30 June, 2006

Ramparts have been breached - the end of 3's 'walled garden'



At LONG last, 3 opens up its network to non-3 authorised sites for its mobile users. The deal between Yahoo & 3 allows 3's customers to browse wherever they wish, not the totally restricted on-portal sites specified by 3.

According to this CNET report, no launch date has been specified, but it's supposed be across 3's international operation. Pricing hasn't been determined either.

Will this precipitate a GPRS / 3G per megabyte price war? Boy, I hope so, but I suspect that we might have to wait until early 2007 for that.....

Marc Canter pulls off the covers of PeopleAggregator



I got an invitation to PeopleAggregator late on Monday evening. The site was so skeleton that I had no idea of its purpose, even though I had worked out that it had come from Marc.

They offically launch today at Gnomedex, but what is it?
  • An Identity Hub: the user will control who has access to their personal data, who can use it and how.
  • The ability to move data around between different platforms (hmm, I don't have this one as a massive upside)
  • A set of common actions which will interconnect social networks and personal publishing systems – together. (Uniformity - I like, but this will be technically tough to do and, of course, will only be able to employ the lowest common denominator approach)
Here's a good history + critique + links to more about it of PeopleAggregator from SiliconBeat. I haven't explored it - not even watched the demo vid yet.

Anyway, CONGRATS, Mark - I know you have been banging on about it for ages - so great to see it out there.

22 June, 2006

Mobile Networks sensitive to VoIP traffic - whatever next!


T-mobile UK apparently its 3G datacard customers from using VoIP apps (& IM apps - which I find plain bizarre), according to cnet article.


"Vodafone does not operate a policy of blocking VoIP on its network, and we have no plans to restrict IM services," said the company spokesman.

Does that mean they aren't able to or strategically see no need - only time will tell!

Mobile Operators' brands are being watered down

Tom Weiss, in the The Decline of the Operator?, suggests that the mobile brand pecking order will change to:
  • Distributor/MVNO
  • Handset manufacturers
  • Network Operator
He's right .... for now.

In the future, I'd like to think that they'll be a Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) play that pops out: most probably it will be a quadruple play that will be fresh and new that attracts the consumers' attention.

Following that, I see 'communication' brands coming in to segment the market eg Disney for Kids, Saga for Retirees, Financial Times for Business etc

15 June, 2006

Community Site Gold Rush is transitory

Rafe Needleman comments in this interesting Release 1.0 article about why social software sites are 'misguided' - he really means transitory. As he says, "the more powerful a community site, the easier it is for the alpha users on it to get people to switch over to another site".

Churning to a site usually makes churning away just as easy. Admittedly, "The biggest community sites are populated by young people, an audience that is constantly renewing itself", so fashion moves on, so does the clientelle: Friendster to Facebook to MySpace to ???.

In conclusion, segment and don't be all things to many people as possible - do one thing well and hope that you can become recognised for sticking to the knitting.

14 June, 2006

Send money via Skype

+
According to those at the ebay conference, then you'll be able to send money via Skype (in conjunction with Paypal).

The article indicates that this feature is in the new Skype Version 2.5 - just out of beta - but not in my version.

08 June, 2006

Soonr (mobile to PC company) raises $4m



Soonr, which allows you to access the functionality on your PC from your mobile (see previous post) has just raised a first round of $4million from Clearstone Venture Partners.

They can raise another $2million as part of this round, but have decided against maxing out, according to Silicon Beat. I always say take all the money that you're offered - you never know when you'll need it.

06 June, 2006

Update on Bebo.com

  • Bebo has just raised $15m from Benchmark Capital (see article)
  • It has 24 million registered members with 2.5 billion monthly page views - pretty good when it was 'officially' launched in July 2005 (but I first noticed it in Feb '05).
  • It has outstripped MySpace in the UK & Ireland.
  • Picked up a Webby Award for best Social Networking website too (see their blog).
Note this very interesting point also:
Bebo is showing strong growth, and it stems in part from having the same "limiting" features as Facebook, Birch says. Bebo wants to encourage its users to engage with their real-life community, so is shying away from a completely "open" model like MySpace, where people create Web pages independent of a community. While Bebo allows such open behavior, it is doing everything it can to encourage people to network with others they are really associated with, whether high schools friends or other. It is getting 100 million page views per day, up 30 percent in just two months.
See quote from SiliconBeat.