Economy

Instant DVD stores online… Women, children and work… Web start-ups with promise… Green nappies out…

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Instant DVD-rental stores run by the masses

A new San Diego start-up is giving individuals and independent DVD retailers the ability to set up their own mini-video rental store online. iLetYou lets you set up a video and game rental store in a matter of minutes, reports Springwise. There’s no minimum number of DVDs or games to get started, which means that anyone with a collection can start renting out to people with similar tastes.

Pricing and terms are set by the stores themselves, and there are no listing fees. iLetYou takes a small cut of every transaction, from US40¢ per rental, in exchange for providing the platform and payment processing. Store owners handle shipping, but can order two-way disk mailers from iLetYou ($US190 for a case of 1000, plus applicable shipping). iLetYou hopes to expand to different products and countries in the future.

Women, children and work a difficult mix

The difficulty of balancing work and life is forcing women to leave professions such as engineering and science at a greater rate than men, reports the Australian Financial Review. More than half the 2000 women surveyed by the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia were childless, more than double the level reported in the wider population by the Australian Bureau of Statistics

The next YouTube? Web 2.0 Start-ups with promise

CNN Money Business 2.0 has sorted through the crowded market of Web 2.0 start ups to identify 25 most likely to do well in 2007. Here’s a couple to give you a taste.

www.stumbleupon.com

Launched in 2002 by three 20-somethings in a Calgary, Alberta, apartment, StumbleUpon now has two million registered users drawn by its knack for finding websites that match their interests and those of others with similar tastes as they “stumble” around the internet.

www.slide.com

Slide has developed customisable and easily assembled slide shows of photos that can be embedded in a blog or a MySpace page, sent out in an RSS feed, and streamed to a desktop as a screensaver.

www.bebo.com

Bebo has built a social network, more than 30 million members strong, that keeps users’ pages private but still allows them to share things such as video and drawings made on an online whiteboard.

www.meebo.com

Meebo lets users manage multiple instant-messaging services from one site. Meebo’s killer app is a widget that places an IM window on your blog or webpage.

www.wikia.com

Wikia operates a hosting service for ad-supported community sites that use the same software and collaborative content model that made Wikipedia a Web phenomenon.

Woolies dumps “green” nappies

Woolworths, has dropped biodegradable nappies from its stores, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Woolworths said the product, also stocked by Coles, wasn’t selling enough, despite a 60% rise in sales in the last two quarters of 2006.

Australian Pacific Paper Products’ EcoBots are made of bioplastics and take just months to degrade compared with the years it takes conventional nappies to break down. EcoBots also cost about the same as other nappies. Woolworths will replace EcoBots with a Swedish product.

Howard Parry-Husband of research firm Pollinate, which runs a monthly poll on green issues, told the SMH that companies are failing to tap into growing concern about the environment. He said consumers’ understanding of the issues was low but concern was high.

Nearly 80% of shoppers surveyed in February said they wanted to make “environmentally friendly purchases”, but admitted they could do more. Only 14% actually bought green products.

“The problem is that there is nothing for the concerned consumer to buy,” Parry-Husband says. “So I’d say there is a vast untapped potential just sitting out there.”

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