailers are increasingly looking to add this additional sales channel to their business," he said. "They understand how the buyer is looking to transact online as well as offline."
He said trust was a vital ingredient in the transaction. "We provide transparency of information," he said. "Customers can rate their experience with online retailers and their views are shown on the site, so retailers are focused on building their online reputation."
Mr Cornelius said the company would keep an eye on customer reviews and would remove untrustworthy retailers.

Source: www.theage.com.au, May 23rd 2006

Fix 'embarrassing' broadband, says PBL

Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd chairman James Packer has called on the government to provide regulatory certainty to fix Australia's "embarrassing" broadband position.
Mr Packer said Australia's low broadband penetration rate compared to the rest of the world would only be improved if the government provided a clear set of regulatory boundaries.
He said Australia's online advertising revenue had grown considerably in the last 12 months.
"Broadband penetration is a key driver of this growth," Mr Packer told a ninemsn digital market summit.
"But Australia's position in this area is embarrassing.
"We need faster broadband to stay competitive with the rest of the world."
Late last year an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development survey on broadband subscriber rates ranked Australia 17th out of 30 countries.
The data showed that Australia had an average of 10.9 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants, compared to an OECD average of 11.8.
Korea maintained its lead with 25.5 subscribers per 100 inhabitants.
Number one telco Telstra has locked horns with the competition watchdog over the rollout of its proposed $3 billion fibre broadband network, saying it needs regulatory certainty before its investment can proceed.

Full Article: Fix 'embarrassing' broadband, says PBL

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ninemsn CEO Martin Hoffman quits

Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd's internet portal Ninemsn announced its chief executive Martin Hoffman had resigned after more than three years in the job.
Mr Hoffman will continue as chief executive of Ninemsn during a transition period to ensure a smooth handover for clients and staff, Ninemsn said in a statement.
Mr Hoffman has been at the helm of Ninemsn since January 2003 and he is currently considering opportunities, including some at PBL and Microsoft.
"During my time at Ninemsn I have led the business through a period of tremendous growth and success and built a strong leadership team," Mr Hoffman said.
"Ongoing developments in the media and technology industries mean now is the right time to seek new opportunities to use my strengths of hands-on leadership in building businesses.
"Both PBL and Microsoft are supporting me in my career aspirations."
PBL executive chairman James Packer said Mr Hoffman's vision and leadership had been essential to Ninemsn's position as the leading new media company in Australia.

Full Article: Ninemsn CEO Martin Hoffman quits

Seek and destroy - Trade Me

Trade Me plans to shake up the online recruitment market by undercutting the listing fees of market leader Seek by 70-80 per cent when it introduces a jobs category on its website later this year. Founder Sam Morgan says moving into recruitment advertising is the web business' "No 1 priority". But he says Trade Me is also fomenting plans to help people buy new goods such as music and consumer electronics online once it has the second-hand and classifieds market wrapped up.
"Catalogue-based shopping for new goods is something that is on the medium-to-long term horizon." Mr Morgan expects Trade Me will begin advertising jobs online early in the second half of the year. ASX-listed Seek charges $150 per job listing in New Zealand and Mr Morgan says Trade Me will probably come in at "20-30 per cent of their cost".
He says Trade Me will examine what extra features and functionality it can provide, but says its main competitive advantage will be the volume of traffic to its website. "The nearest competitor in the market is Seek and Trade Me has 10-15 times their number of visitors."
Mr Morgan says Trade Me's revenues and sales jumped 20 per cent from February to March in the wake of its $700 million purchase by Australian newspaper publisher Fairfax. Sales "flattened out" in April but Trade Me is on track to grow another 10 per cent this month, he says. Mr Morgan attributes the March jump to interest generated by the Fairfax purchase and seasonal factors. Melbourne-based Seek chief executive Paul Bassat is confident the company can fend off competition from Trade Me without dropping its listing prices. "People associate Trade Me with buying, selling and trading, and Kiwis associate Seek with finding a job," he says.
Seek has a market capitalisation of A$1.34 billion, having seen its share price double since its successful listing a year ago.
"At the end of the day, the reason people advertise is because of the outcomes, rather than the price," says Mr Bassat. "Compared to print advertising, our prices are very competitive and we are not expecting our prices will come down."
Mr Bassat says Seek is developing a new search engine that will make it easier to search for jobs on its site. However, Mr Morgan is confident advertisers will turn to Trade Me in time. "The advantage we have is being a diverse business we have the ability to run a job category and have it make no revenue for an unlimited period of time if we so decide. "We have got the ability to grow that space by doing whatever it takes and we will continue with our philosophy of doing no marketing whatsoever because we don't need to. If all we did was jobs, we would have to approach it slightly differently."
Mr Morgan says that once the jobs category is ticked off, Trade Me will have "pretty much done all the newspaper classified sections". The business is then likely to target "convenience-driven e-commerce shopping". About 40 per cent of goods on sale on Trade Me are new goods, more than a third of sales are made using the "Buy now" feature and the trend is toward people dispensing with the auction process, he says. Trade Me would not sell goods itself and manage fulfillment, as Amazon does in the US, but would let shoppers search for specific items and choose whether to purchase second-hand or direct from retail partners, he says. It would likely partner with smaller retailers, rather than the likes of "Noel Leeming", he says.
"The Amazon model is illustrative of what can be done, but I think their back-end is something we wouldn't look to replicate."
Mr Morgan is relaxed about emerging potential competition from community-based sites offering local content and free classifieds, such as the recently-launched iworldpeople.
"We don't focus too much on the competition, but what the trends are."
Trade Me has recognised a "big trend" for people to trade with others in their immediate vicinity and is likely to respond, he says. "A huge proportion of our sales are now local sales – people in Wellington selling to people in Wellington, for example. When you are dealing with items such as coffee tables and fridges, it is uneconomic to ship things.
"The internet space is changing really rapidly and we are continuing to hire people in their 20s who can try to inform us about what is happening on the Web. We have got 50-60 people who spend all day sitting here trying to improve things."

Source: www.stuff.co.nz, May 22nd 2006

Ninemsn chief shuffled

THE chief executive of Ninemsn, James Packer's internet joint venture with Microsoft, has been cast aside.It is understood that Martin Hoffman, who has been running Ninemsn since February 2003, was told this week he would be reassigned to another job within Mr Packer's Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd.
Mr Hoffman has helped cement Ninemsn as Australia's most visited internet news site, but Mr Packer is thought to believe the portal needs new leadership in the face of greater competition.
Mr Hoffman, who moved to PBL from John Fairfax Holdings, where his jobs included running auction website sold.com.au, was asked to continue in his Ninemsn role until a new chief takes over.
A successor is believed to be close to being named.

Full Article: Ninemsn chief shuffled

PBL wants full control of Carsales website

PUBLISHING and Broadcasting Ltd is looking at increasing its 41 per cent stake in online car ads business Carsales.com.au as James Packer continues his push into new media.
It is understood PBL has approached some shareholders, including John Fairfax Holdings, the publisher of this newspaper and owner of a 7 per cent stake in Carsales, with a view to getting financial control of the business.
PBL also owns a quarter stake in leading online job ads company Seek and is believed to be keen to develop a strategic partnership between the two businesses or merge them.
Carsales is an unlisted public company with more than 50 shareholders, many of whom are car dealers.
PBL took up its 41 per cent stake in October last year as part of a merger between its own online trading sites, which include carpoint.com.au and boatpoint.com.au, and Carsales.
An independent expert's report by Grant Samuel valued the merged business at up to $184 million.
Fairfax had held more than 11 per cent of Carsales but its stake was diluted as part of the deal.
Carsales reported a 72 per cent jump in net profit after tax to $2.1 million in the December half, in line with expectations. Profit before tax more than doubled to just under $3 million, according to accounts filed with the corporate regulator.
Carsales reported a smaller increase in the bottom line because historical tax losses meant that no income tax expense was booked in the half-year to December 31, 2004.
PBL has three of the five seats on the company's board, giving it effective control. Its directors are PBL chief executive John Alexander, head of classified strategy and business development Gregg Haythorpe and Mr Packer. Mr Haythorpe did not return calls.
Seek's joint chief executive, Andrew Bassat, last week denied there were any plans for a tie-up with Carsales.
"Our focus is very much on the growth in employment and the growth in the learning, which is a new business for us," Mr Bassat said. "That's keeping us pretty busy. At some point, we might look outside that but not right now."
Carsales chief executive Greg Roeback told shareholders in a statement that its website served more than 2.7 million user sessions in March and listed more than 90,000 cars for sale. He said the site was benefiting from its merger with PBL's online trading sites.
"Our competitors have previously had an advantage of multiple sites in their network to drive traffic to their various classified sites. Today, with a larger network we are delivering traffic to all of our sites from all of our sites. Stay tuned for even more additions to the network."
Seek recently upgraded its own earnings guidance for the year to June 30 as it continues to dominate the online job ads market.
It expects to report earnings of up to $47 million pretax and more than $27 million after tax.

Source: www.smh.com.au, May 22nd 2006

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Indeed Officially Launches PPC Job Listings

Job classifieds search site Indeed has formally launched pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. The sponsored listings are sold directly by Indeed to employment advertisers and listings publishers.
Until now, most job advertising has been offered as pay-per-listing, or as Indeed CEO Paul Forster put it, "the legacy model that was ported on to the Web." Now, continued Forster, "We've seen the success of pay-for-performance advertising on general search engines…and there's no reason why this shouldn't be the end model for classified advertising."
The company has allowed advertisers with listings in its network, mainly publishers such as NYTimes.com and job classifieds sites like BuilderJobs, to bid for sponsored listings like they would for keyword advertising on a search engine. Sponsored listings appear above and below natural search results. Advertisers don't need to submit ad copy or choose keywords as the job listings themselves enable that. PPC advertisers can also specify maximum bids or set daily or monthly budgets through the system.
The system has been in testing since last year. During that time, classifieds publishers including NYTimes.com, ApartmentCareers.com and BAJobs.com, a San Francisco Bay Area site have used the PPC service. Indeed supplements NYTimes.com's classified ads, and provides all classifieds in About.com's job search. Indeed's PPC listings also appear in customized search results displays, called Jobrolls, on small sites and blogs within its affiliate network. Advertisers using the PPC offering can disable the feature to stick within their ad budgets.

Full Article: Indeed Officially Launches PPC Job Listings

Ebay China to launch online stores with 70 premium brands

BEIJING (AFX) - Ebay China said it will launch online stores in cooperation with 70 premium brands in China. The selected brands will include Phillips, Epson, Disney, TCL and Adidas, Ebay China said in a statement. The online stores will focus on consumer electronics, communications products, fashion-related products, and home furnishings. 'Brand enhancing and international trade will be our focus over the next few years,' Ebay China's chief executive, Wu Shixiong said. Ebay's chief rival in China, Taobao.com, last week launched a similar service, with companies such as Motorola, Nokia, Qingdao Haier and Lenovo agreeing to sell their products on Taobao.

Source: www.forbes.com, May 15th 2006

eBay Motors Begins Test of 'Local' 2.0 Feature

eBay Motors has begun testing a new feature that will make it easier for buyers to find vehicles being sold locally. Buyers located in four select markets (Chicago, Miami, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.) will see a new section at the end of their search results called "Additional vehicles near [your ZIP code]," where listings from local eBay Motors dealers will be displayed. eBay had previewed the feature, which it is calling "eBay Motors 2.0," at its Analyst Day last week.

Source: www.auctionbytes.com, May 12th 2006

eBay Eachnet Also Enters China's B2C Auction Market

week after its competitor Taobao.com announced its entry into the B2C market, Chinese online auction website eBay Eachnet has now launched its own B2C business. Martin Wu, CEO of eBay Eachnet, says the B2C business of his company is different from the existing B2C websites in that it does not handle any logistics. According to Wu, the 70 brand agents and dealers who have signed contracts with eBay Eachnet will be responsible for their own goods supply, goods delivery and after-sales service. In addition, a representative from eBay Eachnet says that all the sellers in this new area called Brand Flagship Special Zone will follow the Chinese government's after-sales regulations on repairing, exchanging and returning of goods. Wu also says this special zone should not impact the smaller sellers already selling on eBay Eachnet.

Source: www.chinatechnews.com, May 17th 2006

Joint survey shows readers rate newspaper inserts

RIVAL newspaper publishers News Limited and John Fairfax Holdings have joined forces to hit back at magazine industry claims that newspaper magazines fail to build strong relationships with their readers.
A survey commissioned by Fairfax and News, publisher of The Australian, found newspaper magazines absorb readers more deeply than newsstand rivals and build up greater trust and loyalty.
Phil Barker, managing director of News Magazines, News's magazine arm, said the survey of 700 readers also found there was room for growth in the newspaper magazine segment.
Four new newspaper magazines have been launched in Australia over the past 12 months, swelling the ranks to 16.
The survey, conducted by Hemisphere Group and Ipsos in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, found newspaper magazines scored higher marks among readers for value, credibility, relevance and inspiration, the newspaper publishers said.
Mr Barker said the results dispelled claims by the Magazine Publishers of Australia that newspaper magazines had a weaker relationship with readers than traditional magazines.

Full Article: Joint survey shows readers rate newspaper inserts

National strategy to boost audiences

NEWS Limited has flagged an aggressive cross-platform marketing and development drive aimed at helping the company to achieve double-digit revenue growth by finding new audiences for its editorial content. Spearheading the push is editorial marketing manager Jeni O'Dowd, who until Saturday edited The Sunday Telegraph. O'Dowd was famously given a Porsche Boxter by former News Limited chairman Lachlan Murdoch for widening the newspaper's circulation lead over rival The Sun-Herald to more than 200,000 copies in 2004. The new role represents the first time the company has taken a group-wide strategic approach to reusing News Limited and News Corporation information and entertainment content.
"We don't accept the conventional view and nor does New York that News Limited is a mature business," corporate affairs director Greg Baxter said. "We would see realistic targets around double-digit growth year on year well into the future. "The implications are that we are going to be doing a bunch of new things."

Full Article: National strategy to boost audiences

eBay earns patent victory in U.S. high court

The US Supreme court on Monday set aside a patent injunction against online auctioneer eBay Inc, ruling that a company found liable for patent infringement should not necessarily be forced to stop using the patented technology.
The high court unanimously vacated a federal court ruling in favor of MercExchange, a developer of e-commerce technology that sued eBay for patent infringement with its "Buy It Now" feature.
The case goes back to a trial judge to decide on the appropriate remedy for eBay's patent infringement. Though an injunction still is possible, the decision is considered a victory for big tech companies, which said they are under siege from small patent owners who use the threat of court orders to seek high licensing fees.

Full Article: eBay earns patent victory in U.S. high court

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

FAST Drives Powersearch Capabilities for AutoTrader.com

Fast Search & Transfer(TM) (FAST(TM)), the leading developer of enterprise search technologies and solutions, today announced that AutoTrader.com, the Internet's leading auto classifieds marketplace, has deployed FAST Enterprise Search Platform (FAST ESP(TM)) to power the search across AutoTrader.com. AutoTrader.com's mission is to be a consumer's ultimate online solution for buying and selling new, used and certified pre-owned cars and trucks. With more than 11 million qualified shoppers each month and three million vehicles listed for sale by private owners, dealers and manufacturers, AutoTrader.com is simply the smarter place to buy and sell a car.
FAST ESP enables AutoTrader.com's PowerSearch feature to provide site visitors a more flexible and powerful way to find a car on the site. Starting with broad parameters and little input, potential car buyers can perform a single search that compares new, used and certified pre-owned vehicles. PowerSearch also allows AutoTrader.com visitors to shop by body style, color preference, by up to three makes and models and by mileage. Through the use of new car aggregate listings, new car buyers can see entire inventories across over 40,000 dealerships. From one initially displayed ad, users can click to view the rest. No other automotive Web site offers this enhanced selection feature.

Full Article: FAST Drives Powersearch Capabilities for AutoTrader.com

Online Ads: Upping the Ante Down Under

Australian advertisers are catching up online.
Quoted in the Wiliam Reading Room blog, from Sydney, MediaCom CEO Anne Parsons predicted recently that total ad spending in Australia will rise by as much as 4% in 2006, with newspaper and free-to-air television growing by no more than 3%.
Commenting on these last two categories, Ms. Parsons said "Compared to pay TV and the Internet, they are not happening things."
As in the US and worldwide, advertising spending in Australia is moving away from television and newspapers and onto the Internet.
Merrill Lynch forecast in November last year that the Internet will be Australia's fastest-growing growing channel, with a 35% increase in advertising revenues this year.
As of the end of 2005, the Audit Bureau of Verification Services (ABVS) reported that spending on online advertising in Australia reached A$620 million (US$473 million).
Full Article: Online Ads: Upping the Ante Down Under

eBay Rings in Skype Technology

eBay CEO Meg Whitman announced last week at the company’s Analyst Day that the popular auction site will begin to incorporate Skype’s internet voice technology. Skype’s services will both facilitate easier communication between buyers and sellers on the site and generate new revenue streams with a pay-per-call advertising system.
This move has been anticipated since eBay bought Skype last year for $2.6 billion, with an additional $1.5 billion on the line if the company meets its financial goals by 2008. The company followed a similar template of acquisition and integration with secure monetary services provider PayPal in 2003.

Full Article: eBay Rings in Skype Technology

Kijiji Schedules New Online Classifieds Services

After a year's run in the Chinese online market, eBay's (EBAY) Kijiji.com will now shift its focus to new services. Wang Jianshuo, CEO of Kijiji, tells local media that the website has formulated four business strategies for 2006. These include devoting efforts to such classifieds areas as car service, part-time job information and regional activities; emphasizing better message flow; enhancing user-to-user communication; and building an online credibility system. Wang says that based on the four strategies, Kijiji will launch a batch of products for the Chinese Internet market next month and begin sending email advertisements to subscribers' inboxes. Kijiji was launched in March 2005, but seems to be not as successful as expected. Starting last month, Kijiji began to combine the its classified ads platforms and with its community content and has launched functions that can enhance inter-personal communications.

Source: www.chinatechnews.com, May 9th 2006

Jobs growth 'to moderate'

JOBS growth is tipped to moderate over 2006/07 as the labour market responds to weaker gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the near term.Employment is tipped to grow by 1 per cent in 2006/07, in line with the forecast in the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook and below an expected 2-per-cent growth rate in 2005/06.
"Employment growth is expected to moderate to one per cent in 2006/07, in line with the lagged effects of slower GDP growth in 2004/05 and 2005/06," the Budget papers said.
"Following a record high in mid-2005, labour force participation is expected to decline gradually over the forecast horizon."
The Government expects the unemployment rate to rise to 5.25 per cent in 2006/07 from an estimated 5.25 per cent this year, and 5 per cent when the Australian Bureau of Statistics last reported the figure.

Full Article: Jobs growth 'to moderate'

What's the next thing: Classified Advertising is being Transformed

Call it the coming revolution in classified advertising. It began when Craigslist began offering classified advertisements free online, but that's not where this revolution will end. The category is now moving to the next stage, one in which free classified ads will serve as content opposite targeted, paid-for display ads, much like any other form of content, such as news or feature stories, according to a new report from Jupiter Research. In the process, major national sites will emerge to dominate classifieds using this new model, sapping them away from traditional local classified vehicles, such as daily newspapers, predicts the study. “New competitors will use networked classifieds to do to classified advertising what the web did to content,” says the report.And as these new competitors, which will include the likes of Microsoft and Google, wrestle for control of the classified marketplace, it will have an enormous impact on local papers.

Full Article: What's the next thing: Classified Advertising is being Transformed

Monday, May 08, 2006

eBay Inc. Outlines Global Business Strategy at 2006 Analyst Conference

SAN JOSE, CA, May 4 /CNW/ - eBay Inc., (Nasdaq: EBAY; www.ebay.com),today held its annual financial analyst conference in San Jose, California,during which the company highlighted the fundamental strength of its threebusinesses: Marketplaces, Payments, and Communications. The company alsodescribed its expanded vision of the future, outlining a multi-brand strategyto accelerate growth in its current businesses and gain share in newaddressable markets. Executives demonstrated how the continued focus on innovation enableseach of the company's flagship brands - eBay, PayPal, and Skype - to grow asstandalone businesses, participate in larger markets, and create entirely newones. Management also described how these three businesses are complementingand reinforcing one another, which is leading to entirely new opportunitiesand monetization models. As examples of this "Power of Three," company leadersreferenced how the integration of PayPal on eBay increased adoption of thepayments service, which made it possible for PayPal to successfully servemerchants selling outside the eBay marketplace. In addition, they cited howeBay and Skype, working together, can accelerate both businesses and also leadto the creation of new ecommerce formats and businesses. Similarly,integration of PayPal and Skype can result in accelerated usage of bothofferings. "Across all of our businesses, we see greater opportunities for futuregrowth than ever before," said Meg Whitman, President and CEO, eBay Inc. "Eachof our brands is the global leader in its space and well positioned to pursuenew opportunities and accelerate growth. Together, they're working to turbocharge one another. Our multi-brand strategy is opening up entirely new vistasof opportunity for the company."

Full Article: eBay Inc. Outlines Global Business Strategy at 2006 Analyst Conference

eBay eyes faster growth

EBay chief executive Meg Whitman has promised investors that faster growth and market share gains lay ahead, but left the company's 2006 revenue view unchanged as international sales have slowed.Speaking to investors at eBay's annual analysts' meeting in San Jose, California, Ms Whitman reiterated a full-year revenue view of $US5.7 billion ($7.4 billion) to $US5.9 billion, or an annual growth rate of about 31 per cent.
The company had affirmed that forecast when it reported earnings on April 19, sending its shares down nearly 9 per cent the next day.
"We plan to grow our revenues even faster and gain share in our addressable markets," Ms Whitman said.
She said there was an opportunity for growth in the company's three core businesses -- its auction marketplace, PayPal online payments systems and Skype web telephone service - drive traffic to each other.

Full Article: eBay eyes faster growth

WAN expects solid profit growth

West Australian Newspapers has posted a 40 per cent fall in earnings for the first nine months of this financial year, due to slow trading conditions in the March quarter.
But the publisher is confident of solid profit growth for the full year, as advertising revenues remain solid.
WAN chairman Warwick Kent said after a slow start to the calendar year trading conditions had improved.
"The outlook for advertising revenues is solid without being buoyant," Mr Kent said.
"The company is confident its diversity of revenues will record solid growth in pre-abnormals profit again in 2005/06."
The Perth-based company's net profit for the nine months ended March 31 was $43.2 million, down from $72 million in the same period last year.

Full Article: WAN expects solid profit growth

Real Estate Driving Ad Revenue: Fairfax

Fairfax Holdings Ltd chief executive David Kirk says zone-specific real estate inserts are continuing to drive advertising revenue growth for the company. Mr Kirk said the mid-week real estate inserts in Fairfax newspapers were attracting strong interest from advertisers.
"We are putting together things like zone Domain which is offering a lower price for advertisers and it is attracting quite a lot of volume from real estate agents," he told the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce. The midweek Sydney Morning Herald Domain Inner West, East and North inserts, for example, have recently been added to support the Fairfax newspapers weekend Domain real estate section. Fairfax says the newspaper and online ads reached 2.2 million readers in NSW and 1.1 million in Victoria. Mr Kirk added that Fairfax's online revenue continues to grow through its jobs classified section. He said newspaper jobs had attracted around 20,000 advertisements, compared to around 60,000 jobs on Fairfax Digital websites, the company's online division. "Our online revenue is growing very strongly," Mr Kirk said.

Source: www.theage.com.au, May 5th 2006

eBay Integrating Skype, PayPal; to Launch Online Advertising Service

eBay plans to integrate its Skype voice over IP service into the auction marketplace to facilitate communication between buyers and sellers, reports AuctionBytes.com, quoting CEO Meg Whitman speaking at Thursday's eBay's Analyst Day, the theme of which was "The Power of Three": eBay, PayPal and Skype. She also said eBay plans to enter the online advertising fray with a pay-per-lead service. Whitman said eBay would create new ecommerce markets and showed a prototype of a "pay-per-lead" enabled web page using Skype.

Full Article: eBay Integrating Skype, PayPal; to Launch Online Advertising Service

Consumers Unsure of Mobile Phone as Payment Device

Mobile phones have become a fixture in the lives of just about every age group, but more than half of the young consumers who took part in the 2006 Generation X and Y payment and technology panel study conducted by Market Platform Dynamics feel the ability to use their mobile phones as a payment device is unnecessary.
Contactless payment, a credit or debit transaction through the use of a fob or technology-enabled device using radio frequency, infrared, carrier-based mobile or Bluetooth technologies, is not being immediately adopted. Thirty-eight percent of respondents claim using their phone as a payment method isn't valuable to them, saying they don't use their phones enough to make it worthwhile. Phone data usage has been slow to take off, but subscribers are beginning to use the Web for search and applications other than voice communications.
Generations X and Y behave similarly in terms of attitudes toward trying new technologies. The exceptions are youngest and oldest in the 16 to 43 year old age group. Those age 16 to 19 are more interested in trying new payment methods including mobile phones as a payment device. The older age bracket, 40 to 43, are less inclined to try Internet-based activities such as online shopping and online banking, making it less likely that group will adapt to payment via their cell phones. Online banking is taking hold among consumers, as is bill payment when implemented with the appropriate communication.

Full Article: Consumers Unsure of Mobile Phone as Payment Device

Windows Live Product Search: For Sellers & Buyers

Microsoft announced the launch of Windows Live Product Search. From the looks of it, the service seems a lot like Google Base and eBay. The description from the announcement says that this service allows people "to find products available on the internet for sale." So it is not exactly like Windows Live Shopping, which launched May 1st, which only includes products from select merchants (who submit products to them). As an FYI, Google's Froogle also crawls the Web for products, but they also enable merchants to submit products via feed. We may have more on this next week.
Source: blog.searchenginewatch.com, May 5th 2006

China is Skype’s biggest market – eBay execs

May 5, 2006 (China Knowledge) – EBay executives consider China to be the biggest market for popular Internet-based phone service, Skype, reported financial news website Marketwatch.
According to the report, Skype President and former eBay CFO Rajiv Dutta said in a speech at eBay's San Jose, California headquarters that Skype has 13 million users in China .
Comparatively, the number of Chinese users is as nearly as big as that from the U.S., Germany and the U.K. combined, according to Dutta. The service has 6 million U.S. users, 3 million in the U.K. and 5 million in Germany.
Skype, which was acquired by eBay last year with US$4 billion in cash and stock, has seen explosive growth and is “a huge hit in China," said Matt Bannick, president of eBay's international operations. It currently generates all of its sales from Skype Out, a service that lets Skype users call a regular phone from a computer.

Source: www.chinaknowledge.com, May 8th 2006