Daily Roundup for 2008-03-10

  • The Internet bubble of the late 1990s ended with a painful pop. When today’s young entrepreneurs get together, the only bubbles they see are in their mimosas.  Even as the rest of the business world frets about the gloomy economy, Silicon Valley is living the high-tech high life. Nowhere is that more evident than at Founders Brunch, a private, invitation-only gathering where new-boom kids and industry veterans pick up whispers of the next big trends, invest in one another’s ideas and push one another to think big.  Every three months, these elites of the Web crowd pull themselves out of their beds or cubicles and pile into a different upscale home for a Sunday spread of community and conversation.
  • At the age of 40, King Gillette was a frustrated inventor, a bitter anticapitalist, and a salesman of cork-lined bottle caps. It was 1895, and despite ideas, energy, and wealthy parents, he had little to show for his work. He blamed the evils of market competition. Indeed, the previous year he had published a book, The Human Drift, which argued that all industry should be taken over by a single corporation owned by the public and that millions of Americans should live in a giant city called Metropolis powered by Niagara Falls. His boss at the bottle cap company, meanwhile, had just one piece of advice: Invent something people use and throw away.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-08

  • The U.S. Presidential race has reached a critical juncture. The Republicans have a confirmed nominee in John McCain; as for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton has bounced back, while Barack Obama retains a marginal lead in terms of delegates. How the presidential race evolves will be shaped in part by the increasingly worrisome state of the U.S. economy. Consumer prices are rising, oil has crossed $103 a barrel and gold is nudging $1,000 an ounce — suggesting that the economy could be entering a phase of 1970s-style stagflation. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, however, told Congress last week that he doesn’t anticipate stagflation, and he continues to indicate his willingness to keep cutting interest rates. What lies ahead for the U.S. and world economies? Knowledge@Wharton discussed these questions and more with finance professor Jeremy Siegel, author of The Future for Investors.
  • Last month I talked about blogging platforms and the value blogging can bring to ecommerce sites. When a website makes the decision to begin a blog and decides upon a blogging platform, it will then have to decide who will blog and how often. Time allotted to blogging is also a relative issue, as is subject matter. So why bother at all?  Relative to static ecommerce sites, search engines consider blogs more real and trusted because blogs tend to have fresh content and there is a less financial, more informational link between a blog and its readers. An ecommerce site should take advantage of this tendency by adding a blog to augment the overall site.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-01-30

  • eBay’s online payment service PayPal agreed to acquire Fraud Sciences Ltd. in a cash transaction worth approximately $169 million. Fraud Sciences is a privately-held Israeli company with expertise in online risk tools.
  • As malware and other cyberfraud technologies become more insidious, marketers stand to lose not just money but consumer trust as well. ClickFacts’ CEO explains what’s hurting the PPC industry and how to fight back. Imagine every time you launch a browser to conduct a search you receive the following message: "Warning: searching online may result in the loss of personal information and even your identity. Proceed at your own risk." While this isn’t our reality yet, these flags might become commonplace if a growing crowd of sophisticated, unscrupulous fraudsters get their way.

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Antitrust Lawsuit Filed against eBay over PayPal, Payments Policies

AuctionBytes’ Ina Steiner reported this week that an anti-trust lawsuit was recently filed against eBay.

‘Michael Malone filed an antitrust class-action lawsuit against eBay this week under the Sherman Act, alleging eBay "utilizes its nationwide monopoly of the on-line auction market to monopolize the available forms of payment that sellers can use on eBay." eBay controls which payment methods sellers may advertise in their listings, and this year, it eliminated buyer-protection for non-PayPal transactions. eBay owns the PayPal payment service.’

The article also references the old conflict between PayPal and eBay.  Before eBay purchased PayPal, PayPal’s management team prepared an anti-trust lawsuit against eBay and threatened to pursue the action.  Ultimately, PayPal did not file the anti-trust lawsuit, but it is ironic given the current lawsuit’s claims.

Very interesting stuff.  We will have to keep an eye on how this develops.