The Economist brings back its paywall… Perhaps it should hire an economist.

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The Economist brings back its paywall&#8230- Perhaps it should hire an economist. &#8211- by Michael Masnick:

A bunch of folks have sent in the news that the Economist appears to be putting up something of a paywall, locking up all archival content older than 90 days, while also locking up one version of the magazine (the one that is made to look just like the physical paper layout). I have to be honest: I don&#8217-t see how this makes any sense at all. In our experience, somewhere between 25% to 30% of our daily traffic is to archival content, usually in the form of search engine traffic &#8212- or occasionally other sites picking up on an older story. Archival content is perfect Google fodder, driving traffic (and ad views) to pages that otherwise would get no traffic at all. In many ways, that&#8217-s a big part of the value of having widespread archives &#8212- to bring in such traffic for those who care about it. The chances of such a &#8220-drive by&#8221- viewer paying up for a subscription to view that content seems incredibly slim &#8212- and it seems quite likely that the decline in traffic (and ad dollars) would almost certainly outweigh the number of new subscribers added. This doesn&#8217-t seem to make any sense at all. Does The Economist have any information economists on staff?

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FanDuel (by HubDub) is launched exclusively thru TechCrunch UK, which is, of course, upbeat on its future. Heres a more critical take.

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HubDub is a huge success in term of Internet popularity (pageviews, time spent on the site, etc.). However, HubDub has no business model, other than trying to get bought up by some bigger fish. Which is why Nigel Eccles and his smart team have devised a social fantasy sport game, FanDuel. Its business model (allowed under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006) is simple: you pay to play. &#8211-&gt- $$$

The problem with FanDuel&#8216-s simple business model (selling social gaming services over the Internet) is that, unlike HubDub (which is free to play), there won&#8217-t be free publicity generated on the Web &#8212-other than the TechCrunch UK post. Just because you have a business model does not mean that you have a marketing strategy.

The best marketing strategy you can have on the Internet is a dual one:

  1. Give away content, software, or means for people to connect with each other
  2. Sell something else (to the same people or to other people).

Since FanDuel won&#8217-t be free, it won&#8217-t generate any buzz on the Web. [UPDATE: See Nigel Eccles’s comment, just below.]

Nigel Eccles is proud of the fact that his team crafted FanDuel in a matter of weeks. But have they thought long enough about marketing strategy?


The FanDuel press release:


New Fantasy Sports Game Lets You Play Today, Win Today

There are at least 20 million of us playing fantasy sports every year and yet in recent years it has seen very little innovation. For many, one of the major problems with fantasy sports is the huge time-commitment involved &#8211- when you play fantasy, you have to play for the whole season – no breaks, no holidays, no excuses. However, in this era of Facebook and Twitter, people want instant gratification.

This issue is tackled head on by, a new fantasy sports game which launches today. lets us play and win in a day instead of waiting the whole season. Players can draft a new team at any time, and pitch it head-to-head against an opponent – a friend, or another FanDuel player – for real money. The player whose team has the most fantasy points at the end of the day’s games wins the cash prize. It’s purely fantasy baseball right now, but the fantasy football game will launch with the start of the football season.

Clever integration with sites like Facebook means that picking opponents is slick, as is bragging about your wins. This is a first for the fantasy sports industry which has been dominated by the big players such as Yahoo, CBS and ESPN for too long.

The game is a competitive draft rather than salary cap – making it much more challenging. However unlike traditional competitive draft both players don’t have to draft at the same time. The way it works is one player drafts their first pick and a back-up for each position. They then order their draft and submit their roster. When they are matched with another user (a friend or another FanDuel user) the system works through each player’s draft in priority order. You get an email telling you and your opponent’s final roster and then you can watch the live stats on both fantasy teams update in real-time as the games progress.

Online social gaming is already well developed but the daily fantasy sports market is quite new. Nigel Eccles, CEO of the company behind FanDuel, admits, “After playing Mafia Wars and other social games on Facebook, going back to playing traditional fantasy sports on CBS felt like going back in time. We felt we could build something faster, more social and exciting.”

Thanks to the fantasy sports carve out of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gaming Act [Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006], is perfectly legal to play in the US – something that the team behind FanDuel have been very careful to adhere to. FanDuel offers free and paid entry games with users able to enter $5, $10 and $25 competitions.

Mike Linksvayer *himself* is to blame for the non-liquidity of his Wikipedia prediction markets.

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Mike Linksvayer:

Prior to the Wikipedia community vote on adopting CC BY-SA it crossed my mind to set up several play money prediction market contracts concerning the above outcomes conditioned on Wikipedia adopting CC BY-SA by August 1, 2009, for which I did set up a contract. It is just as well that I didn’t — or rather if I had, I would have had to heavily promote all of the contracts in order to stimulate any play trading — the basic adoption contract at this point hasn’t budged from 56% since the vote results were announced, which means nobody is paying attention to the contract on Hubdub.

Blame yourself, Mike. I blogged 10 times about the concept of &#8220-X group&#8221- &#8212-the symbiosis between a set of prediction markets and a set of bloggers.


What prediction markets can learn from Twitter – REDUX

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S-I-M-P-L-I-C-I-T-Y + C-U-S-T-O-M-I-Z-A-T-I-O-N

Twitter is a very simplistic core. Around that core is a whole ecosystem that adds value to Twitter. You have a large choice of &#8220-Twitter clients&#8221-, and there are plenty of websites out there that complement the basic Twitter service.

It is the anti-BetFair case. The future prediction exchanges will be built around a simplistic core, and there will be plenty of add-ons and complimentary services &#8212-all of which will be optional, so as not to scare off the newbies.

The (new) Internet business models

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This is the latest addition in our series about how to make money on the Web by giving out free content to get access to people and get their attention&#8230- and selling them something valuable with the other hand. So, here&#8217-s Michael Masnik. While you watch it, do download the files in MP4 using Video Download Helper, so that you can re-watch them later on on your own, when you are disconnected from the Internet.

If your feed reader doesn&#8217-t show you the 4 embedded videos below, then download this post.

If your feed reader doesn&#8217-t show you the 4 embedded videos above, then download this post.

PS: Deep apology to the Linux users. I don&#8217-t think they can view the videos. I will make up to you.

UPDATE: Mike Linksvayer:

The videos play fine on Linux, assuming the right (patent encumbered) codecs are installed, as they are on most systems. The silly interface wants you to use an officious quicktime install more than it wants you to watch the videos. So one just has to access the videos directly &#8212-

Connect With Fans (CwF) + Reason To Buy (RtB) = The Business Model ($$$$)

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Trent Reznor (the leader of Nine Inch Nails) offers his music for free on the Internet. He manages to make money selling concerts and merchandising products thanks to the community of fans he has empowered on his website. He does this using all the Web 2.0 tools you can think of. Wired has an extensive reporting on it, which you should bookmark and read it in whole when you have 5 minutes, later today or later this week. Even though most of you, my readers, don&#8217-t work in the music industry, the marketing concepts and actions exposed in this article are relevant to your business &#8212-they are relevant to any business (including the prediction market industry).

Previously: MO

External: Mike Masnik + CC + YouTube

How to join Midas Oracle -and why.

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How To Become A Midas Oracle Author

The Uniqueness Of Midas Oracle

  1. We publish the best mutant ideas.
  2. We link out a lot to external resources.

How To Join Us

#1. We are interested in recruiting you as a volunteer, if you have an interest in prediction markets (and collective intelligence). Be sure to read and understand (:-D ) the ABOUT, MISSION, CODE OF CONDUCT, and TERMS OF USE webpages. Guest blogging on Midas Oracle can help you get traffic to your website and increase its PageRank.

#2. You may either register yourself as a comment author, disclosing your full name (or not), or send your application (as a comment author or as a post/page author) to Chris Masse &#8212-see our CONTACT page. When you register, do create your account using your first name and last name, such as &#8220-john-doe&#8221-. The login is at the bottom of the sidebar.

#3. Registered members of Midas Oracle will receive an e-mail newsletter once in a while &#8212-only when important circumstances warrant. (There are e-mail options on your profile page, inside the Midas Oracle system, which allows you to opt out of mass e-mails, if you really need to.)

#4. To have your status upgraded from comment author to post/page author, contact Chris Masse.

#5. To have your name removed from Midas Oracle, send your resignation to the blog administrator (Chris Masse), and he will delete your profile from the blog database.

How To Publish Your Ideas On Midas Oracle

How To Publish

How To Comment

Velocity is such a potent argument. Why dont we use it more, for Christs sake?

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I am re-reading a 2007 scientific article from Region Focus’ Vanessa Sumo:

– Ask The Market – Companies are leading the way in the use of prediction markets. The public sector may soon follow. – (PDF)

Here is what I see on the frontpage:

– &#8220-one or two weeks in advance&#8220-

– &#8220-even up to five weeks in advance&#8220-

Marketing-wise, velocity is a much more potent argument than the argument on accuracy. Who cares about an added accuracy of +2.7% (and that&#8217-s debated)? If any, that&#8217-s peanuts.

You cannot make a case against velocity. Impossible.

UPDATE: Put the PDF link in the address box of your browser (as opposed to clicking on it, or right-clicking on it).