Posts Tagged ‘online’

Online business models around content

We’ve taken a scare resource and made it infinite, an idea by Adam Curry. In the print world, you had n-number of ads. In the online world, you can place any amount of banners on your site, or there are a multitude of sites serving such banners. This is why its hard to generate revenue.

Robert Scoble brings up a great point on TWiT#423 – tech journalism is everywhere. Its hard to make good quality tech content because it costs money. A good article on how an iPhone is made involves you to head to China to visit the factory floor, and can easily cost $10,000. However when you write a (blog) post, what can you make on viewership in terms of CPM? $5? $15? It is a tiny amount which is why many tech journalists/bloggers end up repackaging press releases.

Worlds that haven’t been touched negatively seem to be fashion & cars. But tech is clearly affected.

Evan Williams gives us tools to express ourselves – Blogger, Twitter, Medium. He’s made tonnes of money as people have been willing to create content for free. How do journalists make a living? Leo Laporte suggests that the Internet has arrived – you figure out to make a living.

The problem is people doing it for free. It devalues the work of people doing it for bucks.

What about the CPM for location based ads? Today you get so many apps that give away the location, with users opting in. 

Thinking about online food delivery services

I’ve been asked many times if some types of startups can work in the Malaysian marketplace. So here’s a quick braindump on delivery services.

When I lived in Melbourne, a bad day was when you had to call Dominos for pizza delivery. I much rather ordered food from the multiple pizza parlours nearby. I wasn’t limited to them either: delivery of Chinese or Indian food was always available, just a phone call away. It was always useful when you didn’t want to leave the house or fire up the car.

This in turn helped the local economy grow further. Delivery boys were hired, and many were probably studying. Independent retailers were cherished.

In London today, I see an ad on the tube for They claim access to over 3,000 delivery menus. If you get their app, you get 20% off your first order as a new customer who saw their “tube” ad (incidentally the voucher code). Naturally they are on the Apple AppStore & Google Play Store.

Just look at that number: 3,000 delivery menus.

I’m sure you can’t get all that delivered to you no matter where in London you lived, but you probably do have a good chunk to access. I’d say restaurants within a 20 minute driving/riding radius from your location.

London has 6 zones that are covered on a tube line. I never stay out of zone 1 when I come to visit. However friends do live out at zone 3 even and you’ll enjoy seeing a grocery store, restaurants, and banks in every neighbourhood.

This was similar to how Melbourne was planned. Again, I never ventured out of zone 1, though for a period of time I did live at the border of zone 2. Every local area I was at, was served well.

The Klang Valley isn’t planned this way, with a lot more connections reliant on lengthy highways. This is probably why food delivery services that started pre-Web-hype usually focused on areas like Bangsar/PJ, KL, etc. (See Room Service delivery who probably pioneered this in Malaysia). They have their riders, they have their usual restaurants within similar areas, and they service you as a third party.

Suburbia is a lot more prevalent within the Klang Valley. Just venture into Alam Damai (Cheras) or Kota Kemuning and you’ll soon realise that you’ve hit true suburbia with services that are very lacking.

It is there that you will have to order Dominos. Or Pizza Hut. Or McDonalds.

Those are brands that are synonymous with delivery & take out.

Can this change? Will local ‘kedai runcit’ stores (or the milk bars) figure out delivery makes sense? Is it too far fetched to order a garlic & cheese naan, with some tandoori chicken & a Milo with cows milk for delivery? Or a nice claypot fish congee?

Delivery order minimums may play into things but if memory serves, all I had to hit was AUD$10 before I could trigger a complimentary delivery.

So, back to Malaysia and getting food delivered to your home/office, from places that are 20-30 minutes away. What’s available today:

  1. Room Service which pioneered this in Malaysia (I think) wants RM20, with RM12-20 delivery fees (source)
  2. foodpanda from Rocket Internet. 60 minutes delivery time, RM4-6 delivery fee, RM10-15 minimum order value

In the US, there seems to be GrubHub, Eat24, etc. In the UK, there’s Just Eat, niftynosh, etc.

What about payments? Room Service accepts visa/master/amex or cash.

The next time I have some time in Malaysia, I probably will give Room Service or foodpanda a try. Just to see how it works. I do see that their delivery areas are limited, which is naturally sad as it doesn’t cover the whole Klang Valley.

Can this work in Malaysia? Do people eat-in that often? How do you fix the location issue? When do we see more of the middlemen being cut out? Is it a good idea to go into business as a middleman like Room Service/foodpanda? How does this dynamic work when people don’t leave their homes, i.e. staying with their families even after marriage?

I don’t have the answers, and apparently this hasn’t been cracked since 2003 (when roomservice started).

Online photo printing comes to Malaysia – why not harness the Flickr API?

Found a cool Malaysian company, eoe. They apparently have physical stores, but what’s cool about them is online printing of photos — something which I believe is totally new in Malaysia.

They’re cheap – RM0.30/4R print. They’re even trying the viral marketing thing – get bloggers to write about them (no, I am not participating) in exchange for free photos.

I might try there services at some stage, but not today. Why? Because I have to upload photos through my browser. Their “Easy Upload” app displays a silly message saying they don’t support Firefox (so I don’t get the fancy pants editing of images, et al.).

<free advice>If they want to be a smarter Malaysian company, they would partner with Flickr, and harness the Flickr API, so that people can make easy prints from Flickr. After all, advertising for Flickr is already done for free, thanks to Maxis (they love advertising Flickr and how easy it is to use on their phone network). Printing images that are already there, rather than re-uploading (with slow, unreliable Streamyx) will make a whole lot more sense. Besides, each photo coming out of my camera, is probably 5MB in size — so I’ll pass.</free advice>

Here’s wishing Eoe much success, and hope they partner with the likes of Flickr, or just harness their darned API, for easy printing.

Digital Media Consumers

An online survey (500 Malaysians, all online already, and in total, it was 26,000 amongst the countries surveyed) by The Nielsen Company, showed that Malaysians ranked fifth amongst 52 countries for being digital media consumers. The stats (with more from the NST):

  • Malaysians ranked third globally for those that spent more than 20 hours a week watching streamed or downloaded content from the Internet – translation, Malaysians bittorrent a lot, or are in love with YouTube. Video in Malaysia is big, clearly.
  • 53%/41% played(streamed, even)/downloaded video/movie/audio/game content online in December 2008. Translation? The ones with 1mbps broadband lines are streaming YouTube content… How about a local video sharing site, or a local site with content?
  • 85% got on their computers, while only 77% turned on their TV sets – translation, if you’re not advertising online or your media buyers don’t know how to deal with it, its time to find new ones
  • 4% download movies/movie clips more than 30 times in a month – that means about 7.5 TV series that they’re following, or less, but with movies thrown in – eep, no advertising seen
  • 8% download music or other audio files more than 30 times – since there’s no iTunes music store in Malaysia, its probably entirely illegal content

So its skewed. With a broadband penetration rate of about 18% only, they asked the choir, and the results aren’t too surprising. I predict we’ll see more people online in the results of the June/July survey, as we face this economic slowdown, and more people buckle up, stay at home, and still live their lives.

On fearing the continuity of online services

Today I read that co.mments bit the dust. Another web service (who remembers the I Want Sandy discussion a while back), ceasing to exist (though from what I see, a lot of folk are using Disqus more).

It got me a little worried. I rely quite a bit on online services.

  • Bookmarking, once previously living in my bookmark.htm file, now is shared on delicious. It has proven to be invaluable, storing 3,108 bookmarks. They are a Yahoo! run company.
  • Photo storage and sharing, once previously sitting in directories on my web server, are now kept on my Flickr account. Flickr is great, because I can share photos with just friends, family, or participate in a vibrant community of photo enthusiasts. I currently have 16,813 items stored there, with backups on various media sitting in my various homes. They are a Yahoo! run company, and I happily pay them for a Pro account.
  • I depend on Google Reader (read my shared items) to read RSS feeds. In fact, I have been sharing items as a form of bookmarking them. Ditto with adding stars to items. Don’t say Google doesn’t close services – they have.
  • I use Google Calendar, because it simply rocks. I also use Google Docs, and I also use GMail (hosted, and regular).
  • I use Twitter, who has no business model, as of yet. I like it over FriendFeed for one minor detail – I can update via SMS.

Most of these services have ways for you to get your data out of them, assuming they don’t exist in due time. But what will replace them?

Sure there are desktop applications. But with the variety of devices I utilise, I’m trying to cut down from using desktop applications and just focus on working online. In fact, all that is open now is Firefox, Adium, iTunes, TextMate (where I carve this text out), Terminal, Skype and twhirl. On my work laptop, its just Thunderbird, Firefox, Terminal, and Skype that’s open.

So maybe I need less desktop applications. It’s good, because that’s the hope of online services – live right in your browser.

But in tough(er) times, what do you do if the online service you use, disappears? Where’s the continuity (i.e. will my grandkids be able to browse my Flickr photo albums?)

I do wonder, if this will lead to more open source, peer-to-peer/federated run, online services. Like if Twitter folds up, who’s to say its excellent community won’t move to ? (till then though, the latter probably doesn’t stand a chance, besides the very geeky top-of-the-trend open source folk…)