Friday, September 22, 2006

Mobile VoIP, The Next BIG Thing?

Convergence Frenzy: Mobile VoIP

SEPTEMBER 22, 2006

VoIP is already transforming consumer home phone service, now it may be set to shake up the world of mobile phones.

By Ben Macklin - Senior Analyst

The emergence of voice over IP (VoIP) technology has already had a significant impact on the traditional circuit-switched landline sector worldwide, but a new report from Analysys suggests that VoIP will have an even bigger impact on the mobile phone sector. The telecoms consultancy firm suggests that once 3G technologies are enhanced to allow for greater bandwidth transfer, there will be a compelling case for mobile operators to switch from circuit-switched voice to mass-market cellular VoIP.

Analysys estimates that by 2012, mobile VoIP revenues will total $18.6 billion in the US, a considerably larger sum than revenues generated from fixed VoIP services.

While mobile VoIP is just around the corner, fixed VoIP is growing steadily in the US, with a recent estimate from Telegeography pegging total US VoIP subscribers at 6.9 million in Q2 2006. Vonage reported 1.8 million subscribers as of the middle of 2006 with cable company Time Warner Cable following closely behind.

VoIP is a relatively recent phenomenon, so it is perhaps unsurprising to see subscriber forecasts differ significantly among research firms. According to comparative estimates presented below, there could be anywhere between 12 million and 44 million VoIP subscribers in the US by 2010. eMarketer estimates 32.6 million VoIP subscribers by 2010, up from 9.6 million at the end of 2006.

For more information on VoIP, see eMarketer's Consumer VoIP report.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

U.S. Latino Internet Usage Tops 55%

The AOL Latino 2006 Hispanic Cyberstudy Breaks New Ground by Analyzing Internet Usage across Acculturation Segments

New Study Demonstrates That the Hispanic Internet Landscape Is BiculturalInternet Continues to Be the Best Source to Make Final Brand Decisions for Most Online Hispanics

September 18, 2006--Currently there are more than 16 million Hispanics online or 55% of the total U.S. Hispanic population(*).

Of those 16 million, 77% have access to broadband. While online penetration among Hispanics has grown rapidly over the last several years, a new survey, "The AOL Latino 2006 Hispanic Cyberstudy" conducted by Synovate's Diversity Group, finds that habit and cultural relevancy define Internet usage for Hispanics. The study defines online Hispanics by their level of acculturation - mostly acculturated, partially acculturated and relatively unacculturated - and proves that they consume the Internet in different ways offering new options to marketers wanting to reach the Hispanic market.

According to the study, 81% of Hispanics online are mostly acculturated or partially acculturated, while only 19% is relatively unacculturated. While acculturated online Hispanics tend to prefer online content in English, nearly 40% of them still find Spanish content appealing; of the unacculturated segment 37% prefer both languages. Of the total Hispanic online population, only 15% prefer Spanish only.

Additionally, the study shows that more than two-thirds (68%) of online Hispanics consider the Internet to be the best source in making final brand decisions making it the most relevant medium for marketers.

"The AOL Latino 2006 Hispanic Cyberstudy reveals new data on online Hispanics, analyzing how this market prefers to consume the Internet across acculturation segments," said Mark Lopez, Publisher, AOL Latino. "With this new data, marketers will be able to better understand how to reach the rapidly growing online Hispanic market. This study also helps to understand the complexities of U.S. Hispanics, and that marketers seeking to connect with the online Hispanic population must address cultural needs, which differ depending on levels of acculturation."

As an example, AOL Latino often features special bilingual programming including Festival de Cine Corto (the first online short film festival for Hispanics), Hispanic Heritage Month, Latinos in Hollywood, Latin Emmys, ALMA awards, Countdown to Miss Universe and more allowing marketers ways to reach Hispanics across all segments in both languages.

The study also finds that online Hispanics enjoy social networking online: 68% use instant messaging; 63% share photos online; 52% read or post blogs; 43% visit social networking sites; and 40% talk on a phone using the Internet. Additionally, the study proves that online Hispanics prefer websites that focus on news (48%) as well as websites that provide mapping capabilities (43%). Music, weather, health and travel websites also rank among the more popular sites for online Hispanics.

Online Hispanics and Internet Purchasing Decisions
-- The Internet continues to be the best source to make a final brand decision for most online Hispanics (68% in 2006 vs. 51% in 2004).
-- More than three quarters of the online Hispanic population (77%) use the Internet to learn about brands of products (vs. 59% in 2004).
-- Seventy-five percent (75%) of online Hispanics use the Internet to learn about brand features or benefits (vs. 61% in 2004).
-- Seventy-two percent (72%) of online Hispanics use the Internet to compare prices of products (vs. 59% in 2004).

The Hispanic Online Market & Acculturation There is a clear distinction in the Internet behavior between mostly acculturated and less acculturated Hispanics.
-- Mostly acculturated Hispanics are more likely to visit websites that focus on topics such as Finance, Entertainment and Nutrition.
-- Unacculturated Hispanics are more likely to visit websites that provide news from Latin America, as well as Sports websites that focus on Soccer.

Hispanics: Going Online vs. Watching Television
-- Nearly half (47% of mostly acculturated online Hispanics and 45% of partially acculturated online Hispanics) are getting online and watching TV at the same time. A third of unacculturated Hispanics are also online and watching TV simultaneously.
-- The bicultural nature of the Hispanic market is also evident across other mediums. In an average week, online Hispanics spend 12.4 hours watching English-language TV and 7.7 hours watching Spanish-language TV.

Methodology The AOL Latino 2006 Hispanic Cyberstudy was conducted by Synovate's Diversity Group and reflects changes in methodology from earlier Hispanic studies commissioned by AOL. In 2006, a single study of Hispanics online was conducted whereas in 2005 a two-sample approach was used, which included a study of Hispanics online and a study of the general population online. Both the 2006 and 2005 studies were completed using phone interviews.

The 2006 study was completed by interviewing 502 participants in English or Spanish by Synovate bi-lingual interviewers. Respondents were 18+ year old Hispanics who accessed the Internet from any location in the past month. Interviews ere conducted between July 6, 2006 and July 19, 2006 using a surname listed sample. Respondents were further qualified as Hispanic during the telephone interview.

As defined by the study and by Synovate Diversity Group's market research: Mostly acculturated Hispanics are those that have been online for an average of 3 or more years. They tend to be U.S. born and to have lived in the U.S. for more than twenty years. However, they still speak Spanish and consume Spanish media.

Partially acculturated Hispanics are those that have been online for an average of 2.8 years. Tend to have lived in the U.S. for several years. Fifty percent (50%) are Spanish-dominant and nearly one-third of this group is bilingual or speaks more English than Spanish. This continues to be the largest Hispanic segment. Unacculturated Hispanics are those that have been online an average of 2.3 years. They are born outside of the U.S. Hispanics in this segment tend to have lived in the U.S. the shortest amount of time. They are 90% Spanish dominant.

About Synovate's Diversity Group Synovate's Diversity Group, a trusted source of diversity market intelligence for over 35 years, is especially well-known for its Hispanic acculturation model and the group's U.S. Diversity Markets Report ("Blue Book") released every two years. The Diversity group offers research expertise in a wide array of markets including the Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, Seniors, and Gay and Lesbian markets. For more information on Synovate visit About AOL(R) Latino AOL(R) Latino, a leading bilingual service for U.S. Hispanics, provides comprehensive Spanish language content including U.S. and Latin American news, financial tools, the latest in music, entertainment, personal finance, sports, fashion and beauty, as well as access to all the existing content available on the (*) Synovate's 2006 U.S. Diversity Markets Report


UK User Generated Content Sites Growing Fast, Engaging More

UK User Generated Content Sites Growing Fast, Engaging More

A recent analysis, by comScore World Metrix, of UK Internet users' activity at user-generated content sites (UGC) showed significant traffic growth. Wikipedia was up 253 percent versus year ago,, up 467 percent, and, up 393 percent.

Bob Ivins, managing director of comScore Europe, said "Many of the sites experiencing the fastest growth today are the ones that understand their audience's need for expression and have made it easy for them to share pictures, upload music and video, and provide their own commentary, thus stimulating others to do the same. It is the classic network effect at work."

Collectively, the leading UGC sites draw more frequent visits than non-UGC sites (4.2 vs. 3.5 average usage days per month), longer periods of engagement (79.9 vs. 33.2 average minutes per visitor), and more pages viewed (217 vs. 52 average pages per visitor).

Users of the top social networking sites demonstrate particularly high levels of engagement, with visitors to and averaging at least 5 usage days, 2 hours of use, and 300 pages viewed per visitor during July.

Source: Center for Media Research and comScore Media Metrix. For additional information, please go here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Blogs are a Powerful Presence in the B2B Marketplace

KnowledgeStorm Research Finds: Blogs are a Powerful Presence in the B2B Marketplace

KnowledgeStorm Inc. (, the Internet’s top-ranked search resource for technology solutions and information, and Universal McCann (, one of the world’s largest media services firms providing strategic services and consultancies, today announced the results of a joint research study on the emerging role of new media, particularly blogs and Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds, on B2B technology purchase decisions.

The survey was completed by more than 4,500 business and IT professionals globally, representing a variety of job titles, vertical industries and company sizes.

“With this particular study, our goal was to determine marketing opportunities with blogs and RSS,” said Stacy Malone, vice president, interactive media director, Universal McCann. “Blogs and RSS have quickly progressed into a mainstream medium. Blogs, in particular, give marketers the perfect opportunity to generate demand, nurture leads and stay connected with customers.”

According to survey respondents, 80% claim to be blog readers, with 51% reading blogs at least once a week. And the respondents say they are getting both business and technology information from blogs: 53% read blogs weekly for business information, while 57% read blogs on technology topics each week.

Blogs are the perfect forum for business and IT professionals — readers want to hear about a company or a product from ‘someone like them,’” said Matt Lohman, director of market research, KnowledgeStorm. “And technology buyers seem to be more than happy to pass along relevant information from blogs — 70% of survey respondents recommend or pass along content from blogs at least once a month.”

IT purchase decisions are heavily influenced by content found in blogs. More than 53% of survey respondents felt that content they read in blogs already impacts their work-related purchasing decisions. And respondents are not only reading blogs, at least once a month nearly half of the respondents said they comment on or contribute to blogs they read. Thirty-two percent of respondents are even considering starting their own blogs.

“New online media formats, such as blogs, will help companies better address shifting preferences and opinions in the B2B marketplace,” said Malone. “Marketing campaigns will achieve even greater results because companies are now able to truly listen to and come to understand their audiences’ needs and wants through these mediums.”

RSS is one of the main delivery vehicles that has helped catapult the usage of blogs by delivering only the content users want. The rise in RSS is further evidence that technology marketers must come to grips with the fact that communication between buyers and sellers has changed.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they are “somewhat” to “very” familiar with RSS, and 31% subscribe to RSS feeds or readers. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they are accessing RSS feeds on specialized news topics, covering specific industry or company information, while only 36% of respondents are accessing blogs via RSS feeds. This suggests that buyers are still going to blogs, rather than having the blogs’ RSS feeds published to them.

“The results tell us that most technology buyers reading blog content are still compelled to visit the blogger’s site, rather than get the text version via an RSS feed,” said Lohman. “These findings suggest that a user’s experience with the blog may be just as important as the content they access from it.”

This is the second in a series of joint research studies focused on the effects of new media within the B2B marketplace. The first study focused on podcasts, and the final study will focus on Wikis, Webcasts and mobile technology.

“The objective of these studies is to explore the impact new forms of media are having on content consumption and purchasing influence within the B2B marketplace,” said Lohman. “The results clearly show that podcasts, blogs and other emerging media types are viable mediums for reaching B2B technology buyers.”

To learn more about the Blog and RSS study findings, please click on the following link: Blog and RSS Study Report

To learn more about the podcast study findings, click here: Podcast Study Report

KnowledgeStorm is the Internet’s top-ranked search resource for technology solutions and information. Leveraging the KnowledgeStorm Network of premier partners and its extensive search expertise, KnowledgeStorm is able to reach technology buyers and deliver the information they need no matter where their search begins. KnowledgeStorm, with its network, search expertise and performance tools and services, is a powerful resource for technology vendors, providing them the most opportunities to reach buyers on the Internet and convert them into Web leads.

For more information,;visit

Universal McCann is one of the world’s largest media service firms providing strategic services and consultancies in the areas of traditional and non-traditional media planning and buying, communications architecture, digital technologies, and research/modeling. Launched in 1999 as the branded media services arm of McCann Worldgroup, Universal McCann is a primary element of Interpublic Media, a part of the Interpublic Group of Companies. Its multiple US locations have the privilege of serving some of the country’s most recognizable brands, such as Intel, Johnson & Johnson, L'Oreal, US Army, Wendy’s, Microsoft, Sony, Major League Baseball, Verizon Wireless and Bacardi.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Experian study quantifies 'small businesses'

Source: BtoB Magazine

Experian study quantifies 'small businesses'
By Carol Krol

Sep 11, 2006

Small-business owners continue to be attractive business prospects for b-to-b marketers. A study released last month by database provider Experian may shed some light on that lucrative segment and give marketers intelligence on how to target it.

Specifically, the study's findings suggest that marketers need to dig deeper to understand their customers and not make outdated assumptions about what "incorporated" and "unincorporated" companies look like.

Experian's study is the second part of its ongoing small-business owner study, "The Face of Today's Small-business Owner." In it, the database company looked at small businesses, which it defined as "microbusinesses": 25 employees or fewer and $10 million or less in annual sales.

For starters, small businesses that incorporate tend to be more affluent and better educated than their unincorporated counterparts, according to the survey results.

Incorporated business owners have incomes 35% higher than the overall population, while unincorporated owners' incomes are 24% higher, according to the research. In addition, incorporated company owners are 56% more likely to have completed college, while unincorporated owners are 29% more likely.

"Incorporateds" larger
Incorporateds also tend to be larger companies than their unincorporated brethren, based on annual sales. According to the study, incorporateds are 97% more likely to have sales of $1 million to $4.99 million and 2.62 times more likely to have sales of $5 million or more compared with unincorporateds.

In addition, contrary to conventional wisdom, incorporated business owners are more likely to be start-ups, defined as being in business two years or less, while unincorporateds are more likely to have been in business for three or more years.

These revelations should matter to b-to-b marketers targeting small businesses because it is a common practice to leave out incorporated businesses when targeting prospects, due to the perception that incorporated businesses are large organizations.

"In the b-to-b marketing space, what we saw was some clients would exclude incorporated businesses because they really wanted to market to the small-business segment," said Denise Hopkins, senior director of Business Marketing Solutions at Experian. That would be a mistake, she said.

"We also see some marketers exclude the very new businesses--the under a year and under two years in business--to avoid the risky nature of the start-up," Hopkins said. However, if marketers leave new businesses out, they might be excluding the young incorporateds with rapid revenue growth.

Companies can grow quickly
"What we've seen in the technology age and the Internet age is that companies can grow very quickly," Hopkins said. "Many of these business owners are learning early on to set up [an incorporated structure] for the company."

Marketers could benefit from taking a second look at the incorporateds and realigning their assumptions. "Looking at incorporated businesses may be a way to get to those companies that are more likely to grow fast," Hopkins said.

Christine Pratt, research director-consumer banking and credit advisory service at Financial Insights, an IDC company, said the new study provided a glimpse into the demographics of small-business owners. "From a marketing perspective, there's not a lot of information available about the owners of these small businesses," she said. For financial services companies, the study will be useful, she added, because one of the largest segments for lenders is small-business owners.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Maintenance & Services Ratios/2006 for Software Companies


Watertown, Mass.-- For high-end software companies, revenue from support- related services continues to pull ahead of product and license revenues,
according to a new research report from the Association of Support
Professionals (ASP). The report, based on data from a hundred major public
software companies, shows that maintenance and professional services now
generate 50.8% (median) of total revenues for a typical software company.

"Though there are still major companies that remain almost exclusively
product-centric, most successful software vendors these days have adopted a
business model that depends heavily on services," says ASP executive
director Jeffrey Tarter. "That shift in emphasis from products to services
has happened quietly, but it's definitely the new economic reality of the
software business."

Services also make a substantial contribution to overall profitability, the
report points out. Maintenance is the top cash cow, with a gross profit
margin rate of 82.8% (median). Professional services, a category that
includes custom development, consulting, and training, is a more people- intensive business, but still delivers a median 19.7% margin.

"Services revenues, especially from maintenance, also tend to be highly
predictable and usually involve at least some advance payment," says
Tarter. "Moreover, services build customer loyalty, so additional license
sales are often the direct result of a positive services relationship with
a customer."

The ASP's "Maintenance & Services Ratios/2006" report notes that software
companies vary considerably in their emphasis on services, but suggests
that the ASP's data provides basic peer-to-peer benchmarks for services
contributions to revenues and profits. The report includes tables that
identify all one hundred individual companies and provides their most
recent fiscal year top-line revenues, services revenues, and services
costs. The report also comes with an Excel spreadsheet that provides this
data in electronic form.

In addition to the benchmarking data, "Maintenance & Services Ratios/2006"
includes expert commentary on revenue recognition rules, internal P&L
reporting, and the impact of attach and renewal rates.

Copies of the "Maintenance & Services Ratios/2006" report are free to ASP
members (membership fee is $80/year). For more information, visit

The Association of Support Professionals is a membership organization that
publishes research reports for software tech support managers and
professionals, operates a network of regional chapters, and conducts an
annual competition for the "Ten Best Web Support Sites."