How Creative Commons licensing benefits industry

Creative Commons Licensing is a free set of licenses which can be used to make it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright (

Creative Commons video. License: CC-BY (2.5)

Below are some examples of how Creative Commons licensing can be used to benefit industries such as:

Entertainment: Creative Commons licensing assists medium to large media groups by allowing them to share their work under restrictions that are suitable to the author to substantially gain an increased awareness. For example music artists have shared their work under creative commons on web sites such as YouTube to gain exposure which in some cases has lead them on to successful careers such as Zoe Leela who used Creative Commons licensing to promote and distribute her music. Pro-choice artists like Zoe – and soon, perhaps, many more like them – would rather have people share their work than steal it (Wired).

Creative commons also allows artists to control/restrict what people can do with their material so they can feel secure that they material can be freely distributed without being changed or remixed. A Creative Commons license also puts hard to read and understand legal jargon into friendlier layman’s terms so that it is easier for people to understand what can and can not be done.

Business: Large corporate entities can use Creative Commons licensing to sharing knowledge, be more innovative and build better products and services such as in Eric Raymond’s “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”, who argue that the case for openness is not only moral but also practical – open systems work to produce a better mouse trap, than closed, controlled and centralized systems of knowledge development and innovation. Also Creative Commons can help businesses build an audience of loyal customers by sharing knowledge and learning’s that add value to the existing products and services that their customers currently pay for. An example is the web 2.0 poster company 37signals who have built a very successful business by sharing knowledge and being open with their customers.

Education: In Australia Creative Commons is increasingly being implemented by educational organisations wishing to establish legal frameworks for collaboration both within and beyond the classroom. Creative Commons empowers teachers and students to give their work and materials a life beyond the classroom such as the Ipswich-based edgeX project. The Queensland University of Technology (QUT), also uses Creative Commons to allow students to develop skills for collaboration and ethical reuse of content (Creative Commons Australia Education Case Studies). Creative Commons enables people who are studying to further their education to collaborate with each other without the fear that their work will be used improperly or without acknowledgment. Creative Commons is also a great way for students to create a presence, especially an online one, by publishing their works and gaining recognition.

As Michael Eisen eloquently explains ‘Scientific works don’t have an isolated meaning; they exist only in reference to the broader scientific community, and the whole reason you publish them is so that other people will read and use them.’ Michael Eisen, Co-Founder, Public, Library of Science

Government: Creative Commons can be used to allow others to build upon existing knowledge and works (Flew T 2005). Here people can take existing information provided by Governments and add to or remix it in a way that produces new and innovative services that help the community, such as the recent Government 2.0 Taskforce MachUpAustralia contest which highlighted the benefits of open access to Government information using Government data which is released under Creative Commons licenses.

With the emergence of digital technologies that enable dissemination of government material at low cost, copyright law is now the last significant barrier to truly open government. Where large amounts of publicly-funded creative, educational and scientific materials are owned by government institutions, there exists an enormous opportunity to unlock this material for re-use in the name of innovation and education (Creative Commons Australia Government Case Studies).

References:, About, viewed 20 Jun 2010,

Baldi G 2010, Case Study: When Creative Commons lead to commercial success, Music 4.5, 23 May 2010, viewed 25 Jun 2010,

Goetz T 2004, Sample the future, Wired, Nov 2004, viewed 14 Jun 2010,

Raymond E 2001, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, O’Reilly and Associates, California, USA.

Creative Commons Australia Case Studies, Beyond the Classroom, Creative Commons Education and Research (BAAC_education_cluster.pdf)

Brown G 2005, Public library of science,, 1 Sep 2005, viewed 16 Jun 2010,

Flew T 2005, Creative Commons and the Creative Industries, Media and Arts Law Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, December 2005. Contest, viewed 25 Jun 2010,

Creative Commons Australia Case Studies, Archives Alive, Creative Commons, Government & Institutions (BAAC_government_cluster.pdf) case study review

What are the core components of Priceline’s business model?
As defined by Alexander Osterwalder in this presentation a business model describes how an organisation creates, delivers and captures value.

With this in mind the core components of Priceline’s business model are based around their pioneered and patented reverse auction pricing model which is a unique offering within the travel market place. This innovative model allows consumers to purchase travel services  at a discounted prices by trading off brand and features.

Michael Rappa explains that Priceline uses a business model known as brokerage model where a business creates their own market by bringing buyers and sellers together. Priceline operate as the middle man or broker bringing the two parties together in a seamless and friendly manner.

Priceline receives it’s revenue based on the difference between the “Name your own price” amount entered by the customer and the amount charged by the service provider such as the airline. They also use a more traditional travel agency model offering a list of prices the customer can choose from and in this case Priceline receives a commission/agents fee Wikipedia.

Do you think Priceline will ultimately succeed or fail and why?
I believe Priceline has a sustainable business model which will allow them to succeed in the long term. During Priceline’s early start up days they experimented with variations of its business model by offering groceries and gasoline, which initially had negative impacts on profitability. However Priceline’s management were able to adapt and focus their model so that it started producing significant returns. This is evident by the fact that Priceline improved from a $1 billion loss to a profit of over $10 million between the years of 1999 to 2003. Since 2003 Priceline has continued to be profitable and grow, increasing its stock price over 27 times from its lowest to slightly under $200 USD in 2010 and is now sporting a market valuation of $8.8 billion. Priceline’s revenues are expected to grow 20 percent in 2010, compared with 11 percent at Expedia and 4 percent at Orbitz. If the past few years are any indication, maybe, just maybe, bad times aren’t that bad for Priceline (Ari Levy and Roben Farzad). Additionally Priceline recently announced a ground breaking hotel price guarantee that pays customers a nominal reward if they find a lower price than the one offered by Priceline. As part of their expansion and growth they recently acquired the multinational car hire reservation service TravelJigsaw to provide more their value added services to their customers. (Priceline Investor Relations)

Although the travel industry is saturated and has ever increasing competition, the population of the internet and those willing to buy goods and services over the web also continues to grow. This should also assist Priceline with its well known and strong brand advertising to help maintain their reasonably dominant market share.

How has Priceline and similar online services impacted the travel services industry?
Priceline and other online services have changed the travel industry by acting as the go between providing consumers access to deals with travel providers such as airlines or hotels therefore reducing the layers of separation and the need for agents and broker fees. Additionally Priceline and similar services have provided an avenue for travel services to clear excess inventory and receive revenue from airline seats or hotel rooms which would have otherwise remain unfilled. These efficiencies have reduced the costs to travel providers such as cuts in the booking fees airlines pay distributors. Ultimately lowering costs to consumers.

Services like Priceline have caused a shift in consumer demographics to consumers with a short attention span, and simple easy to use (user friendly) facilities (Business trends in the travel industry). Additionally opening up a new demographic of consumers who previously could not afford airline travel.

Niche travel deals allowing travel services such as airlines and hotels to offer fairly unique one off deals to sell just a few remaining seats or rooms. Without the online services of companies like Priceline it would be difficult if not impossible for travel service providers to advertise these niche deals without impacting their normal retail offering.

As Priceline and other similar services aggregate airline and hotel services they turn them into commodities where people only shop based on price. Brand and other features become non existent when products and services are aggregated against each other purely based on price.

Has Priceline’s business model changed since 2007? And if so how? Who are its strongest competitors? Is it profitable or operating at a loss?
Priceline has changed its business model since 2007 focusing more on traditional online reservation services where customers have the flexibility to select from brand and features rather than their more restrictive and discount “Name your own price” model. The Priceline website is now organized much like those of its competitors. Customers can still choose to bid, but this is no longer the only option. More alternatives, up to a point, usually increase customer satisfaction and this has been the case for Priceline, now up 6% to an all-time high ACSI score of 76. Value for money remains high, strengthened by elimination of booking fees, while service quality has improved. Alongside the improvement in customer satisfaction, Priceline’s stock value soared by nearly 200% in 2009 (ACSI).

Priceline also continues to strive towards providing customers with a superior user-friendly service such as the launch in Jan 2009 of a The Travel Ekspert blog providing advice to consumers and also offering over 2.5 million hotel reviews (PhoCusWright).

As detailed by Priceline’s strongest competitors would be:

Orbitz Worldwide

As shown in the direct competitor comparison chart provided here by Yahoo Finance Priceline is well above the industry average and competing quite strongly against it’s direct competitors. However due to the fact that Travelocity is a privately held company they can not be included in the comparison and their position is relatively unknown.

Priceline is currently operating at a profit which can be seen in these key statistics published on

Key numbers for fiscal year ending December, 2009:
Sales: $2,338.2M
One year growth: 24.1%
Net income: $489.5M
Income growth: 153.0%
Employee growth: 12.9%

This profit and growth is quite positive given that the world has recently been through a global financial crisis and is still recovering from this and the fact that during this time travel generally takes a lower priority. Given this Priceline is doing all the right things to keep consumers traveling.

References:, Inc, viewed 16 Jun 2010,

Business trends in the travel industry 2007, The Paradigm Shift of Travelport, Travelocity, Priceline, Orbitz and Expedia, viewed 16 Jun 2010,

Levy A and Farzad R 2010, How Priceline Fought Its Way to Success, 21 Jun 2010, viewed 21 Jun 2010,

Osterwalder A 2010, What Is A Business Model, Slideshare, Mar 2010, viewed 16 Jun 2010,, Wikipedia, 28 May 2010, viewed 14 Jun 2010,, Investor Relations, viewed 21 Jun 2010,

Prof Fornell C 2010, Q4 2009: Retail Trade; Finance & Insurance; E-Commerce, The American Customer Satisfaction Index, 16 Feb 2010, Viewed 25 Jun 2010,

PhoCusWright 2010, Hotel Review System Is Leading Source of Customer Choice,  Inside Quality Insider, 9 April 2010, Viewed 25 Jun 2010,

Rappa M 2010, BUSINESS MODELS ON THE WEB, Managing the Digital Enterprise, 16 Jan 2010, viewed 14 Jun 2010,

Yahoo Finance, Incorporated (PCLN), Competitors, viewed 25 Jun 2010,

Do you plan to quit?

I recently read the dip by Seth Godin and highly recommend it as real eye opener. Great book about the dip everyone goes through, the hard part that sorts out the men from the mice so that those who make it through get the rewards. This book teaches you how to see dips before you are in them and assess whether or not it’s worth the effort. Seth explains that quitting the dead ends is a must so you can focus on the dips that are really worth your time.  One of the best take outs for this book is to plan to quit before you even get started, plan under what criteria/circumstances you will quit so that when it gets tough you don’t let you emotions get the better of you and make a rash decision.

One of my favourite quotes in the book

“We knew that Google was going to get better every single day as we worked on it. So our feeling was that the later you tried it, the better it was for us because we’d make a better impression with better technology. So we are never in a big hurry to get you to use it today. Tomorrow would be better.” Sergey Brin, co founder of Google.

Also I love the line “We fail when we get distracted by tasks we don’t have the guts to quit”

I really liked this book and Seth has kept it short and to the point. As he said “Write less”

Well designed site – Coudal Partners

I checked out this site Coudal Partners on a recommendation from 37 Signals. The design is really clean and easy to read. It has a very blog style feel about it which I think is the way to go with site design. Making your home page a blog ensures that the site will look different and fresh every time someone visits.

Another great thing about this site is the products these guys are selling. Simple back to basic field note journals, jewel cases and Tee shirts. Nothing new and ground breaking or over the top just simple well designed (existing) products done well.

Their about page has a very interesting sentence

Thanks for visiting. If browsing around here while at work has had a negative effect on your productivity we’re sorry but imagine what it’s done to ours.

How true, by you and I just browsing the web and checking out this great sites like Coudal may not have been that productive for us but I’m sure it has really given the guys at Coudal a lift not only in traffic but positive drive to keep things going.

No rules


There ain’t no rules around here. We’re trying to accomplish something.

—Thomas Edison

Great designs – Skateboards

I really like this post by 37 Signals for a couple of reasons. Firstly I have always been a fan of just how cool Skateboard deck designs are especially old school Tony Hawk and Chocolate. I use to love riding my skateboard as a kid and thought those decks were like a piece of art and probably couldn’t ride it in case it got scratched. Secondly you have to admire 37 Signals for thinking way outside the box and drawing on all areas of life such as the skateboarding culture and bringing that back into the work place. What a way to really open up the minds of your staff, to stop thinking in their business as usual minds and take in other elements fueling creativity and inspiration. Nice job.

Here is the deck Jamie presented Summary of Skateboard Design

By the way this video of Ray Barbee is very cool, even the sound track is cool. I hope some day my little man Josh has a go at Skateboarding, hey I’ll probably join him for a cruise down the street.

Clean simple design

I was looking for a nice restaurant and stumbled across this really cool site for the restaurant “North Bondi Italian Food”. This is so simple and clean I love it, just a simple font and a couple of strong colours which work very well. The additional plus is that a site like this would be super cheap to build and maintain. Only two minor negative elements that could be improved.

1. its built in flash and would have been better in just straight HTML/CSS with a little javascript thrown in

2.  the font of the actual menu/food list spoils it as its not consistent but I would say it has been done like this so that the restaurant could easily update the menu items (another drawback of flash).

Getting things done with Jott

I’ve read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done (GTD) and practise the GTD methodology in my daily routine managing work at kmsystems. I find that GTD works well in an agile environment similar methodology to first identifying your to do list or back log and then just work through the actions to clear it or burn it down as the agile folk call it.

I just read this post “Getting things done in the enterprise” which points out that there are a lot of tools available for assisting individuals maintain GTD methodology and one that David Allen uses is Jott (turn your words into actions) which is perfect for the mobile travelling person who on the road a lot. Unfortunately not available here is Aus.

My team and I are remote most of the time and to help us plan our day GTD style and also know what each person is doing we developed our own application called “Whos doin wot”. Whos doin wot allows each person to plan their work in advanced and have it pop up on the day it needs to be done also it helps other team members see who’s swamped and could do with a helping hand.

Design your own great looking website the easy way

In a previous post I wrote about Good Barry which is an excellent simple easy to use content management system (CMS) that has made building a professional website a snap. I was able to set up an exact version of my website using Good Barry in around an hour which I think is pretty fast.

Now I’ve discovered two other amazing web site building tools that are just as impressive as Good Barry. and They are both super easy to use and have some very well designed templates that you can use to base your new web site design on. I really like the artistic designs available in Snappages and the visual way you can change just about anything in Squarespace. Both feature full reporting capabilities for the all important site stats and both a very reasonably priced. Why would you try to set up and pay for your own hosting when service as cool as these exist.

The only thing I think Good Barry has over these two (apart form having a base here in Australia, I always love to support home grown) is the ecommerce module, which means no mucking around trying to integrate in a third party shopping cart. Good Barry does all of the hard work for you.

If you have any feedback on these CMS platforms please drop me a comment and share your thoughts.

Enterprise twitter with Yammer

I just checked out the presentation by Yammer at TechCrunch50 and love the new twitter based enterprise tool they have built. Similar to when Facebook first started by only allowing education email addresses access Yammer works in a similar fashion by only allowing people that share the same company email address such as to view tweets from the same group.

Click here to see the Yammer presentation at TechCrinch50


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