Tag Archives: purchase

Google ads Amazon-style products to search results – in a big revenue grab

An interesting update by Google which seems directly targeted at Amazon. These new Product Ads from Google will compete with Amazon’s commission model, and may come down to who has the better search.

With billions of dollars in revenue the stakes…

 

In the early days of Google, users would type in a query, we’d return ten blue links, and they’d move on happy. Today people want more. When searching for great local restaurants, people want places to eat right there on the results page, not another click or two away. It’s the same with hotels, flight options, directions and shopping.

Today we’re announcing a new initiative to improve our shopping experience over time–so that shoppers (your customers) can easily research purchases, compare different products, their features and prices, and then connect directly with merchants to make their purchase.

First, we are starting to transition Google Product Search in the U.S. to a purely commercial model built on Product Listing Ads. This new product discovery experience will be called Google Shopping and the transition will be complete this fall.

Ranking in Google Shopping, when the full transition is complete this fall, will be based on a combination of relevance and bid price–just like Product Listing Ads today.

In addition, merchants who want to stand out from the crowd can choose to participate in our new Google Trusted Stores program. Google Trusted Stores is a badge for e-commerce sites which gives users background on merchants—whatever their size—including ratings for on-time shipping and customer service. Google stands behind merchants that have earned the Google Trusted Stores badge with a $1,000 lifetime purchase protection guarantee per shopper.

Second, starting today we’ve also begun to experiment with some new commercial formats on Google.com that will make it easier for users to find and compare different products. These include larger product images that give shoppers a better sense of what is available and also the ability to refine a search by brand or product type.

For example, below is  what stargazers could see on Google.com when searching for [telescopes], or for a specific product, such as [Celestron CPC 800].

 

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The Surf Network – rent, buy, or stream your favorite surf films

If you’re looking for a surf movie that you can’t find at Blockbuster or Netflix then you will love The Surf Network. This website serves as the web home for all of your favorite surf films.

You can rent, buy, download, and watch pretty much any surf movie movie right on your computer. More from the website:

“TheSurfNetwork.com, is a simple easy to use video-on-demand service that provides access to the largest collection of premium surf video content.”

“When you purchase a video, your viewing rights do not expire. You can watch a purchased video as many times as you would like on your computer or compatible device.” (which includes computer, iPhone, iPad, Boxee, Roku, etc.)

The site is also home to snow and moto movies. Check it out.

 

The Surf Network

 

 

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Starbucks to improve its baked goods – purchases artisan bakery, La Boulange

Starbucks got the coffee right. Now, it is trying to do the same with the food.

The world’s largest coffee chain announced on Monday plans to acquire for $100 million a small artisan bakery chain, Bay Bread and its 19-unit La Boulange bakery brand.

The move comes just months after Starbucks (SBUX) purchased the tiny Evolution Fresh juice brand and at a time Starbucks is pushing hard to expand beyond coffee and vastly improve its baked goods and other food offerings. Food is one of the chains fastest-growing businesses, now accounting for $1.5 billion in revenues even as its sales have grown by double digits over the past two years.

“After more than 40 years, we will be able to say that we are bakers, too,” says Howard Schultz, CEO at Starbucks.

via USA Today

 

The bakery chain, La Boulange, reminds me a lot of Le Pain Quotidien.

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Why Facebook bought Instagram – from Om Malik and Robert Scoble

Both Om Malik and Robert Scoble make interesting points, Facebook paid double for what many considered Instagram to be worth and Facebook desperately needs help with mobile devices.

From Om Malik:

A few days ago Instagram was rumored to be valued at $500 million. A few months ago it was $300 million. Its last round — just a year ago – valued the company at $100 million.

The rising valuation of the company was reflective of the growing audience it has been garnering, despite being just on the iPhone. It had reached nearly 30 million registered users before it launched an Android app.

So the question is:  Why did Mark Zuckerberg buy Instagram at twice the valuation that professional venture investors were putting on it?

From Zuckerberg’s post on Facebook:

This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.

My translation: Facebook was scared shitless and knew that for first time in its life it arguably had a competitor that could not only eat its lunch, but also destroy its future prospects. Why? Because Facebook is essentially about photos, and Instagram had found and attacked Facebook’s achilles heel — mobile photo sharing.

 

From Robert Scoble:

Facebook has a problem. After its IPO completes it needs many quarters of strong revenue and profit growth to report to convince investors to stay put and convince new ones to buy the stock.

Zuckerberg is aiming at turning the $80 to $100 billion valuation that will happen at IPO into a $500 billion to $1 trillion company. How will he do that?

Look at mobile.

Today Facebook has NO revenues from mobile. None. That’s amazing, since so many people, hundreds of millions of us, use Facebook on mobile clients.

That will change very quickly after the IPO. Instagram will play a huge role here, plus Facebook gets a very talented mobile development team that has built world-leading mobile apps on iOS and Android (which got a million users in its first day).

The return of the newspaper barons – very rich (and political) owners

Folks with several hundred million dollars and outspoken opinions have been buying up newspapers. The Omaha Herald, San Diego Union Tribune, Portland Press Herald, and Philadelphia Inquirer.

At the end of last year, Warren E. Buffett bought The Omaha World-Herald through his company, Berkshire Hathaway. This would be the same Mr. Buffett who told his annual shareholder meeting in 2009 that newspapers faced “unending losses” and that he would not buy most of them “at any price.” Yet there he was, ponying up $200 million for a relatively small regional newspaper in Berkshire Hathaway’s hometown.

And he is not alone. Douglas F. Manchester, a very rich developer, bought The San Diego Union Tribune at about the same time, for a reported $110 million. At the end of last month, S. Donald Sussman, a hedge fund manager and philanthropist who is married to a congresswoman, Chellie Pingree, bought a stake in the company that owns The Portland Press Herald in Maine.

And then word came at the beginning of last week that a group of very rich, very influential Philadelphia businessmen — including George E. Norcross III, a Democratic power broker in Southern New Jersey, and Lewis Katz, the parking magnate — bought the Philadelphia Media Network, which owns The Inquirer, The Daily News and Philly.com.

via NY Times

What does this mean?

If you pull back a few thousand feet, you can see newspapers coming full circle. Before World War II, newspapers were mostly owned by political and business interests who used them to push an agenda.

People like William Randolph Hearst and Robert McCormick wielded their newspapers as cudgels to get their way. It was only when newspapers began making all kinds of money in the postwar era that they were professionalized and infused with editorial standards.

“We are going back to a form of ownership that dominated in an earlier era,” said Alan D. Mutter, a newspaper and technology consultant. “As newspapers become less impressive businesses, people are going to buy them as trophies or bully pulpits or some other form of personal expression.”

“People just have to be aware that other agendas exist”