31 Oct

Step back from CRM

Infoworld:

"All of us are customers. So, let’s be honest. What if you had to have a relationship, as defined not by you but by the vendor, with every company that made or sold every product that you used last month? Would there be any end to the information they would want to collect?"

This article asks whether the M in CRM stands for Management or Manipulation. CRM often sounds like a sophisticated euphemism for a "let’s find our most profitable customers and milk ‘em" strategy, leaving the customer service perspective out.
See also 7 key reasons for CRM failures and CRM Pain Must Not Outweigh Productivity Gain.

31 Oct

Amazon saves millions with Linux switch

ZDNet:

"The online retailer spent $54m on technology and content expenses in its third quarter, ended 30 September, compared with $71m in the year-ago quarter, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The reduction was primarily because of Amazon’s "migration to a Linux-based technology platform that utilises a less costly technology infrastructure, as well as general price reductions for data and telecommunication services due to market overcapacity," according to the statement."

It’s funny to see how the facts – Amazon.com switched some Unix apps to Linux – turn into an utterly irrelevant "Linux vs. Windows" story.

30 Oct

Oracle’s Latest Growth Strategy

Forbes:

"In an attempt to offset the flattening growth of its flagship database, Oracle is building a third leg to its business, called application servers–a booming market projected to grow more than tenfold to $26 billion by 2005."

I speculated earlier this year that a big player might want to buy BEA. Their market cap was at the time at about $9B, these days it’s between $3B and $5B, so that’s getting closer to a sum Oracle can afford. I doubt the app server business market will grow that much though. Application servers are just doing a job that belongs to the operating system (in my former Microsoftie evil way of seeing things of course).

30 Oct

Groove Grooves with Windows Messenger

Instant Messaging Planet:

"Groove users can now communicate with Windows Messenger — the new instant-messaging (IM) software in Windows XP. For example, a Messenger user can send an "Invite to Groove" notification directly from Messenger to a member of her contact list, automatically creating a new Groove shared space or pulling the two participants into an existing shared space. Conversely, a Groove user can send an invitation directly from a Groove shared space to a member of his Messenger contact list."

30 Oct

Amazon.com Services: Your Message Center

Amazon.com Services::

"Your Message Center shows you messages from Amazon.com that are generated based on your Favorites, your wishlist, and your community settings."

Amazon already sends email notifications based on user requests (you can be warned when a product is available for order, or when a search query turns out new results). Now they introduce this "message center" page that consolidates notifications based on your profile, and looks like an e-mail client (not unlike what CJ does in the affiliate field). I’m surprised that Amazon.com, besides e-mail and web pages, doesn’t offer push options to IM clients.

29 Oct

Micro Advertising – a way to make niche internet publishing profitable?

Thomas Madsen-Mygdal:

"This isn’t about the next ipo or hype wave, but about creating a revenue stream for smaller sites that makes them stay around. Giving the creators an incentive to keep developing and working on their sites and paying for hosting, etc. $200-2,000’s of revenue per month would keep a lot of sites up and running. Instead of asking for donations you build a win-win system for both parties – you support the site and get some value in the form [of] an ad back in exchange."

29 Oct

Rich Clients for Web Services

Evan Williams:

"The general idea behind [Sun’s] presentation – web apps that have both lightweight HTML interfaces and rich client desktop interfaces for different purposes/users – is one I like. The conclusion – that you should use Java to build the rich client interfaces – is something I have a hard time swallowing."

25 Oct

WaybackMachine exposes web archives, access can be scripted

This internet archive is the hot topic of the day. What’s great – as has been pointed out – is that you can easily access to it through code, since you can send it parameters through the url, just like this (REST rules).
10/29/01 update: Wayback Goes Way Back on Web.
10/31/01 update: How Big Is 100 Terabytes?
01/22/02 update: How the Wayback Machine Works.
02/11/02 update: IT managers brace for the inevitable: petabyte-size databases.
02/16/02 update: Inside Orbitz (ITA Software is, like Google and Alexa, throwing lots of Linux boxes with Gb of RAM to address scalability needs, apparently with much lower costs than mainframes).
02/19/02 update: A Talk With [MS] Database Guru Jim Gray.
11/26/02 update: Way back when (Brewster Kahle interview.)

23 Oct

A Letter to Our Suppliers

CIO Magazine:

"With the cost of producing and airing commercials so astronomically high, and with so many real products and real services in your offerings, what’s the point of selling flashy impossibilities? Or is that indeed the point? It strikes me that these ads are (in spite of their cost) a relatively cheap way to get a foot in the door."

10/30/01 update: I had forgotten to post it here: Heiko Hebig let me know that some soft drink vending machines do accept wireless payments, as seen in Hong-Kong. Heiko gave me more details:

"Similar machines are in place in Scandinavia and on some German airports they were installed for trial periods. I tried the machine in Hong Kong and I think the main advantage is that you neither need coins (good for traveling) nor need to have a credit or debit card (good for teenagers)."