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Barry Bazzell
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I enjoy publishing the Silicon Valley Blog and managing my Marketocracy stock fund. I am a sports fanatic. I watch NBA games and am a lifelong Laker fan. Boxing is also one of my favorite sports. I especially enjoy the welter- and middleweights. There hasn't been any good heavyweights since the... More
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  • Android Apps Get Boost From Mobile Payments Startup
    Compared to the Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, "It's harder to make money on Android, so people aren't rushing to support their applications," says David Marcus, the CEO of Zong, a small mobile payments company.

    The payment system used by Android is time consuming and not user friendly. With a single click, an iPhone user can make payments through iTunes. In the battle to win developers, Android is faced with the challenge of simplifying its cumbersome billing system.

    Lauren Azulay is in charge of billing for the social networking site Flirtomatic, which has over three million users in Britain, the U.S. and Germany. People who use the Flirtomatic iPhone app like the one-click payment method. On the other hand, Flirtomatic users on Android devices consider the billing system "a huge frustration," says Azulay.

    Silicon Valley startup Zong recently introduced a one-click billing system (watch demo)  that bypasses the established Google (GOOG) method  to make it easier for users of Android phones to make payments.

    Zong got a big boost earlier this year when it garnered a $15 million investment from Dana Stalder, a former executive of the online payment pioneer PayPal now owned by Ebay.

    Click here to see Zong's CEO explain the new one-click mobile payment paradigm. 

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    Disclosure: no long positions
    Oct 25 7:53 AM | Link | Comment!
  • The Google Revolution Will Be Televised
    It's been a long time since I've seen a good fight. I'm a lifelong boxing fan. I  have fond memories of watching the Gillette Friday Night Fights with my dad in our South Central Los Angeles apartment in the late 1950s. We moved to the tough inner city neighborhood from a tenement on the southside of Chicago, the windy city where my mother was born. The current battle between the two Silicon Valley titans, Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), is the closest thing to a good heavyweight fight that I've seen since Muhammad Ali's Thrilla in Manila and Rumble in the Jungle boxing matches captured the public's imagination over 35 years ago.

    This current Silicon Valley battle, like the Ali-Frazier and Ali-Foreman fights, has seen a lot of trash talking   -  a veritable vanilla rapper's delight. Like contemporary rappers, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has the bling. And Google will tell you to show me the ad money. They like to talk about cash money - dollar bills, yall.

    Google co-founder Sergy Brin has his hands full

    Cash is king at Google. It has $33.4 billion in cash, and cash equivalents.

    Their recent introduction of Google TV is, in part, an attempt to tap into the lucrative television advertising market, estimated to be worth $83 billion, according to the Difffusion Group.

    Google recently predicted that online display advertising will grow to become a $50 billion market  by 2015. Yahoo (YHOO) has long been the display ad market leader.  Google has made great strides in this area recently and is now running neck and neck with Yahoo. With the integration of YouTube and its lucrative display ad business into its new TV platform,  Google threatens to surpass and dominate Yahoo in display advertising like it does in online search advertising.

    When announcing its recent third quarter results, Google said that its display ad revenue has reached $2.5 billion on an annual basis. This includes YouTube advertisement and ads on the DoubleClick platform. YouTube sales are growing as they are now monetizing over two billion views per week. That's an increase of 50 percent over last year.

    YouTube Leanback was recently released to coincide with the launch of Google TV. Leanback was designed, in part, to recreate the traditional TV experience. Currently,  people who watch YouTube videos spend, on average, about 15 minutes a day viewing clips. However, they spend an average of five hours a day watching television. Prior to its integration with Google TV, lab results indicate that people spent twice the 15-minute average  watching customized Leanback videos. That will  significantly increase potential ad revenue.

    "Google TV is going to revolutionize the way we use media," declares Shattuck Groome, president of New York ad agency Gotham Direct Interactive. "It's the future of advertising."

    Google TV will let advertisers reach viewers faster. The Google TV platform will also give advertisers more transparency when analyzing viewer data. Advertisers will know exactly who viewed their ad, how many people clicked on it, and how many viewers used a "click-to-call" feature to contact advertisers immediately.

    TV advertising is much less expensive with Google TV. An online video ad cost about $30 per 1,000 viewings, according to the Diffusion Group. Jeroen Coppelmans, a vice-president at Spotzer Media, which puts together video ads for small businesses, says that "someone with a budget of a couple of dollars a day could do TV advertising."

    The new Google TV is integrated in high-definition televisions and Blu-ray players by Sony (SNE). Intel (INTC) makes the chips for these devices.  A set-top box is made by Logitech (LOGI).

    The most notable of the numerous apps designed for Google TV is one for NBC's CNBC that allows users to track stocks and access news alongside the business channel's live broadcasts. CNBC is owned by General Electric (GE). Both Amazon(AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX) have video apps.

    Disclosure: no long positions
    Tags: Google TV
    Oct 22 11:17 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Stocktwits Debuts iPhone App

    Stocktwits, the top financial Twitter streaming network, has released a new iPhone app.

    The app includes the same functionality as the desktop service. In addition to streaming stock market tweets, the app also features an online television, a stock chart service, and the realtime financial news site Abnormal Returns.
    Oct 11 1:18 PM | Link | Comment!
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