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Archive for March, 2009

National Debt clock & Twitter

by henrycopeland
Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Mashing up two of the fastest growing phenom of our time: http://twitter.com/nationaldebt.

A taste of things to come: more sellers than buyers

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Why would anyone buy low-yield fixed income securities when we know governments around the world are preparing to unload trillions of the things? Bonds are going to be priced like sand at the beach. If you’ve got the bucket — take as much as you want. It looks like UK buyers are starting to rebel as the government starts selling “gilts” as the UK government bonds are called. Bloomberg reports:

U.K. gilts slumped after demand at an auction of bonds fell short of the amount offered, the first time the Treasury failed to attract enough bids at a sale of regular debt in 14 years.

Investors bid for 1.63 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) of the 40-year securities, less than the 1.75 billion pounds of 4.25 percent notes slated for sale, the U.K. Debt Management Office said today in a statement from London.

“Basically it’s the first failed auction,” said John Wraith, head of sterling interest-rate strategy at RBC Capital Markets in London. “They didn’t receive enough to cover it all so the market has obviously sold off extremely heavily.”

The yield on the 10-year gilt jumped 10 basis points to 3.43 percent by 11:45 a.m. in London. The 4.5 percent security due March 2019 slipped 0.84, or 8.4 pounds per 1,000-pound face amount, to 109.02. The yield on the two-year note rose six basis points to 1.30 percent. Yields move inversely to bond prices.

In my thirty years of watching the US treasury market, we’ve never had a failed auction in the US. How long before we see one?

Who remembers these?

by henrycopeland
Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Blogads.com improvements

by henrycopeland
Friday, March 20th, 2009

Thanks to a pile of new code written in Budapest over the last 3 months, advertisers can now run multiple ad versions in a single day, assigning a weighting to each version. Advertisers can use this feature to keep ads fresh for readers or to test which version is most effective. (If you’re a current advertiser, click “versions” link on an already purchased ad and you can start juggling creative!)

We’ll be letting advertisers know about this and updating our Youtube overview of Blogads, but if you’re a blogger, feel free to post about this new feature to get the word out!


by henrycopeland
Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Funny that politicians and economists never do A/B testing of policies.

Twitter = losses? Not.

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Sanford Bernstein analysts think Twitter “will likely have to operate it at a loss in perpetuity, or until the next cool Web 2.0 social networking concept comes along and Twitter tweets no more.”

That’s idiotic. Twitter has clearly become a foundation for a new type of communication. The easy, obvious (and perhaps only) route to monetize twitter is to charge users a nominal fee for “registering” their usernames. (Much as domain registrars charge $10-$20 a year for each .com or .org registration.)

Twitter would give the first six months or 300 tweets away free, locking users into the twitter ecosystem.

Twitter now has atomic-powered network effects: who wants to re-follow 1000 people in a new network… or try to convince 500 followers to move elsewhere? Shaq isn’t going to ask his 300k followers to migrate. Perez isn’t going to take his 230k followers elsewhere. I’m not going to want to re-follow 410 people. And all the companies who have built tools around Twitter’s API aren’t going to be eager to recreate those services around other APIs. Once hooked up/in, people will gladly pay $5 a year or $1/month rather than lose their entire network of relationships.

Assuming 50% attrition from its current 7 million users, that would generate roughly $20 million a year… plenty of revenue for servers and the company’s 40-odd staff. It wouldn’t be glamorous, but it would secure profitability and let twitter continue growing the plumbing for a new type of communications revolution.

Update: John Hawkins argues that Twitter’s hordes of followers are inflated by bots.

Update 2: I ran this idea by a friend in-the-know and got what amounted to a “no comment.” Signal or noise?

Everybody knows…

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Keith Olbermann: “Everybody knows I take my instructions from our next guest, the founder and publisher of Dailykos.com, Markos Moulitsas.” (At 2:08)

Liquidity premium

by henrycopeland
Sunday, March 15th, 2009


The 8.875 percent 30-year bond that the government sold in February 1989 yields 0.44 percentage point, or 44 basis points, more than the current 10-year 2.75 percent note, which is the most comparable security and yields 2.89 percent. That amounts to about $44,000 a year in interest on a $10 million investment.

In laymen’s language: current buyers of US treasuries are not long-term investors, but flight-to-quality money-stashers. Not a sound base for an rate curve and a sign of much higher rates to come. And higher rates mean fewer home buyers & slower economy.

SXSW baby!

by henrycopeland
Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Heading out for dinner in Austin. Looks like tons of great folks are in town.

Cramer vs Cramer

by henrycopeland
Friday, March 13th, 2009

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