Finance

More stress = more icecream… Online gamers worth $US4 billion… CEOs show leadership on pay… Social networks lure the oldies… Beyond Google with vertical search engines…

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More stress = more icecream

This is surely an item that could find a place in any office. Boing Boing says designer Demitrios Kargotis has invented an ice-cream dispenser equipped with a voice stress analyser. To get a serve you just press the button, ask for some icecream, and out comes some creamy soft-serve. Cool enough, but it gets better: the voice-analyser measures the vibes in the person’s voice and, the more stressed they are, the more icecream they get. Makes perfect sense.

 

Online gamers worth $US4 billion

The value of the global online gaming market has topped $US4 billion this year and is likely to treble to $US12 billion within the next five years, according to a Strategy Analytics study reported by iTWire.

Strategy Analytics says online games is already the largest category out of the three main online entertainment markets of music, games and video. The steady improvement of broadband speeds and accessibility is expected to drive this impressive growth in online gaming.

 

Pay: CEOs demonstrate leadership

It’s time to give yourself a pay rise if you want to keep up with the CEOs of big listed companies. A survey by Hay Group of 70 executives at the 200 top ASX-listed companies found that CEOs enjoyed an 8.7% pay rise this year.

Senior executives got a raise of almost half as much: 4.9%. Senior mining executives topped the field with 32.1% increases.

The future may be less lucrative for the top job, though, because market volatility could affect bonuses and incentive payments.

 

Social networks woo older users

The size of the baby boom market – and its relative loyalty compared with younger generations – has inspired a raft of social networking sites for older users, reports The New York Times. “The older demographic has a bunch of interesting characteristics, not the least of which is that they hang around,” says Paul Kedrosky, a venture capitalist and blogger.

The sites have names such as Eons, Rezoom, Multiply, Maya’s Mom, Boomj and Boomertown. They look like Facebook … with wrinkles.

The stickiness of older people is attracting investors. Last week VantagePoint Ventures, an early investor in MySpace, announced that it had led a $16.5 million round of financing for Multiply, a social networking site aimed at people who are settled. In August Shasta Ventures led a $4.8 million financing round for TeeBeeDee, a site coming out of its test stage this month.

Also in August, Johnson & Johnson spent $US10–20 million to acquire Maya’s Mom, a social networking site for parents, according to a person briefed on the deal. The site has been in existence about a year.

 

Go beyond Google with vertical search engines

Laura Tiffany of Entrepreneur.com offers 10 vertical search engines every business owner should know. “Be sure to research your own industry, however, for more specific verticals that can hone your searches or boost your advertising ROI for business customers,” Tiffany writes. Here’s some of them.

TopTenWholesale.com: Help retailers find wholesalers.

ThomasNet.com: For industrial and manufacturing goods and services.

FindLaw.com: Search for lawyers by location and specialty.

IT.com: Tech-oriented search options.

Zibb.com: Search service of websites, blogs and Reed Business content.

VerticalSearch.com: VerticalSearch gets super meta as a vertical search engine for vertical sites.

SearchFinance.com: Search engine for financial executives

Yahoo! Local: Offers a number of business categories like health and beauty, automotive, and real estate

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