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TMFMileHigh (73.87)

Are toolbars really worth $ 8mil?

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January 17, 2008 – Comments (3) | RELATED TICKERS: DIS , GOOGL , AMZN

 

Benchmark Capital apparently thinks so. Earlier today the firm invested $8 million in a start-up called Conduit, whose business is to create toolbars for web businesses that hope to "spread the word," as it were. (Full press release here.)

As a user of toolbars --  I have toolbars for Facebook and LinkedIn embedded into Firefox on my Mac -- I tend to agree with Benchmarkl that there's value to be had. But $8 million? On the one hand, sure, toolbars are incredibly useful and keep brands top of mind. Disney has a toolbar for ESPN. I get to Google and Amazon via the search toolbar embedded with Firefox.I suspect we Fools would find it useful to have a toolbar with a built-in RSS feed available to those who want up-to-the-minute stock market analysis.

On the other hand, toolbars take up space. Most users are likely to tolerate no more than one, and perhaps two. Is there really enough business to be had here? I suppose that'll depend on what we call a browser in a few years.

FWIW and Foolish best,

TIm (TMFMileHigh) 

3 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 17, 2008 at 9:20 AM, zygnoda (27.35) wrote:

Yes I think that it could be a decent business. Eight million million isn't that much. They sound like a well established firm in the field. Look at how big the search market is. Everybody has to have a toolbar now.

Personally I find it a bit annoying that everyone is trying to push their toolbar on me. So many times when I install software they have a box checked for yet another toolbar. I'm not that desperate for toolbars. I do have one that I really like which fills in forms (name, adress, etc).

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#2) On January 17, 2008 at 1:19 PM, AnomaLee (28.73) wrote:

Yes, it can be worth it. Toolbars are the future of advertising.

As far as space goes you also have to remember that monitors are slowly replacing TV's. Hence, more people buying 27" monitors and  Hi-Definition TV's that can double as monitors for people with wireless keyboards and mouses.

Toolbars are the next Google of advertising as cable TV & the internet continue to merge into one path for information and entertainment. Just look at any program guide on your TV and it's pretty much the same format as a toolbar on your browser, but I don't think Conduit and their technology will be the company to emerge as the winner....

 

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#3) On January 20, 2008 at 5:28 PM, kristm (99.74) wrote:

IAC has a big interest in toolbars too, all those Zwinky ads that run in the middle of the night are from them. It's all about toolbars that direct you to their other properties and make ads pop up on your desktop.

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