Friday, June 24, 2005

Will eBay's new merchant offerings be wrong-footed by Amazon, Yahoo and Google? (EBAY, AMZN, YHOO, GOOG)

eBay (ticker: EBAY) announced a service that helps merchants build online stores using technology from its Kurant acquisition. eBay will offer four versions with difffering levels of functionality and integration with eBay's auction site. All of them will charge merchants a monthly fee and commission on each sale.

But eBay may be making a mistake charging for this service. Reasons below.

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on June 24, 2005 at 02:08 PM in Sub-sector: E-tailing, Sub-sector: Services, ticker: AMZN, ticker: EBAY, ticker: GOOG, ticker: SHOP, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Amazon neutralized (AMZN)

Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney re-initiated coverage report of Amazon on June 8th. Here's the section of his report summarizing and justifying his "Hold" rating. Many investors will agree with his thesis; most fund managers seem to be cautious on AMZN, which paradoxically is a bullish sign...

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on June 16, 2005 at 12:05 AM in Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Is Amazon the loser from the EBAY-SHOP deal? (AMZN, EBAY, SHOP)

Yes. Here's why:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on June 2, 2005 at 03:13 PM in Sub-sector: E-tailing, Sub-sector: Search, ticker: AMZN, ticker: EBAY, ticker: SHOP | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The finance-based economy spreads to the Internet (AMZN)

Numerous commentators have pointed out that a record percentage of S&P 500 profits is now accounted for by finance, a risky situation in an environment of rising interest rates. This isn't just due to financial companies, but also purportedly non-financial companies like GE and GM that earn some (or most) of their income from financial activities. Well, here's news for Internet investors:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on May 25, 2005 at 09:47 AM in Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Search news/analysis in brief (AMZN, GOOG, SHOP, YHOO)

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on May 19, 2005 at 12:06 AM in Sub-sector: Search, ticker: AMZN, ticker: GOOG, ticker: SHOP, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Sell-side reaction to AMZN's earnings

American Technology Research analyst Mark Mahaney sent a note to clients outlining his reaction to Amazon's (ticker: AMZN) first quarter results. Key excerpts:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on April 28, 2005 at 01:01 AM in Earnings results, Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Amazon on paid search and comparison shopping (1Q05 conf call quotes)

Amazon.com (ticker: AMZN) CFO Tom Szkutak and CEO Jeff Bezos were asked on their Q1 conference call about Amazon's reliance on advertising for traffic and the price impact of comparison shopping engines. Here are their answers:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on April 26, 2005 at 11:08 PM in Conf call quotes, Sub-sector: E-tailing, Sub-sector: Search, ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Amazon's growth slows and expenses rise; stock down

Amazon.com (ticker: AMZN) reported Q1 revenue growth of 22% excluding exchange-rate effects, the slowest in two years and a marked decline from Q4's 26% rate. And operating expenses rose by two full percentage points, clobbering the company's profitability. The stock fell by about 3.5% in late trading after the results were published. Details and analysis:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on April 26, 2005 at 09:38 PM in Earnings results, Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Internet news/analysis in brief

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on April 12, 2005 at 03:11 AM in ticker: AMZN, ticker: GOOG, ticker: GRU, ticker: NFLX, ticker: RCOM, ticker: SINA | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 11, 2005

Internet news/analysis in brief

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on April 11, 2005 at 12:01 AM in Sub-sector: Search, ticker: AMZN, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: DCLK, ticker: GOOG, ticker: NILE, ticker: ODMO, ticker: OSTK, ticker: PRVD, ticker: RCOM, ticker: SRVY, ticker: TCOW, ticker: TWX, ticker: TZOO, ticker: VRSN, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Internet news/analysis in brief

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on April 5, 2005 at 10:29 AM in ticker: AMZN, ticker: CNET, ticker: GOOG, ticker: JUPM, ticker: TSG, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Short interest jumps for FLWS, HOMS, LOOK and NILE

Short interest data is now available for Nasdaq stocks through March 15th. Short interest has rocketed for some internet stocks:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on March 30, 2005 at 10:25 AM in ticker: AMZN, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: CNET, ticker: EBAY, ticker: FLWS, ticker: GOOG, ticker: HOMS, ticker: IACI, ticker: LOOK, ticker: NFLX, ticker: PCLN, ticker: SHOP, ticker: TZOO, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 18, 2005

Victims of pay-per-click ad inflation

The most striking theme that ran through the Q4 financial results of Internet companies, irrespective of size, was the impact of rising pay-per-click ad prices. The winners were the ad brokers - Google and Yahoo. The losers were companies that rely on advertising to attract traffic, as their marketing expenses grew faster than their revenues.

This is a critical theme for investors (rather than short-term traders). Do you own stocks in companies that are dependent on advertising and helpless in the face of rising costs? Here's a list of the victims, with the relevant stats and comments from The Internet Stock Blog's write-up of their Q4 results or recent SEC filings:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on March 18, 2005 at 10:25 AM in Sector Themes/Outlook, ticker: AMZN, ticker: BFLY, ticker: DIET, ticker: DSCM, ticker: EBAY, ticker: ECST, ticker: EELN, ticker: LGBT, ticker: MNST, ticker: NILE, ticker: ODMO, ticker: OSTK, ticker: PCLN, ticker: PRVD, ticker: SHOP, ticker: SPRK, ticker: TSCM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (2)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

eCommerce and content developments in brief

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on March 8, 2005 at 08:20 AM in Sub-sector: Advertising, Sub-sector: Content, Sub-sector: E-finance, Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN, ticker: BFLY, ticker: BOFI, ticker: MACR, ticker: NTBK, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 06, 2005

February short interest

Short interest in Nasdaq stocks rose by 6.3% month over month in February. But short interest for Nasdaq Internet stocks rose by more: on a basket of 25 Internet stocks tracked by American Technology Research, short interest  rose by 10.4%. Details:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on March 6, 2005 at 07:41 AM in ticker: AMZN, ticker: CNET, ticker: EBAY, ticker: ELNK, ticker: GOOG, ticker: HOMS, ticker: IACI, ticker: LOOK, ticker: NFLX, ticker: NILE, ticker: OSTK, ticker: PCLN, ticker: TZOO, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Under the hood of Google Movies - implications for GOOG and other stocks

Within hours of Google's announcement, its new movie search service received rave reviews from a lot of people. But investors and those wishing to understand the implications for Google and the other Internet companies need to dig deeper:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on March 4, 2005 at 12:43 PM in Sector Themes/Outlook, Sub-sector: Content, Sub-sector: Search, ticker: AMZN, ticker: GOOG, ticker: HOLL, ticker: MSFT, ticker: NFLX, ticker: NYT, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Amazon - AMZN - chief scientist leaves for private company

Amazon's (ticker: AMZN) chief scientist, Dr. Andreas Weigend, has jumped ship for privately-held Poindexter Systems. Poindexter is developing behavioural advertising technology; Wiegend led Amazon's development of predictive models used for recommendations and cross-selling.

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 23, 2005 at 12:03 AM in Sub-sector: Advertising, Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Surprise stock implications of wealthy online user growth

Nielsen/NetRatings reports (PDF) that the fastest growing segment of Internet users by income during 2004 was the top group - those with household incomes over $150,000. Details of the Nielsen/NetRatings report, then analysis including stock implications:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 22, 2005 at 12:05 AM in Sector Themes/Outlook, Sub-sector: E-finance, Sub-sector: E-tailing, Sub-sector: Travel, ticker: AMZN, ticker: EBAY, ticker: IACI, ticker: NILE, ticker: PRVD, ticker: REDE, ticker: SCH, ticker: TSCM, ticker: TSG, ticker: TWX, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (3)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Internet developments in brief

Quick links to news stories and analysis of relevance to Internet investors:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 18, 2005 at 12:12 AM in ticker: AMZN, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: EBAY, ticker: GOOG, ticker: MCHX | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Wal-Mart.com catching up with Amazon and eBay

Nielsen/NetRatings reports latest traffic numbers for November/December:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 9, 2005 at 06:05 PM in Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN, ticker: EBAY, ticker: IACI, ticker: OSTK, ticker: SHOP, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Amazon's bizarre press release

The night that online jewelry retailer Blue Nile releases earnings, Amazon puts out a press release that says its Q4 jewelry sales were up 120% year over year, and it has great jewelry offerings for Valentines Day. Here's what's odd:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 8, 2005 at 11:32 PM in Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN, ticker: NILE | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Blue Nile (NILE) on the online jewelry market (quotes from the conf call)

Here's what Blue Nile (ticker: NILE) CEO Mark Vadon had to say on his Q4 earnings conference call about marketing, diamond prices and Blue Nile's market share:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 8, 2005 at 11:22 PM in Conf call quotes, Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN, ticker: NILE, ticker: OSTK | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 07, 2005

NY Times on Internet retailing

The NY Times has a perplexing survey of the Internet retailing stocks in its Sunday business section. The article, Is Online Retailing a Victim of Its Own Success?, argues that online retailing is growing fast, but the outlook for the stocks is uncertain.

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 7, 2005 at 08:35 AM in Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN, ticker: GOOG, ticker: SHOP, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 04, 2005

Amazon on Amazon Prime

Here's what Amazon said on its Q4 conference call about Amazon Prime, its new membership program for reduced cost shipping:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 4, 2005 at 02:39 PM in Conf call quotes, Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN, ticker: OSTK | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Amazon's marketing spend

Amazon joined the group of late trading victims after missing the consensus (adjusted) EPS estimate by a whopping $0.05. A few highlights and two quick comments:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 4, 2005 at 02:28 PM in Earnings results, Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

What's really behind Amazon's new loyalty program?

Amazon today launched Amazon Prime. For $79 per year, you get unlimited two-day shipping on in-stock items and overnight shipping for only $3.99 per order, and those rates can be shared with four family members in the same household. Here's the entire announcement, then some quick comments.

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 2, 2005 at 06:32 AM in Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

As search engines add proprietary content, what are the implications?

Recent announcements have strong implications for the search business:

  • Microsoft announced the full release of its search service today.
  • Google announced that it would offer search of movie scripts and is planning to offer search of books stocked by major libraries.
  • Amazon.com announced that its A9 search engine will offer street-level photographs as part of its local search.
  • Yahoo! announced that in future it will provide its own financial data instead of relying on outside vendors, and will syndicate that data to other web sites.

Here's a quick recap of Amazon's announcement, then a brief discussion of what's going on in the search market and the implications for investors.

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 1, 2005 at 07:03 AM in Sector Themes/Outlook, Sub-sector: Search, ticker: AMZN, ticker: GOOG, ticker: TWX, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

European e-shopping could favor ECST, NILE, OSTK, REDE more than AMZN, EBAY

The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) that savy Europeans are taking advantage of their strong currencies by shopping from U.S. online retailers. The article mentions Amazon as a potential beneficiary. But here's a point to consider for investors in e-tail stocks:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on January 19, 2005 at 11:40 AM in Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN, ticker: EBAY, ticker: ECST, ticker: GOOG, ticker: IBUY, ticker: NILE, ticker: REDE, ticker: SHOP, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

EBAY's Kurant purchase threatens AMZN?

EBAY purchased the technology assets of Kurant Corp. Here's eBay's description of what it acquired:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on January 19, 2005 at 08:27 AM in ticker: AMZN, ticker: EBAY | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 10, 2005

Bezos on the movie rental business

Jeff Bezos comments on the online movie rental business in an interview with Wired editor Chris Anderson:

Q: What about videos? Netflix says it believes you're going to enter their rental-by-mail business.

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on January 10, 2005 at 12:46 AM in ticker: AMZN, ticker: NFLX | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Business Week says don't be too negative on Amazon

Business Week's Rob Hof argues in a piece called Why Amazon Could Keep Flowing that the recent negativity on the stock has been overdone. His key points:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on January 6, 2005 at 12:03 AM in ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Smith Barney downgrades Amazon

Smith Barney downgrades Amazon this morning to Sell from Hold, leaving its price target at $40. The stock is currently trading at about $44. Reasons?

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on January 4, 2005 at 09:37 AM in ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 03, 2005

The Street.com's bearish on Amazon

Troy Wolverton of The Street.com has a bearish article on Amazon. His key points:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on January 3, 2005 at 12:06 AM in ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Five Internet danger signs to watch for in 2005

The next few weeks will likely see a flurry of predictions for 2005, to the point where you'll be sick of reading them. So instead, I'm providing something which I hope will be more useful for investors in Internet stocks and managers of Internet companies: a checklist of danger signals for Internet investors to look out for next year. For each danger signal, I've specified which stocks will subsequently be at risk:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on December 30, 2004 at 11:03 PM in Sector Themes/Outlook, Sub-sector: Content, Sub-sector: E-finance, Sub-sector: E-tailing, Sub-sector: Search, Sub-sector: Travel, ticker: AMZN, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: BFLY, ticker: CNET, ticker: CTRP, ticker: EBAY, ticker: GOOG, ticker: HOLL, ticker: IACI, ticker: MSFT, ticker: NFLX, ticker: NILE, ticker: OSTK, ticker: PCLN, ticker: RATE, ticker: SHOP, ticker: TSCM, ticker: TZOO, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (4)

Hollywood Media launches beta of eGuide

Hollywood Media has launched a beta version of eGuide, a search service for local events. The site allows you to search for movie times and tickets, TV programs, and local events.

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on December 30, 2004 at 12:01 AM in ticker: AMZN, ticker: HOLL | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Amazon upgraded by Bear Stearns

To "Outperform" from "Peer Perform". New price target: $55, versus $46 old price target. Reason? None to speak of. Amazon's press release yesterday about holiday sales contained little real information.

Doesn't it amuse you the way sell side analysts still upgrade stocks the day after they've made big moves?

Posted by David Jackson on December 28, 2004 at 09:44 AM in ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 27, 2004

Were holiday online sales THAT good?

E-commerce stocks are up sharply today on the comScore prediction that holiday online sales will grow 28% year over year. Earlier, comScore and others were predicting online sales growth of 22-25%. So the stocks are moving:

  • Amazon up over 8%
  • Bluefly up 11%
  • Drugstore.com up 4%
  • Ecost up 9%
  • Overstock up 2%
  • Shopping.com up 6%

Yahoo!, eBay and Blue Nile aren't participating in this rally. But I wonder whether three percentage points of upside to the aggregate growth number (28% from 25%) is enough to justify the moves in the pure-play e-commerce stocks. After all, 28% growth is still below last year's growth rate of 30%, and offline retailers like Wal-Mart are taking market share online.

Full disclosure: at the time of writing I'm long SHOP.

Posted by David Jackson on December 27, 2004 at 01:40 PM in Sector Themes/Outlook, Sub-sector: E-tailing, ticker: AMZN, ticker: BFLY, ticker: DSCM, ticker: EBAY, ticker: ECST, ticker: NILE, ticker: OSTK, ticker: SHOP, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Decoding Amazon's holiday shopping press release

Amazon issued a press release containing data about its holiday shopping performance. This isn't financial guidance: there's nothing in the press release about revenues or earnings. But analysts will comb the text for clues about how Amazon did during the peak shopping period of the year. Here are the data points they'll probably focus on:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on December 27, 2004 at 10:32 AM in ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Three lessons from the Google Zeitgeist

Google's press center just published its Zeitgeist 2004, a summary of the most popular searches in 2004. This is important reading, despite the fact that's it's backward-looking. Here are three key points from the Google data:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on December 25, 2004 at 11:44 PM in Sector Themes/Outlook, Sub-sector: Search, ticker: AMZN, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: EBAY, ticker: ECST, ticker: GOOG, ticker: HOLL, ticker: LOOK, ticker: OSTK, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Friday, December 24, 2004

Is Amazon being hurt by comparison shopping?

Since comparison shopping sites make it easy to find the best prices on a product, they'll drive traffic to the cheapest stores with the best service and reputations. Traffic to the comparison shopping sites is up sharply this year: Nextag reported a 70% increase in year over year traffic, Shopping.com announced that it expects revenues to rise by over 30% this quarter, and traffic to Yahoo! Shopping and Froogle are also strong.

So owners of Amazon stock need to know whether Amazon is benefitting or losing from this trend, particularly since comparison shopping is growing in popularity.

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on December 24, 2004 at 01:58 AM in ticker: AMZN, ticker: ECST, ticker: GOOG, ticker: OSTK, ticker: SHOP, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Friday, December 17, 2004

Forrester predicts lackluster online holiday sales

Forrester Research forecast on December 17th that online holiday retail sales will grow by only 20% this year, compared to 31% last year. Forrester provides two reasons for the slow-down. First, online shopping has become more mainstream, so growth rates are converging with offline sales growth. Second, "because stores are the channel most at risk of missing sales forecasts this year, retailers will scale back online promotions, such as free shipping, and will promote large in-store discounts as a way to drive customers to stores".

Forrester's numbers are consistent with recent comments from Majestic Research, which predicted that online sales would come in at the low-end of its prior 23-25% growth forecast.

Is only 20% growth priced into the eCommerce stocks, or will investors be disappointed at companies' financial results when they are released in mid-January? Investor expectations for Amazon are already fairly muted. But many other stocks have risen a lot over the last few months.

Posted by David Jackson on December 17, 2004 at 09:27 PM in ticker: AMZN | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)