The Kelsey Group Blog Local Media Blog 2006-03-15T13:53:04-05:00 Copyright 2004-2005 Ublog Reload 1.0.5 Neal Polachek NPolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[More National Consolidation]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=957 2006-03-07T14:17:52-05:00 2006-03-07T14:17:52-05:00 2006-03-07T14:17:52-05:00 Neal Polachek NPolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Verizon Enters Nashville]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=950 2006-03-06T13:08:25-05:00 2006-03-06T13:08:25-05:00 2006-03-06T13:08:25-05:00 article. ]]> Neal Polachek NPolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Coldplay Tickets, NFL Football, MTV]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=833 2006-02-02T11:07:10-05:00 2006-02-02T11:07:10-05:00 2006-02-02T11:07:10-05:00
Earlier this week the NFL awarded some set of games to its own NFL Network rather than the usual suspects who had bid on them namely Fox, Comcast, CBS and some new bidders Verizon in particular. That the NFL chose its own network points to the diminished role the traditional networks and carriers have in a world where the pace of convergence is accelerating. While the NFL Network's reach may be considerably smaller, it is obviously a highly targeted market that is oh by the way probably willing to pay to watch NFL games. And besides, go ask Joe's AAA Plumbing if he wants to advertise on the NFL Network my guess is his answer will be "where do I sign."

MTV recently launched its broadband channel targeted at the 18-24 college crowd called Uber. The site mixes professional and amateur content into a constellation of images and sounds and information that in theory appeal to the audience. The college audience has long been desired by local advertisers just consider the volume of burritos and pizzas consumed and you get the picture. It will be interesting to see if Uber can find a way to sell local advertising to Betty Joe's Homemade Pizza store while keeping the site sufficiently cool and edgy. ]]>
Neal Polachek NPolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Smartphone Dilemma]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=790 2006-01-26T12:47:44-05:00 2006-01-26T12:47:44-05:00 2006-01-26T12:47:44-05:00 Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[More Free Weekly Classifieds]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=243 2005-11-15T14:06:34-05:00 2005-11-15T14:06:34-05:00 2005-11-15T14:06:34-05:00
So€s not to make this just a classified paper, Marketplace Weekly will be €supplemented by articles culled from The Times's Job Market, Real Estate, Automotive, Business and Dining Out sections, among others€ according to the press release. We wonder how many of the 1.9 percent of commuters will fold up Marketplace and carry it home unless it is loaded with listings and reviews of upcoming weekend entertainment, cultural and recreational activities. If we€re right € and it would be hard to imagine any other scenario € we're watching one of the world€s elite newspaper companies launch what amounts to (dare we say) a weekly alternative newspaper. Sounds to us a lot like a new Village Voice has sprung on the streets of New York. Only time will tell if this is a flash in the pan or a trend to expect across America. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[A Marriage Made in Heaven?]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=396 2005-09-11T13:20:05-05:00 2005-09-11T13:20:05-05:00 2005-09-11T13:20:05-05:00
With 2.5G and 3G wireless networks on the horizon, downloading full songs wirelessly will soon be a routine experience. So I wonder, will the flight attendant allow me to operate this phone between take-off and landing? What about if I want to take a run € will this new fangled phone/music player be light-enough so as not to weigh me down (got plenty that already weighs me down)? Will colleagues or clients now be able to reach me even when I am running? What about battery life € will playing songs on my cellphone mean taking the risk that I might miss a call because I€ve sucked all the life out of the battery? And what about all the great rich local content that will soon be available to me on my €next€ cellphone or PDA € will I be trading useful content for music? I think I€ll play that game that millions of consumers and business owners learned many years ago - €hide and seek€ - or is it €wait and see?€]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Power Shift in Hollywood]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=395 2005-09-11T13:19:40-05:00 2005-09-11T13:19:40-05:00 2005-09-11T13:19:40-05:00
Others, including Robert Iger of Disney, offer a more chilling perspective: €We can't allow tradition to stand in the way of where the consumer can go, or wants to go. The music industry learned this the hard way." An ex-Warner Brothers executive said, "It's the flat-panel television and the sound system, with the DVD option, that has radically changed the quality of the in-home experience. The home theater has arrived . . . you have to change the business model of the movie business." Take 2: The movie rental business is also being turned upside down. According to Adams Media Research, there were nearly 3.2 billion rental transactions last year, DVD sales totaled about 1.1 billion, and there were 350 million purchases of movies through video on demand or pay per view. Blockbuster Online hopes to double its subscriber base from one million to two million by Q1 2006, chasing Netflix€s subscriber base of 3.2 million. Add in the aggressive marketing by Comcast Cable offering video on demand and you get a picture of the consumer adjusting if not radically changing their movie watching habits. Take 3: Technology is altering the power structure of the movie business. With the advent of the home theatre € be it on a 60-inch plasma TV with surround sound or a more modest 32-inch Sony with a stereo speakers € it is increasingly more convenient, more enjoyable and less expensive to sit in the comfort of one€s own home than to trek out to the local movie theatre and drop 10 bucks a ticket and 6 bucks on popcorn and soda. Increasingly, the consumer is in control, able to trade one venue (the home theatre) against another (the movie theatre); one format (film) against another (digital); and one experience (watching in public) against another (watching in private). Just another industry that might want to wish away the Internet. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Will Wireless Broadband Take Hold?]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=402 2005-09-11T13:19:31-05:00 2005-09-11T13:19:31-05:00 2005-09-11T13:19:31-05:00
I doubt I€d switch from my existing hardwire connection to the Verizon wireless offer and I can€t think of enough out of office occasions to justify $60 per month. So where€s Verizon going with this? It€s a clear shot at trying to take share from existing connectivity providers € be it competing telcos or cable operators. Just one more piece of evidence that Verizon tossed out the playbook that defined their market opportunity by their franchise telephone operations years ago and they have no intention of dusting it off anytime soon. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Local Search in China - Almost Dumbfounding]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=404 2005-09-02T18:03:50-05:00 2005-09-02T18:03:50-05:00 2005-09-02T18:03:50-05:00
Six months ago, Google held the largest market share in the three cities covered by the survey. The survey showed Baidu has a 43.9 percent market share in Shanghai compared to 38.2 percent for Google. In Guangzhou, Google€s market share was 28.7 percent while Baidu€s was 48 percent. Yahoo! held only a 3.7 percent market share overall, with smaller Chinese rivals Sohu.com and Sina Corp. claiming a 4.6 percent and 4 percent share, respectively. Google has launched a beta of Google local with business listings for 100 cities and maps for 77 cities. I am staggered by the coverage and pace at which Google is aggressively building out Google local in China. Having visited China about a year ago, I was struck by just how vast the country is. What Google is doing in China makes what it's accomplished the U.S. look easy - and all of us who follow local know that it is no layup. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[The 'Once' 900-Pound Gorilla Is Sold]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=250 2005-09-01T23:44:58-05:00 2005-09-01T23:44:58-05:00 2005-09-01T23:44:58-05:00
By the mid 1990s, TMP had amassed as much as 40% of the national Yellow Pages market. About the same time, TMP, which had also been in the recruitment advertising business, happened upon the notion of online recruitment advertising. Monster.com was formed and as they say €the rest was history,€ as TMP went public in the middle of the dot-com bubble. TMP directory services continued to push and prod Yellow Pages publishers with their considerable market power. Earlier this week, the $500 million directory services business was sold for a net price of $52 million dollars € or 0.1 times revenue. Assuming the business was clearing a 5 percent profit or $25 million, the company was sold for 2 times EBITDA - a rather pultry sum for a 900 -ound gorilla. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Another Nail in the Local Exchange Coffin]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=394 2005-08-31T08:12:39-05:00 2005-08-31T08:12:39-05:00 2005-08-31T08:12:39-05:00
Cheap international long distance has been a key driver of VoIP penetration. Now one has to ask "Why should I have anything other than a cell number?€ Whatever consumers or small businesses choose € landline, cell or VoIP - those companies out there that supply basic and enhanced listings to the offline and online Yellow Pages and local search publishers must be feeling numb from the velocity and pace at which their once stable and reliable source of information has been thrown into flux. And what about caller ID € that great innovation that came out of SS7 switches that could display the area code and phone number of an inbound call. In the not too distant future when we move from the Bay Area to America€s heartland, we€ll take our four, 415 area code, cellphones with us. Then when we ring up the local plumber€s wife in Iowa she€ll have to decide if a call from area code 415 is worth taking. After all, if pay per call platforms are really the new business model, she and her husband will be paying for each call. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Newspapers, YP Publishers Watch in Envy as eBay Ups Fees]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=15 2005-08-19T07:48:21-05:00 2005-08-19T07:48:21-05:00 2005-08-19T07:48:21-05:00
Yesterday eBay announced that they would be raising the prices on a number of their services. For instance, the monthly fee for an eBay Store will increase 60 percent from $9.95 to $15.95 per month or $72 more per year per store. And transaction fees for transactions up to $25.00 will increase over 50 percent from 5.25 percent to 8 percent. Red-faced newspaper publishers must be reading these announcements with considerable envy as they battle day in and day out to squeeze in every ounce of classified revenue they possibly can. Directory publishers too must be reading with similar envy as they fight tooth and nail to hold customers to rate cards. eBay's pricing opportunities make even more clear that performance matters most - something that directory publishers believe about their value-proposition but are only now beginning to make absolutely clear to their advertisers. In time, new value propositions that offer advertisers pay-per-click and/or pay-per-call options will certainly position directory publishers to push back at advertisers with performance numbers that demonstrate the true ROI for advertisers. Perhaps in 18 months, we'll be reading about how directory publishers too are raising prices once again. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[eBay Retreats]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=47 2005-08-11T08:53:01-05:00 2005-08-11T08:53:01-05:00 2005-08-11T08:53:01-05:00
The very thing that makes eBay the success that it is today - a network of willing buyers and sellers - is what stops them in their tracks not two weeks later. Imagine where the print Yellow Pages would be today if 10 years ago Yellow Page advertisers could marshall the voice and cry of hundreds of advertisers to push back on the rate increases being levied by Yellow Pages publishers.]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Let the User Beware]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=93 2005-07-14T09:47:27-05:00 2005-07-14T09:47:27-05:00 2005-07-14T09:47:27-05:00
You begin to wonder if the couple - and the awarding jury - are watching too many of those makeover shows on television. We're not talking about selecting a dry cleaner to press some clothes or picking a dentist who is into to the latest teeth- whitening fad. We're talking about serious surgery that requires considerable skill and experience. Using the Yellow Pages or any local online information service is not some new version of "pin the tail on the donkey" - it is serious business and requires the buyer to conduct sufficient research and due dilligence beyond the claims listed in a print YP ad or on a website. How about asking a friend or two - or imagine this - asking for references? Those jurors now ought to use the Yellow Pages or a local search engine to find a good psychiatrist to get their heads examined . . . but beware . . . perhaps they'll call someone and end up with nothing but a "shrink".]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Consumer Electronics Show (CES)]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=10 2005-07-11T11:54:41-05:00 2005-07-11T11:54:41-05:00 2005-07-11T11:54:41-05:00
With the exit of Comdex from the scene, CES is now the place that information and entertainment device manufacturers can showcase their "coming attractions." You know convergence is happening when Ed Whitacre - not perceived as the most public of corporate chairman - shows up on the agenda as "Industry Insider." Couple Whitacre's presentation with a slew of public annoucements from SBC about bundles of communciations, Internet and entertainment services, it is obvious SBC is working hard to communicate to Wall Street and the industry in general that it is much more than the provider of the "last mile" of copper wire. It's no wonder SBC wants to shed its old skin - its stock price advanced a mere 3 percent during 2004 against over 9 percent for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and over 55 percent for Yahoo!. The question of where SBC is headed is clear, the path SBC takes and the way it maneuvers around the potholes along the way will determine whether SBC can re-cast itself as a major player in the coverged world or will it be simply another case of a former monopoly unable to shed its true skin. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Unlimited DA]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=266 2005-06-16T14:26:45-05:00 2005-06-16T14:26:45-05:00 2005-06-16T14:26:45-05:00
For $2.00 per month, Metro One subscribers can have unlimited DA calls in their local area. Instead of the direct-connect option, however, subscribers will have the listing they are seeking sent to their phone in the form of an SMS message. I think this is a great option, since there are some times that I have re-dialed 411 for the same number because I was unable to write down the number while I was being direct connected. By having it messaged to me, I can avoid the hassle of re-dialing and getting hit with yet another $1.25 DA charge. Now if only I could get out of my long-term agreement with my current wireless service provider. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Please Spell 'Shopzilla']]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=257 2005-06-07T12:43:21-05:00 2005-06-07T12:43:21-05:00 2005-06-07T12:43:21-05:00
E.W. Scripps, a traditional media company, paid almost 3 times more for Shopzilla€s 14 million unique visitors than what eBay paid for Shopping.com€s nearly 50 million unique visitors. What becomes of these two shopping sites over time now that they are part of larger companies is anyone€s guess. Will eBay€s online orientation propel Shopping.com forward? Will Scripps' traditional media culture cut against the grain of Shopzilla€s management team in Santa Monica, California? Time will tell. The only safe bet is that no one at next year€s National Spelling Bee will be asked to spell the name of Scripps€ latest and perhaps boldest acquisition. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Weather.com goes for the Gold]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=254 2005-06-07T10:59:01-05:00 2005-06-07T10:59:01-05:00 2005-06-07T10:59:01-05:00
For $19.95, weather.com gold will get you more speed for downloading radar maps, the ability to customize €your€ weather page and add your exact location (house or office) to the radar maps; view weather in 11 other cities of your choice and get all of this "ad free." With this offering, weather.com begins its push into the content subscription business. Like newspapers and other content providers, weather.com hopes that faster, richer and more personalized content will be enough to move visitors from a free ad-supported model to a subscription model. This move by weather.com may also suggest that they€ve had little ability to add more advertising inventory. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Why Greg Sterling Still Pays $61.90 per Month]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=246 2005-06-07T08:48:33-05:00 2005-06-07T08:48:33-05:00 2005-06-07T08:48:33-05:00
So why does Greg continue to pay $20 more per month? Because he cringes at the possibility that, while switching providers will lower his monthly bills, he might subject himself to a visit to customer support €hell.€ That is a very scary place € a place where dialing an innocent toll-free number may ultimately lead to multiple hand-offs € across the country and almost certainly across the world. Narrowband is all but dead. No one in their right mind would sign up € or should be allowed to sign up € for anything other than high-speed Internet access. It is no longer a question of whether to have broadband, but from whom to buy broadband. The SBC-Yahoo! offer at $15 is very appealing, though it does require self-provisioning. For those technically fit and with loads of patience € this is a compelling choice, but for Greg and the rest of us whose hearts skip a beat with even momentary loss of connectivity, the comfort is worth skipping a double latte each day. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Talking Yellow Pages for the 21st Century]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=245 2005-06-02T09:44:17-05:00 2005-06-02T09:44:17-05:00 2005-06-02T09:44:17-05:00
Notice the word €attempts€ € because so far, few talking YP services have ever lasted long enough to meet the lofty and often grandiose predictions. YPG € in concert with CallGenie and Nuance € is launching the €first€ interactive, voice recognition-based Yellow Pages service. HelloYellow € the new service's trademarked name € is set to be tested in Toronto. We€ve been saying for some time now that Yellow Pages on cellphones or PDAs will require a voice interface. It appears that time has come. Now if the machine can understand the difference between €a€ and €eh,€ YPG and its partners will really be on to something.]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Daddy, Where's the Amusement Park?]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=244 2005-06-02T09:36:06-05:00 2005-06-02T09:36:06-05:00 2005-06-02T09:36:06-05:00
Perry used to work at R.R. Donnelley & Sons' original mapping company located in Mountville, PA € now know to 41 million monthly unique visitors as MapQuest.com. One is reminded of the €Smuckers€ old tag line € with a name like blah, blah, blah, it ought to be good. In this case, AOL has finally seized the opportunity to leverage a global online brand with a real world, everyday solution € printed maps and guide books. Mixed emotions abound. Rand McNally will watch its market share drop like a brick and can only kick itself for never getting ahead of the curve. Have you ever been to randmcnally.com? (Me neither.) Nor have I ever been to the R.R. Donnelley site looking for maps. Too bad neither had a road map for the future.]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Radio Fights Back with Broad Mix]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=235 2005-06-01T12:50:30-05:00 2005-06-01T12:50:30-05:00 2005-06-01T12:50:30-05:00
Apparently this latest shift started at a station in Canada call Jack which promoted itself as a "we play everything" station. Now stations in the lower 48 states are following suit. In the San Francisco Bay Area, 95.7 used to be the country music station and is now a "we play anything" station. This is one more example of a traditional media business being turned sideways by the digital age. For now it would seem radio stations that focus on talk and news are safe - but with XM and Sirius building customer bases - we can only safely conclude "the times they are a changing."]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Media Share Shifts Continue]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=222 2005-05-25T01:14:34-05:00 2005-05-25T01:14:34-05:00 2005-05-25T01:14:34-05:00
According to Universal-McCann during the last 5 years, only three media categories have increased their overall ad budget share € direct mail, cable TV and the Internet. Share losses were felt by the €big-four€ traditional categories € newspapers, broadcast TV, radio and magazines. And though left out of the analysis, Yellow Pages too lost share during the last 5 years. More evidence that media that can target audiences more precisely € closer to where those audiences make buying decisions € is on the rise. Yellow Pages can make this claim too € so why hasn€t it gained share in the last 5 years? It maybe that Yellow Pages lost its way when instead of focusing on the value proposition € Yellow Pages usually offers a great ROI - publishers and their legions of sales people began pushing color, double trucks, cover, spine, tip-on and other high-revenue items. ]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Hollywood Spending with Newspapers at Risk]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=184 2005-05-23T08:46:40-05:00 2005-05-23T08:46:40-05:00 2005-05-23T08:46:40-05:00
This share rose 73 percent to over 14 percent in 2004 and amounted to more than a billion dollars. While this might be classified as national advertising, it is really local advertising € enabling moviegoers to find out what movie is playing at what theatre and at what time. As they say in the movie business, this trend €may not have legs€. Now more than ever, moviegoers can go online to get a more comprehensive solution to their movie-going needs. The basic movie information is easily found online or over the phone. The online experience is considerably enhanced by easy access to reviews € both edited and moviegoer generated, online ticketing, nearby eating options, parking choices and even traffic information. This is just one more example of the inevitable, albeit gradual, march toward the local online neighborhood.]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Contractors Pitched to Improve their YP Ads]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=219 2005-05-23T08:46:08-05:00 2005-05-23T08:46:08-05:00 2005-05-23T08:46:08-05:00 Get More Green from Your Yellow Pages Ad in contractor magazine. Written by a one Adams Hudson, a self-proclaimed marketing consultant, the article offers the contractor community a different view of Yellow Pages advertising.

Overall his suggestions seem right on. €You€re paying a fortune for your Yellow Pages ad. It is supposed to produce leads, not showcase your vans, silly graphics or spout innumerable sentence fragments. So tell your prospects €why€ they should call using the personal language of €you€ to pull them into the copy.€ Adams goes on to tell how a Chicago plumber went from a full-page color ad to a triple quarter column black and witnessed a 20 percent increase in calls. The plumber € at the advice of Mr. Hudson (and probably fulfilled by Mr. Hudson€s marketing services company) shifted the budget he saved to a direct mail campaign. This anecdote is consistent with TKG€s findings in Wave VII of the Local Commerce Monitor where there was a statistically significant increase in the number advertisers using direct mail. Interestingly the other day I received a direct mail piece from London Chimney Services, Inc. € a company I have used for nearly 20 years. The mail piece included a brochure from Hargrove Hearth Products € more than likely a co-sponsor of the direct mail. The point of all this? Well, increasingly the small and medium-sized business owner is looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of the ad and marketing budget. And Yellow Pages publishers, IYPs, local search providers, direct marketing companies and the like had all better be prepared to demonstrate performance with facts, figures and analysis because otherwise they€ll all be wondering why €that dog don€t hunt.€]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Chinese YP Market Gets Increasingly Competitive]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=19 2005-02-02T11:03:24-05:00 2005-02-02T11:03:24-05:00 2005-02-02T11:03:24-05:00
The whole Yellow Pages market in China is estimated by China Unicom to be worth 4 billon yuan (US$480 million).

China Netcom plans to launch a new China Netcom Yellow Pages in 2005 to compete against "incumbent" publisher China Telecom. What is remarkable is that more Yellow Pages revenue is generated in Northern California than throughout China - with its 1.6 billion inhabitants. One cannot help but wonder what the migration path from print to online Yellow Pages will look like in China as industrial development continues at a rapid pace. Will the pace of industrial development be so fast that it is impossible for the print Yellow Pages model to stay ahead of the market or will online and wireless Yellow Pages be real pony to ride?

]]>
Neal Polachek npolachek@kelseygroup.com <![CDATA[Wi Fi Goes Camping]]> http://206.106.174.250/blog/blog_comment.asp?bi=26 2005-02-02T11:01:39-05:00 2005-02-02T11:01:39-05:00 2005-02-02T11:01:39-05:00
Now for $7.95 per day or $19.95 per month, a portion of California's 85 million car and RV campers can light up their laptops as the campfire burns and the golden brown marshmallows melt the chocolate layer of the s'more. It's an even better deal if you happen to be one of SBC's DSL customers because you'll be able to connect for just $1.95 per day. I often thought that camping was a means of separating from the conveniences and trapping of the modern world. And yet more and more I see campsites that are more appointed and lavish beyond belief - televisions, radios, boom boxes - the works. And now, laptops. Maybe this is a good thing, perhaps instead of blaring televisions and obnoxious boom box sounds, we'll see campers peacefully searching the web for weather reports, outdoor cooking recipes and even hiking maps. Maybe we'll see kids sharing their days camping experiences with the friends and relatives at home and maybe, just maybe, the connected laptop will replace the televisions and boom boxes. Campers and search providers should all be applauding California's lastest effort to close its billion dollar budget deficit. ]]>