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  • Steven Woda

Daily Roundup for 2008-01-18

Privacy concerns stemming from online shopping rose in 2007, a new study finds, as the loss or theft of credit Privacy concerns stemming from online shopping rose in 2007, a new study finds, as the loss or theft of credit card information and other personal data soared to unprecedented levels. Sixty-one percent of adult Americans said they were very or extremely concerned about the privacy of personal information when buying online, an increase from 47 percent in 2006. Before last year, that figure had largely been dropping since 2001.

In 2006, B2C e-commerce sales for the five major markets in the Asia-Pacific region totaled only $59.1 billion, and Japan accounted for a tiger’s share of the sales. But things are changing.

Conversion rates increased 7.4% and average order size rose by 4% after DVD Planet began giving customers the option of guaranteeing their orders against merchant fraud through buySafe Inc., says Mark Harrill, DVD Planet director of merchandising.

ARPU bills itself as an advertising network that adds value for businesses by offering additional services to buyers at the time of an online sale. For instance, a consumer buying an internet access package from a service provider might be offered relevant add-ons like phone service or subscriptions to online services. The company also maintains a service portal for customers to manage their subscriptions through.

Over the past couple of years, major consumer brands such as Sony (SNE), Doritos (PEP), and Dove (UL) have tested what are called "consumer-generated ads." This means that instead of using advertising agencies to write and film TV and Internet advertising, the ads are created by customers using their own ideas and technology.

Jerry Yang began his biggest public presentation since becoming chief executive of Yahoo with something of an apology. "I’m guessing that a lot of you are here today to see what the new look and new face of Yahoo is all about," he told an audience of some 1,500 technology enthusiasts at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. "Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you. It’s still the same old face. I’ve been around since the beginning."

To its true believers at small businesses, it is a low-cost, high-return tool that can handle marketing and public relations, raise the company profile and build the brand. That tool is blogging, though small businesses with blogs are still a distinct minority. A recent American Express survey found that only 5 percent of businesses with fewer than 100 employees have blogs. Other experts put the number slightly higher.

Imagine buying a big-screen TV or computer and then getting home and becoming frustrated because of difficulties with the installation. A small Seattle-based technology company may have a solution. Early next week at the National Retail Federation conference in New York, Experticity will roll out an online interactive program it hopes stores will buy to help consumers. The Experticity@Home service will allow customers to log on to their home computers and speak live through a Web camera to a trained customer service agent who can answer questions. The service agent also can have instructions printed on the customer’s home printer.

Tristan Nitot, (his blog on open source in French) CEO of Mozilla Europe talks about how Firefox spread mainly through word of mouth and people just sharing it and advocating it to others. He suggests that the open source initiative first resonated with people, thus spurring word of mouth. They encouraged users to have the software loaded on a portable thumbnail flash drive, and install it wherever they went. Blogs were a big component of how it spread, as well as local communities that would be passionate about their region, self-supporting each other, and spreading the word., ( a Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field clothing and apparel retailer announced today that it has partnered with buySAFE, Inc. (, the leading trust and safety company for ecommerce transactions and has integrated the buySAFE trust solution into its ecommerce website. All pages of now display the buySAFE Seal, one of the strongest trust signals in ecommerce. Additionally, visitors to the site are able to guarantee qualified purchases with a buySAFE bond up to $25,000 per transaction.

The pace and value of mergers and acquisitions in the middle range of the market we define as Information Technology, Software & Services is strong, with both mature and high-growth companies attracting plenty of buyer interest, albeit for different reasons.

On Friday January 11th Bear Stearns hosted a conference call with Jonathan Garriss of Gotham City and Executive Director of PeSA (Professional eBay Sellers Alliance) Here are some key takewaways.

A very addictive online game.

Probably the most consistently overlooked "best practice" in venture backed companies is the CEO review. In my experience most companies provide little, if any, structured feedback at the CEO level. Perhaps the board or the members of the compensation committee might provide the CEO with limited (and mostly ad hoc) feedback at the beginning of each year when/if a CEO’s bonus for the previous year is awarded. More often the CEO review is essentially a review of the numbers vs. the financial plan. While that step is important, so is a meaningful discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the CEO and ways they can improved their performance based on the collective input of the board and other mangers at the business.

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