Monday, November 29, 2010

A short tale of three cities

Rumors of a $+3B Groupon acquisition have been rife over the past few weeks. The attractiveness of the company is centered around their pioneering an efficient 'call to action' for local advertising, which is such a positive win/win for advertisers and consumers that the 2 1/2 year old Groupon's revenues have surged to more than an anticipated $500mm this year.

With this background of how innovation is creating a virtuous cycle of value creation, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a 30 day 'innovation' look at three of the internet's larger players:

Let's start with AOL. It's mission is "To inform, entertain and connect the world" and touts its brand as something that "stands for creativity". In the past 30 days, here's the innovation they've announced:

AOL Disrupts the Inbox with Project Phoenix by AOL Mail


AOL Grant Program

Yahoo's vision "is to be the center of people's online lives by delivering personally relevant, meaningful Internet experiences".

Yahoo is in the midst of a multi-year turnaround effort and Bloomberg ran a piece here where they mentioned Yahoo's interest in buying Groupon and voicing concerns about the company's direction and growth prospects.

Here is their product related announcements from the past 30 days:

Local Offers (Groupon competitor)

Contributor Network An extension of their Associated Content acquisition for self-publishing

As a contrast to it's senior brethren, here's what Facebook's remarkably similar mission is:

"Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." As background, more than 4 Billion messages are sent through FB every day.

Two important product announcements made in the past 30 days were the outline of their imminent messaging product and a commerce engine "Deals" which fits with their 'check-in' facility 'Places'.

FB Messaging

Facebook Deals

Finally, a tribute to Leslie Nielsen..RIP

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