Archive for November, 2007

si-el-unch-3-500.jpgBoston Green Goods (um, located in Waltham) got some good ink from the WSJ today for their website Greenandmore.com. The pic above is their solar powered phone/iPod/PSP charger, which runs about $120. And the wind-up flashlights are pretty awesome, too. You can do so much for the earth without having to stand in Downtown Crossing in the rain asking people if they have five minutes for the environment.


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Yeah, finding a rodent infestation has to be kind of a tough thing for Home Depot to handle. (Via WickedLocal) But this juxtaposition between the PR statement and customer quotes is priceless:

“We don’t serve food,” said Bowman. “That construction has really caused a lot of [the problems seen].” Bowman insisted that the rodent problems were under control and being taken care of.

But Abercrombie felt otherwise, “I told my children it’s because they’re a big company. At Home Depot, nobody cares. I said ‘Don’t you people care?’ The reason I got upset is mostly because are we not men? Can’t we solve these problems? These guys are letting mice beat them.”

Yeah, but I bet that mice-filled birdseed was real cheap.

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What doesn’t global warming ruin? Arctic vacations, guiltless SUV purchases, the clothing market. Hingham-based Talbot’s lost $9.4 million in the third quarter thanks in part to the warmer weather this year. And Arnold takes the blame, getting the ax in favor of Publicis, a New York firm. Now, I know little about Publicis, but what I found out from their website is that they are the minds behind the unholy terror that are these animated Charmin bear ads:

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Following closely on my last post, it was announced this morning that Chinese video site Youku.com raised $25 mil in funding in Series C funding, led by Brookside Capital Partners (affiliated with Boston’s Bain Capital). Of course, the press release says Youku.com is China’s leading video site, contrary to what Tudou says. Who’s the victor? Well, that’s hard to say. Though it appears the title goes to either Tudou or Youku, depending on your source. Either way, Boston is pouring money into them at a high rate.

But so far, no one has raised an eyebrow about the ethics of investing in companies that bow to censors. Maybe they should. And maybe in Kendall Square someone should be more worried about how Google is still getting played like a sucker.

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I was researching an article on web piracy (published today by Slate) when I first came across a Chinese video site called Tuduo. It seems to be interested in becoming China’s youtube (though the copyright policing is not at youtube’s level yet–which is how I came by them in the first place.) Or maybe better. (via NewTeeVee interview with Tuduo CEO Gary Wang):

NewTeeVee: You’ve been called the Chinese YouTube, but do you compete with YouTube on your own turf?

Wang: YouTube has .1 percentage market share in China — they are nowhere.

Take that, Google. We don’t care how many of your principles you betrayed, we still don’t want your weak youtube. The local connection to Tudou comes from Cambridge’s General Catalyst, which helped lead a $19 mil round of funding this summer for Tudou. Which makes sense, I suppose, given Boston’s Irish heritage. (Tudou is the Chinese word for potato. I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.)

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Boston’s Backchannelmedia closed out another $3 mil this quarter, raising their total to $10 mil over the past two years. (via PEHub) The basic idea behind backchannelmedia is that–and this is their own words–that “television advertising should become accountable.” In other words, bcm can track the efficiency of those big ad dollars by linking TV and internet in such a way that consumers can see an ad on TV and purchase the product immediately. Here’s the co-CEO discussing this with more anecdotes with Xconomy:

“Say you’re watching the Grammies and the Dixie Chicks are on,” explains Daniel Hassan, Backchannelmedia’s chairman and co-CEO. “You have a consumer sitting at home watching when they win the award, and they see an ad that says ‘Go to iTunes now to download this song.’ The consumer clicks the OK button and a link to that exact song is deposited into their iTunes account. Or they’re watching Oprah’s book-of-the-month club-one click and that book is not only dropped into their Web portal inbox, but if they’ve set it up through our Web services, it can be dropped into their personal Amazon shopping cart. It’s all about using a TV property to drive clicks to the Internet.”

I can see how this works well with Rachel Ray (cookbooks), Charlie Rose (books, movies), and even Monday Night Football (apparel). But what can you get when watching I Love New York 2? Besides, you know, a sense of self-satisfaction. Oh! Maybe some arsenic.

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Stay Tuned for the Worst

Bad news for Mass. on the foreclosure front. (via the Globe)

There were 3,115 petitions to foreclose filed in Land Court in August, the highest number of petitions filed in one month since the Warren Group began collecting foreclosure data in January 2005, the firm said. That August number rose 75.5 percent from the number in August 2006, and it was also up 25.3 percent from the number in July 2007, the Warren Group said.

“It’s interesting that foreclosure deeds are falling off slightly, given the ever increasing number of petitions to foreclose we’ve been seeing,” Timothy Warren Jr., chief executive of the Warren Group, said in a statement. “It could be that lenders are holding off on letting the ax fall.”

And private issues have apparently spread to commercial as well, according to news from the MIT Center for Real Estate (via BusinessWeek):

The center maintains an index of the current value of commercial properties owned by pension funds. And guess what happened in the third quarter? The index dropped 2.5%, the first quarterly decline since 2003. And prices haven’t declined as steeply since the fourth quarter of 2001, when they dropped 3.9% after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“The fall in our index is the first solid, quantitative evidence that the subprime mortgage debacle, which hit the broader capital markets in August, may be spreading to the commercial property markets,” David Geltner, the center’s director, said in a release accompanying the index report.

Not much good here, but the report does offer this:

Boston Properties (Symbol: BXP), which owns office buildings in Boston, D.C., New York, Princeton and San Fran, is down only 7% this year and has actually gained 6% in the past 3 months. Industrial property owner ProLogis (PLD) has gained 16%.

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