You've Got _____ ?!
Tuesday, May 19, 1998
by David Gardner
ALEXANDRIA, VA (May 19, 1998) -- Zowie. A strong day for AOL was largely the reason behind a 2% gain in the Fool Portfolio, reversing the bad recent vibes that the market had been sending our portfolio.
America Online rose $4 11/16 to close at $87 11/16, and... could it really have been this announcement that did it?
"Eastman Kodak and America Online are joining forces to offer a new Internet service that will let AOL members have photographs delivered to their online accounts and to friends. For a fee, film processors will scan and upload snapshots to customers' accounts. Customers will be able to add backgrounds and captions and crop or enlarge the photos on their computers." (UPI)
... perhaps so, as it was listed as one of the top business stories "of the hour," earlier today. Apparently, AOL subscribers will just drop off their regular rolls at the Kodak picture processors throughout the country and, for an additional fee, the photo retailers will develop the film, then scan and upload the snapshots to the customers' accounts within 48 hours. Then, when AOL subscribers log on, they get a ''You've Got Pictures!'' icon.
By the way, are they going to keep doing the "You've Got" thing? Mail, pictures, what's next? Hailing back to a recent Jeff Fischer report, how about "You've Got Groceries!" But the thing that concerns me, as a fan of the English language, is that "you've got" is flabby. The construction doesn't need any "got" -- just, "You Have Mail," or "You Have Pictures."
"You have," not "you've got."
(By the way, if you think I'm seriously concerned, no need to e-mail me, because I'm not!)
You Have Mail was in fact the working title of the next Nora Ephron movie. You may know some of her previous stuff: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, etc. This one is about competing booksellers Tom Hanks (effectively heir to the "Barnes & Noble-like" fortune) and Meg Ryan (who owns a cutesy independent children's bookstore) who are enemies in daylight and unwitting lovers as e-mail correspondents.
Now, Nora's darned literate. So I know she had it right in her working title. But tap into the Internet Movie Database (one of my faves) and you'll see it's now "You've Got"! OK, so whose product placement manager put the screws on this one, eh?
Enough about AOL and pictures, moving or otherwise.
I noticed reading through news headlines today that Excite (Nasdaq: XCIT) has announced a secondary stock offering. It's fascinating to watch, isn't it? Another 1.35 million shares. At today's closing price of $61, that's 82 million pocorobas. What's it for? "...To fund its cash prepayment obligations under its recent agreement with Netscape Communications Corp. with respect to Netscape's Netcenter service and for general corporate purposes, including working capital."
So Excite pays a ton of money to Netscape to buy space. Excite's business, you'll recognize, is essentially to get paid by others for space. There's a lot of buying of space going on now, which one must greet with at least a little skepticism. I had lunch yesterday with a very successful fellow, middle-aged president of a top media company, and he asked me what I thought of the space-buying going on. I asked him the same question back. What was clear is that neither of us really knew for sure. But he put it kinda like this, "What's buying space about, David, when the space isn't physical and everything is just a click away? Aren't you guys at The Fool demonstrating that you don't have to buy space on anybody's site to create a brand name? What does that say about the buying of space?"
Not quite sure, exactly. Space is certainly worth some price, and I mostly support the moves of companies like Excite and Amazon.com (a Fool Port holding) to lock up heavy traffic areas -- particularly for Amazon, since its business is retail.
But do you really need a search engine, or a "Web content aggregator," to help you click into fool.com? Does the Fool need it? Will the market bear it? Is all this selling of space, and raising money to buy others' space while trying to sell your own, is it going to have been worth it? I honestly don't know.
But I do know one thing. Tap into Fooldom every night and follow stories like this, and we'll get a jump together on most of the rest of the world's understanding.
Amazon up $2, by the way.
Hey, Foolish Four fans, Robert Sheard did a great column last night on the performance of the Foolish Four. I see one or another media story from time to time asking if the Foolish Four stocks are dead, or if the approach doesn't work anymore. Robert clearly sees those stories too, and did a fine job of addressing that point -- or rather, that inaccuracy -- in his short write-up. Worth a look.
Finally tonight, how did I know about that? Do I click like a madman all the way across the Fool site every day from dusk till dawn? Close, but not quite. No actually, we have a very useful free e-mail (and an online listing, too) that briefly summarizes the new STUFF we put up each day on the site. Each of the little blurbs is followed by a link that you can use to read that article directly. It's a quick overview of what's goin' on at The Fool (and also lets you know stuff like we'll be on the CBS This Morning show between 8:30 and 9:00 AM tomorrow -- seriously).
May tomorrow be another two-percenter! Fool on.
-- David Gardner, May 19, 1998
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Day Month Year History FOOL +2.01% 0.35% 21.97% 309.34% S&P: +0.33% -0.20% 14.33% 142.04% NASDAQ: +0.78% -1.21% 17.55% 156.31% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 8/5/94 710 AmOnline 3.64 87.69 2311.36% 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 1.28 7.13 456.46% 10/1/96 84 LucentTech 23.81 72.13 202.94% 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 38.22 90.00 135.47% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 56.44 42.60% 2/20/98 215 DuPont 59.83 82.19 37.36% 1/8/98 115 S&P Depos. 95.91 111.34 16.10% 2/20/98 200 Exxon 64.09 72.31 12.83% 2/20/98 270 Int'l Pape 47.69 52.31 9.69% 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* 8.47 9.13 -7.75% 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 25.67 22.25 -13.31% 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 44.71 38.75 -13.33% 6/26/97 325 Innovex 27.71 22.06 -20.38% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 29.38 -37.32% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 8/5/94 710 AmOnline 2581.87 62258.13 $59676.26 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 11084.24 26100.00 $15015.76 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 2509.60 13965.00 $11455.40 2/20/98 215 DuPont 12864.25 17670.31 $4806.06 10/1/96 84 LucentTech 1999.88 6058.50 $4058.62 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 7336.88 $2191.77 1/8/98 115 S&P Depos. 11029.25 12804.53 $1775.28 2/20/98 200 Exxon 12818.00 14462.50 $1644.50 2/20/98 270 Int'l Pape 12876.75 14124.38 $1247.63 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* -9908.50 -10676.25 -$767.75 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 5812.49 5037.50 -$774.99 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 10908.63 9456.25 -$1452.38 6/26/97 325 Innovex 9005.62 7170.31 -$1835.31 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11715.99 7343.75 -$4372.24 CASH $11558.06 TOTAL $204669.84