Fryup: The Pig has landed; new answers for the old number questions

Come in FlyingPig, your time is up; counting coup - the online numbers game

Come in FlyingPig, your time is up

Ah, such promise, such potential. In the end, so much bacon. If FlyingPig did nothing else in the course of its short life, it entertained us and provided headline writers with a golden opportunity to play culinary word games. I think we won the last round. I had to wipe a wee tear from my eye after seeing the "goose is cooked" headline. Oh the humanity.

But really, what did we expect? FlyingPig may have been one of New Zealand's few e-tailers, but

its sole reason for being was to make money. During its court battle last year, FlyingPig revealed it was losing $3000 a day on sales of $100,000 a month. Let's see - $3000 multiplied by 30 days is $90,000. Hmmm. Doesn't look pretty, does it?

So where were the dot-com efficiencies? Why was the company, which had no shops, no rents to pay, no overheads in a real world sense of the word, haemorrhaging money at quite such a rate? After all, it had ditched the Advantage Group software platform and gone for a cheaper, off-the-shelf, shrink-wrapped solution from eStar Online. We may never find out the truth of the matter, but it seems to me that having owners who appeared intent on making the business look exciting and profitable and then trying to float it or sell it off to some dot-com wannabe didn't help.

Perhaps if they'd spent less time on the branding and more time on making it worth the customers' while to shop there, they might have made a better go of it.

If eStar Online gets its hands on the Pig we could see it fly again -- but don't hold your breath. It looks like the only ones who stand to make money from this dot-bomb are the lawyers.

FlyingPig: offline indefinitely - IDGNet

Clock ticks for FlyingPig - IDGNet

FlyingPig's goose is cooked - IDGNet

Pig in a blanket -- a potted history - IDGNet

This little piggy runs out of grunt - NZ Herald

Flying Pig appears to be grounded - NZ Herald

FlyingPig shot down - Nzoom

Follow this link to the video archive for a video of the interview with Matthew Darby

Flying Pig Hangi - NBR

Whitcoulls has no urge to go online - IDGNet

Counting coup - the online numbers game

We need to know how many users are visiting our sites. We need to be able to tell advertisers who these people are, what they earn, where they live, how old they are and what type of toothpaste they use.

Unfortunately, with the demise of AC Nielsen's NetRatings unit, the quality numbers are going to be hard to come by for a while yet.

Sure, Hitwise is still here -- still claiming that its sample group isn't skewed at all even though it doesn't have the largest ISPs on board. Maybe that's so. Maybe having Ihug and a few of the smaller players will give Hitwise enough data that it can construct a balanced picture of surfing in New Zealand, but the advertisers still won't trust it until it can be matched with demographic information on the end users. For that you need either a panel approach, as NetRatings gave us, or some giant Big Brother package that monitors our every movement online and tells someone who we are and what we're about.

Given all the hysteria surrounding the terrorist attacks in the US, governments are moving swiftly to implement the kinds of laws that are draconian and, frankly, unnecessary. Try to remember that the hijackers used Stanley knives and hairspray, and that they were ultimately run by a man living in a cave in Afghanistan. Did they use the internet to plan and implement their heinous crime? I think not. Governments, however, are using the threat of war as a catalyst to give themselves more power to snoop digitally on individuals, on companies, on organisations. Some of the greatest truths in life come from fiction, and as Sam said on the West Wing, this generation's greatest issue will be privacy.

So, assuming we don't want a government sponsored "observation" unit keeping tabs on us, that leaves a combination approach. Broad usage statistics, such as those provided by Hitwise, mixed with demographic information, such as NetRatings used to do.

Brian Milnes, the former head of NetRatings, is talking about launching a new company to fill the gap, and a number of online publishers are also in talks about just where to go to from here.

Hopefully in the next few weeks we'll hear more and eventually we'll be able to tell the advertising agencies the good news, so that they can convince their clients that the internet isn't dead and we'll all get paid and can go about our business. Won't that be nice?

Online monitor gets switched off - NZ Herald

New (Red) Sheriff in town - IDGNet

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