Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Show Me The Bubbles


Confirmation continues that we are in the midst of a bubble, big time. Genealogy site geni.com was valued by investors today at $100 mm today. Charles River Ventures paid $10 mm for a 10% stake in the social networking company, described this way in paidcontent.org....

Geni difference from other social nets rests on its specific focus on people interested in genealogical research and cataloguing. Instead of identifying Geni as a social networking site, Sacks calls it “family networking” and the hope is that people interested in mapping out their personal history will recruit other family members to the site.

Fred Wilson keeps things on the ground by pointing out that the actual cash paid out by Charles River was only $10mm -- by no means chump change, but not $100mm. He also points out that there is cash to be made in a bubble. You just need to be extremely careful and selective.

In a sign that the bubble is not ending life as we know it, the much discussed and at one time much touted Disney on-demand venture Moviebeam was sold to Movie Gallery for about $10mm. That's after it was re-capped last year for $48.5mm and much after Disney poured an estimated $70mm into the project. It was the price that probably did them in. Disney was charging almost $300 for the hardware alone. In the evolving on-demand world hardware is a losing proposition. Everything you need will sooner or later be delivered on-line.

Newspapers Enter Video Age

It was disclosed today on Beet.tv that MSN and AP have worked out an arrangement with thousands of client newspapers and other news organizations around the country by which they will make available thousands of hours of client and user generated content. It's estimated that some 3,500 of AP associated news organizations could participate, ultimately. The day may be a bit further off for newspapers and others who are not yet up to speed with video. But the opportunity is there.

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