Category: Business

Cisco acquires

A very odd purchase. Cisco should stick to the old hardware, imho. Cisco Systems announced on Monday one of its most unusual deals: it has purchased the technology assets of, a mostly forgotten social-networking site.

It is a curious pairing. Cisco, with 55,000 employees, makes networking equipment for telecommunications providers and other big companies., run by an eight-employee company called Utah Street Networks, has been trampled by newer social sites like and Facebook.

But along with the recent purchase of a social network design firm, Five Across, the deal will give Cisco the technology to help large corporate clients create services resembling MySpace or YouTube to bring their customers together online. And that ambition highlights a significant shift in the way companies and entrepreneurs are thinking about social networks.

VMware jobs boost in Cork

I didn’t even know VMWare had an office in Cork tbh! Ballincollig apparently. I wonder was that because of the EMC acquisition, or were they here already? Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin TD has confirmed 369 jobs for Cork as part of an expansion by EMC’s virtualisation software subsidiary VMWare of a major operation in the area.

Storage giant EMC already employs 1,600 at its plant in Ovens and the news is a welcome turn of events for the beleagured county of Cork, which saw up to 1,000 jobs lost in the past few weeks.

I hate to sound like a bitch with an axe to grind, but I hope this isn’t along the lines of the “800” jobs that Martin announced shortly – very shortly – after Motorola in Cork went bang. That was a little convenient to my mind.

Need to update your website?

As of April 1, you need to state the following details on your website:

  1. The name of the company and the company’s legal form;
  2. the place of registration of the company, the number with which it is registered and the address of its registered office;
  3. in the case of a company exempt from the obligation to use the word “limited” or “teoranta” as part of its name, the fact that it is a limited company;
  4. in the case of a company which is being wound up, the fact that it is being wound up; and that:
  5. if there is reference to the share capital of the company on any letters or order forms, the reference shall be to the paid-up share capital.

You may need to state this information in your emails too, but as is typical with Irish legislation, I’m not entirely sure if that’s the case. The ODCE doesn’t seem to either, or surely they would have been clearer than “company letters and order forms” in their information notice?

It’s definitely a good idea to require companies to put this information on their websites, but ffs ODCE, piss or get off the pot: what, if any, emails does this info need to go into?

Quinn Direct to take on BUPA customers

They say they’re a new entrant and thus shouldn’t pay risk equalisation, and the Quinn rep on 6.1 news was talking about an even playing fields. Which begs the questions:

  1. Are they a new entrant? They’re certainly not a new entrant to the insurance market.
  2. Did approve the takeover and thus approve Quinn’s assertions on the aforementioned?
  3. What happens in three years, when the exemption expires?

Watching the Quinn rep on 6.1 was a hoot. He can’t maintain eye contact with a tv camera, never mind a human being.

Why you need to think carefully about who you buy your domain name from, and why domain registrars shouldn’t be allowed to delete or suspend your domain name without due process. Of course this isn’t the first time GoDaddy screwed up in a major, major way — last time they took a complete DC offline.

Rip-Off Ireland: The iPod Index

Ireland is 8th most expensive in the world for a 2GB iPod nano, according to a survey produced by an Australian bank. Here’s the playlist:

  1. Brazil $327.71
  2. India $222.27
  3. Sweden $213.03
  4. Denmark $208.25
  5. Belgium $205.81
  6. France $205.80
  7. Finland $205.80
  8. Ireland $205.79
  9. UK $195.04
  10. Austria $192.86
  11. Netherlands $192.86
  12. Spain $192.86
  13. Italy $192.86
  14. Germany $192.46
  15. China $179.84
  16. South Korea $176.17
  17. Switzerland $175.59
  18. New Zealand $172.53
  19. Australia $172.36
  20. Taiwan $164.88
  21. Singapore $161.25
  22. Mexico $154.46
  23. U.S. $149.00
  24. Japan $147.63
  25. Hong Kong $147.35
  26. Canada $144.20

eCommerce capital of Europe me arse

This was supposed to have been posted to a mailing list – I can’t remember which one – in May 2000, and it’s been sitting in my Drafts folder ever since. No kidding. I’m sure I’ve posted it before somewhere but it doesn’t show up in Google, so this is it’s new permanent home. Can I delete it out of my Drafts folder now?

Bloody Irish banks told me last week that I couldn’t have a merchant account if I was trading online. Then they told me I plain couldn’t have a merchant account.

ME: Hi, I’m looking for a merchant account.
BOI: Sure, what kind of business are you in?
ME: I’m in the Internet trade.
BOI: You’ll need to talk to our eCommerce department about their Clikpay service.
ME: No thanks, I’ve checked out Clikpay and I don’t fancy it.
BOI: Well, I’m afraid that’s your only option.
ME: Why is that?
BOI: Mutter, mumble, chargebacks, mutter, security.
ME: Not a concern – I won’t be selling hard goods, and my transactions will be done on an SSL connection, the details of which will be forwarded to me via encrypted email.
BOI: Sorry, that’s our policy.
ME: Well, how about a traditional merchant account? If I agree to only take orders via mail and phone?
BOI: Ok, how long have you been a BOI customer?
ME: About a year.
BOI: Sorry, you have to have an account with BOI three years.
ME: But you’re stemming the growth of my company!
BOI: Sorry, that’s our policy.

*huff* Try AIB…

ME: Hi, I’m looking for a merchant account.
AIB: What business are you in?
ME: I’m in the Internet trade.
AIB: Sorry, we don’t have any Internet solutions available yet.
ME: I know that – how about a traditional merchant account?
AIB: That’s no problem, have you an account with AIB?
ME: Not at the moment, no. BOI told me I needed an account for three years though – is it the same with AIB?
AIB: No, not at all, but your current bank will need to sign off on it.

*hang up*

Ok, pardon the dialogue, but I just find it maddening. Even more maddening is that fact that if I send my partner in the States out for a merchant account, he will return with one set up and ready to roll by the end of the day. It will be cheaper, and it will be Internet ready. At the moment, that’s not an option for us though, and obviously an Irish merhcant account isn’t either, so I end up paying out a boatload for a NatWest or Citibank account through an agent. (Yes, I’m an agent, but I still have to pay the fee boys! :)

The crux of the matter is that Irish banking, government and telco’s are not, as they would have us believe, enabling and promoting eCommerce and eBusiness in Ireland. In fact they’re doing the exact opposite – they’re stemming it, squashing it into the ground. The merchant account debacle above is just one example that has affected me personally. Another is the fact that I’m paying on average £250-300 a month for my crappy 56k Internet connection, whereas my partner in the US is paying US$45 a month for a fast as fuck always-on DSL connection.

Another is the fact that since I started my business, I haven’t got one penny or word of support from the government. And I went looking – I was knocked from pillar to post until I ended up at the door of the Cork Enterprise Board, who told me that I could apply for a grant if I wanted, but that I had no chance of getting it. “Web design agencies are ten a penny.” Not mine, you prick.

Anyway, there’s a point to all this. I’ve had enough. I’ve had my fill, and I’m going to start bitching and whining about it – to the government, to the media, to any email address, fax number and snail mail address I can get my hands on. But I can’t do it on my tod.

As it happens, I actually did get a merchant account from BOI just two months later; two of them in fact. Why two? Because they required a separate merchant account for Internet transactions, at a different rate. I kid you not. And the Internet transactions had to be processed manually, with one of those mechanical swipey things. Remember them? I still have them at home.

I can only assume that the next part was going to be a plea for assistance, but I never got that far. Did I actually do anything? Surprise, surprise, no; at least not on the banking front. However I did join IrelandOffline a year or two later, organised a protest, and became it’s chairman for a while. The effect we had is arguable at best, but I’d be arguing that we had a positive one. :)