Tag

business

Summer Goal #5: Finish DowntownShortPump.com

By business, technology

Almost four years ago, I purchased the domain name www.downtownshortpump.com. It was a site owned by the developer of the Downtown Short Pump complex with Barnes & Noble and Regal Cinemas. They used it as promotion for their shopping center and etched it into two huge signs at the busiest intersection in Henrico County (West Broad Street and Pouncey Tract Road). They let the name expire. I bought it for eight bucks (you snooze, you lose)! I let the domain name sit idle for a year, then made some attempts at developing it, but never got far.

After three revisions, I’m finally at the point where it looks professional enough to market as a good advertising space. I’m getting well over a thousand hits per day at this point, and have made lots of efforts at collecting data to make the site more comprehensive. Advertising efforts are starting off slow, but I have a plan of attack that will bring me more success, including full-color, glossy brochures. You’ve got to truly believe something can succeed if you want it to. I believe I can achieve success with this business, it’s just going to take some time and hard work.

I’ll keep everyone posted on the progress. As for now, I’m closing in on several major advertising contracts and working up a pitch for future businesses to advertise. I’m very optimistic about the future of the site!

“Henrico, Virginia” Mailing Address Coming Soon

By business, news, opinion

If your mailing address is Richmond, Virginia, but you live most anywhere in Henrico County, your address will soon change to Henrico, Virginia. Why? Henrico County loses millions of dollars every year to the City of Richmond. Big corporate chains that are based outside of the area think that because the mailing address is Richmond, the taxes should be paid there. This adds up quickly. Well that’s interesting enough alone. But it gets better.

Henrico County sent out a mail survey asking residents if they wanted to change the name to Henrico or leave it Richmond. They also did a TV ad campaign. Fair enough. What I don’t get is that Richmond did an ad, too! Richmond Mayor Doug Wilder (leave it to him) decided it would be a competition and fought to keep the undeserved money in the city! Then again this is Doug Wilder we are talking about here. Should we be surprised in the least? He needs to go.

Lifelock CEO Becomes Victim Of Identity Theft Himself!

By business, FAIL, news, opinion

How’s this for ironic? The CEO of Lifelock, Todd Davis, has finally been hacked himself! He’s the guy that advertises his real social security number on billbords, trucks, television, and radio.

And while this may be to prove the point that he has total faith in his company, which protects you from any identity theft attempts and backs up the protection with a $1 million liability guarantee should anyone succeed in using your good name.

In my opinion, it’s just stupid to openly advertise your social security number, even if you do have this service. It serves him right. Here’s an online article about the whole thing. His picture should go on the FAIL Blog!

Why did Todd Davis, CEO of Lifelock, need to contract with an outside firm when his own identity was stolen last summer? Because true resolution does not come easy…. and is not a marketing gimick. Who did Mr. Davis choose to handle his personal financial recovery when his fraud alert system failed? An Identity Theft America partner, National ID Recovery.

According to an article that appeared in the Dallas Morning News on July 23, 2007, Mr. Davis became a victim when a man obtained a $500 payday loan in his name. This, despite the fact Mr. Davis was using the well-advertised Lifelock services.

According to the article, Teletrack, a subprime credit bureau that was used by the payday loan lender, doesn’t receive fraud alerts from the three national credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. In the article, Mr. Davis admitted that “Fraud alerts aren’t always going to be bulletproof. There are areas where someone can still compromise your information.” This despite the fact that Mr. Davis advertises his social security number in the media to convince consumers that his system can prevent identity theft.

You can’t afford to be left with no where to turn and empty promises with fine print. Make the same choice that identity theft industry executives use when the chips are down. Identity Theft America assures quality, professional services to help with identity theft. Regardless of the advertising, there is no prevention for identity theft, so be prepared if it happens to you.

Sub-Par Posting

By life, news, technology

My blog entries lately have been sub-par. Okay, just flat out poor. I’m aware. I’ve had technical issues with my computer, wireless internet, my hosting service, moving to a new server, and other things. I promise I’ll be back to my normal posting habits tomorrow.

I’ve also been working non-stop on getting my web business up and running. It’s finally getting where it needs to be visually and content-wise. I’ll write a big post about that soon. I have so much on my mind I wanna write about, in fact, that my head might explode. I’d say I have a mental list of topics that will get me through at least the next three weeks.

Hang in there. I’ll see you tomorrow for some much more in-depth and interesting content. I promise.

Baby Mama – Review

By movie reviews, Uncategorized

I went to see Baby Mama this past Friday. Tina Fey stars as a busy woman in her late thirties who has always put her career before her personal life. She suddenly comes to the realization one day that her biological clock is ticking and, after trying every other way, decides to have a baby through a surrogate mother.

The mother (played by Amy Poehler) is desperate for money and will do anything for the cash given to her for carrying the baby. There are several big plot twists that I’m tempted to share, but like I said, I’m not doing spoiler reviews anymore!

The plot line is funny and relatively easy to follow. The character development is strong as well. Steve Martin adds comic relief as well with his role as CEO of the organic foods company Fey works for.

If you’re up for a feel-good comedy, check this one out, but don’t expect a whole lot more.

Overall Rating:

Circuit City + Blockbuster = Circuitbuster?

By business, news, opinion

News has just surfaced in the past couple of days that struggling movie rental company Blockbuster has offered a billion dollars to buy out similarly struggling electronics retailer Circuit City, based here in Richmond.

Blockbuster executives claim it would uniquely position Circuit City, the number two electronics retailer in the United States, to have a more competitive retail concept. How? By pairing electronics and end-user content together, similar to the way the Apple Store does.

But on a personal note, I don’t know how Blockbuster can afford such a deal, seeing how much of a hit they’ve taken in the past few years with rivals such as Netflix undermining their business (although they do have their own service, Blockbuster Online, of which I’m a customer, and it’s better than Netflix if you ask me because you have the option of instant in-store exchange).

In my opinion, bringing these two companies together seems comparable to raising a flag on not just one sinking ship, but two. I’ll be really interested to see what happens if the deal ends up going through.

“Blockbuster Stumbles On Hostile Takeover” – via Business Week

Shares of Blockbuster Inc. plunged to an all-time low Monday after it announced a $1 billion-plus hostile takeover bid for No. 2 electronics retailer Circuit City Inc., earning it a downgrade from a BMO Capital Markets analyst. Shares of the Dallas-based movie rental chain lost 32 cents, or 10.2 percent, to close at $2.81 after falling to a new low of $2.52 earlier in the day. Jeffrey Logsdon said in a note to analysts that he was “uncomfortable” with the deal and said it has the potential to divert management attention and financial resources from its own recovery.

Shares of Blockbuster have lost more than half their value since trading at an annual high of $6.67 a year ago. The company has struggled to compete with online movie operators such as Netflix Inc., and Circuit City management has questioned whether Blockbuster can finance the deal. Logsdon lowered Blockbuster to “Market Perform” from “Outperform” and cut his nine- to 15-month price target to $3 from $5. The analyst said the buyout creates a “two-front war” as the company struggles with its own financial problems. He further criticized the deal, saying it would take nine to 12 months to close and another year after before any financial benefit is realized. Furthermore, Blockbuster will likely have to use equity to pay for the deal, which will further push the stock downward, he said. “We find it difficult to imagine that fighting what amounts to a two-front war will ultimately enhance value for (Blockbuster) shareholders,” Logsdon said.

On Monday, Blockbuster announced that it would go straight to shareholders and pay between $6 and $8 per share in cash for Circuit City after saying the struggling retailer had not responded to repeated offers. The deal values Circuit City between $1.01 billion and $1.35 billion, based on its 168.4 million outstanding shares as of Dec. 31. The offer adds a 25 percent to 67 percent premium on Circuit City shares, based on their $4.79 closing price on Feb. 15, the last trading day before Blockbuster made its offer. Shares of Circuit City, based in Richmond, Va., soared $1.07, or 27.4 percent, to close at $4.97.

Blacklist Painting: FAIL

By Uncategorized

I took this picture down in the Outer Banks the other day. Would you normally want someone who had been “blacklisted” to work for you? I don’t think so. But yet some company down there named their business “Blacklist Painting.” Check it out.

 

Microsoft’s Next Step Toward World Domination: Purchasing Yahoo!

By Uncategorized

I really hate Microsoft, for so many reasons. This just deepens my loathing of the mega software giant. They’re apparently taking a big leap towards taking over the world and killing us all, this time by snatching up Yahoo for a cool $44.6 billion dollars. I don’t even really use Yahoo besides their Flickr service, and consider them way behind in terms of technology and services compared to Google, whose many services and cool technologies I fully implement and support. This deal seems rather hostile and will position Microsoft as an even bigger, more monopolistic company. I still don’t think Yahoo will ever really be able to compete with Google on a level playing field. They are so ingrained into people’s minds as THE premiere search provider that there’s just no way to knock them off their high horse. I’ll be very interested to see where this whole thing goes.

Microsoft Corp. went public Friday with an offer to buy Yahoo Inc. for $44.6 billion, a move designed to create a more credible competitor to industry leader Google Inc. and deepen Microsoft’s position in the market for online business software.

The unsolicited approach, outlined by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer in a letter sent Thursday night to Yahoo’s board and published Friday, is aimed at pressing Yahoo to agree to a combination it rejected a year ago. Yahoo acknowledged the proposal and said it would be evaluated “carefully and promptly.”

The offer, for $31 a share in cash and stock, represents a 62% premium to Yahoo’s closing price Thursday. It comes offer comes as Yahoo continues to struggle against Google in the race for online-advertising revenue and Internet- search market share despite efforts to upgrade its systems. Yahoo’s shares have lost about 40% of their value over the past three months.

“While a commercial partnership may have made sense at one time, Microsoft believes that the only alternative now is the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo! that we are proposing,” Ballmer said in the letter to Yahoo’s board.

Yahoo shares jumped 55% to $29.72 in premarket trading. Microsoft fell 4.7% to $31.08 premarket. Google, down about 6% premarket after issuing weaker than expected fourth-quarter results late Thursday, and saw its stock slip further after the announcement and was recently down nearly 7%. The announcement pushed U.S. stock index futures higher.

A deal would bring together two pioneers in their respective industries that stagnated as new competitors did a better job of adapting to changing technology and the habits of users. It’s unclear how the combination of those cultures would work. Microsoft is widely viewed as a lumbering technology giant struggling to become more nimble, while Yahoo is trying to recapture the spark of its more free-wheeling days as an Internet startup.

Yahoo, however, would add a commanding presence in Internet content and users to Microsoft’s deep pockets and near monopoly over the desktop software that enables most routine computer use.

“In our view there is a compelling case that says yes, although the risks of a culture mismatch and potential employee attrition would have to be managed carefully,” Goldman Sachs analyst Sarah Friar said in a note. Goldman Sach has an investment banking relationship with Microsoft. It wasn’t immediately known whether Goldman is advising on the Yahoo offer.

Microsoft said Yahoo holders would be able to trade each of their shares for $ 31 in cash or 0.9509 of a Microsoft share, pro-rated so that no more than half of the overall purchase price is paid in cash. The deal values Yahoo at 65 times earnings. Currently, it trades at 40 times earnings, according to FactSet Research. Yahoo shares haven’t traded at $31 since November.

The companies held talks about partnering or merging in late 2006 and early 2007. Those talks included the potential of a merger proposal, but Yahoo told Microsoft in February it wasn’t interest in being acquired.

He noted Yahoo’s decision at the time was based on the “potential upside” of its own plans and a “significant organizational alignment,” led by the long- awaited overhaul to its search-advertising system dubbed Project Panama.

“A year has gone by, and the competitive situation has not improved,” Ballmer wrote.

Microsoft noted the market for online advertising is “increasingly dominated by one player. Together, Microsoft and Yahoo can offer competitive choice while better fulfilling the needs of customers and partners.”

Microsoft and Yahoo each have struggled to get bigger in Internet searches and search advertising despite heavy investment. Google was by far the most-used U.S. search engine in December, with a 58.4% market share, compared with 22.9% for No. 2 Yahoo and 9.8% for No. 3 Microsoft, according to data from ComScore Inc. (SCOR).

“The fact is that in this particular industry, scale matters,” Kevin Johnson, Microsoft’s president of platforms and services, said in an interview.

The company added the deal would also result in “combined engineering talent to accelerate innovation,” a hint that Microsoft can’t alone take on Google with its current staff. Microsoft said it would offer “significant retention packages” to employees, executives and engineers across Yahoo.

Microsoft expects at least $1 billion in annual cost savings and revenue enhancements from a deal, which it says could close in the second half of the year.

Takeover speculation fired back up after Yahoo late Tuesday posted a drop in fourth-quarter net income and issued a 2008 outlook that fell short of analysts’ expectations. Goldman Sachs analyst John Marshall, in a report published Friday, said the chances of a Microsoft bid for Yahoo had risen and recommended buying options on Yahoo. He cited the growing importance of the online services business to Microsoft. The software giant also cited that business, which involves licensing companies to use constantly updated software applications accessed via the Internet.

Speculation about a Yahoo buyout has swirled since last year, when Microsoft’s interest in such a deal was reported. Buying Yahoo would theoretically place Microsoft as significant competitor in the Internet search market, where it has so far lagged behind both Yahoo and Google. Microsoft, which has thriving software businesses that could fund a much deeper foray into Internet markets, hadn’t actively dispelled rumors it was considering an acquisition of Yahoo.

Microsoft said it will host a conference call to discuss the proposal at 8:30 a.m. EST. The company is to present a strategic update for analysts Monday in New York.

Huge Website Announcement

By Uncategorized

I’m on the verge of launching my own business and a website that’s been a dream of mine to create for the past three and a half years. It’s finally coming together and I could actually make a living off of it if I do it right. Only those of you really close to me probably know about it. I’m going public with it very soon, maybe even in the next couple of days. I’m really excited about it! Check back in the coming week for the public debut in the next week or so.

Is Circuit City Short Circuiting?

By Uncategorized

Circuit City, based here in Richmond, has done something interesting with the store right up the road from its headquarters, at Gaskins and Broad. The big “outlet plug” that used to adorn the front of the store is gone, and the entire store has been remodeled on the inside and out to look more like the newer store in Short Pump. However, it’s not just the look that’s changed. Take a closer look and you’ll notice a new name- “The City.” Although company executives are tight-lipped about it, this location seems to be a concept design of sorts. It’s big and open, and has a layout similar to that of Best Buy. Not surprising, considering how much market share they, their fiercest competitor, has taken from them in the past decade. The company is overhauling many of it’s operations and restructuring their business on the corporate level as well.