Monthly Archives: August 2007

“Whatever Became of Google Finance?”

At there is an article today that said Whatever Became of Google Finance? and much of the arguments are based on the number of posts in the discussion boards. I think to a large extent it holds good, but is there a more technical way of figuring this out? Well, there is.

I first checked on for both Yahoo! and Google and neither nor appeared. Then I tried Alexa and found that has 1% of the entire traffic of Yahoo! while didn’t show up against Google. Adding to that, since Yahoo!’s overall traffic is more than Google’s, the difference in traffic to their respective finance sections is perhaps even wider. Add to it, the fact that Google’s domains vary by country, while it appears Yahoo!’s are not (atleast, I don’t see domains by country for Yahoo! on Alexa while I do for Google), their 1% is for the entire world wide traffic which is perhaps even larger.

So, now you know how to figure out the traffic of various sections of the websites if those sections are organized using subdomains!


Filed under alexa, quantcast, website traffic, website traffic comparision

Image Clouds Of Products In Procurement Software

Just came to know that v1.5 of the open source, highly user-friendly procurement software from is released. One feature they tout about is the concept of tagging the items. Check out their tag clouds feature. This is all good. But here is one of the issues when empowering employees to create requisitions. Say there are 25 different pens in the system, how does one know which pen to order? Some characteristics such as fountain pen vs ball-pen, red vs blue will help in narrowing down, but after narrowing down to say 6 to 10, what next?

One way to solve this problem is to have embedded analytics into the application which shows the most popular pens. If you want to go fancy in a web 2.0 fashion, you can even do something like Notebooks/Laptops Image Cloud which is ordered by Amazon’s SalesRank and sized based on the price. Aka tag cloud, but applied to product images.

Leave a comment

Filed under Image Cloud, Procurement, Product Catalog, tag clouds

iTunes top songs sliced and diced as tag clouds!

When you open iTunes and go to the “Top Songs” list, you see a total of 100 songs that are currently popular. Each song has the Genre, Album name and the Artist Name. But what if you want to know which Genre is currently popular or which Album or which Artist? That’s where iTunes songs clouds come to rescue. Check it out! What’s more, you click on the links, they open up a in-line popup that shows the corresponding songs with their rank. Ain’t that cool? As of this writing, Pop followed by Hip-hop/Rap are the most popular Genres.

Leave a comment

Filed under iTunes, tag clouds

Should I Block Ads?

There was a time I did this, but I don’t do this any longer. May be because I am now seeing from the publisher’s shoes :). But the real reason is, I realized that I will miss out many things happening around me, if I block the ads.

In case of context sensitive ads it’s always good to know what other companies are providing services/products around the same context that is of interest to me. In case of non-context ads, it gives me an opportunity to get outside my knowledge zone.

Then, there are times when I want to mainly concentrate on the advertisers, as opposed to the search results, since I want to do research on those advertisers. Like how they are advertising, what they are advertising, if those advertisers themselves are my potential customers! Yes, that’s right. Those who are advertising, are serious about their business, and so likely they would like any services offered to them that is of interest to them and pay for them.

Having said that, if your interest is about a product/service, then by all means click on the ad without bothering what it would cost to the advertiser. But if you are doing research on the advertisers and not really interested in their product/service (more specifically, you have no interest in becoming their customer), then please be considerate and take that extra step of just copy pasting the url (if you are not good at that and are likely to end up clicking the ad, then just type the url in the browser yourself) to visit the advertiser.

Here you go! I just revealed a big secret on how you can generate potential business leads from identifying advertisers! Good luck.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ad blocking

SAAS through paid subscriptions or paying ads

For high-end software applications, obviously paid subscriptions is the route to go with. But not every software service has to be an ERP or CRM or Is it possible to offer SAAS through paying ads?

In a way, search engines are actually using SAAS model. The software to crawl the web and index the pages and display the search results is all hosted by companies like Google and Yahoo. For whatever reason, even before SAAS emerged as an acronym, the various search engines have gone through the model of offering it as a free service by making money in various other ways, including listing the results based on who pays more to using sophisticated algorithms like PageRank but displaying contextual ads. History could have very well gone through the course of charging the end users a nominal monthly fee to do the search and not display all those sponsored ads.

Given the above example, you can’t rule out the possibility of a business model where the software is offered as a service, for free, but the revenue is generated through the ads. But how do you know if you can go with that route? Let’s do some calculations here.

Typical contextual ad CTR (click through rate) is about 2%. The CPC (cost per click) could be anywhere from $0.05 to $1.00 or more. Say, we use $0.25 as an average. Now, if you are considering offering your software as a service with a subscription fee of $5.00/month, then all it takes is about 1000 page views by the user per month (Amount/CPC = no of clicks required = 5/0.25 = 20 clicks. page views = # of clicks/CTR = 20/(2/100) = 1000 pages). This translates to about 33 page views per day and if you exclude weekends, it’s about 50 page views. For the niche market your software caters to, you can plug in different numbers for the above metrics and play with it. But you get the basic idea, on how to do this.

A hybrid SAAS model will offer the service through reduced subscription fee subsidized through ad revenue. This is again, the model of Google Apps For Your Domain (GAFYD) where you can pay for the service and not have ads, or don’t pay (or just register the domain) and get free service but keep viewing the ads. Ofcourse, GAFYD is perhaps not as effective because while Google knows the context through your email conversation, since email itself is a generic application, your likelihood of paying attention to the ads may be lesser. However, if your application is a very specific application, the audience visiting the application are already within a specific context and hence your CTR and/or CPC are higher than generic websites.

Try to plugin both types of revenues and play with the numbers to identify the right combination (too much subscription fee, fewer users which results in fewer ad revenue and vice versa). Good luck with your next enterprenual idea and preparing a viable business plan for it.

1 Comment

Filed under Ad Supported, Business Model, Business Plan, SAAS

2008 Car Models As An Image Cloud

Earlier I mentioned about Online Product Catalogs as Image Cloud. Now, 2008 Car Models showcases all the 2008 Car Models as an Image Cloud. The cars are ordered by the model name and the size of the images are by the higher end of the MSRP for these cars.

One interesting thing with this cloud is, it’s possible to advertise against each car within the same single image that represents the entire image cloud. This is the first time I have seen extending an Image Cloud for advertising.

1 Comment

Filed under 2008 Cars, car dealers, Creative Marketing, Image Cloud, Online Advertising

America’s Got Talent Winner

Almost a year back I wrote an article about America’s Got Talent and how everyone there was fantastic and it’s a general talent show, it’s hard to compare and say one talent is better than the other, just like how it’s unfair to compare different programming languages.

I am just watching the finals and here is my dilemma. I like Butterscotch and wanted her to win, that is till Terry Fator who did the ventriloquism singing. I still think Butterscotch should probably win the competition for her unique beatboxing skill. So while my heart feels for Butterscotch, my mind feels for Terry, for his perfection in imitating and singing using ventriloquism.

So, the question is no longer just unfair apple-to-apple comparison, but if you are asked to pick one over the other, how you go about doing it? What if you are one of those persons where both the heart and mind are balanced out?

When you are in school doing your thesis, you are free to choose whichever programming language you like. It’s up to you, mostly, especially if you are doing your research pretty independently. But once you start working, you are forced to use the language(s) of the company. You got no choice. You can choose to join a different company that uses the languages of your preference, but that alone is seldom the selection criteria. Isn’t it?

Anyway, so who is it going to be? Butterscotch or Terry? Let’s wait and watch for another day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

List of Available Perl Modules

I use a free hosting website for a domain of mine. I couldn’t find a webpage with all the available perl modules supported by the hosting company. So, I used the following script to figure out what modules are available.


print "Content-Type:text/plain\n\n";

map {
print "$_\n";
my $cmd = "find $_ -name '*.pm'";
} @INC;

So, by accessing this page from the website, I could figure out all the modules available.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tech - Tips, web hosting

Should you trust LinkedIn recommendations?

Frankly, I don’t think so. The reason is, no one would ask reviews from people whom they think don’t have good opinion on them. Similarly, no one is going to give a public opinion telling the other person “hae, you suck big time, there is no way I am going to make the same mistake again, which is to hire you (as a manager) or to work with you (as a colleague)”. That is the very reason, you always see only very positive reviews and never any negative review.

So, to confirm my hypothesis, here is what I did. I looked at the reviews of some people that I worked with in the past and about whom I thought are not as competent and also know people who thought they are not competent enough. The reviews provided about these people by those who thought are not competent enough ended up giving good, if not great, reviews. Similarly, there were cases where people who hardly interacted with others within the company gave good reviews to some people.

Anyway, no one asked me to give recommendations so far nor did I try to get a recommendation. I think it’s meaningless. One co-relation I did observe though is, when people know they are going to get sacked, they try to increase their networking activity and recommendation seeking activity. And with reasonably good recos under their belt, they are well equipped to start interviewing with companies I guess. I am not sure how much weight employers are giving to LinkedIn recommendations. But, I wouldn’t certainly bother about them if I were recruiting. Just like I don’t give credit to some of the programming certifications that people obtain.

LinkedIn recommendations can never match the honest reviews provided for MBA application, for example, since in those recommendations, there is a way to waive the right to look at the recommendation. However, that model doesn’t work for LinkedIn because, the MBA application is a closed system accessible only to a specific school and a few individuals. However, LinkedIn’s recommendation system is sort of public.

This brings an important question. How honestly can the collaborative Web 2.0 solutions open for the public evolve? Perhaps in some areas they work fine. Some areas, they may not.


Filed under linkedin

CloudStore – Product Catalogs using Image Clouds

If you liked tag cloud / keyword cloud concept using text, think of what can be achieved using images instead of text! That is exactly what CloudStore – Online Shopping using Image Clouds from ToCloud does. The Digital SLR Cameras Image Cloud displays all the Digital SLR Cameras from Amazon as an Image Cloud. The cameras are ordered from left-to-right and top-to-bottom using Amazon’s SalesRank while the size of the Image is set to reflect the list price of the digital cameras. So, those digital SLR cameras that are more expensive are shown big while those that are cheap are shown small. Further, the images have a border rendered with different colors. Green indicates a “too low to display” price of Amazon, orange indicates that the sales price on Amazon is less than the list price while Yellow indicates that the list and sales prices are the same.

As far as I know, this is the first instance where a Web 2.0 concept of tag clouds has been implemented for Product Catalogs. What’s cool about this is the fact that it makes use of html image maps to be able to show the user additional information about each product and clicking on a particular product takes the user to the product details page on Amazon.

I have noticed an Image Cloud from listed at wikipedia which seems to have multiple drawbacks. They are, 1) there is no semantics to the ordering of the images 2) each image in the Image Cloud is a separate which ends up requesting several http requests. But perhaps that website is the first to come up with the concept of Image Clouds while ToCloud is perhaps the first to use Image Clouds for Product Catalogs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Image Cloud, Procurement, Product Catalog, tag cloud, Web 2.0