Tag Archives: economy

Free Internet For All

The long-awaited Digital Britain report is upon us and one of the major points within it is that the Government is planning to give every home in UK broadband internet access by 2012.

The report also proposed the creation of a new body to deal with the problem of people illegally copying and sharing music and films over the internet.

Highlighting that the UK is a world leader in the digital, communications and creative industries, which are now worth some £52bn a year, there seems to be an emphasis that this could reinvigorate the UK economy.

This in itself is quite concerning, as although these industries can certainly help improve a bad situation, I doubt they can turn things around totally by themselves… No pressure there, then.

Yahoo’s Mixed Finances

Right, so Yahoo beat the analyst expectations (GOOD!), but still posted a fourth quarter loss of some £212m (BAD!).

That’s a lot of money to lose, especially considering Google contiues to lead the pack – Last week they also defied analyst predictions, but still made a profits of £266m. Impressive amounts, but rather worringly for them, it’s a drop of 68% year-on-year.

Returning to Yahoo though, it’s even more depressing. Profits fell by 34% compared to the same period last year. Although they’ve got a new CEO at the helm, (Carol Bartz), who I’m sure actually do a great job in turning the company around, I’m not entirely convinced that her $19m YEARLY salary is going to help improve the revenue streams of the business.

UK digital firms combat credit crunch with Texas trade tour

PRESS RELEASE: London, UK,  January 2009

35 of the UK’s leading SMEs from the digital industry head to Austin, Texas on the Digital Mission to South by South West Interactive (SXSWi) from 12-18 March 2009, one of the world’s leading conferences for emerging media. Established in 1994, the conference provides an opportunity for the Digital Mission companies to attend hundreds of conference sessions and networking events.

The Digital Mission is organised by digital networking community, Chinwag, on behalf of UKTI (UK Trade & Investment). Combined with the SXSWi, the Digital Mission provides delegates the opportunity to exhibit at SXSWi. A unique ‘Nuts and Bolts’ masterclass will help British companies understand how to establish and develop their business in the USA, taking guidance from a panel of American and British experts, whilst the “Great British Breakfast” provides a UK-focused networking event for 300 delegates during the conference.

Building on the success of the Digital Mission to New York in September 2008 – also organised by Chinwag for the UKTI – this second trip to Texas will assist firms to develop new business channels, partnerships, investment and provide a detailed knowledge of the US market.

Companies were invited to apply for the Digital Mission. The 35 successful delegates were selected from over 100 entries by an advisory board of industry experts drawn from including Mike Butcher, TechCrunch UK Editor, Herb Kim, Codeworks CEO and Sarbjit Bakhshi, Head of Information & Technology Group, UKTI.

More information about each company can be seen on the Digital Mission website:
http://www.chinwag.com/digitalmission/sxsw09-companies

For more information, please visit: http://www.digital-mission.org

Source: Sam Michel’s Chinwag blog

Pizza Topping…

Ok, so last year saw the domain name “Pizza.com” sell for $2.6m – and it seems that the cheesy-topped meal is worth even more dough online…

Dominos Pizza is literally raking it in, as the recession continues and UK consumers stay at home. According to the pizza chain’s latest full year results, while in-shop sales have grown 10% year-on-year, its web sales have jumped by 74%.

During the whole of 2008, Domino’s generated £58m in online sales – a massive increase on 2007’s figure of £32.2m.

The year was also a record breaking one for the takeaway kings – they reported a number of weekends breaking the £1m barrier for web sales. Seems that they really are topping the online takeaway stakes.

Go Online, Get Outside, Turn Things Around

Since most of this week my blogs have revolved around the economy, it’s probably been a fairly depressing read for you guys, what with me talking about job-cuts and companies failing… But fear not! I will leave you this weekend on a much more optimistic note.

Where we’re expecting to see start-ups struggling at the moment, this doesn’t seem to be the case for Noomii, the online life-coach. It’s only been up and running for a couple of weeks, but the site is built around the premise that it will help you turn your life around – Definitely fitting into a growing market, where people are making cut-backs, being made redundant and are just generally feeling low.

It actually looks quite fun – something that seems to be in short supply these days. I recommend you have a look at it anyway.

Apocalyptical Confusion

Ok, there seems to have been some confusion over my opinion that the digital industry will flourish as the economy takes a down-turn.

My original comments related to online marketing.

Alongside my otimistic agency views, I’m also of the opinion that other internet-functioning businesses could be hit pretty hard. Examples:

E-Bay issued a stark warning that profits could be down this christmas – this last quarter saw revenue rise by 12% ($2.12bn) which was lower than analyst predictions. A quick recalculation later and the number-monkeys expect total 2008 revenue to be between $8.53 – $8.68bn (still more money than most people will ever see). 

To be more competitive, Amazon has slashed it’s free delivery qualification costs from £15 to £5. This means that over 90% of their products will be delivered for free. I personally think this is just common sense – leading industry experts have long-advised companies to play around more with free delivery.

Google’s market-share has dipped a teeny-tiny bit. My cynical side says that this explains why they’ve suddenly backtracked on their long-standing policy not to allow gambling advertisements. Now, potentially generating £millions more with this hypocritical move, as we have already seen a quarterly increase on profit this year. I’m sure we’ll see Google beginning to strangle the competition again.

Social networks are struggling to generate viable income. Which is no big secret. Sadly though, this is directly affecting people working in the industry, as they become statistics in the economic downturn. The most recent victim is Hi5, the third largest global network, where it was announced this week that around 10-15% of the workforce would be laid off. Other companies being affected include start-ups and software; again, the most recent casualty being Jive.

When the whole world is suffering economic crisis, it’s obviously going to affect the world-wide-web. But to reiterate my original point; some parts of the digital industry will do well from the misfortune of others. Yes, it will get increasingly competitive, but with decent strategy and user-confidence, those who succeed will be very apparent. Whilst we’re seeing companies collapse every day, I hardly think this is the end of the internet.

Gone Phishin’

In case it’s escaped anyone’s attention, the world is in economic turmoil. However, even people who are completely aware of this seem not to notice the increasing upturn in online fraud.

Recently, the US Federal Trade Commission passed out a warning, indicating a worryingly large growth of problems related to phishing, where information is gleaned from unsuspecting online users. Apparently, phishing attacks have increased more than 180% in a single year, and in its second annual report, the All Parliamentary Group on ID Fraud helpfully pointed out that tighter credit lending rules would lead to more attempts to get at existing bank accounts. This immediately prompted our ever-vigilant goverment to suggest that ID theft is not such a big problem anymore, but instead, anyone using the internet for personal or financial reasons should be more made aware of the potential problems that could occur.

Going back to the FTC, who seem to have a better grasp on highlighting the issues, they outlined the problem perfectly, saying that with rapid changes in the financial industry, where many institutions suddenly have new owners, this could be a green light for phishermen, as fraudsters can easily pose as the new owners of banks or the goverment agencies who are embroiled in the mess.

Secure Computing revealed that it’s October spam report showed many of the banks and other financial institutions involved in the credit crunch were topping the list of phishing targets: Chase, Wachovia and Bank of America were among the most popular targets with scammers and the report also indicated that the company expects British banks to begin creeping into these lists, as mergers and buy-outs are completed.

So, in case you didn’t know, you need to be wary online – don’t reply to emails or pop-ups that ask for any form of personal information, if they look like they’ve come from your bank. Check statements and online transactions carefully. As the philosophical George Bush said, it’s your money – you paid for it.