December 02, 2006

$5 Off All Magazine Subscription Discounts

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/02/2006 02:14:00 PM
If you are an avid reader like me, you probably read lots of magazines. I love giving the gift of reading (aka magazine subscriptions) as holiday presents and if you do too, good news is in store for you. I came across a $5 discount coupon on all magazine subscriptions at Amazon.com.
  • Over 500 magazine subscriptions on Amazon.com will come with a bonus $5 coupon code.
  • The magazines featured are many of our top-selling titles such as O: The Oprah Magazine, People, Wired, Lucky, and Mental Floss.
  • You will receive a $5 code for each magazine title you purchase. So, the more you buy, the more $5 codes you will receive! Each code will be redeemable on a future Amazon.com purchase.
  • This offer is only available to customers who purchase the magazines featured here from November 15, 2006 – January 15, 2007.
You will get a $5 discount when you use the coupon button. Happy Holidays!

Stanley Ho Casino King Files $1 Billion IPO

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/02/2006 01:35:00 PM
The Crown Macau Hotel Casino is under construction in Macau, scheduled to be completed mid 2007.

Stanley Ho, the father of the casino industry in Macau, has filed a $1 billion Nasdaq IPO for Melco, the holding company. Melco PBL is a 50/50 joint venture between Melco International Development Limited, or Melco, and Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, or PBL, of Australia. The venture has also been taking part in casino expansion in Singapore.

Pending approval by the Macau Government, Melco PBL Entertainment is in the process of acquiring the last available subconcession to own and operate hotel casino resorts in the Macau Special Administrative Region, at a price of US$900 million.

Melco PBL Entertainment (Macau) Limited has two current casino gaming and entertainment projects under development: the Crown Macau Hotel Casino targeted to open in the second quarter of 2007 and the City of Dreams integrated casino complex, phase one of which is targeted to open in late 2008.

December 01, 2006

How to Get More Shoppers to Buy from Your Online Store

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/01/2006 03:46:00 AM
This holiday season, online store owners will be scrambling to get business business holiday sales represent a big portion of retail sales. So, every online store owner wants to know how to get more shoppers to buy from their online stores. Here are some tips on what to offer. In a Yahoo study online shopping survey, when shoppers were asked what they wanted from an online store they answered the following:

If shopping at a small business online, what features would you find most important for an overall positive experience?
Trusted, secure online payment system (such as Paypal) 76%
Ease in navigating the site to browse, get information and make purchases 76%
Simplified customer checkout process 58%
Easy registration process 52%
24-hour customer services 47%
Attractive, professionally designed Web pages 39%
Other 7%

When shoppers were asked what they wished their online stores gave away as promotions this is what they wanted to hear:

When you are shopping online for holiday gifts, what special incentives or offers are most likely to entice you to buy from an online small business?

Free shipping 90%
Online discounts 69%
Free or no-hassle return policy 64%
Free gift wrapping service 27%
Gift certificates 24%
Other 4%
None 3%

Running an online store successfully means catering the needs and wants of users. So, start offering free shipping and online discounts and free and no-hassle return policies and increase sales to your online store.

Online Gambling Drops by 56%

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/01/2006 03:38:00 AM
Nielsen//NetRatings reports that Web traffic to 10 popular online gambling destinations decreased by 56 percent in the month of October, the same month President Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act into law. Sites leading the drop in traffic were Casino on Net (888.com) down 72%, PartyPoker.com down 67% and PartyPoker.net down 38%. One bright spot was FullTiltPoker which saw a 42% increase in traffic. While many of the online gambling sites had claimed that they did not serve US customers, the drop shows just how much online gambling traffic came from the US.

This drop follows a year of fairly consistent unique audience growth among online gambling destinations, demonstrating the profound impact of the law signed on October 13th. However, some gambling Web sites have yet to feel the pinch of this new legislation, and many industry analysts speculate that there are ways to circumvent these restrictions and continue to do good business.

Web Traffic Trend to Popular Online Gambling Destinations (U.S., Home and Work)

Site

Oct-05

Sep-06

Oct-06

10/05-10/06

09/06-10/06

PartyPoker.com

2,412

7,476

2,503

4%

-67%

PokerStars.com

1,137

1,653

1,349

19%

-18%

Sportsbook.com

645

1,485

1,191

85%

-20%

Bodog.com

500*

649

678*

36%

4%

FullTiltPoker.com

302*

439

623

106%

42%

Absolute Poker

N/A

510

520

N/A

2%

Ultimatebet.com

418*

536

511

22%

-5%

Casino On Net

782

1,610

454*

-42%

-72%

Partypoker.net

N/A

435

269*

N/A

-38%

Betus.com

N/A

719

N/A

N/A

N/A

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, November 2006

If there is one positive aspect of curbing gambling online, it's that online gambling sites tend to prey on the poor. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, lower income households hope to strike it rich online:

* 8.1 percent of adults online gamble on the Web, compared with 6.9 percent who gamble onsite in a casino.
* Those with an annual income between $25,000 and $35,000 are over 25 percent more likely to engage in online gambling than the average Web user.
* Those with an annual household income of over $150,000 are 22 percent less likely than the average Web user to gamble online.

Slutting Your Way to $100,000

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/01/2006 03:24:00 AM
JessicaM is your girl next door. She models for Pantene Pro-V, has a $60,000 marketing job and has $25,000 in her bank account. She also wants to borrow $100,000 from you on Prosper.com. JessicaM's prosper profile says:

My debt to income ration is very low. I make $60,000 yearly at my primary job (Marketing) and an additional $10,000 - $60,000 as a part time model primarily for Pantene Pro-V. I have over $25,000 in my bank account. I have sent all of this information - including proof of what is on my credit report and my letter from the bank - not only to Prosper, but to my group leader. You can contact him for EXTRA verification. The only two bills I have are my rent ($650 per month) and my cell phone ($100). I have NEVER had a credit card or a loan. I have never financed anything before at all. I have no dependants (other than a Shitzu and a Pomeranian).

I've recently become credit concious and realized I want to buy a house in the next 2 years. After talking to 2 different consultants they both told me that in order to build great credit fast I need to do two things. First, I need to take out a loan of over 10,000. So although I could go with a lesser amount, it would not help my credit nearly as well. Second, I have to keep the loan out for at least 6 months, but ideally a year and a half. This shows that I have not only been able to borrow a 5 digit sum and pay it back, but also they earned interest off of me.
Jessica even volunteers for BigSisters
Jessica says she is "Not a high Risk at All" and posts an ample number of pictures on her profile to make sure you know she is not only credit worthy but worthy of being a very hot scantily clad model. While the picture probably don't lie about her body, reports are that Jessica lied about alot of things on her loan profile.

She claimed in those postings that she had a $60,000 marketing job, modeled for Pantene Pro-V shampoo, had a Johns Hopkins University chemistry degree and that her parents were dead.

But court records reveal Wolcott's mother is alive, and a Johns Hopkins spokeswoman said Wolcott never matriculated there.

Court records also show Wolcott was evicted from an apartment in April for not paying her rent.

So much for a nice, pretty girl asking for $100,000.

Citadel Hedge Fund Up $800 million

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/01/2006 03:07:00 AM
A Citadel Investment Group bond offering revealed profit in its flagship hedge fund had more than quintupled through August 2006 from a year before.

A document-disclosed in the first-ever bond offering from the hedge fund company-credited investment performance for the profit, according to a report circulating in the media.

The profit is indication that Citadel has not sustained a major downdraft. The Chicago company has denied a rumored meltdown suffered in an alleged energy blowup.

The disclosure said Citadel saw net income in its Kensington Global Fund rise to $795.6 million from $148.4 million a year prior. The fund has about $9.5 billion in capital.

Citadel revealed its plan to raise $2 billion in a public bond offering earlier this week.

The offering is the latest attempt by a hedge fund company to establish itself as a mature financial service outfit. Fortress Investment Group, for example, made a high-profile initial public offering in November.

Consistent capital is a benefit of public ownership and would let a hedge fund like Citadel expand its distribution capability and continue as a financial institution after the departure of its founding partner.

Fitch expected to give Citadel a BBB+ note rating. Goldman Sachs and Lehman Bros. will manage the offering.

Citadel, like Fortress, had long been subject to speculation it would IPO. Thirty-seven-year-old Kenneth Griffin founded Chicago-based Citadel, a multi-strategy hedge fund which now has $12 billion under management, 1990.

Hedge fund giant Citadel is attempting to buy access to the data its competitors supplied to the PlusFunds Group.

PlusFunds supplied data for the now defunct Standard & Poor's Hedge Fund Index, but got caught up in the Refco scandal and was forced to file for bankruptcy. Earlier this year, the firm sued S&P for violating its agreement with PlusFunds and canceling the index.

According to a report by MarketWatch, PlusFunds is now seeking court permission to sell a non-exclusive license to its database of 40 funds to Citadel for $75,000. The data includes trading histories of such industry stalwarts as Bridgewater Associates, GLG Partners and Vega Asset Management.

Even the most recent information in the database is at least five months old, but it could provide Citadel with insight into the strategies of its competitors.

With more than $12 billion in assets, Chicago-based Citadel engages in multiple strategies and is not afraid to let its presence be known in the markets. The fund most recently made waves when it revealed its profits had more than quintupled in the year ending in August.

Affymax Going Public in $294 million IPO

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/01/2006 03:04:00 AM
Affymax Inc. (Nasdaq AFFY), a one product biotech company, is going public. According to the company's website, their lead product is Hematide:

Hematide™, our first product candidate to enter the clinic, is a novel peptide-based drug designed to stimulate the production of red blood cells. It is in Phase 2 trials for the treatment of anemia associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and in anemic cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Hematide is an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) that, if proven safe and effective in clinical trials, may improve the management of anemia and offer patients and physicians an alternative therapy to recombinant erythropoietin products currently on the market.

Biopharmaceutical company Affymax Inc. is selling up to 3.5 million shares for between $22 and $24 per share in an initial public offering of stock.

Morgan Stanley is expected to be the lead underwriter in the deal that would value the development stage drug company at about $294 million assuming an offering price of $21.

The company has applied for a Nasdaq listing under the symbol "AFFY."

Online Casinos Lobby in German

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/01/2006 03:01:00 AM
European online casinos are seeing a new development these days. Germans are the first of the continent's peoples who will be the receivers of a new online casino awareness campaign. The public awareness campaign is intended to raise consciousness ahead of legal developments that are anticipated in Germany, and ultimately to keep online casinos free to operate and serve the German people.

The campaign is planned by an Austrian-listed online casinos gambling firm. It is times to precede legislative discussions that are vital for the German industry. The discussions involve the prime ministers of the 16 German provinces, who are scheduled to meet on December 13, 2006 to debate the content of the new lottery bill. The bill will now include online casinos as well as sports betting.

"This is a common initiative instigated by all the parties that are being damaged by political maneuvers," said Manfred Bodner, co-CEO of the online casinos group. The present draft of the lottery bill could face serious obstacles. There is already an infringement procedure, initiated by the European Commission. The online casinos group running the campaign will use a range of media and will focus its efforts at the soccer stadiums, where they will advertise the right to bet freely for online casino fans that live in Germany.

The slogans to appear on bulletin boards and other promotional material read "Kein Monopol," against the government monopoly on online casinos and "Freies Wetten," which argues the right to freely bet at online casinos.

Additional awareness campaigns, according to Bodner, will be launched across Europe through the European Betting Association. This is a very direct way to get the attention of online casinos players throughout Germany, and ultimately, throughout the world. With these campaigns, people will have to listen, and so will government officials who deal with decision-making regarding online casinos on a daily basis. How this will affect these officials, and the German public, remains to be seen. In the meantime, the campaign will continue.

Can You Be an American Citizen? Answer These Questions

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/01/2006 02:51:00 AM
Are you really an American citizen? Do you want to become one? If so, you must be able to answer these questions on the new US Citizenship test according to the BBC.
Why does the United States have three branches of government?
Name two rights that are only for US citizens
Name two cabinet-level positions
Name one important idea found in the Declaration of Independence
What does the Constitution do?
According to documents on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services site, the US Naturalization Test Redesign will change the test in several ways:

English Reading and Writing. The reading and writing portion of the proposed new English test is similar to the existing test. Applicants will still have up to three chances to read and write a sentence correctly in English. The difference is that USCIS will provide applicants with study materials for the proposed test, to include a civics-based vocabulary list, and the list of sentences will focus on civics and history topics, rather than a list of sentences that cover a range of topics.

Civics. The proposed format for the new civics test will still consist of 100 civics questions and answers. USCIS will place these questions and answers, along with a study guide on the Internet and elsewhere in the public domain to help applicants prepare. Applicants must still answer six out of 10 questions correctly during the naturalization interview.

English Speaking Test. The English speaking portion of the test will still include the questions normally asked in the naturalization interview.

The pilot program will run in 10 cities that were randomly selected based on geographic region and citizenship application volume. The ten pilot sites are: Albany, NY, Boston, MA; Charleston, S.C.; Denver; El Paso, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Miami; San Antonio, Texas; Tucson, Ariz.; and Yakima, Wash.

In case you are curious what the current citizenship looks like, here are 100 questions (with answers below):

Questions

1. What are the colors of our flag?

2. How many stars are there in our flag?

3. What color are the stars on our flag?

4. What do the stars on the flag mean?

5. How many stripes are there in the flag?

6. What color are the stripes?

7. What do the stripes on the flag mean?

8. How many states are there in the Union?

9. What is the 4th of July?

10. What is the date of Independence Day?

11. Independence from whom?

12. What country did we fight during the Revolutionary War?

13. Who was the first President of the United States?

14. Who is the President of the United States today?

15. Who is the vice-president of the United States today?

16. Who elects the President of the United States?

17. Who becomes President of the United States if the President should die?

18. For how long do we elect the President?

19. What is the Constitution?

20. Can the Constitution be changed?

21. What do we call a change to the Constitution?

22. How many changes or amendments are there to the Constitution?

23. How many branches are there in our government?

24. What are the three branches of our government?

25. What is the legislative branch of our government?

26. Who makes the laws in the United States?

27. What is the Congress?

28. What are the duties of Congress?

29. Who elects the Congress?

30. How many senators are there in Congress?

31. Can you name the two senators from your state?

32. For how long do we elect each senator?

33. How many representatives are there in Congress?

34. For how long do we elect the representatives?

35. What is the executive branch of our government?

36. What is the judiciary branch of our government?

37. What are the duties of the Supreme Court?

38. What is the supreme court law of the United States?

39. What is the Bill of Rights?

40. What is the capital of your state?

41. Who is the current governor of your state?

42. Who becomes President of the United States if the President and the vice-president should die?

43. Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?

44. Can you name thirteen original states?

45. Who said, "Give me liberty or give me death."?

46. Which countries were our enemies during World War II?

47. What are the 49th and 50th states of the Union?

48. How many terms can the President serve?

49. Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?

50. Who is the head of your local government?

51. According to the Constitution, a person must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible to become President. Name one of these requirements.

52. Why are there 100 Senators in the Senate?

53. Who selects the Supreme Court justice?

54. How many Supreme Court justice are there?

55. Why did the Pilgrims come to America?

56. What is the head executive of a state government called?

57. What is the head executive of a city government called?

58. What holiday was celebrated for the first time by the Americans colonists?

59. Who was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence?

60. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

61. What is the basic belief of the Declaration of Independence?

62. What is the national anthem of the United States?

63. Who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner?

64. Where does freedom of speech come from?

65. What is a minimum voting age in the United States?

66. Who signs bills into law?

67. What is the highest court in the United States?

68. Who was the President during the Civil War?

69. What did the Emancipation Declaration do?

70. What special group advises the President?

71. Which President is called the "Father of our country"?

72. What Immigration and Naturalization Service form is used to apply to become a naturalized citizen?

73. Who helped the Pilgrims in America?

74. What is the name of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America?

75. What are the 13 original states of the U.S. called?

76. Name 3 rights of freedom guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

77. Who has the power to declare the war?

78. What kind of government does the United States have?

79. Which President freed the slaves?

80. In what year was the Constitution written?

81. What are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution called?

82. Name one purpose of the United Nations?

83. Where does Congress meet?

84. Whose rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

85. What is the introduction to the Constitution called?

86. Name one benefit of being citizen of the United States.

87. What is the most important right granted to U.S. citizens?

88. What is the United States Capitol?

89. What is the White House?

90. Where is the White House located?

91. What is the name of the President's official home?

92. Name the right guaranteed by the first amendment.

93. Who is the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military?

94. Which President was the first Commander in Chief of the U.S. military?

95. In what month do we vote for the President?

96. In what month is the new President inaugurated?

97. How many times may a Senator be re-elected?

98. How many times may a Congressman be re-elected?

99. What are the 2 major political parties in the U.S. today?

100. How many states are there in the United States today?

Answers

1. What are the colors of our flag?
Red, White, and Blue.

2. How many stars are there in our flag?
50

3. What color are the stars on our flag?
White.

4. What do the stars on the flag mean?
One for each state in the Union.

5. How many stripes are there in the flag?
13

6. What color are the stripes?
Red and White.

7. What do the stripes on the flag mean?
They represent the original 13 states.

8. How many states are there in the Union?
50

9. What is the 4th of July?
Independence Day.

10. What is the date of Independence Day?
July 4th

11. Independence from whom?
England

12. What country did we fight during the Revolutionary War?
England

13. Who was the first President of the United States?
George Washington

14. Who is the President of the United States today?
Currently George W. Bush

15. Who is the vice-president of the United States today?
Currently Richard B. ("Dick") Cheney

16. Who elects the President of the United States?
The electoral college

17. Who becomes President of the United States if the President should die?
Vice - President

18. For how long do we elect the President?
Four years

19. What is the Constitution?
The supreme law of the land

20. Can the Constitution be changed?
Yes

21. What do we call a change to the Constitution?
An Amendment

22. How many changes or amendments are there to the Constitution?
27

23. How many branches are there in our government?
3

24. What are the three branches of our government?
Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary

25. What is the legislative branch of our government?
Congress

26. Who makes the laws in the United States?
Congress

27. What is the Congress?
The Senate and the House of Representatives

28. What are the duties of Congress?
To make laws

29. Who elects the Congress?
The people

30. How many senators are there in Congress?
100

31. Can you name the two senators from your state?
(insert local information)

32. For how long do we elect each senator?
6 years

33. How many representatives are there in Congress?
435

34. For how long do we elect the representatives?
2 years

35. What is the executive branch of our government?
The President, vice president, cabinet, and departments under the cabinet members

36. What is the judiciary branch of our government?
The Supreme Court

37. What are the duties of the Supreme Court?
To interpret laws

38. What is the supreme court law of the United States?
The Constitution

39. What is the Bill of Rights?
The first 10 amendments of the Constitution

40. What is the capital of your state?
(insert local information)

41. Who is the current governor of your state?
(insert local information)

42. Who becomes President of the United States if the President and the vice-president should die?
Speaker of the House of Representative

43. Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
William Rehnquist (or whoever is next)

44. Can you name thirteen original states?
Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Rhode Island, and Maryland.

45. Who said, "Give me liberty or give me death."?
Patrick Henry

46. Which countries were our enemies during World War II?
Germany, Italy, and Japan

47. What are the 49th and 50th states of the Union?
Hawaii and Alaska

48. How many terms can the President serve?
2

49. Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?
A civil rights leader

50. Who is the head of your local government?
(insert local information)

51. According to the Constitution, a person must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible to become President. Name one of these requirements.
Must be a natural born citizen of the United States; must be at least 35 years old by the time he/she will serve; must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.

52. Why are there 100 Senators in the Senate?
Two (2) from each state

53. Who selects the Supreme Court justice?
Appointed by the President

54. How many Supreme Court justice are there?
Nine (9)

55. Why did the Pilgrims come to America?
For religious freedom

56. What is the head executive of a state government called?
Governor

57. What is the head executive of a city government called?
Mayor

58. What holiday was celebrated for the first time by the Americans colonists?
Thanksgiving

59. Who was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence?
Thomas Jefferson

60. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?
July 4, 1776

61. What is the basic belief of the Declaration of Independence?
That all men are created equal

62. What is the national anthem of the United States?
The Star-Spangled Banner

63. Who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner?
Francis Scott Key

64. Where does freedom of speech come from?
The Bill of Rights

65. What is a minimum voting age in the United States?
Eighteen (18)

66. Who signs bills into law?
The President

67. What is the highest court in the United States?
The Supreme Court

68. Who was the President during the Civil War?
Abraham Lincoln

69. What did the Emancipation Declaration do?
Freed many slaves

70. What special group advises the President?
The Cabinet

71. Which President is called the "Father of our country"?
George Washington

72. What Immigration and Naturalization Service form is used to apply to become a naturalized citizen?
Form N-400, Application to File Petition for Naturalization

73. Who helped the Pilgrims in America?
The American-Indians (Native Americans)

74. What is the name of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America?
The Mayflower

75. What are the 13 original states of the U.S. called?
Colonies

76. Name 3 rights of freedom guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
The right of freedom of speech, press, religion, peaceable assembly, and requesting change of government.
The right to bear arms (the right to have weapons or own a gun, though subject to certain regulations).
The government may not quarter, or house, soldiers in the people's homes during peacetime without the people's consent.
The government may not search or take a person's property without a warrant.
A person may not be tried twice for the same crime and does not have to testify against him/herself.
A person charged with a crime still has some rights, such as the right to a trial and to have a lawyer.
The right to trial by jury in most cases.
Protects people against excessive or unreasonable fines or cruel and unusual punishment.
The people have rights other than those mentioned in the Constitution.
Any power not given to the federal government by the Constitution is a power of either the state or the people.

77. Who has the power to declare the war?
The Congress

78. What kind of government does the United States have?
Democracy

79. Which President freed the slaves?
Abraham Lincoln

80. In what year was the Constitution written?
1787

81. What are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution called?
The Bill of Rights

82. Name one purpose of the United Nations?
For countries to discuss and try to resolve world problems, to provide economic aid to many countries.

83. Where does Congress meet?
In the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

84. Whose rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
Everyone (citizens and non-citizens) living in U.S.

85. What is the introduction to the Constitution called?
The Preamble

86. Name one benefit of being citizen of the United States.
Obtain federal government jobs, travel with U.S. passport, petition for close relatives to come to the U.S. to live.

87. What is the most important right granted to U.S. citizens?
The right to vote

88. What is the United States Capitol?
The place where Congress meets

89. What is the White House?
The President's official home

90. Where is the White House located?
Washington, D.C. (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.)

91. What is the name of the President's official home?
The White House

92. Name the right guaranteed by the first amendment.
Freedom of: speech, press, religion, peaceable assembly, and requesting change of the government.

93. Who is the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military?
The President

94. Which President was the first Commander in Chief of the U.S. military?
George Washington

95. In what month do we vote for the President?
November

96. In what month is the new President inaugurated?
January

97. How many times may a Senator be re-elected?
There is no limit

98. How many times may a Congressman be re-elected?
There is no limit

99. What are the 2 major political parties in the U.S. today?
Democratic and Republican

100. How many states are there in the United States today?
Fifty (50)

On MySpace and FaceBook, Fake Profiles and Sex Sells

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/01/2006 02:41:00 AM
Meet Red Passion, a Fake Profiler on MySpace
Companies have turned to the popularity of online social networking sites to help market their campaigns.

Market and research developers have to come to the same conclusion time after time: sex sells. With that knowledge in mind, companies have begun to create fake profiles on social networking sites in order to promote their products.

It was brought to my attention by a fellow writer at my company that an Italian beverage company called Campari was utilizing social networking sites MySpace, Flickr, and YouTube in their campaign.


Red Passion is a glamorous girl living in Milan Italy. She is 28 years old.
Consumers are so visually driven that it comes as no surprise that Campari has created a fictitious MySpace profile for a woman called "Red Passion", who is based in Milan, Italy. In RedPassion's MySpace, she says,
What I adore... Strong and skillful people, tolerance and freedom, the ambiguous side of life, testing... in every sense, excitement and thrill, sharing, seeing and being seen. What I hate... Strictness, simple-minded people, stupidity and foolishness, fear and shame, prejudice, meanness... in every sense and, more than everything, the lack of imagination. This is me, female, from a place you’ll never know. Explore my world...
Both the Flickr and YouTube profiles are similarly constructed and glamorized by photos of Red Passion.

Red Passion is a beautiful, scantily clad woman who enjoys posting pictures of herself on the Internet, which has everything to do with Italian beverage companies. Wait, that has absolutely nothing to do with an Italian beverage company.

That does not seem to matter to consumers as company representatives report that the "Hotel Campari" website received 170, 000 views. In fact, 13.5% of the traffic to the beverage company's site was from social networking sites.

Campari is far from the only company using sex to generate publicity for their company. The Washington Post reported that music and movie downloading site Ruckus created a similar profile on Facebook.

Brody Ruckus, the fictitious character created by the company, created a fake profile on Facebook claiming that if 100, 000 became his friend on the site, his girlfriend would grant him a sexual wish. There was an overwhelming response to Brody's plight, as over 300, 000 responded.

Little did those 300, 000 people know that they were giving a company their email addresses, and would soon be added to countless spam mailing lists.

November 30, 2006

Take a Break

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/30/2006 03:42:00 PM
I'll be taking a break for Thanksgiving and so should you. In case you have a yearning for more venture capital wisdom with your turkey and stuffing, I have prepared a whole bunch of posts in advance for you to read during the holiday. Read one a day, to keep the doctor away - or the wife away. If you're still seeking more wisdom, play around with the ZoomCloud which will show you popular articles from the archives. Happy holidays!


Dave Morgan Says Ad Networks Are Back

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/30/2006 10:31:00 AM
Dave Morgan, the founder of Real Media and Tacoda, provides a brief history of the advertising network market and explains that ad networks are back due to a robust advertising market. I agree with Dave in that advertising networks are in a renaissance and there will be many more of them, but in my view, there is a big difference between quality and quantity. The big challenge for many ad networks is achieving economies of scale so that CPM rates and CPCs are competitive for publishers. That is not the case for many ad networks that offer backfill inventory to publishers. Many ad networks simply cannot offer the depth and breadth of advertisers like Google AdSense by Google Inc. (Nasdaq GOOG), Yahoo Publisher Network by Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq YHOO), and MSN Publisher by Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq MSFT). I believe many of the newer ad networks will have to come up with innovative technical solutions so that advertisers can reach targeted audiences and publishers can receive premium pricing for their inventory.

Ad Network Resurgence
By Dave Morgan

I'm asked a lot these days about why online ad networks are enjoying such resurgence. I have something of an experiential perspective, since my company's behavioral ad network is part of the resurgence--and because, back in 1995, I founded and ran Real Media, one of the Internet's first ad networks. First, some history.

In the very early days, there were only a few other ad networks, with names like Burst, Poppe.com (soon to become DoubleClick), Commonwealth, Petry Interactive and Katz Millennium (soon to be combined to form 24/7 Media), K2, and Softbank Interactive Marketing, which was really much more of a rep firm than a network. Softbank was the 800-pound gorilla since it represented Yahoo, among others. And then there were vertical site sellers like Wired Digital and Turner/CNN and portals like Excite.

By 1998, the role of ad networks had evolved. DoubleClick had begun to establish a strong value proposition among media buyers for integrated ad serving, sophisticated targeting, campaign distribution across a diverse pool of sites, and a simple, single point of purchase. As their public stock did better and better, the ad network marketplace grew extraordinary quickly with dozens of entrants, many with very specific foci. Engage was about targeting, Phase2Media about quality, B2B Works was about business-to-business. Networks hit their crescendo in 2000, and while they didn't control a huge amount of the ad revenue on the Internet, they did enjoy outsized visibility given the extraordinary amount of money that they spent on trade marketing--most at least a million dollars a month. Then, the bubble burst, ad revenues dried up, and the networks largely went away; except, of course, recent entrant Advertising.com, which was focused exclusively on performance-priced advertising and was zigging when everyone else was zagging and Burst, which stayed steady and true to its mission.

Now, after several years of an ad network landscape dominated largely by Ad.com, 24/7 Real Media and ValueClick and vertical plays like Jumpstart Automotive Media and the Travel Ad Network, we have scores of new ad networks on the scene. Why? Here are some of the reasons.

* Robust ad market. Clearly, the biggest reason that we have so many ad networks is that we have a robust online ad market, with more and more dollars looking for more and more opportunities. We didn't have that in 2002 and 2003. We do now.

* Mature E-commerce market. Tens of billions of dollars of stuff is bought online today, and e-commerce continues to grow at an extraordinary rate. Most businesses of any substance now have Web sites. This was not the case in the old days, when many advertisers had no sites and didn't even want to pay to create mini-sites for campaigns. In the very early days, there were ads that couldn't be clicked because there was no site to click through to. Today, all of these merchants and businesses now have someplace to go and something to sell or service online. They need customers, and many times want to pay only for actual leads. This is hard for vertical sites to do on their own, since most want to protect CPM-based rate cards, so ad networks that sell on a performance basis have been filling in this growing need.

* Need for scale. As the market grows and matures, so do the optimal size of campaigns. Advertisers need scale to justify the friction costs of creating, planning and placing online campaigns to keep them competitive with television and print programs. That requires scale--much more scale than all but a small handful of sites can deliver on their own.

* Better targeting and measurement. Much like DoubleClick did in the very early days, ad networks today are using their scale and focus to build and deploy targeting and measurement systems that exceed the capabilities of most of the off-the-shelf systems used by stand-alone sites. This also produces knowledge that can be applied to make subsequent campaigns all the more successful.

* Growth of remnant and "long tail" inventory. As more people come online and more of them upgrade to broadband, the total amount of online ad inventory continues to grow. However, much of this growth is in social networking, photo and video sharing, and user-generated content like blogging--little of which represents intuitive, valuable commercial context for most advertisers. Much of this inventory is either hard to aggregate, as it is spread across tens of thousands of small sites--or is hard to sell on anything but a performance-based or behavioral basis. Thus networks are needed to monetize it.

* Availability of venture capital. Venture capitalists are keenly aware that much of networked technology, applications and services are likely to be ad-supported in the future, from word processing to mobile phones to gaming to premium television. All of this "networked" advertising, which most expect to exceed a hundred billion dollars within seven years, will need companies to enable, sell and serve it. They are funding those companies now hoping to have pieces of the long-term winners.

Will this resurgence last? I think so. Many talk of a coming period of consolidation that will dramatically reduce the number of ad networks in the market. While that may happen at some point in the future, I don't see it happening for years. In fact, I think that we will see many more ad networks before we see fewer. They are filling important needs of advertisers, publishers and application providers that can't be served otherwise. They are not going away anytime soon.

Dave Morgan is Chairman of Tacoda.

Janitors Say "Goldman Sucks"

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/30/2006 01:43:00 AM
Goldman bankers can make 10 of millions of dollar per year, but apparently the janitors at Goldman Sachs are not sharing in the wealth. It's funny to hear the janitors at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE GS) are now screaming "Goldman Sucks."

Staff at investment bank Goldman Sachs, where some of London's highest paid bankers work, were trapped on Tuesday lunchtime inside their Fleet Street office by cleaners and union members protesting over low pay.

About 20 cleaners and Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) union members stormed the office building around lunchtime carrying placards reading "Goldman Sucks".

The protest is part of a long-running campaign for a pay rise for workers who clean offices across the City, the T&G said, adding that some earn as little as 5.35 pounds ($10.38) an hour and have to take on two or more jobs in order to survive.

The union wants a flat rate of 7.05 pounds.

November 29, 2006

Dell Gets a Second Life

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/29/2006 08:18:00 AM
Welcome to Dell Island where you can ... umm ... built your own PC online.
Brands are buying into Second Life. Dell Inc. (Nasdaq DELL) has built a Dell Factory.

In Dell Factory, a white, futuristic space, visitors can sit down at a large drafting table lit by a red desk lamp to customize their own computers. Located on Dell Island in Second Life, this somewhat sparse space is where the virtual and real worlds intersect thanks to a unique service: Each machine is delivered to a visitor's real home—reinforcing Dell's brand distinction of customized computers.

Dell hopes the factory can win over Second Life residents wary that corporate enthusiasm will result in a community dominated by advertising.


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE HOT) has built a virtual hotel.

Starwood set up its virtual Aloft in Second Life before it appeared in the real world so residents could give design suggestions. At least one avatar-generated idea is being used: the hotel will include local art in the bar area. "We got a pass because we're not pushing products," said Brian McGuinness, vp of Aloft Hotels.

November 28, 2006

Goldman Sachs Gives Lumps of Coal to London MDs

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/28/2006 10:24:00 AM
You can never underestimate the ability of financial types to ruin Christmas for their brother in arms. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE GS) gave a hearty lump of coal to Scott Kapnick who runs the global investment banking office in London. After 21 years at Goldman, it's game over. The bad news is that he's fired. The good news is that now he actually has time to spend all his money, so don't feel bad for him.

Why Yahoo! Inc Partnered with 176 Newspapers

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/28/2006 10:17:00 AM
Bill Wise, the CEO of Did-It, writes a great article about why Yahoo! Inc (Nasdaq YHOO) partnered with 176 newspapers on local job search. Read the highlighted section below for the highlights.

NOVEMBER '06 WILL GO DOWN as the month the search giants got serious about newspaper plays. Google has unveiled plans to enter ad management for newspaper classifieds across 50 papers; last week, Yahoo countered by entering strategic partnerships--starting with collaboration on job classifieds, but set to expand into Yahoo help with newspapers' maps and search presences--for 176 newspapers' online divisions.

When you think about it, the Yahoo move seems surprising. Newspaper moves make sense for Google, which has long expressed plans for expanding into traditional media; and which, besides, goes for over $500 a share and has money to burn on new initiatives. But Yahoo's poor Q3 performance, probable eminent downsizing, and "Peanut Butter Manifesto" that looks to streamline Yahoo's activities, rather than expand them, makes a sudden shift into newspapers seems odd. It's especially odd in light of the tough times that newspapers currently face, making Yahoo's move into newspapers a change of course right into an ailing industry.

So my question for this week is: What does a troubled Yahoo see in a beleaguered newspaper business? The answer to that question, of course, lies in local advertising.

It's not surprising that Yahoo would feel itself lagging in local. From its roots, Yahoo has been a leader in the general online world, from search to e-mail to online content. But leadership in general online services is very different from leadership in the local markets. Consider search: while Google nearly doubles Yahoo's share of overall search (Google has roughly 50% of all searches, to Yahoo's 25%), Google leads Yahoo by only a slim lead in share of local searches (according to an e-Marketer study from earlier this year, Google holds about 29.8% of all local searches to Yahoo's 29.2%).

That general search/local search split makes a good deal of sense, as broader channels operate in nearly opposite ways from local media. Most of the Internet--including search--is used to bring a wide, unknown world a little bit closer to you. That includes finding the Web site you don't know about through search; it also includes letting you e-mail a friend you can't speak to because you're not in front of her. Services for the general Web focus on building better, smarter communication pathways to make a big world smaller.

Local advertising is something entirely different. Local channels focus on enhancing audiences' participation in a corner of the world that's already, quite literally, very close to home. Local media isn't about making a big world small; it's about entrenching people's relationships with a world that already is very small. And so while winning in most Internet services relies on excelling at bridge-building across different locations and types of information, winning in local channels relies on becoming an extension of your particular locale. Google's a powerhouse in global information-bridging, allowing it to take the lead in general search; but it's Yahoo, which offers rich local information on its portal, that becomes a portion of users' local experience, thereby reaping the rewards in share of online searches.

Yahoo understands this. And it also seems to understand that, at the end of the day, it's newspapers that have the infrastructure to make themselves a part of the local scene in a way that globally-focused online players--including Yahoo itself--simply can't. Newspapers have what Dean Singleton, CEO of MediaNews Group (which is partnering with Yahoo), refers to as "a huge sales force involving thousands of sales professionals"; they also have lots of local reporters creating enormous amounts of online locally-focused content. By tapping into those thousands of ad salespeople, Yahoo is able to capture local advertising markets it's not built to capture on its own; meanwhile, by helping with the search presence of newspapers' online content, it's able to enhance the local results on Yahoo search (where that local content is now more likely to appear), without needing to create its own small army of local beat reporters.

In other words, Yahoo understands that it's got two choices for expanding its local reach. It can either deliver more of its own local offerings--which will mean defying the Peanut Butter Manifesto by building a workforce to create more local content--or it can outsource its local workforce to the local experts (the newspapers), while doing what it does best as a global online service: serving as the network that takes information from the world's many locations, and delivers that information to its users. By opting for the second choice, Yahoo's managing to expand its local reach, while working less. Which is why Yahoo's move into newspapers may look like it's taking on more; but it's actually a way to become more efficient by honing in on its core competencies. Far from being a dangerous expansion, that's smart business.

Holiday Shoppers Will Spend $25 billion in Gift Cards

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/28/2006 10:08:00 AM
The fourth annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Gift Card Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that gift card sales will total $24.81 billion this holiday season, an impressive $6 billion increase over 2005. Furthermore, the average consumer will spend more on gift cards than they did last year ($116.51 vs. $88.03 in 2005). That is 30% more than last year.

"The popularity of gift cards has increased at a remarkable rate," said Tracy Mullin, NRF President and CEO. "Consumers love gift cards because they take the guessing out of holiday shopping and retailers love them because they are easy to stock and take up minimum shelf space."

According to the survey, more than two-thirds (79.7%) of consumers polled said that they plan on purchasing at least one gift card this holiday season and more than half (52.8%) said they would like to receive a gift card this year.

Phil Rist, Vice President of Strategy for BIGresearch, noted that "Gift cards have taken a lot of the stress out of holiday shopping, making them a favorite among people of all ages. Whether they are a stand-alone gift or an addition to a gift basket, gift cards please even the most fickle people on holiday shopping lists."

Most of today's gift cards differ from traditional gift certificates because they are "stored value" cards. When a consumer spends $25 from a $50 gift card, the card automatically updates the balance. This is more efficient than the retailer reissuing another gift certificate to the consumer for the balance.

Many states have laws which allow the state to collect "abandoned property," which means that if personal property goes unclaimed for a certain period of time, the state has the right to take it into the state treasury. Like bank accounts and other personal property, gift cards that go unused or unredeemed for more that a few years are often treated as "abandoned" property by states. Where these laws apply, sometimes in as little as 2-3 years, retailers are required to turn over unused gift card dollars to state governments under the guise of returning the "abandoned" money to the gift card purchaser. In fact, states make millions of dollars a year from these clauses. Consumers are encouraged to spend their gift cards within the first year of purchase so that they, not the state where the gift card holder lives, receives the full value.

Retailers do not count a gift card as a sale when it is purchased-instead, they wait until the gift card is redeemed and merchandise is exchanged. As a result, some of the $24.81 billion spent on gift cards this holiday may not show up in "holiday" sales, but instead as sales in January or February, when the gift card is redeemed.

NRF continues to forecast that holiday sales will increase 5.0 percent this year to $457.4 billion.

Is James Bond Entering Mid Life Crisis? Happy Feet Beats Casino Royale

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/28/2006 07:04:00 AM
'Casino Royale' spied the No. 2 spot with $40.6 million, the second-best opening ever for a 007 pic. A cadre of singing and dancing penguins beat out the monkey-suited international superspy James Bond at the B.O. this weekend, as Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow's CG-animated "Happy Feet" skipped to No. 1 with $42.3 million thanks to a particularly strong Saturday run.

Bond's No. 2 finish in Sony/MGM's "Casino Royale" with $40.6 million -- the second-best opening ever for a 007 pic -- helped spur a particularly strong pre-Thanksgiving sesh as the holiday season took flight.

As of Friday night, Bond looked to be in the driver's seat, with numbers approaching $16 million as core fans rushed to theaters. But "Feet" gained solid ground during matinee runs on Saturday. Come Sunday morning, the race looked almost too close to call, and some experts had the two pics separated by as little as $200,000 until Warners and Sony came out with estimates.

Chinese Millionaires Seek Wives on Love Boat

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/28/2006 12:59:00 AM
The new way of finding love in China is to find it on a "Love Boat." Fifty Chinese millionaires boarded a "Love Boat" in Shanghai to find themselves a wife, after selecting 3 potential "targets" from a book of choices.

"Love Boat" required the men who signed up for the cruise to be worth two million yuan - about 140,000 pounds. Most had 10 times that, putting them easily among China's half a million estimated dollar millionaires. Women had to be both exceptionally pretty and educated to degree level.

Most of the millionaires doing the choosing were men, but some were women. "I am already a member, and have found a 'target'," said Miss Lu, who owns a manufacturing business and arrived early in a white BMW. "But here I have one more chance to look at the field."

November 27, 2006

Biggest LBO Ever - BlackStone Pays $36 Billion for Equity Office Properties

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/27/2006 06:58:00 AM
Blackstone's agreement to buy real estate investment firm Equity Office Properties Trust (NYSE EOP) for $36 billion will likely be the largest leveraged buyout in history. This one bests the $33 billion deal for H.C.A. Equity Office that was created by Sam Zell and had hit some speed bumps recently. Blackstone was hungry for more real estate and the fit was right. Now if buyout firms start going after REITs, that could well be the answer to those who have been wondering about the next font of business. Jonathan Gray and Chad Pike, Blackstone's real estate chiefs, have made the buyout firm the largest owner of domestic real estate.

Barrons Weekend Headline Summary - November 27, 2006

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/27/2006 01:50:00 AM
Philanthropy is cool again now that people are rich with stock market gains.


COVER STORY
What We Get From Giving
The "me factor" takes center stage among modern-day philanthropists.

_____________________________________________________________________
BARRON'S FEATURE
He Likes Surprises
Schwab's Greg Forsythe has a stock-picking model that rarely fails.

_____________________________________________________________________
BARRON'S FEATURE
The Next Big Deal
Nike, Micron and Hess -- and other potential leveraged-buyout targets.

_____________________________________________________________________
BARRON'S INTERVIEW
Splendid Middle Man
Focused on mid-cap growth, Will Chester's fund has generated a 17%
annualized return over the past three years.

_____________________________________________________________________
UP & DOWN WALL STREET
Who Dun It?
The O.J. Story. Whatever happened to Goldilocks? Why the greenback's
taking gas and what it means.

_____________________________________________________________________
THE TRADER
Buyout Fever
Takeover talk lifts shares. And, Google at 500! Look out!

_____________________________________________________________________
INTERNATIONAL TRADER - EUROPE
Not Cleared for Takeoff
Air France-KLM needs Alitalia like a pilot needs fog. Why a deal is
unlikely.

_____________________________________________________________________

Finding the Razor's Edge
A SPECIAL QUARTERLY REPORT: Three hedge-fund bigwigs discuss the
industry and its trends.

Top Hedge Fund Trader Anand Parekh Leaves Citadel

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/27/2006 01:07:00 AM
Bad performance may have stormed the Citadel, that is Citadel Investments. Anand Parekh, head of global stocks at Citadel, left the Chicago-based hedge fund giant last week. The timing is particularly noteworthy since it comes right around the holiday when big bonuses are typically paid at hedge funds - at least to those who have generated good performance.

According to The New York Times, Parekh departed Citadel on Friday. He had been seen as a possible successor to firm founder Kenneth Griffin.

James Yeh, head of global markets and quantitative strategy, is now involved with the firm's equities business. Citadel's equities division has had a positive year so far, but has not performed as well as it has in past years.

Parekh had previously been the head of Deutsche Bank's North American structuring group. He joined Citadel in 2003.

Citadel has about $12 billion in assets under management. Last week, rumors circulated the firm was taking big losses from its energy trades, but Citadel has denied whispers of a blowup and says it is performing well.

Online Search Drives Offline Purchases

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/27/2006 12:56:00 AM
A recently released study by ROIResearch quantifies the impact online Search has on offline purchase behavior in traditional retail outlets. In this particular study, among general consumers, Search accounts for 49% of online purchases and 42% of retail purchases. A new study says that for every dollar spent online, searchers spend $2.56 offline.

Methodology

* Sampling distinct groups of customers and prospects who have made Search-influenced category purchases both online and off
* Collect offline purchase data related to online search activity, at a product and category level
* By probing the level of influence of Search in each product category, calibrate the dollar impact on an individual respondent level and extrapolate dollar amounts back out to the category at large
* Taken together, these metrics can connect offline behavior with online search activity, and calculate a potential dollar influence Search can have on each category.
* Historical purchase data appended from customer transaction database gave additional insight into self-reported versus actual purchase data collected in the survey to extrapolate results to the customer universe at large.

Findings

* In category studied, for every $1 dollar spent online the average search-user spends $2.56 offline. The Search has the ability to influence an incremental 3 times the dollar value of e-commerce transactions by reaching consumers who shop in traditional channels. The factor was even higher for existing client customers, says the report, with a ratio of 3.37x spent offline vs. online.
* In the study, those who search up to 10 times annually spend an average of $1,789 online while those who searched 31+ times spent an average of $2,943 online. Similarly in off-line transactions, those who search 10 or fewer times spend an average of $2,219 through retail locations, while those who search 31+ times spend an average of $3,839.
* Search influences 20-30% of purchases made at retail locations, concludes the report.

By indexing the influence on purchase of Search, the survey quantifies the amount of money spent as a result of Search. For the client's Online Purchasers, 48% of money spent online and 34% of money spent at retail locations can be attributed to Search. Among general consumers, Search accounts for 49% of online purchases and 42% of retail purchases.

November 26, 2006

Tom Brown Says No to Bank of America US Trust Deal

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/26/2006 03:35:00 PM
Tom Brown from bankstocks.com has a very amusing take on the logic or lack thereof of the Bank of America Corporation (NYSE BAC) / US Trust Deal. Bank of America is buying US Trust from The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE SCHW) which Schwab itself bought in 2000. Tom calls it an albatross.

Taiwan President's Son Draws Fire for $7500 Apartment Allowance

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/26/2006 07:52:00 AM
The son of Taiwan's President and his wife.

It's not easy being the son of President Chen Shui Ben of Taiwan, especially when the gap between rich and poor is widening. The beleaguered President's son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) has apparently been loitering in New York with his wife living in a posh $7500 per month apartment. That is equivalent of $250,000 NT or Taiwan dollars. In a country where per capita income is $27,600 or the equivalent of $900,000 NT, the press is having a field day.

The couple is apparently living at a 83rd Street apartment where a two bedroom unit goes for $7500 per month. The outrageous rent is causing pundits to speculate the President is laundering money with reports that he owns a $3 million real estate property in Palos Verdes.

The brouhaha is spilling over into fears that the the President's son and his wife will be having their baby in America. Residents of Taiwan are not taking it lightly and don't want to see the President of Taiwan end up with an American born baby.

Sometimes, politics is more exciting than fiction!