Daily Roundup for 2008-03-19

  • A woman who claims the recording industry’s anti-music piracy campaign threatens and intimidates innocent people has filed a new complaint accusing record companies of racketeering, fraud and illegal spying.
  • One of the great things about the Internet is the way people post reviews on just about anything you are considering trying, whether it is a movie, a new restaurant or the local florist.  This also introduces one of the worst things about the Internet: trying to figure out which reviews to trust. Was that effusive praise written surreptitiously by the merchant? Was that anonymous online slam posted by a devious competitor?  The dilemma might be unavoidable in this age of abundant user-generated content, when we have to be smarter about separating signals from noise. But a startup called RatePoint Inc. begs to differ. It wants to play referee, giving consumers more clarity into a business’ reputation and protecting the business from unwarranted blights on its credibility.

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The eMarket for Lemons at The Wharton School

I had the opportunity to speak at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania last week about an article that Dr. Eric Clemons recently authored for the Journal of Management Information Systems, "An Empirical Investigation of Third-Party Seller Rating Systems in E-Commerce: The Case of buySAFE".  My presentation was focused on marketplace economics and specifically about information asymmetry, signaling, the "Market for Lemons" concept, and buySAFE.  In addition, I was able to share a few thoughts about my entrepreneurial experience with buySAFE.

As always, I had a great time as the guest of Dr. Eric Clemons, and I enjoyed hearing the passionate questions, insights and feedback from the students.  One of the students posted an article about my visit on his blog, The Un-Wharton

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Daily Roundup for 2008-02-11

  • On the surface, Microsoft’s $44 billion offer to acquire Yahoo! seems to simplify the US search market share race. The combined firm would be second in online ad revenues to No.1 Google, and ahead of AOL. In 2007, Google rang up nearly $6 billion, while Yahoo! had about $3.4 billion and MSN had $1.4 billion net revenues.
  • McAfee, Inc. today announced that it is making the Internet safer for all users by completing the acquisition of privately held ScanAlert, Inc. ScanAlert is the creator of the HACKER SAFE web site security certification service, which protects over 50 million e-commerce transactions per month and proactively advises consumers about which sites are safe for shopping. The ScanAlert technology will be integrated into McAfee’s award-winning safe search and surf technology, SiteAdvisor(R), which just reached a significant milestone of its own: It has been downloaded more than 100 million times by consumers who request SiteAdvisor’s Web site ratings more than a billion times each day.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-01-31

  • The population of Web sites dedicated to the crime of phishing jumped markedly in October after dipping late in the summer, according to the latest data from the Anti-Phishing Working Group. The good news, though, is that experts appear to be working out a new way to shut down these sites in a way that will keep fraudsters off the Internet. The group’s October report, released last week, shows the number of unique phishing sites grew 22% from September, to 34,266. That’s the highest number detected by the APWG since May, though it falls far short of the record 55,643 found last April.
  • When lawyers defer their legal fees, they expect equity for the risk of not getting paid. If their risk is low or they’re not deferring fees, you can say no. In any case, offer them the right to invest $25K-$50K in your financing instead of giving them free equity.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-01-25

  • From proof of privacy protection to effective testimonials to constructive follow up, here are 8 tips to make visitors feel more comfortable buying from your site. You know that moment when you’re thinking about buying something, but you’re just not sure if you should pull out your wallet? That’s "purchase anxiety." Most people feel it at some point, especially when they’re buying a big-ticket item. Or when they’re buying something over the internet. Online shoppers tend to suffer from purchase anxiety more than offline shoppers. After all, when you buy something over the internet, it’s often a product you’ve never seen before sold by a person you’ve never met before.
  • EBay Inc. said Chief Executive Meg Whitman will retire in March, capping a decade of running the global electronic-commerce pioneer. John Donahoe, president of eBay’s auction business, will succeed her as the CEO.

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