Tucows, a Canadian-based, publicly traded Internet services company, has launched a corporate blog; its first post reveals that it is the lucky eBay buyer of Kiko, the defunct online calendar start-up.
Tucows describes its business model:
provides Internet services and download libraries through a global distribution network of 6,000 service providers. This distribution network primarily consists of web hosting companies, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and other Internet related service companies. These companies use Tucows' provisioned services to offer solutions to their customers: enterprises, small and medium businesses and consumers. Tucows is an accredited registrar with ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and earns most of its revenue from domain name registration services plus hosted email, spam and virus protection, Blogware, website building tools, the Platypus Billing System and digital certificates. Our company is in the business of managing data and simplifying complex business processes for this large and expanding network of service providers, who, in turn, provide e-business products and services to their customers -- an estimated 40-million end-users worldwide. These end-users, primarily small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individuals, represent one of the fastest growing segments of the Internet economy.
For Tucows, its Kiko purchase represents a build vs. buy decision:
WHY DID WE BUY KIKO
there is really one big reason why we bought Kiko. We needed the functionality, quite desperately, inside of our email platform and it was going to take us a long time to get it. Especially at the level of sophistication Kiko has.
Most webmail platforms have a calendar but very few of them are ever used. It is quite simply a crappy user experience. We as users have a problem with shared calendar inside of Tucows and because we are a mixed-desktop environment we are not able to go with the expensive-frustrating-functional Exchange Server solution. At times there have been real pushes for this internally but I have pushed back and insisted that anything we do with a shared calendar be open standards. There is not much... So why didn't we build it? Well the short answer is we have so many things to do in general and so many exciting things to do with email in particular that it was just not going to be possible until at least Q2 of next year and even then the plan didn't really excite anyone around here. It looked sort of like the next-gen of our current offering. Had this not come up we would have probably stayed the course and looked to catch a break. When it did, we quickly went through a simple calculus...
First and foremost this was about better/faster. We were able to get a key feature done well, and done now. In my view we were lucky with a number of the small things that made this happen. The people were not part of the deal which held down value for one group of buyers. The retail user base was real but not too large, which held down value for another group of potential buyers...
In a nutshell, this was the kind of deal where we were buying exactly what they were selling. That makes for good business and, by the way, is too infrequently the case with Internet services.