8:30 AM Thursday, June 9, 2005:
Yesterday I wrote, "Patience. Cash is king. Every one of my bird-doggers
-- real estate, stocks, private equity, venture capital, LBO -- are seeking, but
not finding. Everything is overpriced." Hastily-spoken words written
for a reason -- I wanted to run a picture of a tuberose, whose scent I love and
wanted to turn everyone on to.
Good, intelligent reader, took issue,
me a time when everything wasnt overpriced. Even in the depths of
2001-2002, the popular wisdom was everything was overpriced. Instead of complaining,
adopt a counter-overpriced strategy such as selling, or short selling. Of
course, if you truly believe everything is overpriced, the only conclusion
one can reach is that everything will become under priced at some future date.
Please tell your friends to email me when this occurs.
Dan's right. Fact is I write this column five days a week. Some days I'll admit
I don't have a new investment idea, so I tend to favor cash. I could argue logically
and with considerable historical evidence that there are times in one's investing
life that the best way to make money is to say "NO."
Following Dan's logic, if you think something is overpriced, go sell it. Today's
idea is sell Google (GOG), which is now way overpriced. Of course, I
should have told you this great idea two days ago because it's already dropped
What caused it to drop? A company called Fathom Online said that the price of
key search words had dropped on average 15% from April to May. Price moves ranged
between 7% up for automotive and 30% down for finance/mortgage. Fathom tracks
the price of key words for the purpose of providing advertisers with background
and benchmarks for comparison to their individual advertising campaigns.
This is important because Google makes it living off charging for key word advertising
driven by click-throughs. As an example, look in the left hand column. You'll
see four Google boxes. Click on one of those, you'll get sent to someone else's
site. Google will charge them money (and I'll get a piece of that). Google's
revenues have soared for two reasons: First, more advertisers are discovering
how incredibly effective Google is as a marketing medium. Second, those advertisers
have been sharply bidding up the price of Google's key words.
Why would they
suddenly turn down? Click fraud. What does it mean? Click fraud is the
term used to describe someone clicking on a search ad with ill intent. A fraudulent
clicker can exploit the way Web ads work to rack up fees for a business rival,
boost the placement of his own ads or make money for himself. Some people even
employ software that automatically clicks on ads multiple times. Click fraud
is one of the serious problems plaguing the Internet, alongside spam, identity
theft and online-auction fraud. Some believe 20% of clicks on ads are
from people not necessarily interested in the product advertised, and therefore
in the industry's view, fraudulent. Others say the problem is less severe. What's
clear is that if left unchecked, click fraud could damage the credibility of
Google, Yahoo (YHOO) and the whole search-ad industry, and seriously
cut into their future growth.
Speak to advertisers and you'll hear less concern with click fraud and
much more concern with the cost effectiveness of their key word searches on
Google, Yahoo, etc. which many claim have dropped. Many gave up advertising
in traditional places like the telephone yellow pages for Google. Now many are
giving up Google, saying it's overpriced and not cost-effective. Hence the price
reduction in the Fathom Online study. Google, as you know, doesn't set prices
for its key word searches, it lets advertisers bid for them -- sort of like
an eBay auction. Declining revenues is bad for Google.
Tell that to Citigroup.
Their analysts initiated coverage today on Google with a buy and a $360
price target. I suspect that this exceptionally dumb report was written before
the latest information came out. If you want to read it, click
here. If you want to read the Fathom Online report, click
is going lower.
make Lyme Disease:
And Lyme Disease is debilitating. I got one on the weekend, though I wasn't
tramping through the woods. I was playing tennis. I did my research and found
a lot of confusing information. I tend to believe the following because it comes
from the U.S. Government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
tick check and remove attached ticks: The transmission of B. burgdorferi
(the bacteria that causes Lyme disease) from an infected tick is unlikely
to occur before 36 hours of tick attachment. For this reason, daily checks
for ticks and promptly removing any attached tick that you find will help
prevent infection. Embedded ticks should be removed using fine-tipped tweezers.
DO NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products. Grasp
the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion,
pull the tick's body away from the skin. The tick's mouthparts may remain
in the skin, but do not be alarmed. The bacteria that cause Lyme disease are
contained in the tick's midgut or salivary glands. Cleanse the area with an
How to remove ticks
Taking preventive antibiotics after a tick bite: The relative cost-effectiveness
of post-exposure treatment of tick bites to avoid Lyme disease in endemic
areas (areas where the disease is known to occur regularly) is dependent on
the probability of B. burgdorferi infection after a tick bite. In most circumstances,
treating persons who only have a tick bite is not recommended. Individuals
who are bitten by a deer tick should remove the tick promptly, and may wish
to consult with their health care provider. Persons should promptly seek medical
attention if they develop any signs and symptoms of early Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis,
protection measures: If you are going to be in areas that are tick infested,
wear light-colored clothing so that ticks can be spotted more easily and removed
before becoming attached. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and tucking pants into
socks or boot tops may help keep ticks from reaching your skin. Ticks are
usually located close to the ground, so wearing high rubber boots may provide
The risk of
tick attachment can also be reduced by applying insect repellents containing
DEET (n,n-diethyl-m toluamide) to clothes and exposed skin, and applying permethrin
(which kills ticks on contact) to clothes. DEET can be used safely on children
and adults but should be applied according to Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) guidelines to reduce the possibility of toxicity.
Australian Insults and Curses
"May your ears turn into arseholes and shit on your shoulders."
brains to give 'imself a headache!"
be the world's only living brain donor."
"He's a few
wanks short of an orgasm."
"He had a
head on him like a sucked mango."
chooks (Australian for chickens) turn into emus and kick your dunny (Australian
a few roos (short for Kangaroos) loose in the top paddock."
that he wouldn't know a tram was up him 'til the bell rang!"
"If I had
a dog that looked like him, I'd shave its arse and make it walk backwards."
go two rounds with a revolving door."
is like a twisted Ugg boot."
hit with the ugly stick too many times."
his shit doesn't stink, but his farts give him away."
of the ugly tree, and hit every branch on the way down."
"If I had
a head like yours, I'd circumcise it."
There are others. But even I couldn't publish them.
This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't
give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities,
which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday
through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting
things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing
called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage
my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can
all learn together. My email address is .
You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects
me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no
role in choosing the Google ads. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look
mighty interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. That money
will help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense,
here and here.