December 29, 2011

Markus Frind - Creator of the ultimate money making machine

Everyone is not as lucky as the FED or the ECB who can print their own money. But one person who is almost as lucky is Markus Frind. His printing press has the name Plenty of Fish - or simply POF - and it's a dating site.


POF is a completely free service since it's making money from ads, has 10 million users and 30000 more are signing up each day, 1.6 billion page views each month - and 3 employees. It took Markus Frind about 2 weeks to create the basic site - and then people started to use it. Sounds simple?

When Markus Frind created POF, he had no money, no plan, and little knowledge of the industry. He wanted to learn himself a new computer language and a dating site was the hardest thing to create with this new language.

POF did have 0 employees until 2007 when he realized he needed 3 employees who are deleting improper content from POF. He's doing everything else himself during the first hour of his work-day. The software doesn't need much improvement so the only work needed to be done by Markus Frind has to do with the ads.
"The site pretty much runs itself. Most of the time, I just sit on my ass and watch it."
Markus Frind is paying himself $5 million each year which is a nice salary for someone with a 2-year degree in computer programming. This is the secret:
"Pick a market in which the competition charges money for its service, build a lean operation with a "dead simple" free website, and pay for it using Google AdSense."

December 19, 2011

China goes a lot more green

We have earlier reported that China goes a little bit more green when we told you the story about the autoshow in China where 200 of 500 cars were environmental friendly. The latest news is that China invested $47.31 billion in renewable energy sources in 2010 which is more than any other country. Another $473.1 billion will be invested in the green industry between 2011 and 2015. Concerns about the environment are growing as China invests more and more in its industrialization.

Source: China Daily  

A new way to help the poor

According to the Economist, a new model of micro-finance for the very poor is spreading fast through Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The name of the new model is "village savings and loans association" and it is a basic form of banking. It was created by CARE International in 1991 to help the poor save. 2 billion people who live on $2 a day don't have access to banks and the theory is that what the poor really need, if they are to manage their cash better, is savings. And it is harder to save without a bank. Another problem is that the poorest of the poor currently don't have access to traditional micro-lenders. The village savings and loans association is based on savings and is managed by the members of the community. Traditional micro-finance is based on debt.
 "A village savings scheme typically involves a small group (perhaps 15-30 people) who pool their savings. Each buys a share in a fund from which they can all borrow. All must also contribute a small sum to a social fund, which acts as micro-insurance. If a member suffers a sudden misfortune, she will receive a payout." 
The small group has special rules about how often the group will meet, what interest rates it will charge (typically 5-10 percent a month on loans that have to be repaid within three months) and what loans may be used for. 5-10 percent a month may seem high, but remember that they are paying to themselves.
Faustina Kwei in Ghana is currently using this new model and it has helped her to feed her two children and send them to school. She is using a combination of savings, dividends, and loans.

Source: The Economist

SOPA might change the Internet as we know it today

SOPA is a proposed law (a "bill") currently discussed in the US. SOPA is short for Stop Online Piracy Act and it's an attempt by the US government to stop copyrighted material from spreading around the Internet. The idea behind the proposed law is to expand the ability of the US law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online piracy and counterfeit goods. Big companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter, are doing their best to prevent SOPA from happening. But why is SOPA scary?
One problem is that the people who are deciding whether SOPA is happening or not, don't have the experience needed. The Internet is a complicated place and people with little computer experience should not decide how to regulate the Internet. Shouldn't companies like Google know what's best for the future of the Internet?
But the biggest problem is that SOPA requires service providers to block access to entire sites if a user on the site is accused of copyright infringement. The consequences might be that if a user of Twitter is linking to a website with copyrighted material  - the entire may shut down. Google can't detect copyright infringement and currently relies on copyright holders to bring offending material to its attention. May Google shut down if SOPA is happening?
A vote is presently scheduled for Wednesday, December 21 2011.

Edit: The debate continues when the Congress returns after the winter holiday.

Source: The Washington Post, Wikipedia