Online music may be the future, but the latest batch of earnings from two key Internet music players won't have investors dancing. CDNow missed bottom line expectations and Liquid Audio missed top line expectations. Granted, the online music industry is young, but the results from veteran CDNow and upstart Liquid Audio show the sector may be too undeveloped for many investors. We'll start with CDNow. The company missed First Call estimates in its fourth quarter with an operating loss of 85 cents a share on sales of $53.1 million. First Call estimates called for a loss of 80 cents a share based on a poll of two analysts. Sales were up 154 percent from a year ago, but it doesn't really matter because the music e-tailer will always be compared to Amazon.com. And Amazon reported music sales of $78m (£48m) on Wednesday. Music e-tailing is a two-horse race between Amazon and CDNow and Amazon has all the mindshare on Wall Street. The other real sticking point in the CDNow story is … [Read more...] about The Day Ahead: Online music earnings nothing to dance about
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Opinion: Even Tim Berners-Lee is worried As the web matures, it is becoming less and less trusted as a source of information, says Simon Moores. Is this the direction we want it to go? A week ago Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world wide web, told The Guardian newspaper that the internet could be corrupted by unseemly elements. He said: "There is a great danger that it becomes a place where untruths start to spread more than truths, or it becomes a place which becomes increasingly unfair in some way." Pointing to the appearance of a growing trust deficit in the online medium, Berners-Lee expressed worry about the growth of blogs because of the danger they present for containing inaccurate information. I bet many of us would agree with him and perhaps Berners-Lee has unwittingly 'done a Jack Straw' by challenging the comfortable assumption that the web is moving in a positive rather than a negative direction. The internet appears to be racing in a direction that is … [Read more...] about Can you trust what you read online?
United Online has one helluva Internet portfolio: Classmates.com, MyPoints, NetZero, Juno and now FTD, a florist. If you're looking for synergy you won't find it here. The company announced Wednesday that it will acquire FTD for $800 million (Techmeme). The moving parts involved in that sum are a bit complicated, but here's United Online's explanation of the terms: Under the terms of the merger agreement, FTD stockholders will receive $7.34 in cash, 0.4087 of a share of United Online common stock ("United Online Stock") and $3.31 principal amount of United Online 13% senior secured notes due 2013 (the "Notes") for each share of FTD common stock in the merger, for a total value of $15.08 per share of FTD common stock based on United Online's closing stock price of $10.83 on April 29, 2008. The total consideration to FTD stockholders will be approximately $456 million, consisting of $222 million in cash, 12.35 million shares of United Online Stock and $100 million aggregate principal … [Read more...] about Bizarre merger of the day: United Online buys FTD Group
Indonesia's music industry is facing up to a daily loss of 16 billion rupiah (US$1.65 million) a day due to illegal online downloads, and the country's complex patent registration system is not helping the situation. Citing figures from the Indonesian Record Industry Association (AIRI), The Jakarta Post reported last Saturday that rampant online piracy has undermined the local music industry. No less than 6 million people each day would illegally consume music content and this has resulted in sharp decline in the sale of music CDs, with only 11 million copies sold in 2012 compared with the annual average of 90 million copies several years back, it noted. Euis Saedah, director general of small and medium-sized enterprises at the Industry Ministry of Indonesia, said while the government's anti-piracy campaigns were launched 13 years ago, people's awareness of intellectual property rights (IPR) remained low. The situation is not helped by a complex IPR system for which local artistes … [Read more...] about Indonesia’s music industry loses $1.65M a day from online piracy
Eyeo, the German firm infuriating publishers with its hugely popular Adblock Plus tool, will try to win over those same publishers with today's relaunch of Flattr, the micropayments service it acquired earlier this year. Flattr was founded in 2010 by Peter Sunde, who also co-founded The Pirate Bay, and Linus Olsson. Sunde is no longer involved in any formal way, focusing instead on his activist-oriented anonymous domain registration service Njalla, but Olsson is still on board. Flattr is designed to give people a way to easily reward creators for their work. For creators, it's supposed to provide an alternative to the ubiquitous ad-funded business model. Users put in a certain amount of money each month, which is then divided between the creators they choose to tip. Until now, the system's functionality has required creators to put a small Flattr button on their website. When someone wants to tip them, they click the button. However, Flattr is now a browser extension that … [Read more...] about Adblock Plus’ Eyeo: Use Flattr to pay tiny sums for what you read online
A friend of mine scoffed last week when I noted that I actually budget reading time into my workday. He started with the tried and true “Must be nice to be self-employed.”I explained that, as a professional writer, reading is just as important as sitting at the keyboard. It provides the raw materials that my brain turns into finished works.“But why do you have to schedule reading time? You spend 8 hours a day at a computer, like the rest of us. Most of that is reading.”We then got into a discussion on whether humans read more now than they did 50 years ago, before the majority of us were stuck in front of a screen all day.I don’t think that anyone can doubt that as a society we read more now than we have at any time in our history, on a per-word basis. Half the people of the civilized world have what amounts to the world’s grandest library in their pocket.Of course, it’s not just a library.Estimate how many words you read per day on Twitter … [Read more...] about Is reading dying or flourishing in the Internet age?
Mother’s Day will soon be upon us, and now is the time to start thinking about getting something special for mom. Thankfully, the internet has allowed a number of creative businesses to share and deliver their own gifts, from flower bouquets to unique chocolate and fruit arrangements, directly to your doorstep.If you cannot be with your mom this Mother’s Day but you want to make sure she still gets something nice, or if you are looking for that special gift for her but cannot find anything in your local shops, then consider an online gift delivery service. We’ve rounded up a few that let you choose from a wide variety of flowers, gift baskets, and tasty snacks from makers like Godiva and Benchmark Bouquets to show some love to mom on her special day.Benchmark BouquetsYou would be hard-pressed to find a mom who does not appreciate flowers and Benchmark Bouquets teamed up with Amazon to bring their beautiful arrangements to you. These bouquets come in a wide … [Read more...] about Send mom something special this Mother’s Day with online gift delivery
Sometimes, it's better to listen than to read. When you walk, bike, or drive, for example, it's safer to keep your eyes focused on the world around you. Text-to-speech (TTS) offers an alternative to listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks. TTS can be a great way to catch up on articles you intend to read. For example, Mozilla's read later service, Pocket, includes the ability to listen to articles. TTS solves a slightly different problem than the assistive voice capabilities available for the major platforms, such as Android TalkBack, iOS VoiceOver, Chromevox, Windows Narrator, and Mac VoiceOver. These tools typically read everything on a page—content plus navigation. The following four TTS apps specialize in reading articles and documents you choose. While all of these apps provide text-to-speech capabilities, each app serves a slightly different set of needs. Some apps show the text as it is spoken, while others offer a variety of voices. All of these apps work … [Read more...] about 4 text-to-speech apps that will read online articles to you
Online retailers are benefiting from millennials in a big way. New research has found that 45 percent of millennials say they spend an hour or more each day shopping online. All that time spent online highlights a significant shift in the way people shop, a new eMarketer report found. The biggest discrepancy occurs among consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 versus those age 35 and older. Thirty-seven percent of millennials say they would ideally buy everything online, while 28 percent of consumers between the ages of 35 and 64 share that view. Millennials are also more likely than older counterparts to use retail store apps, shopping apps and auction sites. Younger consumers have good reason for their online shopping habits. The researchers found that millennials have turned to online shopping in large part thanks to discounts offered online. More than half of millennial women and 44 percent of millennial men connected with brands on Facebook and Twitter to receive discounts … [Read more...] about Millennials Spend an Hour a Day Shopping Online