Internet news/analysis in brief

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 |  Includes: AMZN, ANSW, GOOG, NFLX, RCOM, SINA
by: David Jackson

  • Yahoo donates to Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and president of the Wikimedia Foundation, writes: "Our growth in web traffic continues to be staggering, doubling every few months. Yahoo's generous donation to our cause in the form of servers, hosting and bandwidth will have a huge impact on our ability to get our message of sharing knowledge out to the world. Yahoo's donation is purely charitable in nature with no requirements for us to show advertising, and no ownership or control of our work by Yahoo of any kind... As our relationship with Yahoo has grown over the past year, we began to talk about other ways that Yahoo could help us... As we have grown it has become apparent that we can better serve our visitors by adding data centers around the world." Comment: Yahoo (ticker: YHOO), Google (ticker: GOOG) and Gurunet (ticker: GRU) all use free content from Wikipedia for search. From Yahoo's perspective, it makes sense to strengthen and work closely with Wikipedia.
  • ...and Microsoft imitates Wikipedia. MIcrosoft (ticker: MSFT) now allows user editing of Encarta. Jimmy Wales wails: "Hmm, now people have a choice. They can donate their time and energy to a nonprofit effort to make the world a better place by giving away an encyclopedia under a free license. Or they can go to work for free, enriching Microsoft."
  • Register.com delisting. Register.com received a de-listing notice from the Nasdaq for failing to file its annual report on time, and now trades under the ticker RCOME versus RCOM previously.
  • Chinese Internet advertising growth. Internet advertising revenue increased 75.9% in 2004, reaching $230 million. Revenues are projected to continue rising through 2005 and 2006. Advertising has become the main source of revenue for Internet media, such as Sina.com (ticker: SINA). Sina reports that automobiles and real estate are two rapidly growing advertising sectors. (From The China Stock Blog)
  • More on Amazon's (ticker: AMZN) purchase of Booksurge. The ePublishing Blog comments: "It... sounds like more corporate behemouths are sniffing around the POD [print-on-demand] marketplace. The thing is none of this is new: iPublish, iUniverse, XLibris are all left over from the last Internet bubble... The problem I see is that most of these old guard POD publishers are really just a new twist on vanity publishing. While that may be a successful business model for the publisher, I do not think it is very good for the authors. Newer outfits like Lulu.com and Cafe Press, which work on more of a commission model seem like a better choice for authors. Because these companies do not take the author's money up front they have a greater stake in promoting their catalog and in seeing that their authors have a chance to succeed." Comment: If Amazon integrates Booksurge's offerings into its database and book suggestions, isn't that all the promotion an author could wish for?
  • Postage increase impact on NFLX? The Media Stock Blog estimates that the proposed rise in postage rates will increase Netflix' (ticker: NFLX) costs by $10.8 million annually.