Saturday, June 03, 2006

FANTM Gnoos is good gnoos

I was a bit worried that the official launch of feedcorp's Gnoos Aussie blog search engine was going to get swamped by the unfortunate timing of Ask.com's Bloglines media domination on the same day, but Ben Barren seems to have rescued the situation with some well-timed prayers (in the form of urgent emails) so that the Web 2.0 Holy Trinity of McManus, Arrington and Cashmore have finally bestowed their blessing of Techmeme love.

The topic of conversation that Richie Valens, the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly have explored in their posts is the question of whether country-specific clones of successful US startups can find a place in the 2.0 economy. My answer is yes, I agree with Ben, for a couple of reasons. The first is that US startups are not equipped for international expansion with sufficient funding, as Richard says (with obvious offstage prodding by Ben). The second is that US startups just don't want to expand. My guess is that most successful small startups would have a hard enough time carving out a place in the ultra-competitive US market to make it an easy decision for them to leave foreign climes to the foreigners. Why expand overseas when there's nobody outside the US who can buy you out for as much as GEMAYA?

Another reason is that those startup founders who are trying to build flipmeat clones will have willing VCs to fund them, and willing local media players to buy them. Few prospects can be as enticing to a 2.0-friendly VC as a founder with industry credentials whose startup concept can fit so neatly into the product portfolio of a proven startup buyer. Fairfax, Ninemsn, Telstra and Murdoch are the usual suspects, and thus we have a local version of GEMAYA, which I choose to call FANTM (I threw in the ABC, where a lot of the industry starts from if not ends up, for a bit of vowel action). Last time round the fundamental boom concepts were cars, employment and real estate, and the Aussie startups in those areas all danced with the VCs and then sold out to the FANTM conglomerates. Just recently, dating has gone the same way. When this 2.0 craze hits the mainstream, why wouldn't those same FANTM players all want a local Technorati, a local Craigslist, a local Netvibes and a local 37signals?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I must be Richie Valens, but thankfully I've outlasted him by some years already.

And re "obvious offstage prodding by Ben" --> you'll note that I clearly attributed all Ben's ideas and quotes to the man himself. The other riffs I made up all by myself (because I'm a big boy now).

Finally, a serious qst for you - do you think your theory of Local GEMAYA applies mostly to aussie, because of its relatively large local media presence? e.g. is it the same in Korea, or England, etc? I'm not sure of the answer, just asking...

Richard M

7:44 am, June 03, 2006  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

Bloody hell, a serious question.

I don't know anything about the Korean or English markets, so I couldn't say with any certainty. However, if general experience is anything to go by there must have been old media companies and/or new media giants who were buying small local Internet companies during the first boom in those countries. The dynamics of established print/TV companies buying energetic young Web startups, nor of up-and-comers picking off their opposition via M&A as they rise, is not peculiar to US or Australia, I would have thought.

The difference with the US is that GEMAYA is mostly made up of Net companies, whereas local GEMAYAs in other countries would be mostly (if not solely) comprised of old media/software looking to prop themselves up with new blood.

7:52 am, June 03, 2006  

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