Freemium : Most Popular Premium Services On Free Websites

The Freemium business model has been one of the popular ways to make money from websites. Offering the basic service for free brings loads of new users to the site and providing premium services to members who pay helps in making money off these users. So, what are the most popular premium services on Freemium websites? A recent study ranked the services in the following order

1. Contact members
2. Access to experts
3. Storage
4. Ad-free browsing
5. Custom domain
6. Enhanced gameplay
7. Enhanced support
8. Member visibility
9. Networking
10. Private groups
11. Custom platforms
12. Enhanced profiles
13. Premium articles
14. Custom templates
15. Private messages

Nexus One vs. iPhone vs. Droid vs. myTouch : First Week Sales

Much like the box office, the number of handsets sold in the first week of launch of the handsets very well give us a picture of things to come. Flurry, the popular mobile app analytics company has just released its first week sale figures for Nexus One. How do they compare with the first week numbers for the other major smartphones? Here are the numbers

Nexus One : 20,000
Droid : 250,000
myTouch : 60,000
iPhone 3GS : 1.6 million (launched in 8 countries)

The numbers for Nexus One seem pretty low, but considering that a lot many Android fans would have just gone in for the Droid two months back and also that this is an online-only distribution system, Google might have expected the lower numbers.

Consumer Willingness To Pay For Online Content

Ever since Rupert Murdoch stirred up the debate on letting people pay to access his company’s online content, people have been discussing the viability of such a model. Are people ready to pay to access online content? Apparently yes; but here’s a caveat : People are more willing to access content created by professionals, than commoners.

Here are the results of an extensive study conducted by Nielsen over whether people have purchased or willing purchase any of the following content online. The percentage of users who answered in the affirmative is offered alongside

Music : 57%
Theatrical movies : 57%
Games : 51%
Professionally produced videos (and TV shows) : 50%
Magazines : 49%
Newspapers : 42%
Internet only news sources : 36%
Radio (Music) : 32%
Podcasts : 28%
Social communities : 28%
Radio (News talk) : 26%
Consumer generated video : 24%
Blogs : 20%

Cloud Computing Growth Forecast

Cloud computing is being touted as the future of the web. Everything from your Word documents to pictures, music has been moving to the cloud. In Google Apps, the company has a strong competing product to Microsoft Office. So, how big is all of this going to be. Here are some statistics from a Gartner study

Value of Cloud computing services through the years
2008 : $46.41 billion
2009 : $56.30 billion
2013 : $150.1 billion (projected)

Newspaper Online Revenues

Things are not looking great for the newspaper industry. Revenues have been falling both online and in print and looks like News Corp was right in taking a stand on charging for content. Here is how the online revenues have fared

Online revenues in Q3 2008 : $750 million
Online revenues in Q3 2009 : $623 million ( 17% fall)

This is the sixth consecutive quarter when the online revenues have fallen in YoY comparison.

Subscriber Readiness To Pay For Online News Content

If your favorite news website (if it were not WSJ) decides to charge money in turn for your access to their news, will you continue to stick to the same website? Rupert Murdoch thinks so. Others don’t. Here are the results from a recent survey:

Pay to continue reading : 5%
Use its free headlines only : 8%
Find another free website : 74%
Not sure : 12%

Even I am wondering what the remaining 1% think.

What does the $936 million loss means for eBay?

This is only the second time eBay is posting a loss. But the loss has been huge this quarter: $936 million. The loss is seen as a hangover of eBay’s purchase of Skype way back in 2005. Back then, eBay had purchased Skype for $2.6 billion and promised to pay over $1.7 billion in incentive payments. But not having gained the necessary mileage out of the purchase, eBay decided to write down the value of the deal by around $900 million as well as had to appease the shareholders with over $530 million for having pulling off the incentive payments.

This has resulted in the $936 million loss. But does this mean eBay has been losing steam? We will have to see this from the perspective of what eBay sees itself in a few years; their strategy for growth. I see eBay having a firm foothold for itself in the future with investing in two areas that are defining the present as well as the future: (1) Social networking and (2) Mobile phone technology

Social Networking

When eBay announced the launch of its social network ‘neighborhoods‘, many were quick to criticize that eBay is trying to be a me-too in the social networking space and that it was too late a launch. On the contrary, I see it as a perfect time for eBay to go social. The reason is that eBay could not have launched social networking any earlier. Prior to 2005, social networking had not taken roots, and going social was not the perfect strategy. When your audience do not understand social networking, you better not teach them. Let it to those who have social networking as a core competency. Going social back then would mean that eBay would have had to dilute their competency and strategy in being an auction-site. Since 2005, eBay has tried to diversify into other technologies and Skype has been a nice acquisition. As I would mention in the next section, eBay has a lot to get back from its Skype acquisition. So, during this time period, eBay has done well to concentrate on consolidating these two businesses. Post-2007, Social networking shall be too old a concept and with Facebook scaring even Google to an extent, eBay would do well to launch their own social network well before Facebook get their users to perform auctions as well.

Social networking provides a perfect platform for EBay users to form their communities. No doubt it was an essential platform from the day eBay got operational. But keeping in mind the reasons stated above, it looks like a great addition for the future growth of eBay.

Mobile Phone Technology

I have been a fan of all these companies who have taken to the mobile phones for the future growth. I find this as the segment as one that defines the future. The future of internet is outside US and in Asian economies, and here it’s the mobile phones that rule. With increasing mobility, calling your kin overseas is proving to be costly, and the Skype mobile phones could be making a mark here. Skype mobile phones shall help you make ‘free’ Skype calls charged on normal SkypeOut charges. Skype may not be a popular service as yet in many of these countries. But the company is making a right move by targeting customers in Europe, Asia and Australia with this service. With Apple and possibly Google entering mobile phone space, it is inevitable for eBay not to venture into this space as it has been at the forefront of internet based voice communications with Skype.

Nothing is certain about whether Skype shall prove successful in pushing sales of their mobile phones. But with the present scheme of things, that certainly looks to be one of the most strategic steps that shall drive its future growth.

Is Web 3.0 Web-mobile?

Sometime back, I had written about how Google and Nokia are trying to penetrate the mobile web market. Back then, I had speculated that Google was trying to bring a SmartAds type technology into the mobile space. Nokia too had acquired Twango which gave enough indications of its willingness to enter the mobile web market.

In all this discussion, Yahoo had conspicuously been left out. But after Yahoo’s recent announcement to integrate Yahoo answers with oneSearch, I thought it fit to discuss how Yahoo is gearing up to take on Google and others in the newer platform. In fact, Yahoo looks more than capable to deal with competition.

oneSearch – Google for Mobile
Yahoo has realized the value of product branding, which surprisingly Google did not or perhaps did not care about. One reason why Google is building an empire at a rate which few other companies can only dream of is because people use Google for search. Think search and you think of Google. The brand name of Google for internet search has so well captivated the audiences and Yahoo has probably realized this well enough, and it has made perfect amends with branding its mobile web search with a unique name ‘oneSearch’. With proper marketing, oneSearch can be to mobile web search what Google is to Internet search.

Perfect portfolio of products
Yahoo being a portal of microsites has definitely helped them in providing an array of services to the mobile customer. Also, the Yahoo microsites deal with information that a mobile-internet user is more likely to be interested in. Images (not Videos from Youtube), sports, finance, email, etc. The services offered by Google pale in comparison to what Yahoo has to offer.

As perceived, Yahoo has still not lost it all to Google. The mobile web space is the next in-thing where the competition shall heat up. The past few months have seen innumerable definitions being crafted for ‘Web 3.0’. In my opinion, internet for mobiles is definitely the future battleground that will decide the turnover of the internet giants. Add Nokia as a new competitor to deal with, and web 3.0 is already looking all spiced up and the battle ready to start.