Archive for September, 2007

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Former Apple Marketing Executive Steve Chazin has released an ebook called Marketing Apple, which concisely describes how companies can market the way Apple does.


The ebook covers five secrets to Apple’s success, spanning the company’s ability to harvest an in-crowd (“the iPod generation”); early adopters, such as iPhone users; and fringe users who do not want to be associated with either group but consume Apple products anyway.


Marketing Apple is available as a free download (pdf).


Chazin currently works with Tubes Now, a file-syncing application that was released in mid-August.



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Google (GOOG) has begun making VC-style investments to the tune of about $500,000 or less in promising startups, often buying those companies afterward, according to partners at Silicon Valley VC firms who spoke on condition of anonymity. In an effort to keep spotting promising deals, Google has been hiring a stable of finance pros. And it has invested more than $1 million in a Mumbai-based investment firm called Seedfund to gain access to technology such as automatic translation software that could help spur growth in India.


Beating VCs to the Punch

By staking startups, Google hopes to avoid paying the higher prices companies can fetch once they take funding from traditional VCs. It’s possible that some of its investments are conditioned on Google having first-acquisition rights should a target opt to sell, some VCs speculate. Google didn’t respond to calls requesting comment. Making investments in startups also can help Google use more of its $4.5 billion in cash to cultivate tools that complement existing products. Google recently started a program called Gadget Ventures to fund entrepreneurs who build online tools using Google’s technology.



VCs Seek Alternative Sources

The incursions don’t sit well with many VCs. Combined with the predilection on the part of many entrepreneurs to fund their own ventures, investments by Google and other corporations leave even fewer opportunities for VCs to take big, early stakes. That’s especially problematic when venture firms have raised record amounts of cash and need to find places to invest it (see BusinessWeek.com, 2/5/07, “Venture Capital’s Growing Aspirations”).


Thanks Allen for sharing the good link.


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vkontact-logo.pngInternational ripoffs of successful web companies can be found everywhere, from Frazr, the German Twitter clone, to Digg Malaysia, the Malaysian clone of the news-ranking site Digg.

Not to be outdone, the Russian social network Vkontakte (or “virtual contact”) has copied Facebook’s look and feel almost exactly — not to mention its growth rate. See Alexa graph and screenshot gallery, below.

Copying Facebook has already turned out to be lucrative in other countries.

In Germany, Facebook clone StudiVZ was bought by a German publishing company for around $100 million; in China, Facebook clone Xiaonei was reportedly bought by a larger Chinese internet company for an undisclosed amount.

Vkontakte’s increasing Alexa rank:


Vkontakte’s brilliant design:


FaceBook Copycats Flooding | Read more @ Venture Beat

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Google just published a new patent application that takes payments much further than the world of online ecommerce. Screen shots from the filing show the name Gpay attached to this system, a name that Eric Schmidt had been using to refer to a payment system during the March Analyst day in 2006.

Google’s CEO insisted that Gpay was “not made to compete with PayPal or to replace existing peer to peer payment systems but that it’s meant to be a new solution to a new problem.”

A Gpay Payment Screen

If this new patent application is any indication of what problem Gpay was intended to solve, it is a much broader payment method than Paypal. The patent is detailed in:

Text message payment
Invented by Ramy Dodin
US Patent Application 20070203836
Published August 30, 2007
Filed: February 28, 2006


A computer-implemented method of effectuating an electronic on-line payment includes receiving at a computer server system a text message from a payer containing a payment request representing a payment amount sent by a payer device operating independently of the computer server system, determining a payment amount associated with the text message and debiting a payer account for an amount corresponding to the amount of the payment request, and crediting an account of a payee that is independent of the computer server system.

The description in the patent provides a look at four different examples of payments that could be made using this system. Interestingly, none of them are online transactions, but rather involve the use of text messages for the purchase of goods or services with a payment made by the person making a purchase, and verification received by the seller.

Payments to vending machines, and to community honor systems (for example, an office lunchroom snack program) are also included within examples in the document.

Examples of the use of GPay

The patent provides a lot of information on how this system would work, and well as giving us some screenshots of the system. It provides information on how an API could be used with the system for even more flexibility in how people make purchases, as well as other innovations. Here’s an image of payment and verification screens:

SMS view of Gpay

This payment system isn’t a competitor for Paypal. Such a comparison would be selling Gpay short.

Google Patent SMS Payment System | SEO by the SEA

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