Last week I spent 30 minutes at the George Street branch of Dymocks, one of Sydney’s largest downtown bookstores. I go there from time to time to buy a book and to do market research. Browsing tell’s me what’s hot in the minds of authors and book publishers, if not the book-buying public. I judge what’s hot by: (1) the amount of shelf space dedicated to the topic, and (2) the speed at which the space is growing or declining.
My discovery last week was an almost entire rack or column of books devoted to Google. Next to it another column was devoted almost exclusively to eBay. I’ll be going back in 6 and 12 months to see whether the shelf space allocation for these two US corporations has grown or shrunk.
I’m just observing something simple here. There’s a lot of current buzz about these two corporations. I believe the focus on “GoogleBay” to coin a term is justifiable. They are currently central to the invention of the future.
The ability for others to hook in, mash up and adapt content from Google and eBay helps build new entrepreneurial businesses. For example, there was a radio story last week on the BBC World Business Report by Peter Dey. It featured a US entrepreneur who has hooked into Google Maps and add a location function to his real estate business.
CNN Money reports that the total value of all items sold on eBay in its recent fourth quarter reached US$14.4 billion, up 20% from US$12.0 billion in the year-ago quarter. Additional revenues came from eBay’s PayPal and Skype divisions.
For a final perspective, we’ll end with a quote from C|net News.com’s November 2006 report on the market capitalisations of United States IT, Web and media companies:
“That puts Google’s market cap at around US$151.8 billion, compared with Yahoo’s US$36.2 billion, eBay’s US$46.4 billion and Amazon.com’s US$17.6 billion. Among traditional media companies, Disney’s market cap is about US$69.1 billion and Time Warner’s is US$81.1 billion. However, Google’s market cap is still a far cry from the US$289.7 billion Microsoft boasts.”