Saturday, October 11, 2008

Save the eleven troubled companies

Yesterday at CNet's Webware, Rafe Needleman posted 11 troubled companies in his mind. Nevertheless do I agree to his analysis in general, I want to share a few my own thoughts on the eleven ones. That is, what we/they need to do to save themselves out of this period of crisis. To make a little bit fun, I will list the companies in the reverse order as they are in Rafe's post.


Unlike many of the other companies in the list, MySpace does generate quite a decent trunk of revenue until now. Therefore, Rafe primarily complained its momentum of growth into the future in contrast to the ability of money making at present.

My word on MySpace: do not be a portal!

MySpace is losing its momentum of growth because it is now a 2.0-age Yahoo. By trying to embed everything into itself, nearly nothing in MySpace is significant. New users of MySpace are likely to get lost (such as myself) because the site is a mess of everything.

There is a great metaphor for MySpace---a chicken rib. For anyone eats chicken he must know: a chicken rib is something that not tasty at all if you eat it, while it is a waste if you throw it away since there is still meat on it.

Cut the number of services and make the remained ones focused. This is the way to save MySpace.


The central idea of Web 2.0 is community. To construct a community, there must be a focused domain of interest. Then by providing irreplaceable commercial information for the people who are interested in the domain, it comes the model of revenue generation. This is the common paradigm of Web 2.0 business. Netvibes, however, misses the point from the beginning because building start pages does not construct a community.

My word on Netvibes: complementing instead of aggregating.

Netvibes is not a Web 2.0 site despite of its heavily Ajax-based implementation. In essence, Netvibes is a 2.0-like but indeed Web 1.0 site. It build 2.0-like Web-1.0 homepages. This intrinsic conflict inevitably leads to its failure on pursuing successful Web 2.0 business model.

Refocus the service from aggregating varied Web services to complementing varied Web services. This is the way to save Netvibes. If Netvibes may successfully make this transition, it would be one of the first adopters of Web 3.0. Otherwise, as Rafe predicted, Netvibes' end is foreseeable.


Video sharing is cool, but to make it a successful business is another story. DailyMotion, in similar to all of its peers including YouTube, suffers this problem.

My word on DailyMotion: help video loaders to make money.

Just a hint for DailyMotion as well as to all the other video sharing Web-2.0 sites. Don't just think of making money by yourself. Greed is often the killer for setting up real successful business. Think of helping the video loaders to make money, and then you are going to make money.


In this age of Google, no other Google-like search engines have future. Ask, despite of its good quality (actually is the most favorite search engine to my 7-year-old daughter, she is not a Google-fan yet), is not the only search engine suffering.

My word on Ask: merge with a social search site.

Either buy a new social search site and convert itself to it, or sell itself to a social search site, Ask must do one. Otherwise, I am wondering either why is still not dead yet.


A bad transaction may destroy an innovation. Has anybody said it before? Anyway, I think at least on Skype we have seen it.

My word on Skype: well, it's not your problem.

It's eBay's problem.

Second Life

Maintaining the running of a virtual world must be a costly business.

My word on Second Life: deal with Facebook.

Why? I have shared the reason one year before.


Copyright, it is a problem.

My word on Pandora: move to China.

It is not kidding. Though copyright is something we should protect, innovation is a more valuable thing we must protect. Please remember, the reason of copyright protection is to encourage innovation instead of protecting income for greedy people! Therefore, if copyright begins to kill innovation, we throw away copyright but embrace innovation. China will be a great place to incubating new-age innovations.


Poor site, it is now a real estate winter.

My word on Zillow: develop new buyer side services.

The focus of the real estate market has changed. Now it is buyer's market instead of seller's market. Hence the seller-oriented advertisement model would not generate enough revenue to support the site as Rafe predicted. It is the time to call innovation.

Inventing and developing new buyer side services (and indeed there should be quite a few, in my mind I can think of several immediately) would save the site from this winter.


Another site is going to suffer this economic downturn.

My word on TripIt: focus on local.

Economical crisis does not mean that people are less willing to travel. It only means they have less money to travel. Therefore, think of their likely budget and plan local travels for them within their affordable budget.

Again, this is the time calling for really innovation. Or, this is the time to demonstrate the power of human thinking.


Unquestionably, Meebo is cool. But, as Rafe said, its service is too narrowly focused. Therefore, its sustainable growth is doubtful.

My word on Meebo: try the best to last through this crisis.

Meebo would be a successful business on the new Web after this crisis, if it survives.


Finally, we come to a real hype. Twitter is great, but it is also troublesome on making money. Comparing to Kozmos, yes, Twitter is very likely to be the 2.0 stage Kozmos.

My word on Twitter: seeking collaboration with Imindi.

Imindi is the piece Twitter is missing, though actually Imindi has more potential than Twitter in long term. This collaboration can solve the main problem in the present Twitter as well as bringing Twitter a brilliant business model of success.

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