Online Payment and Management for Non Profit Groups

A collaboration of leading environmental groups has launched a suite of online payment and management tools for use by non-profit organisations.

The Earth Share Australia Foundation’s non-profit eGive portal provides basic contact management, database, fund-raising, newsletter and campaign tools required to run a non-profit group.

eGive also allows individuals to join participating community groups, make donations via credit card and buy goods or services. The details of donors, new members and visitors to online stores are automatically captured and eGive offers a range of communication tools, such as email lists and online email newsletters.

More. The eGive web site is http://www.egive.org.au/

Contract Between Music Companies and Listeners No Longer Valid

This is one of the best commentary pieces I’ve seen so far on the subject, written by Umair Haque on Red Herring:

“The music industry fails to understand that a primary reason that consumers illegally share music files is that they want insurance against the music industry itself. File sharing is as much about risk sharing as it is about the theft of value. Technology makes file swapping possible – but the music industry’s business model, which is at odds with the implicit contract it signs with listeners, is what makes it probable.”

Umair argues that the problem is one made by the music industry, and it’s natural that when an alternative came on the scene – the Net – consumers grasped the opportunity with gusto.

Artifical pricing – leading to a complete lack of connection between price and real product value; record companies pursuing self-serving interests; a total information feedback disconnect between the industry and the consumers. All inform an understanding of why consumers prefer to search and download music from the Net.

Beware Search Keywords

Buying keywords on search engines for advertising campaigns has proven to be one of the most successful business opportunities for the search engines, and most now are offering a service along these lines, including Yahoo and Google. But a recent courtcase, settled after 5 years between Netscape and Playboy, raises some interesting issues for the search engines.

Playbox took Netscape to court saying Netscape had allowed search keywords to be purchased including “playboy” and “playmate.”, which of course Playboy lays claim to. The case was earlier dismissed, but Playboy kept trying.

“Complaints over misuse of trademarks in search engine ads are growing because of the influence of such programs from Google and Yahoo-owned Overture Services. Google, for example, faces trademark complaints from advertisers of its popular keyword-auction program. In December, Google asked a court to rule on whether its keyword-advertising policy is legal as a result.”

Of course the big question is, how do the search engines police this? Anyone can sign up for Google’s keyword advertising, and enter any words they like for their campaign. Does Google now have to out in place a system which checks those words against lists of trademarked, patented or otherwise protected words? That could turn into something of a problem.

Can Spam Canned

Many in the US are now openly critical of the Can Spam Anti-Spam laws enacted nationally a month or two ago. For a start, they supercede the most stringent laws already in place in states like California. For example, under state law in many states, people have the right to sue spammers, a right not available in the national law.

“(Can-Spam) is an abomination at the federal level,” said Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig … “It’s ineffective and it’s affirmatively harmful because it preempts state legislation.”

Music Industry Claims Victory – But at What Price?

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents hundreds of record producers and distributors around the world, is claiming a breakthrough in its ‘battle against illegal music downloads’, saying that they are seeing a large migration of people moving away from the ‘illegal’ downloads, and to the ‘legitimate’ online music purchase arena.

“The number of music files available illegally on the Internet at any one time fell by 20 per cent over the past nine months to 800 million in January 2004, having doubled to one billion through 2002 and early 2003”

Yes, but the ‘legitimate’ services – led by the Apple iTunes business – has only just come on the scene. One reason people used pirate systems was because there simply wasn’t an alternative. The web has been around for 10 years now, and music networks for probably close to half of that in one way or another. So it’s taken the music industry 4 or 5 years to get their heads around the issue, and their response was typically traditional. Prosecute people not conforming to their historical view of what is ‘right’, and perpetuate their business model by licencing companies to offer music for sale, track by track, album by album.

Look at the numbers – hundreds of millions of files available for swapping, tens of millions of people swapping them. And the best the music industry can do is just more of the same. Distinct lack of imagination. It’s only going to take one enterprising person to dream up a viable model, and the music industry will be back to square one. It happened with Napster, and Kazaa, albeit they both bore the brunt of the industry backlash. But they were the pioneers, the first ones to put their heads above the ramparts and invite the slings and arrows. More players will inevitably emerge, armed with the knowledge and experience of the pioneers, and new ideas with which to lay siege to the music honchos.

Shawn Fanning, the creator of Napster, has been beavering away quietly for the past few months, with funding from one of the original investors in Napster, on a new business called Snocap.

“Snocap’s plan, which involves identifying music files being traded through file-swapping networks and then attaching a price tag to them, is resonating well with music industry executives. “

Fanning changed the world with Napster, and it’s odds-on he can do it again.

Pepsi’s the Real Thing

Now see, you can tell when people who DO understand the marketplace are involved. Pepsi is running tv ads during the American Superbowl – which would have to be one of the largest tv audiences around – featuring 20 teenagers who previously were sued by the American music industry for illegal music downloading.

It’s all promoting a Pepsi campaign offering 100 million songs for free download from Apple iTunes.

“We are still going to download music for free off the Internet” say the teens in the ads, with a music track of ‘I Fought the Law’ recorded especially by band Green Day.

“It’s all in good spirit,” Pepsi North America’s CMO Dave Burwick told USA Today. “This has been a huge cultural phenomenon. It’s highly relevant and topical for consumers. We’re turning people to buying music online vs. stealing it online.”

Got To Get Me One of These

How did I ever live without one of these toys:

“A new gadget designed to help people shape their nightly slumber means dreams could be full of whatever the sleeper desires — whether it be a date with a movie star or winning gold at the Olympics. “

“The dream machine comes equipped with a voice recorder, array of lights, picture frame, fragrance dispenser, selection of internally stored background music, two speakers and a timer.

Working in conjunction, these components allow users to design their dreams through multisensory stimuli of scents, sounds and more. “