December 03, 2006

PAPA Framework for Amazon.com

As the holiday shopping seasons are approaching, Amazon's data collection method has increasingly become a morally debatable issue. Therefore, we will use the PAPA framework to analyze the potential problems involved with the use of this database.

Privacy By looking at the personal pages of a user's profile, we can see every product he or she purchased or viewed. Amazon uses this data to offer users recommendations for new products they may be interested in. Although this service might be useful to some customers, it may damage other customers that value their privacy.

Accuracy Amazon cannot assure complete accuracy within its data collection. In order to view or add a product to the wish list, users do not have to log in to the website. Therefore, data discrepancies can occur when various people use the same computer. This can totally skew the data collection Amazon and potentially harm both users and the company.

Property The information collected on the website provides Amazon with sensitive information. Amazon can easily sell this information to other companies that can use it for various needs. The question of who owns the data collected by the website is very important. Since websiter users never consented Amazon to sell this information, we belive that Amazon does not have the right to do so.

Accessibility When opening an account with Amazon, there is no explicit notification that Amazon will gain access to collect data from its users. Although it is legal for the website to collect the data, the accessibility to this sensitive information might pose as a threat for many individuals. Furthermore, outside source could gain access to this information. The information, which is kept on Amazon’s servers, is prone to hacker attacks and other security deficiencies.

Posted by orshotan at 09:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2006

Summary of Developments in Information Technology and the Political, Social, and Economic Ramifications

Our group’s aim for this project was to conceptualize the ramifications of technological development in the contemporary world. From the start, we realized that this was an ambitious outlook, where we could oversimplify the issue. In order to avoid developing such parochial viewpoint, we equipped ourselves with the fundamental principles from a variety of academic disciplines to analyze the issues. We utilized concepts from economics, political science, public policy, sociology, humanities, and business as a prism through which we could scrutinize the issue. Through this process, we hoped to communicate to our readers the complexity and multi-faceted role that information technology plays in our everyday life.

Since politics is closely linked with the welfare of many, we thought it was important to address the intricate link between information technology and politics, which many fail to conceptualize. Essentially, information technology equips people with a wider point of access to information. Over the recent months, we have seen that this has a tremendous effect on politics. For example, the widening popularity of “Fantasy Politics,? among the youth group increases political awareness in the generally apathetic group of citizens. For the functioning of a representative democracy, this is delightful news. This is, however, likely to adversely effect the welfare of Senior Citizens, who will proportionally lose its share of voice. And while technological advancement has shaped politics, it has also worked the other ways. The November election, for example, propelled a group of constituent-hugging politicians to pass a legislation banning online gambling. We also noted that this issue is global. In China, access to Wikipedia services (i.e. its citizens having access to information) could equip its citizens with a tool to pose a big threat to the power structure in the Communist nation. The widespread use of new technology essentially is a threat to the political processes in China.

Information technology has also played an integral role in the economic welfare of many. The rise of online gambling industry, Google, and Youtube, whom stack up billions of dollars in revenue, would not have existed without the rise of information technology. The success of these industries, one could argue, demonstrates how the development of new technology is a welfare-enhancing for the people. Economists, generally, substantiate that claim through its macro-economic growth models, where the increase in GDP is a function of growth in technology. However, we also pointed out that there are costs involved with such benefit. Youtube’s copyright mess is a prime example. While Youtube dramatically decreases the cost of accessing information (i.e. videos), it has been detrimental to some music groups and authors, who lost much of their business. They do have a point, since this mentality of tolerating unlawful activities (i.e. violating the copyright law) could be detrimental for the economic and social well-being of the society.

We thought it was appropriate to sum up our discussion with our final blog, entitled, “Big Brother Society: Public Policies and Information Technology.? We wanted to emphasize this point: while technology shapes the way we live, we can also determine how technology is used. For example, governments can abuse web-based CCTV cameras and fingerprint readers could reduce privacy rights to what George Orwell calls a “Big Brother Society.? However, we can utilize that very technology for harvesting crucial marketing data or to develop a security system for children. We must start to really conceptualize the enormous amount of power that information technology has, that can shape the political, social, and economic environment in which we live inhabit.

Posted by willmoon at 05:47 PM | Comments (0)

Summary of Delicious Tagging

We hope we raised your awareness in many of the new developments in IT, and its implications on your life and our society. You might as the question of what you can do to find these articles. For that, please refer to our “Search Tip Section,? which describes efficient methods for you to find the articles.

William frequently used Google News to look for IT news. He favors Google News, because Google gives access to world-wide news, which allowed him to grasp a firm understanding of IT development in the world, not just the U.S. He also used mainstream U.S. news sites, such as NY Times Technology, CNN Technology, and technology blog cites, such as ZDNET Asia.

Or preferred tagging from CNET.com for technological news. This website provides diverse and focused news relating to IT. Furthermore, he also used Businessweek.com, Yahoo News and CNN. These sites have a vast diversity of articles relating to the IT field, so it was easy tagging ones that were focused towards our topic.

Mark used the technology pages off of BBC.com and CNN.com. These websites provided great technological news, and both had a strong emphasis on political issues in the IT world. The sites differ greatly in topics, as one is from a European approach and one from a US point of view. Furthermore, with each site you get different opinions and are provided with different stories. This made tagging for our topic interesting and convenient, especially using BBC which is inundated with articles pertaining to IT issues in world politics.

All of the news articles we came across this semester can be retrieved at our delicious account. You can go there by clicking here.

Posted by willmoon at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2006

Blog 12: Big Brother Society – Public Policies and Information Technology

We want you to flag your attention to this clip prior to reading this blog.

When one asks the question, “What is the difference between liberals and conservatives,? one might get an answer like, “liberals are more accepting, and conservatives are more traditional.? Well, the actual difference between the two groups actually stem from the differing viewpoints on the role of government: liberals advocate heavy government involvement in the society, while conservatives advocate a limited government involvement in the society. Both groups, however, do not deny the importance of a government’s role in building infrastructure, (i.e. roads, schools, currency, etc). Such consensus exists because government’s public policy can provide something that will not be provided by individuals otherwise, maximizing societal welfare. A widely debated upon topic in public policy, accordingly, is the debate of what maximizes societal welfare.

The rise of information technology has created a debate in the field of public policy. In the UK, for example, Traffic officers today began piloting a hand-held fingerprint reader which they believe will “dramatically reduce the time it takes to identify suspects stopped by police.? ( here.) What’s the economic effect? Since police will be able to identify suspects without taking suspect drivers for formal fingerprint identification at police stations, it saves a lot of money. On a broader stroke, this also inhibits – at least discourages – individuals from giving false identification, decreasing their willingness to participate in crimes. From a public policy standpoint, this is befitting in our definition of “the role of government.? Such application of IT has expanded beyond the boundaries of police enforcement. Electronically enhanced healthcare has long been promoted as, “reducing costs, improving quality and efficiency and treating more patients with the same resources? (Click here). This, in fact, is one of the key reasons why governments around the world are heavily investing in IT technology. In fact, European Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) announced that they will conduct research in embedded computing systems, with 3 billion euro expected to be spent on electronics and software from 2007-2013. You can read that article here.

Should investment in information technology be a concern of governments? Perhaps. Some investments are too costly for any individual to provide the infrastructure. The invention of a hand-held fingerprint reader, for example, is a very costly adventure that would cost millions of dollars in research and development. The invention of such tools, based on government expenditures benefit the society at large greatly. Could there be any downside to it? Definitely. First, there is a limited amount of capital that governments can spend. An expenditure in a certain area (i.e. information technology), necessarily takes away expenditure in another area (e.g. education). Second, history proves that excessive government involvement in the society has often led to the destruction of a democratic process. While the application of fingerprint readers or web-based CCTV cameras can save money, it comes at the cost of citizen giving up a right to check the power of the government. The absence of such check destroys government transparency, which many fear would lead to a “big brother? society. In the UK, for example, there is a pervasive fear that the government will implant microchips to its citizens so that people can be tracked. (You can read that article here). Such system would greatly reduce crime, since a suspect automatically becomes a convict. Yet, is that the kind of society we want?

What about the regulation of information technology? Internet has arguably been the greatest invention of the 20th century, having big effects on economy, information, and the society. Very little of the Internet is owned, operated, or even controlled by governmental bodies. According to Robert Kahn, the Internet indirectly receives government support through federally funded academic facilities that provide some network-related services. You can read that article here). Increasingly, however, the Internet communication services is being handled by commercial firms on a profit-making basis. How has this policy held? While that loosened government surveillance of internet, internet has been a platform for terrorist organizations, drug dealers, and child molesters. Moreover, identify thefts has become epidemic.

Why do these offences occur? Quite simply, the cost of violating the law online depends on the severity of punishment and the probability that they will get caught. While the government has legislated strict punishments against online violators, the probability that they will get caught is extremely low. This is the dilemma that public policy must address. At the end of the day, we believe that it is the role of the government is to strike the balance between its need to get involvement in the information technology industry and the citizens’ need to be protected from the government.

Posted by willmoon at 12:42 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2006

Blog 11: Internet a Haven for Political Crisis?

Internet and politics are closely related. Whether used to spread opinions and news, or the topic of discussions regarding censorship, there is a close connection between the two. In fact, Tony Blair’s strategy advisor, Matthew Taylor, recently spoke of fears that the internet may be “fuelling a ‘crisis’ between politicians and voters.? His advisor noted the benefits of the internet, and spoke of it as a way for politicians to be “more open and accountable.? Blogs and online interviews provided these benefits for constituents. (Click here)

The concern is that the internet community may be using the internet to “abuse politicians or make ‘incommensurate demands’...[instead of] encouraging the general public to use the internet to ‘solve problems.’? He claimed that modern politics focused on quality of life, and these changes were especially apparent amongst teenagers who were among the primary users in this new IT age.

While blogs were a positive way for people of all sorts to reach the general public, there were increasing concerns as the new attitude towards politics is becoming that politicians are out to get and take advantage of you. One of the main concerns he noted was that a major IT attitude centered on anti-establishment and libertarianism as people want more power.

Mr. Taylor recently said that in the changing culture, “it's important for people who understand technology, to move from that frame of mind, which is about attacking the establishment into one which is about problem-solving and social enterprise.? He strongly feels that technology should be used to improve the relationship and communication between politicians and voters.

It is very easy to see Mr. Taylor’s point. We agree that the internet is frequently abused. Online “jokes? criticize politicians and can indirectly lead to negative publicity and smear campaigns. However, in a free society it is important to understand that all of this is going to occur. People will always voice there radical opinions, however right or wrong they are. Younger generations will also always be “rebellious.? Free speech grants everyone the right to say what they wish, and in the US this even means allowing racist groups such as the KKK to have a website.

Also, the internet can reach an extremely large group of people at a very rapid rate. This allows ideas to quickly be passed on and spread from one individual to another. There is some inherent risk in this, as it does allow for the risk of radical views and opinions. But again, this falls upon the responsibility and maturity of individuals to know what is right and wrong. Society also plays a large role in this.

The main political issues we see with the internet concern countries that are on the brink of revolution or instable. In such places the internet can allow individuals, radicals or not, to reach out to others. It also allows for the spread of propaganda, which with instability can have horrible effects. This would especially be of concern in the Middle East, where the spread of political ideas can lead to political outbreaks and attacks between various groups. It also allows the spread of negative, racist attitudes, which can hurt an entire ethnicity or culture as whole. This is where responsibility comes into play.

At the same time, it is the responsibility of internet users to not abuse their rights. It is clear that some individuals do take this too far and can stir up unnecessary problems. The web is a way to express opinions and ideas, but people should be responsible and respectful. People may have strong opinions but when high officials and others try and better communicate with the public people cannot abuse this opportunity.

It is easy to see both sides of the argument, and in the end it comes down simply to responsibility. Jokes and negative views will always be expressed, as will positive ones. The main idea is that individuals need to separate fact from fiction and know when not to joke around and take things seriously. With issues such as censorship, and governments and societies adding fuel to the internet debate, it is important that people work together to make the internet a better, safer place that can in the future lead to a complete integration and globalization of all cultures, countries, and societies.

Posted by wienma at 03:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2006

Blog 10: Wikipedia Back in China, Though Still Censored

There are many political and social issues in the IT world. None have been as prolonged and apparent as those concerning China. While China does appear to show some signs of democratizing, its censorship has remained a major issue amongst activists and human rights groups. However, recently following a one year ban, Wikipedia has again become available in China. ( click here ).

Groups are extremely excited by the changes, however censorship exists. While “searches for apolitical terms turned up results, but searches for subjects taboo to China's Communist leadership, such as "June 4", remained blocked.? The reasons for the ban being lifted on Wikipedia are unclear. Many officials, however, have claimed that China is making new strides to support IT development and changes. China recognizes that it “now has 123 million users, making it the world's second-largest Internet market.?

Activist groups have been arguing that western companies have been “compromising their principles by censoring searches and blog titles in order to do business in China.? However, this issue remains controversial as others argue that small concessions and patience in dealing with China is the right plan, especially considering its large market. The Chinese government also recognizes the prevalence and importance of foreign business and does not want to do anything to curtail that.

We feel that these changes are extremely important. The Asian boom has been gaining international attention from all governments and businesses. While companies may oppose some practices of the Chinese government and its censorship, the country nonetheless remains rapidly growing. It is important that diplomatic relations remain positive as China continues to develop and change.

These changes, however little, are still a step in the right direction. While censorship still is a while away, improvements that allow the public to at least have some say will be great. Democratization and free speech are not instantaneous, but this is a start and its great to see these positive effects occurring in what will be one of the more influential countries in the coming years.

China's Internet Regulation
Figure – For the Chinese government, relaxing internet regulations could jeopardize their legitimacy.

We must remember that the means of social institution that we choose to live under (i.e. democracy and capitalism) is dictated by what the people wants. Essentially, communism in China was derived by the consensus that it was beneficial for the state to dictate the economic and political agendas of the country. In the contemporary era of global integration and technological advancement, state control has been a hard subject to achieve. In this sense, internet and information technology has propelled a powerful movement that can jeopardize the political control of China.

***************Update, CLICK HERE: Less than a week after the ban on Wikipedia was released in China, it was again reported blocked in several parts of China. This is a major setback, and continues to show the complexity and importance of the censorship and free speech issues concerning the internet in China.

Posted by wienma at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2006

Blog 9 - Will DVRs Eliminate Political Advertising?

The upcoming mid-term elections have caused candidates to spend record sums of money on spreading their messages. Their most popular tool is TV ads; however, the recent technological breakthrough of DVRs might eliminate these commercials in the future ( click here ).

Advertisers are aware that most people dislike these ads; furthermore, most people find them annoying and uninformative. Why are they still used? The answer is simple: they are still economical. Although, bothersome and irritating these ads still increase candidates popularity in a manner that is worth the large amounts of money that is spent on them, at least that is what analysts say.

According to market penetration surveys only 10 million out of 110 million households own some sort of DVR, where TIVO is the most popular brand. Currently, marketers regard this segment group as a niche and insignificant in relations to the upcoming elections. However, this new technology has been increasing fear for the near future among marketers.

Surveys(click here) show that three-quarters of advertising leaders believe that the digital video recorder (DVR) ad skipping technology will have a dramatic effect on the landscape of TV advertising. Furthermore, they believe that this might eliminate the traditional 30 spot ads.

Politics
Figure – Tivo is the DVR market leader with market share of 30%-40%.

Marketers regard product-placement as the next revolution in advertising. TV producers will incorporate ads within the show itself. This will allow marketers a more subtle way of pushing their products to consumers. However, how will political campaigns be advertised if the conventional ads will disappear?

There are many speculations regarding the next generation of political campaigns. Some people believe TV shows and movies will be sponsored by politicians. Others consider this change as the end of political ads on television.

We believe only time will tell what will be the faith of political advertising on television. The only way, to our perception, of political ads remaining on TV is a change in their essence. People are not interested in political bickering or bashing. Moreover, people are interested in clear concise and straightforward messages. If politicians will continue using spin tactic and refrain from dealing with serious issues then people will fast forward their ads. However, if they will change their tactics and send messages that people would like to listen to, there is chance for these ads to remain economical.

As for products placement for political campaigns, we do not think it will happen. If it does, it will hurt Hollywood's credibility in the eyes of the public. The thin line between entertainment and politics should be kept and is beneficial to both sides. The combination of the two will only hurt TV shows and the politicians themselves.

Posted by orshotan at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2006

Blog 8 - Youtube's Copyright Mess: An Economic Analysis

Admit it – many of us have downloaded copyrighted files illegally online. Here’s a surprise – you might get charged for it. Businessweek, on October 27th, reported that a Peer-to-Peer file sharing administrator, Gary Stanley was sentenced to 5 months in prison for copyright violations. Technological advances have brought commercial success for businesses. However, internet has also opened a venue where law is harder to enforce. Internet created a huge black market for music, which dramatically cut down on CD sales, upsetting RIAA and recording artists. In recent weeks, video-sharing site Youtube received center attention on that issue. We will perform an economic and social cost-benefit analysis of sharing copyrighted materials online.

Youtube is a litigation landmine, according to a NY Times columnist. Why? Youtube’s enormous popularity is based on its innovative service of allowing its users to upload, view, and share video files. The precise ingredient that allowed it to secure its popularity (and profitability) is haunting them back, as they face litigations from numerous groups. One of them is The Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC), who has started by requesting 30,000 copyrighted video from being removed from its website. You can read that article here. Youtube has also settled a deal with three of the four major music companies — Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony and Bertelsmann’s jointly owned Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and the Warner Music Group. The entailed, among others, Youtube coughing up $50 million in exchange for legally using the copyrighted materials. You can read that article here. The Google acquisition of Youtube has exacerbated the “landmine? problem, as lawsuits against Youtube is piling up. What’s the dilemma here for Youtube?

  • Profit – Youtube derives majority of its revenue from collecting cash for the advertising space it provides on its website. This business is successful precisely because they attract millions (34 million unique visitors a month, according to Nielsen/NetRatings) of internet users. Removing copyrighted materials, at the margin, will drive users away from the site, which will eventually cut down its margin.
  • Costs – That being sad, removing the copyrighted materials are also all over the website – thousands of video files get uploaded everyday. Manually screening them should cost Youtube a Fortune. On the other hand, getting hit by hundreds of lawsuits also cost a lot of money.

Such benefits and costs are ones that should be taken into, when Youtube decides to restructure its business. It is, however, much more interesting to look at the societal benefits and costs of sharing copyrighted materials. Here’s an economic analysis: Giving copyrights to the producers of the material (e.g. a music industry) is de facto granting them monopoly power. What do we know about monopoly power?

Monopoly Welfare Effect
Figure – The Economic Model illustrates how monopoly results in a “social lost,? colored in Gray.

If you don’t read Economics, just know that the gray area in the graph illustrates the “welfare loss? to the society. So why does law provide copyright? Many believe that the large profit that monopolies derive will lead to innovation. For example, Rod Stewart will not be producing the quality of music he produces if he earns $20,000 per album. In that prospective, Youtube’s video sharing effort hinders upon innovation. Yet, we need to consider the societal benefit from allowing the copyrighted materials to be shared: it will benefit the consumers. For example, an urban teen, who cannot afford a TV, can be inspired to become a lawyer after streaming Law and Order on Youtube. These are what economists like to call “externalities.? In the end, it is impossible to measure the exact ramifications of Youtube’s technology.

On that note, we still need to consider the law. Internet has increasingly been an arena where the rule of law has been ignored by many. This point is illustrated by the number of identity theft industries, which is a clear violation of the law. In the end, Youtube’s illegal practices violate the law, and that threatens the moral fabric of our society. We believe that such is such an important point that should force youtube to abandon its’ illegal business.

Are we advocating that Youtube should shut down? Hardly. Its video sharing technology can be used for a good cause. According to a news article, “prominent and not-so-prominent political campaigns are taking advantage of YouTube’s free video hosting to disseminate messages too expensive or too controversial for broadcast television.? (Click here to read the article). Exposure to a large segment of the population, in effect, is an opportunity for businesses, politicians, and individuals. This "spread of information" effect at a global stage could enhance welfare for many citizens. So before blaming technology, why not look for better ways to utilize it? (By the way, Youtube’s business line is “Broadcast Yourself? – not “share your illegal video here.?)

Posted by willmoon at 01:02 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2006

Blog 7 - Online Gambling, Where Now?

The information revolution of Internet and World Wide Web in the mid-1990's redesigned geographic markets for many industries. Retailers could sell to the entire world via internet instead of relying on physical locations. Furthermore, the internet introduced a new market for online services such as VOIP communication or information search.

The gambling industry has also been turned around through the introduction of the internet and its creative entrepreneurs. There are hundreds of online betting sites online allowing web surfers to bet on almost anything.

Although gambling is addictive and has negative social effects such as increasing crime, it is legal in many states. In these states, gambling is highly regulated by the government and most important of all, it is taxed heavily. Therefore, allowing the public via the government to take advantage of the larger profits casinos produce.

What makes online gambling so unique and disturbing, from the government's point of view, is the fact they cannot tax it. Most online gaming sites are located in tax shelters such as the Cayman Islands and they are not regulated. Furthermore, the internet allows users to gamble from anywhere at anytime due to its high accessibility. This gives politicians to have a unique political incentive to stand against the industry.

In 2005 two IPOs of huge gambling giants 888 and PartyGaming portrayed the peak this industry was at. However, the US government was not ready to give up revenues from gambling and allow the continuation of the cash flows out of the United States.

On Sep. 30 the US congress passed a bill ( click here ) that tries to eliminate online gambling of US citizens. The ban limits the transfer of money from US credit card companies to the operators of the websites. Analysts predict this act would effectively bar online-gambling companies from operating legally in the United States, changing their business models and perhaps forcing some companies out of business.

The recent act has caused gambling sites significant losses of revenues and large decreases in the prices of the stocks ( click here ). This stock crash caused industry leaders such as 888 (loss of 26%) and PartyGaming (loss of 58%) billions of dollars in market value. Both online giants stated they will suspend their US service if President Bush signs the new bill. However, they will be looking into changing their collection strategy. In an attempt to recover losses and reorganize their businesses for the battle against the US government, both gambling giants are considering a merger). This merger will allow both companies a better financial structure to combat US legislation and reenter the US market.

Online Casino
What is your stance on online gambling?

Recently the UK announced that it will host an international conference to discuss regulation for online gambling ( click here ). The British wish to seek regulated online gambling through international agreements. This will allow each country to collect the tax and prevent the destruction of the industry. The United States refused to attend this conference.

We believe that gambling should be limited and regulated in the United States and throughout the internet. The move by the US congress to ban online gambling by passing on the enforcement to the credit card companies is a right move. However, we think it is not a smart decision. Instead of finding a way to collect taxes, like the British, the US is declaring a war on online gambling. It is a matter of time until the operators of these websites figure out a new sophisticated way to collect payments.

For example, online gambling companies can simply relocate their main operations to a different country, where online gambling is allowed (i.e. off shoring). In fact, many of the top companies are already on the move of doing this. Empire Online, for example, have said that it had “terminated its US operations, and…planned to develop its non-US operations? (( click here to read the article). Because internet is not “located? in a physical area, it is simply too hard to regulate. This being said, politicians do not make their decisions based on economic analysis – political processes are determined by the amount of political capital that politicians can capture. Given that November elections are around the corner, it would have been detrimental for any politician to take a stance against banning online gambling.

Where do we stand on the issue? The demand for gambling is very inelastic, especially in a rich developed country, like the United States. Online gamblers are not going to quit gambling because U.S. companies move to a different website based on a different location. The government needs to recognize this need and instead of fighting it, they should accompany and limit it with economic methods such as a high tax. They must remember that trying to regulate online gambling simply encouraging offshore business, which only makes it even harder to hinder its operations. And perhaps they need more advisors who can advise them on internet technology.

Posted by orshotan at 12:34 PM | Comments (2)

October 23, 2006

Blog 6 - Fantasy Politics: Who's Your Pick?

Internet is frequently used as a way to recreate fantasy environments. It can give you a chance to do things you cannot do in real life. Such notion is demonstrated by EA’s success in launching “reality? games like Sims and Sims Online. Another example is fantasy sports, which allows users to draft and manage their own team of real life players in all major sports, and compete against others for prizes or pride. Now, this phenomenon is carrying over in to the world of politics.

Just as millions participate in fantasy sports every year, college students in California have created a “Fantasy Congress.? Drawing much of its influence from fantasy sports, participants draft a team of real politicians and actually compete against other teams.

Fantasy sports, especially fantasy football have grown to such a staggering number that the growth of fantasy congress may not be out of the question. “A recent study found that fantasy football costs employers as much as $1.1 billion a week in lost productivity during the National Football League regular season, when nearly 37 million people spent an average of 50 minutes per week at work managing their fantasy teams.

Fantasy Congress has grown to include 6,000 participants from many US States and overseas. The point is to help draw more attention to the political elections and to politics as a whole. This has a huge potential to satisfy the political needs of many. According to a recent poll by AP, “some 35 percent of Americans, or 43 percent of likely voters, go online for election information.? (click here to read the article). The game also sets up to help create more of an interest in politics and elections for all people, especially younger kids.

Fantasy Congress could have huge impact on the political landscape of this country by bringing more attention to politics and make people care more about issues and elections. Just as many people watch or care about a football game just because “this player? is on my fantasy team, now propositions and politicians will become more important to many people. This is extraordinary, when you factor in the fact that the game targets internet users, who tend to be young. This could play an integral role in solving a notorious epidemic called “Political Apathy.? This could drive the younger generation to the polls.

Such interests also creates political transparency. The expansion of this idea will help make more people aware of new issues and what politicians are currently involved in. The fact that it is competitive will make people care more about what is going on and follow political issues more closely. This could, partially, serve as a potent force that could counter the recent decline in government transparency established under the banner of “USA PATRIOT Act.?

However, the main issue is to make sure that the point of the game is not lost. It is to gain awareness and expand interest. If this idea were to grow it is important it does not reach the point where people vote on propositions or politicians based on their “team.? The idea is to make people aware by creating a fun and stimulating environment, and it seems as though this new idea can definitely accomplish what it sets out to do. It is also important that such game could bring dramatic power shift in the American government. Because most of the younger generation leans towards the liberal camp, systematically compelling them to vote, could potentially end the Republican dominance. The problem? While this “enhances? the functioning of a representative democracy, this also affects the welfare of many. Here’s a list:

  • Corporate America: Democrats tend to favor unions and higher taxes. That means the cost of operating business will go up.
  • Senior Citizens: If younger people vote, the leverage that senior citizens enjoy will marginally decrease accordingly.
  • College Students: If college students start voting, their voices will be heard. This could potentially lead to lower tuitions among public universities (like the University of Michigan, where a fine education at the Ross School of Business will cost more than $30,000 a year for out-of-state students).

    Politics
    Figure – We do not want people to confuse politics with fantasy. After all, politics is a potent tool that can affect the welfare of many.

    With the first pick in the 2006 Fantasy Congress Election, I will select...let’s just hope a scandal doesn’t break out because I need a win this week! Let’s also not hope that gamers will not confuse fantasy with politics.

    Posted by wienma at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

    Topic Announcement

    We plan to spend the remainder of the term discussing the social, political, and economic ramifications of technology in the contemporary era. These issues will include facets of the political spectrum, including issues concerning privacy rights, copyright laws, and technology’s role in shaping our “way of living.? Such discussion will include issues which have become headline news across the nation in recent weeks.

    Posted by wienma at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

    October 18, 2006

    Search Tip (3): Blog Searches

    What do Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, and Professor Moore have in common? Blogging. Clearly one of the fastest growing “fads? in the IT world, it allows people worldwide and of all demographics to update people on their lives, their businesses, and their opinions.

    Blogging has become a way to reach out to numerous people on current events, news, and stories—whether it be friends and family regarding school, shareholders regarding company objectives, the general public about new directives, or even just to voice your opinion. As more and more people begin to subscribe and rely on blogs it is becoming more and more important to conveniently be able to search through databases containing various blog entries.

    BlogPulse is one such site which allows you to search and browse the blogging world by keyword, URL, or topic. It allows you to customize searches to meet particular needs, and offers other options to help you customize searches. Blogline Search, Blog Catalog and Feedster all offer similar services. Each site aids in locating blogs of interest using a variety of similar searching techniques.

    BlogPulse
    Figure – This is What BlogPulse Site Looks Like.

    All of these blog sites have one major setback: the searches are not as extensive as they could be. Each site does not allow you to search by publisher, and limits you in the detail, criteria, and complexity of each search. While all provide great links and options to search by topic, date, and key word, it is very difficult to find a blog written by a particular person, or with multiple different search criteria. Once again, Google dominates in this regard.

    BlogSearch provides the most efficient and effective blog search engine of all. If unable to find anything of interest off of the main site, a simple click on advanced search opens up a whole new organized database. You can search by title, with or without certain words, by date, or author. You can search using a combination of these criterion as well. Searches can even be filtered.

    Google’s service is further enhanced by the "preferences" menu. This enables users to customize search criteria and interface languages, to anything from Arabic to Estonian. The user-friendly site makes blog searching convenient, easy to use, and customizable for everyone.

    Try it yourself! While spending countless minutes searching the competing blog sites for articles on BIT 200, a simple advanced search on Google Blog Search with the words “Bit 200? and written by “Moore? immediately produce results.

    It appears as though once again Google maintains an advantage over its competition. Google’s BlogSearch is efficient, easy to use, and the most comprehensive of all. Have fun Google-Blogging!

    Posted by wienma at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

    October 15, 2006

    Blog 5 - Corporate America Turns to Blogs

    BLOGGING (n.) = A FORM OF A NERDY ACTIVITY

    Does the equation above hold?

    Perhaps – but you are going to have to argue with a lot of people. Blogging was primarily started by the so-called “geeks? (otherwise known as online journalists) who wanted to voice their opinion through a channel called internet. It was an effective method of communication because it gave them access to millions of people (i.e. the world) without having to go through the financial burden attached to traditional media. What started out as small scale online journals eventually drew thousands of internet users, and become political powerhouses– literally. Early popular blogging sites included ones by Andrew Sullivan, Ron Guzburder, and Taegan Goddard, among others, who aimed at influencing others with their political ideologies. These popular websites were not only able to influence others, but also figured out ways to collect sizable revenues through online advertising.

    Here’s a trivia question. Who gets involved if something is economically and socially profitable? Bingo! – Corporate America. We have now entered a stage where business giants started to pay attention to blogging. In fact, thirty of the Fortune 500 companies have already started blogging. CNN recently had a special news coverage entitled, “CEO Bloggers Communicate to the Masses,? which features the story of Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems. Click here to read the article. According to Mr. Schwartz, corporate blogs is,?the single most effective vehicle to communicate to all of our constituencies -- developers, media, analysts and shareholders.? It is an effective means for CEOs to bypassing public relations departments, thereby having a more “personal? relationship with consumers.

    Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Suns Microsystems
    Figure – Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Suns Microsystems, writes a corporate blog that generates around 50,000 viewers a month. Click here to view his blog

    So what? We have generated a list of Goodies that blogs can do:

    • Cure for the Agency Problem – One fundamental problem that exists in any publicly traded company is something known as the agency problem. Such problem arises when the interest of management and interest of owners (i.e. shareholders) do not align. CEOs may try to maximize the welfare of themselves (e.g. using corporate jets for personal travel), which may not necessarily serve the interest of shareholders. Current HP scandals and the prevalence of CEO resignations is largely a symptom of the underlying disease called the agency problem. What can corporate blogs do to alleviate this problem? Blogs provide a mechanism for shareholders to communicate with CEOs. This means that CEOs are under closer scrutiny of shareholders and the public. Essentially, CEOs will take the heat if they underperformed. That should provide an incentive to not screw up.
    • Cure for the CEO disease – the interactive nature of blogs frees CEOs from isolation from subordinates and shareholders. The feedback, theoretically, should allow CEOs to be aware of pressing issues.
    • Increase Corporate Transparency – CEO’s can have a more personal relationship with its constituency. Many potential consumers, who do not necessarily find it entertaining to analyze 10-k’s and other financial statements, now have access to a source that talk about corporations. This can help build goodwill and enhance corporate image to the world.

    There are, of course, downsides:

    • Agency Problem – while blogs provide another means for CEO scrutiny, it also squanders the time of management. In fact, according to CNN, “Sun's annual revenue has declined in four of the past five years, and shares have plummeted from a high of about $64 in September of 2000 to around $5 this year.?
    • Miscommunication – most CEOs do not have an advanced degree in English. In fact, many of them are horrible writers. They inherently bear the risk of ruining the goodwill of the company, which can spillover to negative publicity.
    • Insider Information Leak – It is in the nature of Journals that people talk about things they don’t necessarily talk about in public. Crucial information leak for corporations can cost corporations millions of dollars. For example, wouldn’t Yahoo want to know about what the CEO of Google has to say about its future growth strategies?

    We believe that it is not in the interest of most corporations to allow their CEOs to spend hours in writing corporate journals. It bears too much risk of ruining company image relative to the potential benefits it can generate. This is, of course, not a per se recommendation. Some CEOs, with the help of eloquent writing and clever strategies, can utilize blogs to accomplish many different objectives. However, we recommend an alternate blogging strategy for most corporations – corporations simply using blog sites to promote their goods and services, just in a more informal way. Such approach to blogging will save CEOs time, personalize the corporate image, and still allow corporations to capitalize on the benefits associated with new method of communications.

    Posted by willmoon at 11:47 PM | Comments (1)

    October 08, 2006

    Blog 4 - Computer Translators

    As the world becomes more globalized and accessible to more people, language and communication barriers tend to stick out as a hindrance to further integration. Such barrier was fueled by America’s reliance on English as the “global? language, which failed to notice the importance of learning different languages. What’s the result? When Bush sends troops to Iraq, he needs to equip them with people who are fluent in Arabic and English. The problem? There aren’t that many Arabic interpreters who would serve the job. Ramifications? Law of Supply and Demand tells us that they are expensive. Solution? The United States Joint Forces Command teamed up with IBM to deliver MASTOR - Multilingual Automatic Speech-to-Speech Translator. Click on the following links to read further about this new technology

    Essentially, this new laptop software, which has already been deployed to Iraq for testing, allows for easy communication between people of different tongues. Essentially, Soldiers will carry around laptops. The speaker will speak into the laptop, which will than translate and say aloud what is uttered by the speaker. The laptop will also translate the other party’s response into the holder’s language to allow for easy communication. This is all done by the use of ViaVoice technology, which recognizes words. In the event of an unclear response, choices will appear to help make the translation more clear and avoid confusion.

    MASCOT
    Figure – The system has a vocabulary of 50,000 English words and 100,000 Arabic words.

    Lets get down to what this technology really means to the world:

    • Security Concerns – You are looking at an example of a corporate-state relationship, where the state (i.e. U.S. army) allies with a corporation (i.e. IBM) to deliver security. While the program may not be completely fluent, it will serve as a non-bias interpreter. This eliminates trouble that can be derived from using native speakers, who may have an interest against the United States. This allows for efficient operations and missions via avoiding miscommunications.
    • Cost-Efficiency – Arabic linguists are rare, and it’s even rarer to find ones that are good at what they do. If the age-tested Law of Supply and Demand holds, we should note that utilizing these scare resources will be a financial burden upon the United States.
    • Technology Spillover – MASTOR could be a great asset to the military. But it could be used for other activities as well. Let’s enter in our good old buddy, Corporate America. MASTOR can allow for a more personal “touch? to meetings. It can allow for meetings to take place with people speaking their own native languages but allowing for everyone to understand without going through a translator. This will result in a more personal and friendly setting, and easily allow for dialogue to take place between different business parties. We do acknowledge that people who make living off of translating will be economically hurt by the rise of this technology. Yet, it will be a tremendous cost-reducing phenomenon for most businesses.

    Mascot could further reduce cultural and language barriers, and unite people in a new way. It can take away the need for translators, allowing for a more intimate and personal discussion to take place. It can also help avoid miscommunication problems that can regularly occur in everyday life. Imagine that one day when you might be able to communicate with those servers at Pancharos! In essence, it has a potential to fundamentally alter the rate of global integration, where language has historically served as a major barrier.

    Again, never underestimate the power of Information Technlogy!

    Posted by willmoon at 06:45 PM | Comments (0)

    Search Tips (2) - Why Choose a Search Engine?

    Google is by far the most popular search engine available today on the net. Nevertheless, the competition does exist and has been increasing in the past few months. Microsoft recently launched its new search engine called Live Search. Furthermore, competition from Yahoo and Ask.com has also heated up. Some of Google's competitors claim to produce better results than the leading giant from California. And frankly, the definition of “better? depends on the needs of different people. So instead of the “one-size-fits-all? attitudes that other search engines advocate, we came across a great tool that gives you the option of “not choosing,? which still allows you to extract the fruits of everything that is out there.

    Google Scholar

    Dogpile a new website that offers a great search tool for those who want the best results from the leading search engines. With its “Metasearch Technology,? Dogpile combines the best results from the 7 leading engines to supply more complete results on your query. That means that when you search for a word on Dogpile, it will automatically analyze that word for you so that you will only get the best aggregate results from search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

    What does this mean to you? Well, have you ever had a huge research project that required you to search through almost every search engine sites out there? The proliferation of new search engines definitely didn’t help you, because there were a lot of search engines to browse through. And why did you do it? Because it is very much true that the exact same word you search on Google retrieves different sources than that of Yahoo or Altavista. So in the end, you end up with a bundle of useful information, but you’ve squandered 10 hours doing it. Look no further than Dogpile to solve that problem.

    Dogpile only offers the best – what’s most clicked out there by internet users like you – in its search results page. For example, when you search “University of Michigan? on Google, Google will spit out 73 million+ websites for you to surf through. On Dogpile, you only get 93 of the most clicked websites related to the University of Michigan. That may be good for time-savers, but what if you want more than 93 sources?

    DogPile allows you to customize your search experience. This is great leap forward from the “one-size-fits-all? search experience, in that users are allowed to:

    • Customize the level of filter
    • Reorder search engines
    • Retrieve links to more results from each search engine.

    What does this mean for you? If you like doing a surface level search on a topic, you may want to adjust your filter to “high? so that you will only get the most related sources that you need. But if you’re a professor who may want to know everything about a given topic before you write that thesis, you may want to turn your filter down so you will collect most of everything that’s out there.

    Posted by orshotan at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

    October 02, 2006

    Blog 3: Rise and Improvement of Google Earth

    Google Earth Logo

    Google Earth has been a major growing service in recent years. Using satellites, it offers views of most countries, towns, and even houses around the world. Recently, members of Google Earth’s technology team have been working on ways to expand the program by offering more in-depth and high-resolution satellite images (Click for article.). In addition, the team is also trying to develop more local additions. They also hope to expand their worldwide audience by offering Google Earth in even more languages..

    Developers see Google Earth as becoming more of an asset with these improvements. Michael Jones, Chief Technology Officer of Google Earth, believes that improvements such as adding local data can create a, “second wave of interest from those who want to use this in useful ways, like plan trips.?

    Google hopes, that by improving their site, it will create a greater market for advertisements, both locally and nationally. By creating more local data and improving the program it will create new advertising opportunities and a great potential to increase revenue. Namely, it will drive millions of additional users to Google Earth, which translates into higher banner fees for Google Earth. It can also increase the brand name value of Google, building goodwill in the business community. With these improvements, the advertisements can be specific to areas and countries, and vary with searches.

    These improvements will also provide new opportunities and further services to individuals. They will expand on the already free service which enables you to search the world by offering new services along with it, and providing greater detail. These new services include offering directions and sorting searches by purpose (sightseeing, area of interest, home). They also store previous searches and enable you to view and search for businesses.

    Google is also developing a new product called “Google Earth for Enterprise? which was created to “help[ing] governments and many other international organizations…which let experts take their own data and organize and analyze it themselves.? This is just another segment of Google Earth that can directly translate into an increase in sales revenue.

    We find Google Earth to be a very interesting and valuable program. It enables you to view your home, your town, or any place that interests you around the world with few limitations. Up until now, many areas of the world were seen as “green areas,? where no satellite images were available. The improvement of this already impressive program would provide only a greater benefit to all of its users. For example, it will allow the world an insight into the world’s most mysterious areas (ex. area hit by tornado storms), where resource limitations inhibit humans from traveling to such place. This could lead to breakthrough discoveries and research in the science fields, which could benefit the society in many ways. Or, it could just enlighten a fifteen-year-old, who will have access to how an Egyptian town looks like within a click of a mouse.

    To be able to surf the world and see places you have been is truly incredible. Currently, people frequently use Google Earth to see their homes and towns. It provides a sort of comfort when away from home to be able to get a close and in-depth view of places familiar to you, and is a great way to show people places you have been or where you are from. In other aspects it has always been a great way to view places you may be going, but is limited in how far you can take it. You literally have the world at your fingertips and just a mouse-click away. This also translates into a greater access of information for more people, which has generally been linked with direct and indirect economic growth.

    The new opportunities that would be created by these improvements, such as to help plan trips, aid in assignments, and get a better perspective of the world, is something that cannot be imitated. These improvements would create a completely new market and use for Google Earth users by aiding them in new ways, while improving the service for past users. To be able to plan trips, see images of hotels, and get high-resolution images of places people are going would provide a new benefit to all. Since Google Earth is free and attracts millions of people, the potential for advertisements is clearly great, and it seems to be win-win for all parties involved.

    On the other note, “freedom of information? always clashes with issues of privacy and security. The main issue arises with countries that are not willing to provide images or remain closed. For example, would Pentagon want North Korea to know where all its H-bombs are stored? After all, Google Earth is available to anyone! Another example…would you like you and your room to be viewable to the whole world? That’s what this new technology, unregulated, can essentially do. What are the constitutional and international laws that help protect people from violation of privacy? These are the questions that the Supreme Court, the FBI, and numerous international organizations should be asking, with the rise of this new technology.

    Capitol uncensured

    Figure - Would the White House Appreciate Terroist Organizations Having Access to These Kind of Pictures?

    Technology, if fallen into the hands of wrong people, could have disastrous effect on the welfare of the society. Indeed, many heroic stories that we grew up reading dealt with “evil enemy? gaining access to power through the use of new technology, trying to destroy the world. Similarly, unregulated access to Google Earth could provide information to terrorist organizations and subversive groups that could have serious ramifications to the society. However, even given those risks, we should not forget that Google Earth provides a valuable resource which, with its improvements, will be a great asset to society.

    Click to go to Google Earth Homepage

    "A map can show you what you're looking for and put it in context. That very sense of place is everything Google Earth is about.?- Michael Jones, Chief Technology Officer of Google Earth

    Posted by wienma at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

    September 30, 2006

    Search Tips (1) - Make Google Work for YOU

    Have you heard anyone say, “Just Google it?? As strange as it might sound, Google – the ever-popular search engine – has been so popular in recent years, that the word “Google? has actually been recognized as a verb in recent years. While many are attracted to the site because of its simplistic features, there are many features in the site that can make your life easier.

    Did you ever get frustrated when Google gives 500,000 websites for your search? Well, here’s a solution that I’ve used to filter out a lot of irrelevant site.

    Google offers many different “categories? of search that you can select to only gather information that you want, based on your needs. For example, let’s say I’m doing a research for a Political Science course, and the professor is strict about the use of “scholarly articles.? Going through every website and checking to see if it is indeed “scholarly? can be a daunting task (I’ve been there!). What do you do about it?

    1. Go to Google Website (www.Google.com).
    2. Click on “More? (which is above the search bar towards the right end). Five categories – Books, Froogle, Groups, Scholar, Even More – will appear.
    3. Click on “Scholar?
    4. This will take you to the Google Scholar Website. It should look something like this:

      Google Scholar

      *Alternatively, you could simply click here to go to Google Scholar!


    5. Type in what you want in the search box, and your search will only bring up scholarly articles.
    6. The results will not only show the titles of the articles, but also show the following useful information:
    • Author(s) Name
    • Publication Name
    • Related Articles

    Google Scholar is just one of the many features you can use to make your search easier and enjoyable. For example, when searching for IT News, simply go to Google News. The great thing about this site is that the article line up in the order of relevance or date. This feature, effectively, allows you to browse through a multitude of newspapers in a click of a mouse. For example, if you want the latest on the HP Scandal, Google News will bring up the most recent articles from sources including USA Today, ABC News, and local newspapers.

    Life just gets that much easier with the rise of information technology. Enjoy Googling!


    Posted by willmoon at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

    September 27, 2006

    Blog 2 - Is Sony Leading The Next Digital Revolution?

    Sony, the Japanese based electronics giant, announced on Tuesday Sep. 26, that it will launch a new electronic book store on the Internet. (Click here to read the article) Accompanying the online book store will be the Sony Reader, which is a device that will enable people to view these online books. Starting October 1st, people will be able to download books from various publishers, such as HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. This is just a glimpse of what the device will look like:

    The Sony Reader

    Figure 1: The Sony Reader will be about half the size of a paperback book and have 10MB of built-in memory--enough for 20 books.

    For starters, the book store will hold 10,000 different books that will sell at a discount of 25% from the original paper versions. The new visual display device mimics the quality of paper, according to reviewers. However, its price of $350 might deter many customers from buying the device in the first place. Just based on the price, this device will be more attractive to heavy book readers or organizations (i.e. public library, schools, companies) that require the use of many materials. Unless the price drops, it will not target the mainstream Americans. Another disadvantage of the new device is the fact it does not have a backlight feature. Much like a regular book, the new device requires an external light source for reading in the dark.

    At the same time, the lack of backlight enables the device to have longer battery life, according to Sony. Moreover, several RSS feeds will be available through the new device. However, Sony will block most RSS feeds and blogs, only Sony authorized services will be allowed. This feature gives Sony an aspect of monopolistic domination, yet could also limit the growth of the market.

    The new service by Sony is still expensive and might not be the most efficient substitute for books. However, if the new device does enable people to see text in a resolution that resembles paper, we predict that this is the beginning of a new revolution. When more companies enter this emerging market and drive down the prices, this product might reach every home.

    Translate these features into the world of economics:

    1. Macroeconomic growth. Those of us who didn’t fall asleep in Econ 102 – Introduction to Macroeconomics – will know that the increase in Technology will allows for more efficient use of labor, capital, and natural resources. In this case, ebook will allow for a more efficient distribution of books. A key concept to grasp here is that book is not your everyday product. It’s something that has the power to educate people through the distribution of information.
    2. Positive Externalities: Conservation of trees via not printing for books will benefit the economy directly and indirectly. The decrease in demand for lumber will drive down the price of lumber. This will decrease the marginal cost of production for many firms (i.e. furniture makers, etc), which will benefit the consumers through lower cost. This will also help avoid the deforestation in many parts of the world, which has been linked with all sorts of problems – destruction of ozone layers, flooding, and pollution to name a few.
    3. Real Income Increase: Cost of books can essentially be slashed by at least 25% using this new technology. When these devices do get caught on to the mainstream, this means real money savings for millions of people. This, in fact, is an increase in the real income that people can spend.

    This new technology could end the elimination of rain forests in places like South and Central America. This new technology could inspire a child in Louisiana to pursue higher education. But most importantly, this is truly another layer in the freedom and accessibility of information. Imagine a person in Iran or Zanzibar with an instant access to possibly every book out there.

    Posted by orshotan at 11:47 PM | Comments (0)

    September 24, 2006

    Blog 1 - Is Facebook Worth $1 Billion?

    It seems that Yahoo is on a fast track to acquiring Facebook, one of the largest networking sites out there. Reports from both The New York Times (click here to read the article) and CNN MONEY (click here to read the article) project that the buyout could entail Yahoo coughing up currency to the tune of about $1 billion. Is Facebook – a social-networking site that does $50 million a year – worth a billion dollars for Yahoo?

    When accountants value a company that is being acquired, they make sure to keep in mind that a company’s “goodwill? and “intangible assets? are big portions of the acquisition price. In the case of Facebook, Yahoo should not focus on the $50~$100 million advertising revenue it can bring in. After all, it should take about 30 years for Facebook’s $50 million in annual revenue to yield $1 billion dollars, when discounting for future cash flows. It is the intangibles that Yahoo needs to focus on, when doing the cost-benefit analysis. I have a couple of suggestions:

    • Market Structure: After losing its “top internet company? crown to Google, Yahoo wants to survive in the highly competitive market of internet search engine sites. It needs to consider that other companies, namely, Viacom, is already after Facebook – In January, Viacom offered Facebook $750 million, which was turned down. After purchasing Facebook, Yahoo will gain leverage upon competition (i.e. Google) via forbidding them to advertise on Facebook or charging an extravagant fee for it.
    • Demographics: Facebook captures about 9 million people, most of whom are U.S. college students. Is this the market segment Yahoo wants?
    • The Dot-Com Bubble: The dog-com bubble, which seems to be in a distant memory for a lot of us, should remind Yahoo how easy it is for an internet company to lose its value. Given that Facebook has a limited value in terms of tangible assets, $1 billion is a lofty price for a 2 year-old website.
    • Compare Prices: Market is the best ground when it comes to determining the price of any good. Consider these two figures: Myspace was sold to NewsCorp for $580 million iVillage was sold to GE for $600 million. On top of this, consider the face that Myspace recently sealed a 3-year $900 million advertising deal with Google. How does Facebook compare?
    • Technology know-how: Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of facebook, must be doing something right. Knowledge spillovers, generally, have a positive impact upon the receiver.
    • Opportunity Cost: Yahoo could invest $1 billion dollar on other investments that could yield a much profitable enterprise.

    In addition to these factors, Yahoo should also consider the unique nature of social net-working sites that could generate “extra? benefits. As Richard Dorfman, managing director of Richard Alan Inc., suggests, “What's beautiful about Facebook is that it's a great place to advertise because it generates the equivalent of online word of mouth.? When factoring in such an opportunity with other unique benefits – demographics, growth potential, and the market – and Yahoo seems to have a pretty good deal. If Yahoo has a billion dollars worth of coin to spare, and not have a brilliant $1 billion dollar project plan under its belt, I suggest that Facebook is a pretty good investment.

    Posted by willmoon at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

    Welcome

    This blog will be written by the following distinguished students in Group 53, section 2, of Professor Moore's BIT 200 class:

    William Moon, section 2
    Or Shotan, section 2
    Mark Wien, section 2

    Posted by willmoon at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

    September 20, 2006

    HTML test

    Title goes here

    Body goes here


    Headings are cool!


    Tablesgiveimpact!

    Posted by willmoon at 08:59 AM | TrackBack

    September 06, 2006

    test

    hello

    hello

    Posted by willmoon at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)