August 25, 2006

Omakase Links (beta) - A New Twist on Contextual Advertising

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/25/2006 05:10:00 PM
Amazon has launched Omakase - a contextual advertising service that services paid search ads on your pages. Omakase is a Japanese word that means to trust, to let someone else take the initiative. When you go to a Japanese restaurant and order the Omakase, it means you are letting the chef decide what to serve you - usually, it is the most expensive delicacies! So, what does this have to do with Amazon Omakase? With Omakase, you are letting Amazon.com decide which ads to serve up on your web page.

How does Amazon Omakase Work?
According to Amazon, with Omakase Links, Associates can now automatically display the products and content that visitors to the page are most likely to buy. Adding Omakase Links to your pages is easy. Use the Build Links tool to select the appearance and behavior of the ad, and then simply cut-and-paste the code into your template or Web page. Your page will now display Omakase Links and after a short learning period, the ads will be optimized based on what the Associate has been successful with in the past; what that user has been interested in; and what the site is about.

Because Omakase Links optimize on more than just the page itself, Associates may see a range of different products in their links but they will also see that the links learn what their visitors want. In fact, because Omakase Links aim to show the right product to the right person, each person visiting their site may see different products.

How much do I get paid for Omakase?
You are paid a referral fee of 4% which can scale up to 6% of the value of the products purchased by customers you refer to Amazon.com.

How Do I Sign Up For Omakase Links?
In order to participate in Omakase Links, you must be an Amazon.com affiliate member. You can go to Amazon Omakase Program and sign up.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud: A Very Interesting Idea

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/25/2006 04:56:00 PM
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud: A Very Interesting Idea

Amazon has just opened a beta to its new service Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. I find it very interesting, because it allows companies to image a new server and boot it up in minutes. That means websites that have to scale quickly can use it as a way of addressing peak demand for events. Here's the spiel from Amazon:

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers. Just as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) enables storage in the cloud, Amazon EC2 enables "compute" in the cloud. Amazon EC2's simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon's proven computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use.

How much computing power does EC2 provide?
When you boot up an instance, each instance predictably provides the equivalent of a system with a 1.7Ghz Xeon CPU, 1.75GB of RAM, 160GB of local disk, and 250Mb/s of network bandwidth.

How much does it cost to use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud?
The pricing is decent decent but isn't super cheap. It costs $.20 per GB and $.10 per computing hour.

$0.10 per instance-hour consumed (or part of an hour consumed).
$0.20 per GB of data transferred outside of Amazon (i.e., Internet traffic).
$0.15 per GB-Month of Amazon S3 storage used for your images (charged by Amazon S3).
Data transferred within the Amazon EC2 environment, or between Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3, is free of charge (i.e., $0.00 per GB).

What is the implication of EC2?
EC2 incentivizes web builders to conserve hardware and bandwidth usage. Since you only pay for what you use, peak demand traffic can be easily handled by scaling up for the periods when you need it. Once traffic has leveled off, it pays to scale down.

EC2 is a very interesting concept. It sounds like a new twist on utility computing.

Related Link: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
Updated: TechDirt Writes Amazon Keeps Building the Web Platform
Updated: TechCruch Writes Amazon Readies Utility Computing Service

Google Rebrands Its Name as Gu Ge In China

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/25/2006 04:47:00 PM
A name is worth a million dollars. Or several billion! Google has renamed itself Gu Ge in China. Why the name change? Simple.

1) Google is hard to spell for Chinese users.
2) Google has no meaning in Chinese.

What is A GuGe?
1) The name means Ancient Song which plays off of the name of Baidu (which comes from an ancient Chinese poem/song).
2) GuGe is short - just 4 characters vs 5 characters for Baidu.
3) GuGe is easier to spell - and can be spelled via pinyin.

Why is Google renaming itself in GuGe?
Largely, Google has seen its marketshare frozen at 33% for the past year, while Baidu's market share rose to 57%. In ad-revenue, Google's share is 16% down from 23% a year ago. Similarly, Baidu's share of the search advertising market has grown to 50% up from 37% last year.

Why is Google behind?
It is common to see Chinese companies succeed in China - just as American companies succeed in America - because they understand the local market better and have better connections. The Chinese government would prefer a local player to be successful. After all, information is a critical asset in the information age - a matter of national security.

Who are some of the other companies that have renamed themselves?
Google isn't the only company to rename itself for Chinese users. eBay is named Eachnet (Happy Fun) in China. Amazon takes the name Joyo (Great Discount). And Yahoo - well, it's called Yahoo! But in Chinese it means Great Tiger. It's wonderful to see the localization.

Why Do American Internet Companies Change Their Names To Address The Chinese Interet Market?
Mostly, it's because internet companies that try to run their Chinese operations from Silicon Valley fail. Silicon Valley is a microcosm of America. In order to address Chinese users, American companies need to be on the ground in China. Hiring local teams, bringing on local talent, acquiring local PR - these are all of the things that make for a successful China strategy.

Most of the companies that have tried to grow a Chinese Internet presence from Silicon Valley have been unsuccessful. Examples include Yahoo which bought Alibaba. And even ones that have acquired local companies have yet to bear fruit. Joyo. a leading etailer in China, is struggling, because prices for goods are so cheap in department stores and on the street that e-commerce companies can't compare on price and convenience. Another example is EachNet - part of eBay.

So, next time you see a name change, you know why - you know the rest of the story!

Related Link:
Don't Hand Me That Gu Ge

Salesforce's New Ad Platform

posted by Robson Lee at 8/25/2006 03:52:00 PM
Salesforce for Google AdWords, a platform to help corporations analyze the effectiveness of their ad campaigns on Google, was recently unveiled by Salesforce.com, the CRM (customer relationship management) software maker. Salesforce.com is a rapidly growing company with net income quadrupling in the 12 months ending January 31, 2006 over its net income in the 12 months ending January 31, 2005. It's business model is based on providing software as a service, specifically focusing on the CRM market.

Salesforce for Google AdWords is in keeping with Salesforce.com's focus on helping corporations manage and track customer relations. It is planning to charge $300 a month for use of the service while a competitor NetSuite is offering its service for free for existing customers. It's a toss-up whether Salesforce.com's brand recognition and scope will overcome the allure of a free service that also integrates support of Yahoo ads.

Related link: Salesforce rides on Google wave

August 24, 2006

Want to Go into Outer Space? $100,000 Please

posted by Robson Lee at 8/24/2006 04:59:00 PM
Space Adventures of Arlington, Virginia has outlined a series of ambitious plans to send tourists into outer space, including trips to the moon and beyond. Here is a breakdown of current and planned offerings and costs:

Sub-orbital ride: $100,000
10-day trip to the ISS: $20 million
18-day ISS mission with a cosmonaut-guided spacewalk: $35 million
A flyby around the far side of the moon: $200 million

Now, I know several people in my former profession who could easily afford the sub-orbital ride (it's less than a year's salary) and even a few who could afford the ride around the moon without breaking a sweat.

Marvell is No Super Hero

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/24/2006 04:59:00 PM
Marvell is a super hero no more. Marvell hit a level that was close to its 52 week low today and it looks like the acquisition binge that this company has been on is starting to make investors wonder whether Marvell can grow on its own. This is quite ironic given Forbes magazine's recent article: Meet Marvell which praised the company:

[Marvell ] has quietly and ruthlessly become the superhero of the chip industry, thriving in every market it has entered and making its founders billionaires.

Why is Marvell Stock down?


It appears that in spite the spring of acquisitions Marvell has recently made, the company will miss revenue estimates. The company announced last Friday that revenues would be short of estimates by $9 million. While not a big miss, it is significant, because the numbers include revenues from recent acquisitions.

The $574 million in revenue reported on Thursday was 47 percent more than the $390.5 million in the year-ago period, but short of the $583 million projected by analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Is the recent acquisition strategy at Marvell working?

It appears that management may have been overly optimistic about the benefit of the acquisitions it has recently made. This is one of the reasons for the shortfall. After all, if you set your own estimates, it is hard to miss unless your assumptions are wrong.

Is Marvell a Buy or Sell?

This is a tought question because Marvell has a large amount of revenues coming from acquisitions. It would be prudent to wait until the quarter ends to determine the extent of the shortfall and its impact on future quarters.

Related Links: Marvell Tech down on revenue shortfall, soft outlook

Is My Apple Laptop Affected by the Battery Recall?

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/24/2006 04:50:00 PM
This week should be called the big bath week for Apple. Apple has announced negative news twice this week - first it was the settlement with Creative in regards to iPod. Today, it is the explosive batteries in their laptops. Apple is recalling 1.8 million lithium ion batteries made by Sony.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

There have been nine reports of overheating, two reports of people receiving minor burn injuries, and seven other reports of minor property damage caused by batteries in Apple laptops, the CPSC spokesman added. How is possible that these batteries could have passed QA? The important thing is to get the battery replaced as soon as possible.

What do I do if I have a Defective Apple Battery?

Apple says affected batteries were sold with three models of Apple notebooks, and may have been purchased separately. Here are the part numbers for the batteries.


Visit www.apple.com/support/batteryexchange for more information.

How do I know if my Apple laptop is affected by the recall?
If you own the following laptops, you should visit the battery exchange site as soon as possible. The models affected are:
  1. 12-inch iBook G4: A1061
  2. 12-inch PowerBook G4: A1079
  3. 15-inch PowerBook G4: A1078 and A1148

WSJ Article: Apple Joins Dell in RecallingBatteries Used in Laptops

New Home Sales Drop in July

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/24/2006 04:45:00 PM
The drop in new home sales in July is another sign that the economy is cooling off. What is staggering is not the level by which sales dropped, but the amount of unsold inventories.

The July level of 1.072 million units sold was down 21.6 percent from a year earlier and below the 1.100 million that had been expected by analysts.

The inventory of unsold new homes reached 568,000 at the end of July, up from 562,000 in June and an all-time high.

Will the housing market continue to drop?

I believe this is the question that everyone has in mind. I believe it is necessary to look beyond the headlines numbers. When prices reach record levels, it is only reasonable to expect many sellers to emerge. I believe new supply is being brought onto market by homeowners who may not have originally thought about selling their homes. Currently, we are in a period where the market is digesting this new supply of homes which previously were not available.

Will the housing market firm up?

In the same story, the author pointed out that unemployment claims actually slipped.

And the Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits last week slipped by 1,000 to 313,000.

This can mean several things. 1) Job creation is still strong. 2) Unemployed workers have left the category of unemployed searching for jobs - and stopped looking. 3) The labor force is shrinking Homeowners are selling their houses and cashing out and retiring.

Prospective home buyers have turned cautious about making such a big-ticket purchase as mortgage rates have gone up and uncertainty has risen over whether the economy and job creation will keep slowing, analysts said.

Related Link:
New Home Sales Drop 4.3 Percent in July

China To Begin Mobile TV Trials in 2007 for 2008 Olympics

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/24/2006 03:36:00 PM
China Mobile has announced that it will begin mobile TV trials in 2007 in preparing for the 2008 Olympics. The same report from Xinhua cited:

China's mobile phone TV market is expected to reach 6.05 bln yuan in 2008, the paper said, citing data from the Xinhua News agency.

http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2006/08/21/afx2963817.html

China Has 431 million Mobile Users

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/24/2006 03:15:00 PM
The number of mobile users in China reached 431 million in July according to a recent report. What is incredible is that this number still accounts for only 32% of the population:

"There were 431.80 million subscribers of mobile communication services in China, as of the end of last month, increasing by 5.43 million from a month earlier and accounting for 32.7% of the country's population at that time, according to statistics published on August 23 by China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII) on its Chinese-language website."

Other interesting statistics include data internet usage statistics which show that the majority of Chinese Internet users are on either dedicated lines or broadband lines:






China's Internet-access user base
Internet-access mode Number of subscribers at end of July 2006
Dial-up (narrow band)30.14 million
Dedicated lines66,391 million
Broadband 46.38 million (of which 33.31 million used xDSL)


Related Link: China's mobile-phone user base rose to 431.80 million at end of July

August 23, 2006

Bear Stearns Upgrades XM Satellite

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/23/2006 06:15:00 PM
XM Satellite has figuratively fallen from the sky dropping over 75% in the last 2 years. To put things into perspectively, satellite stocks have gone from hot to cold and totally gotten trashed. Today, Bear Stearns upgraded the fallen stock citing:


"Our 2007 target price of $17 is based on our discounted cash-flow valuation and supported by discounted earnings per share and free cash flow/share analyses, as well as a Sirius enterprise value/subscriber comparative basis, all of which yield valuations in the $17-to-$18 range."

Correct me if I am wrong, but XM has never made an operating profit. So, how did Bear Stearns come up with a free cash flow model that ends up with a positive valuation for XM? I wonder how many years out Bear Stearns had to stretch that DCF model to make things look green.

Related Link: XM Satellite Radio Catching Better Waves

August 22, 2006

Guest Posting from George Soros

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/22/2006 07:41:00 PM
My friend George Soros sent me an email the other day. I believe it points out some of the relevant geopolitical risks underlying the current trading trends in the market so I have included George's e-mail for everyone to read. George writes about his views on the war on terror in the book, George Soros' Age of Fallibility. Below is the email. Enjoy!

Mr Wave Theory

Dear Friend,


I thought you might find it interesting to read my opinion piece below from today's Wall Street Journal.

If you would like to read more excerpts from my new book "The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the war on Terror" please visit my website.

Please share this message with your colleagues. If you received this message from one of your colleagues, you can add yourself to my new mailing list here.

Wall Street Journal
”A Self-Defeating War”
By George Soros


By George Soros -- The war on terror is a false metaphor that has led to counterproductive and self-defeating policies. Five years after 9/11, a misleading figure of speech applied literally has unleashed a real war fought on several fronts -- Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Somalia -- a war that has killed thousands of innocent civilians and enraged millions around the world. Yet al Qaeda has not been subdued; a plot that could have claimed more victims than 9/11 has just been foiled by the vigilance of British intelligence.

Unfortunately, the "war on terror" metaphor was uncritically accepted by the American public as the obvious response to 9/11. It is now widely admitted that the invasion of Iraq was a blunder. But the war on terror remains the frame into which American policy has to fit. Most Democratic politicians subscribe to it for fear of being tagged as weak on defense.

What makes the war on terror self-defeating?

• First, war by its very nature creates innocent victims. A war waged against terrorists is even more likely to claim innocent victims because terrorists tend to keep their whereabouts hidden. The deaths, injuries and humiliation of civilians generate rage and resentment among their families and communities that in turn serves to build support for terrorists.

• Second, terrorism is an abstraction. It lumps together all political movements that use terrorist tactics. Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Sunni insurrection and the Mahdi army in Iraq are very different forces, but President Bush's global war on terror prevents us from differentiating between them and dealing with them accordingly. It inhibits much-needed negotiations with Iran and Syria because they are states that support terrorist groups.

• Third, the war on terror emphasizes military action while most territorial conflicts require political solutions. And, as the British have shown, al Qaeda is best dealt with by good intelligence. The war on terror increases the terrorist threat and makes the task of the intelligence agencies more difficult. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are still at large; we need to focus on finding them, and preventing attacks like the one foiled in England.

• Fourth, the war on terror drives a wedge between "us" and "them." We are innocent victims. They are perpetrators. But we fail to notice that we also become perpetrators in the process; the rest of the world, however, does notice. That is how such a wide gap has arisen between America and much of the world.

Taken together, these four factors ensure that the war on terror cannot be won. An endless war waged against an unseen enemy is doing great damage to our power and prestige abroad and to our open society at home. It has led to a dangerous extension of executive powers; it has tarnished our adherence to universal human rights; it has inhibited the critical process that is at the heart of an open society; and it has cost a lot of money. Most importantly, it has diverted attention from other urgent tasks that require American leadership, such as finishing the job we so correctly began in Afghanistan, addressing the looming global energy crisis, and dealing with nuclear proliferation.

With American influence at low ebb, the world is in danger of sliding into a vicious circle of escalating violence. We can escape it only if we Americans repudiate the war on terror as a false metaphor. If we persevere on the wrong course, the situation will continue to deteriorate. It is not our will that is being tested, but our understanding of reality. It is painful to admit that our current predicaments are brought about by our own misconceptions. However, not admitting it is bound to prove even more painful in the long run. The strength of an open society lies in its ability to recognize and correct its mistakes. This is the test that confronts us.

Mr. Soros, a financier, is author of "The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror" (Public Affairs, 2006).

Salesforce.com Partners With Google To Attack SMB

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/22/2006 05:28:00 PM
Salesforce.com has announced a deal with Google to enable users of Salesforce.com's CRM software to manage keyword bidding directly using the Salesforce portal. This deal is significant because it opens up the market opportunity for customer relationship management software from merely being a tool for large enterprises to one that can be used by small businesses. Salesforce.com for Adwords was created by a team of 4 developers in a mere 2 months, before Salesforce.com acquired the company.

Why does Salesforce.com want to partner with Google?
Google has several hundred thousand Adwords advertisers and these accounts are a gold mine. Keep in mind that the average small business spends several thousand dollars each year on advertising, and you get an idea of the size of the market opportunity. By last count, Salesforce.com had about 24,800 paying customers (and a total of 500,000 users) and you get an idea of the order of magnitude difference in market size. Google on the other hand has several hundred thousand. Compares the size of the enteprise application market to the search marketing market and you get an idea of the opportunity.

What is the benefit of the Google deal? I believe this deal means that Google wants to partner more closely with CRM vendors like Salesforce.com, Oracle, and traditional big enteprise app vendors. While Salesforce.com benefits by getting access to Google's small and medium sized business accounts, Google gets the reverse benefit - access to larger corporations who currently use CRM and will start to regulate and monitor their ad spending online.

Is this a good deal? I believe it is a great deal for both Google and Salesforce.com. Keep in mind that both Google and Salesforce.com were backed by Kleiner Perkins so there is a bit of enlightened self interest for this deal. It benefits Kleiner to keep both boats afloat.

Mr Wave Theory

August 21, 2006

Melissa Doi's 911 Call from the WTC

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/21/2006 03:42:00 PM














If you haven't heard about Melissa Doi, you probably haven't read the news lately. Doi was trapped on the 83rd floor of the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks and became famous for the telephone recording with a 911 agent. It is quite a recording and quite chilling. This young woman working at IQ Financial Systems made the call for help when the plane crashed into her office building and smoke billowed out. Melissa was trapped and called 911 like any normal person would. Her words are forever recorded for posterity on this 911 tape. You can hear the
recording of Melissa Doi's last moments with a 911 dispatcher and just wonder what happened there when the smoke built up in the floor of the WTC. The recording ends in the middle of the telephone call. Her last words were: "Dont worry, Dad, if it happens, it'll be quick." From everyone at Mr Wave Theory, our kind regards go out to the families who lost loved ones during that day.

Mr Wave Theory

Sansa E-280 Lets Sandisk Takes A Bite Out of Apple

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/21/2006 03:28:00 PM
Sandisk, the former supplier of flash memory to Apple iPod, is gearing up for a big battle in the MP3 market by releasing the new Sansa E-280. According to EETimes, Sandisk's player will have the largest capacity of any Flash based player on the market:

"Priced at $249.99, the new Sansa e280 is the latest MP3 player in SanDisk's flagship e200 series. The new 8-gigabyte (GB) device features a microSD expansion slot, allowing expansion to 10-GB of music — or 2,500 songs — with an optional SanDisk 2-GB microSD card."

A secret photo of the Sansaas leaked on the Internet shows that the player looks almost exactly like the iPod. Dubbed the iPod Nano killer, this player will compete head on with Apple, Creative, and Sony's players. Let the games begin!

Mr Wave Theory

PS: You can see by these side by side photos how similar the two players look. I wonder where Sandisk go the design?

August 20, 2006

Deckers Outdoor On Deck

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/20/2006 08:10:00 PM
It's getting close to fall and you know what that means. It's time to stock up on warm clothes, mocassins, and sheepskin shoes from Deckers Outdoor (DECK). Deckers makes the famous sheepskin shoes known as UGG. Deckers reported 2Q diluted EPS of $0.21, which was ahead of guidance. It also raised guidance. It's time to grab some Ugg coupon and load up on some womens Ugg boot, Ugg hand bag. I wouldn't be surprised if you see Ugg in all category of winter wear especially with the new Ugg Fluff Momma Boot, and the Ugg boot woman. At $43.70, Decker is cheaper than a pair of Man Ugg Boot!

Mr Wave Theory