Friday, March 02, 2012
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
We have not had a chance to speak recently so call me or let me know a good time to call you so I can let you know what is going on with Facebook. Bottom line is this is the very last time we will have Facebook stock to offer to investors - We are closing next Tuesday at $31 per share on our Facebook fund. This will be the very last close we will ever do in our Facebook fund - THE VERY LAST - GAME OVER. The stock we are closing on is attractively priced compared to the current market of $34-$37. It is my opinion that we could see a 3-4x return over the next 12-24 months. It is also my opinion that Facebook, will at the very least, double from this level (which would be a major disappointment) and certainly will not trade lower from the $31 level. What other investments are you aware of today that offer this kind of risk reward ratio over that period of time?
This is the last bite of the apple - take it!
If you have any questions or intend on investing please let me know as soon as possible.
I guarantee that you will not be hearing from me regarding facebook again!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Here is the exact hand-written text on the violation notice dated 8:17pm on Aug 31:
"I did observe 3 white bags placed out for collection. Upon inspection found paper & cardboard mixed with household garbage."Are our dear city's finances really in such dire straits that Mayor Mike now employs garbage inspectors? I can't believe it!
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Given the exceedingly high quality bar set by our colleages, it is with some trepidation that Sarah Tavel and I set out to do something similar for online retailers. We just began publishing (on Sarah's blog), Bessemer's Top 10 Laws of eCommerce, and we intend to share the full paper over the next several weeks.
We welcome your feedback, criticism and, most of all, experience with what believe are the most important rules for building an online retailer.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
To date, Apple has only delivered a mediocre tv attachment called Apple TV. Samsung, on the other hand, has delivered the real thing -- a television set on which you can load apps in much the same way you load them on your iPhone. To motivate developers to come up with some creative app ideas for its new line of TVs, Samsung is sponsoring a contest with $500,000 in prize money, and I'm delighted to serve as a judge alongside Mike Maples, Bob Borchers, Roelof Botha and Samsung's own Eric Anderson.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
(Credit to my friends at Parallels for sharing this image with me.)
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
One nice thing about the roadmap approach to investing is that when you discover a compelling roadmap, follow it and identify talented entrepreneurs who share your conviction, you end up investing in some great companies. LinkedIn, Wikia and Yelp are each now among the top-100 ranked websites by Quantcast. It's a bit harder to measure the size of OLX because it’s largely used by consumers outside the USA across several domains (http://www.olx.com.br, http://www.olx.pt, http://www.olx.ru and many others), but it is probably the largest site in my portfolio and reached more than 100,000,000 unique visitors last month. As satisfying as the success these companies have had pleasing consumers is that that each has a proven, working business model. I wish all of my investment roadmaps were as productive as the one based on user-generated content.
But it's not all happiness in user-generated content land. There are lots of challenges with it, and perhaps at the top of the list is that you don't actually control your site's content. That leads to troublesome spam.
Spam at Wikia
Spam at OLX
Spam at Yelp
Yelp is a site where consumers post their subjective reviews of local businesses. Yelp identified the spam problem early in its development, and came up with a highly effective way to filter out spam on its site. Spam in the context of Yelp is most often a shill review written to make a particular business look great or (its competitor's look horrible). The sentiment embedded in Yelp reviews about most local establishments feels real because most of the spam has been removed. The opacity of Yelp's spam filter frustrated a number of business owners, and so Yelp just launched a new feature to let consumers look at the reviews that were automatically removed.
Everyone knows that not a day goes by when spam doesn't invade our email inboxes. We use filters and other defenses to prevent spam from destroying the utility of email. It is less obvious that, if left unchecked, spam would also destroy many of the most useful properties on the Internet. Thankfully, some of the best user-generated content sites have developed sophisticated techniques to keep the spam at bay. Let's just hope they keep innovating fast enough to stay a step ahead of the bad guys.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Well, times have changed. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome gave a speech earlier this afternoon during which he mentioned a number of leading Internet companies such as Google, Twitter, Yelp and eh, er, um, one other which he couldn't quite remember.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Monday, October 22, 2007
What many search advertisers are failing to consider is the impact all their other marketing spend has on their search spend. Back to my example: when you search for "DVD player" on Google, there's a reason why you're 100 times more likely to click on a link to Samsung rather than a link to Apex. For starters, you have heard of Samsung but you've probably never heard of Apex. Second, when you researched various DVD players over the prior few days, you read a lot of positive reviews about the Samsung product but saw next to nothing on the Apex product. Finally, Samsung has a high-tech, high-quality brand. Apex has a cheap, made in a low quality way kind of brand.
Today Bloomberg news reported that Brian McAndrews, an executive at Microsoft, predicts ad buyers will switch away from search advertising and towards display advertising. At face value, it looks like a desperate attempt from Microsoft, which is badly trailing Google in search, to pooh-pooh the segment where it is weak and try to persuade advertisers that banner ads are more important. It's definitely a convenient argument given Microsoft's massive quantity of unsold banner ad inventory and weak search market share.
However, there is an element of truth in the statement. Advertisers are failing to examine the impact their non-search advertising is having on search. They are attributing all of their advertising success to search simply because it is usually the last ad seen by a user before the purchase. Just because it's the last ad doesn't mean it's the only (or even most) important one.
What advertisers need -- and what I would like to invest in -- is a company offering a web-based analytic product that helps bring banner ads, email marketing and search marketing all into a single dashboard/framework. It would allow an advertiser to measure the impact of increased banner advertising on the efficacy of its search marketing. In other words, the tool would allow advertisers to properly measure and allocate performance across ad media.
I have yet to come across such a product. Have you?
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I already knew about many of the links on Chris' new web page, but as expected there were a few gems that I hadn't yet discovered. I hope he keeps this up-to-date. Maybe it's time for someone launch a meta RSS feeder so I can get a feed of changes to other people's RSS readers.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Click fraud takes place when someone clicks on a PPC ad with no real intent of actually following the link. The result, of course, is that an advertiser has to pay for a bogus click. Many advertisers are complaining about being charged for bogus clicks and are even demanding refunds. Somehow they managed to force Yahoo to settle a lawsuit for about $5 million and Google actually coughed up $90 million in a similar instance.
This baffles me because any reasonably sophisticated advertiser shouldn’t really care about click fraud. Why? Because if they’re using any of the dozens of off-the-shelf tools to measure their PPC ad conversion rates, they would be automatically lowering their PPC bids to maintain an acceptable ROI. An advertiser simply shouldn’t care if he pays $1 per click for 10 clicks that yield 10% conversion and a single customer or if he pays $0.50 per click for 20 clicks that yield 5% conversion and a single customer. In either case, the advertiser has paid $10 to land a new customer.
Given the real-time tracking capabilities inherent in auction-based PPC, click fraud gets priced into the equation automatically. In my example above, the bogus clicks drove conversion down by 50% (from 10% to 5%), and advertisers adjusted their bids from $1 to $0.50 per click. Yes, in theory the advertiser may suffer temporarily from fraudulent clicks before he has a chance to adjust his bid downward to compensate for the lower conversion rate, but today’s automated systems figure this out pretty quickly. Any real damage to the advertiser is inconsequential.
So why are advertisers complaining? I don’t get it. Perhaps they haven’t all figured out how easy it is to use tools from search engine marketing (SEM) experts such as Efficient Frontier, SearchRev, iCrossing, iProspect (or many, many others). These SEM experts offer reasonably cheap software to solve the problem through automated bidding.
Perhaps some advertisers believe only their ads are being clicked fraudulently. Click fraud targeting a specific advertiser, does, in fact, hurt that advertiser. He can reduce his bid to maintain his conversion rate and ROI, but now he will get a much lower number of clicks because his competitors can afford to bid higher if they aren't suffering from the same click fraud. Though I acknowledge that advertiser-targeted click fraud is possible, I believe most click fraudsters are just trying to make money for a certain publisher rather than trying to deplete the ad budget of a certain competitor. So, I'm at a loss to explain why advertisers seem to care so much about click fraud.
Even more confounding, however, is that the companies who are really getting screwed haven't started screaming about it. In fact, we haven't heard anything from them. The companies on the losing end of click fraud are high quality web site publishers. When an unscrupulous publisher engages in click fraud to increase revenues, the result is reduced conversion rates for advertisers, who, naturally, lower their bids. Because of the way most advertisers participate in Google and Yahoo PPC auctions, when they reduce their bids, the reduction applies to every publisher in the Google and Yahoo networks.
If publisher A is engaging in click fraud, which causes lower PPC bids from advertisers, publisher B gets screwed. Publisher B doesn't generate any additional clicks, but now he's getting less revenue for each click. In a sense, publisher A just stole money from publisher B. My theory is that the publisher getting screwed the most is probably AOL.
I suppose it's not too surprising that high quality publishers aren't complaining because it's virtually impossible to detect this phenomenon. This is especially true because Google provides publishers with such a minimal amount of information about their advertising performance. Perhaps one reason Google is holding on so tightly to the lack of transparency in its system relates to keeping click fraud off the agenda of high quality publishers.