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Archive for the ‘Online’ Category

The Enterprise Platform Battle is Joined… by Intuit.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

The enterprise platform space has been crowded for a long time, but Salesforce’s AppExchange platform model has been allowed to reign relatively freely, until recently. Today Erik Schonfeld blogged that Intuit has announced that they are opening their Quickbase platform to developers for small business applications. Intuit joins a growing list of enterprise platform contenders including big dogs Google and Salesforce. Read the article here.

So what? Well here’s the what. Competition in this space is very interesting because of three main factors:

1. As the competition and interest in “cloud” application platforms increases, and the number of big players increases, the more development interest will be generated overall. Why? If the largest and most successful software companies are getting into this game, it’s going to be a game worth playing for many developers. The ability to reach large customer bases, almost overnight, will be irresistible for many.
2. As the number of competitors increases it creates confusion in the marketplace as developers are unsure which platform will best suit their objectives and their target market. This is especially vital in the B2B world as business systems are often asked to smoothly integrate with one another. Suddenly the risk of being on the “wrong” platform is increasing drastically.

3. The “closed vs. open platform” factor. The interests of the developers and the interests of the platform-hosting companies are almost diametrically opposed, even thought they can profit from the same customers. Developers benefit from easily portable platforms where they could host their aplications on any of the platforms, quickly transition from one platform to another, and potentially run the same application on multiple platforms. In contrast, the platform-hosting companies want to lock in their developers and create a closed system, where by it forces users and developers to stay loyal to it’s platform-otherwise the model self-destructs.

How will it all shake out? How does this news impact the Lead Management space? Time will tell.

Oversee.net (low.com) takes on additional $150M investment

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

TechCrunch reports that Oversee.net has taken a large capital infusion. Our friends over at low.com will surely benefit from this cash as they adjust their business in the face of the changing mortgage landscape. Oversee as a whole is a fascinating company, and represents one of the first e-conglomerates. Just how important will domain names become?

Some argue that it’s the company that makes the domain. A frequently cited example is Amazon.com. Jeff Bezos could probably have used any number of book-unassociated websites to launch his online bookstore.  Meanwhile, I am not sure when, but Barnes & Nobel has snapped up book.com and books.com, they currently redirect to B&N’s homepage, which is probably an inefficient use of the domains, but will still net them a strong marketing advantage in the long run.  Zappos.com, which this blog has discussed before, is another example of a successful retailer successfully using a non-product related domain name.  What value would sneakers.com have for Nike?  For now it is a bit unclear.  Rick Shwartz, while biased, has written an interesting article dissecting the success of hotels.com, and how if any of the smart hotel chains had developed it, they would have seriously boosted their online marketing prowess, click here to read it.

I think Oversee.net is trying to transform itself into the Boston Properties of the online world.  They are betting big on online properties, which as hotels.com has proven, can gain the same kind of inherent value that real estate holdings can.