More women online than men… Corporate bond trading online… Virtual due diligence… Free SMSs for ads

More women online than men

New figures on internet usage are busting old stereotypes in the United States. An estimated 97.2 million females aged three and older will be online in 2007, or 51.7% of the total online population in the US, according to a report by eMarketer.

According to eMarketer, female usage of the internet in the US has risen 12.4% since 2000, compared with 3.2% for males. In 2011, 109.7 million US females are projected to be online, amounting to 51.9% of the online population.

However, women don’t appear to be as enamoured of online video as their male counterparts, the study found. Only 66% of the estimated 97.2 million females online watch videos, compared with 78% of the 90.9 million men.

I wonder what this means for Second Life?


Corporate bond trading to go online

The New York Stock Exchange is creating an online platform for live anonymous trades to replace its existing corporate bond trading system this month. It aims to gain 25% of small investors trading in the first year of operation, reports The Australian Financial Review.

About 65% of corporate bond trades are made by small investors. Corporate bonds of all NYSE listed companies will be eligible.

The plan is meeting some scepticism. The first attempt at an anonymous electronic exchange for corporate bonds, BondBook, closed the same year it started (2001) because it failed to attract business to its system.


Virtual due diligence

Advisers to the suitors for Coles Group will not have to travel to a real data room to do due diligence on the companies. Coles Group’s lawyers Freehills has created a virtual data room, reports The Age. Accountants and lawyers for the Wesfarmers-led and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts-led bids will be logging in from their desks.

It may be the biggest virtual dataroom ever in Australia, but it will not be the first. CCH Workflow Solutions brought the concept of virtual data rooms to Australia nine years ago.

The company sets up a secure, password-controlled portal enabling bidders to view documents, ask questions of the target company and its advisers in real time, and even negotiate their sale agreement online.


Free SMS advertising campaign

Australian advertisers will be the first in the world to pilot a world-first mobile phone SMS response system that allows customers to use free phone numbers to text messages for brochures and product information and enter competitions.

Until now, advertisers wanting an SMS response have had to ask consumers to pay for their text message. The free texting is a world first.

European-based TXT4 directors Anthony North and John Edwards said they have found that many TV viewers now watched TV with their mobiles within easy reach, and were more likely to SMS word prompts to a free number if they were interested in a product.

North told The Australian newspaper that response rates to ads where people were requesting material rose between 50% and 100% in test studies, with potential customers receiving information back on their phones instantly, tailored to both 2G and 3G handsets. “We are talking about SMS as being an acquisition medium. In some cases we are seeing an increase of 150% in lead generation.”


Clever country

The popularity of post-graduate courses is growing faster than under-graduate courses in Australian universities, despite the hefty fees. Figures for local post-graduate students beginning courses between 2005 and first semester last year grew 4.2%.

Under-graduate course participation rose by 0.6% by comparison, according to figures from the Department of Education, Science and Training.

The preliminary data, reports The Australian Financial Review, shows 219,385 post-grads in 2006, up 2.2% on 2005.


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