July 2008 Archives

IAC to take $170M in charges for spinoffs


Internet conglomerate IAC/InterActiveCorp, preparing to spin off four of its operating units, said late Tuesday it plans to take about $170 million in charges because the housing crisis has diminished the value of its mortgage and real estate businesses.

The New York-based company revealed in a regulatory filing that it will have to write down the value of its lending unit, which includes the LendingTree.com Web site, by $100 million.

Its real estate segment, which includes the RealEstate.com Web site and related brokerage businesses, will take a $70 million hit because of damage to their goodwill, which refers to intangibles such as reputation or perceived value to the market.

IAC said the company had to adjust its valuations of the business units because their future profitability has been hurt by the mortgage mess and its fallout.

More businesses considering 'wisdom of crowds'

George Raines:

We've heard a lot about the "wisdom of crowds" in recent years, mostly in relation to Internet sites that let their readers make key decisions.

Digg.com, for instance, is a news site that lets its readers choose which stories are most important. Then there's Yelp.com, which lets users review products and services in hopes of gaining a consensus.

Now it seems that some of that Web 2.0 philosophy is rubbing off on more traditional businesses. Companies like Threadless, a T-shirt company in Chicago, and Ryz, an athletic shoe company in Portland, Ore., are making it possible for consumers to design shirts and shoes. Consumers then vote for their favorites, and those are the products these companies sell over the Internet.

Who Will Manage Your Business Blog?

Matt Tharp:

Small businesses frequently suffer from growing pains caused by “the people problem” - too many tasks, not enough people.

Making the decision to add blog marketing to your online strategy may be a great idea, but what to do next is not always so clear. To successfully execute your blog marketing strategy, you will need to have someone available to manage the blog. How do you decide if you have the resources in house to manage the blog on an ongoing basis?
Here are some questions that will need to be answered before you can launch and manage your own business blog:

Margaret Harding:

When Coke bottle glasses just won't cut it for safe driving, a futuristic windshield might do the trick.

General Motors Corp. researchers are working on a windshield that combines lasers, infrared sensors and a camera to take what's happening on the road and enhance it, so aging drivers with vision problems are able to see a little more clearly.

Although it's only in the research stage now, the technology soon will be more useful than ever. The 65-and-older population in the United States will nearly double in about 20 years, meaning more people will be struggling to see the road like they used to.

GM's new windshield won't improve their vision, but it will make objects stand out that could otherwise go unnoticed by an aged eye.

Seniors represent a large and growing real estate market.

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