Manufacturers fed up with internet retail?

Internet retailers are notorious price cutters, and manufacturers are getting fed up. I have been watching with interest the war between internet retailers and manufacturers for years, but there are signs that the battle is getting hotter.

Let me give you a brief history of this issue from my perspective. When I first started an internet retail company, I was a price cutter. That strategy worked; at least it worked for me. We did not own a brand at the time but instead specialized on obtaining in-demand products at lower than normal wholesale prices and dumping them on the market. It was (and still is) a legitimate business model that can generate a ton of profit, but will not make you many friends.

Conduit Community Trends

Conduit (which means “Conveyor of Information”) released their first Community Trends index where you can see what online communities are searching for. Conduit analyzes online communities for trends.

They collect data with a toolbar that users install and they collect data on community searches. They focus on nine verticals: Sports, Environment, Education, Web Games, Online Radio, Music, Online Radio, Jobs, Travel, and Shopping verticals. I wish they had one for tech or blogs.

To see the trends for October 2007, see http://www.conduit.com/Community/CommunityTrends/Default.aspx.

I just had to laugh at this description of themselves as entrepreneurial superstars who dream of “patentable ideas” in their sleep (this really captures the unfettered optimism of entrepreneurs):

CNET Networks CEO Sounds Off on Bloggers

Media technology company CNET Networks just issued their 3rd Quarter 2007 earnings. First, the numbers. Net losses grew to $16.6 million, or $0.11 per share, from $2.3 million, or $0.02 per share, last yeart. Revenue grew $99.5 million, from $93.3 million in the same period a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were $6.9 million or 4 cents a share. That beat analysts projections by one cent. They projected revenues and earnings for the fourth quarter at $119-$125 million.

The company lost on photo-sharing site Webshots which they purchased in 2004 for $70 million. They sold the company to American Greetings for $45M. They acquired a site in China named OnlyLady, a women’s fashion site with a strong advertiser base from the likes of Loreal, Estee Lauder, LVMH, Channel, Johnson & Johnson, and Nike.

Pilgrim’s Picks for October 29

Here’s what’s going on in the world of online marketing today.

TechCrunch Backs-up Our Google Social Network Theory

Last Thursday, I shared my opinion on why Microsoft needed the Facebook deal more than Google did. Here’s the bottom line…

A social network that already has all of the pieces in place: email, instant messaging, blogs, image and video sharing. If Google really wanted to own a social network, it could take the $240M it just saved and put that towards building a kick-ass one. A few rumors, closed beta invites, and denials of competing with MySpace later, and the whole world’s going crazy over Google Connect (or whatever they want to call it).

Today, TechCrunch shares some insider knowledge that suggests Google’s working on bringing its applications together. While I suggested "Google Connect," it appears they’re going with–at least internally–the more descriptive "Maka-Maka." (which makes it sound like something Gonzo would head-up).

Hulu.com is Ready for Failure Launch

image After months of hype and positioning, NBC/News Corp-back Hulu.com is ready to launch–and we assume ready to fail.

Hey, we’re not suggesting the YouTube and Joost online video rival is going to be bad, but even their CEO warned us to expect failure. Fortunately, they also expect to "fail fast"–something Mike Moran would approve of.

As part of today’s beta launch, Hulu has announced new deals with Sony Pictures and MGM Studios. According to Reuters…

…Hulu will offer about 90 TV shows from the four companies and smaller partners ranging from current prime-time hits such as "Heroes" and "The Simpsons" to vintage shows "Miami Vice" and "The A-Team."

It will also make about 10 feature films available including "The Breakfast Club" and "The Blues Brothers."

Blogging for Business Conference–Gary Goldhammer Keynote

How to Measure Social Media Effectiveness

Gary Goldhammer, Edelman Interactive

The hidden reality: there is no way right to measure social media. We’re all figuring this out. Nielsen is measuring time spent, interactions.

We respect what has happened—things that are visible, tangible. We honor the established solutions.

But we ignore the things that could have happened. We need to look beyond. That’s where innovation thrives. It thrives in the places that aren’t visible, aren’t tangible. We like to rely on others to write the case studies for us.

Low predictability = large impact

Forget everything that you know. Put it out of your mind. What you know about communications is irrelevant and insignificant compared to what social media has to offer. What you absolutely know about communications is a barrier to social media. The past is not always significant. What we know is less significant than what we don’t know.