Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Frugal Fun – Dinosaurs Are a Steal

Reuters reported yesterday about three dinosaurs skeletons (one pair and one lone) that sold at auction run by Heritage Auctions — the pair, an Allosaurus and Stegosaurus found together, for $2.75M and the single, a 19-foot long Triceratops, for $675,000.  The article is interesting for anyone who finds dinos interesting (yours truly, for certain).   It was this quote, which concluded the article, that grabbed my attention though (emphasis mine):

“I think it was probably the film ‘Jurassic Park’ that got the public really interested in dinosaurs,” Galiano said. Interest was further spurred by the discovery of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, now named Sue, in 1990, he said.

Sue was sold at auction in 1997 for $8.3 million to Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, [director of natural history at Heritage Auctions David] Herskowitz said.

Dinosaur skeletons rarely fetch that much and are considered a relative bargain in the world of collectibles, he said. On Sunday, he said, the triceratops skeleton was offered at an opening bid of $500,000.

“Fossils are cheap compared to fine art,” he told Reuters. “It’s amazing the millions people will spend on fine art.”

I have to say I agree.  If I knew I could have a 19-foot triceratops for a little more than half a million, I’d have started saving up a while ago.  I’d just need to get a bigger living room to put it in.

Dinosaur auction features fighting pair of skeletons | Reuters

Photo credit: REUTERS / Heritage Auction Handout

Deal Sites May Be a Bad Deal for Small Businesses

We posted two weeks ago that we are skeptical about the upcoming Groupon IPO.

Last week, over at TechCrunch they ran a great guest post by Rocky Agrawal, who makes a compelling case for why the current deal-mania is bad for small businesses.  His argument is that, at their core, most of these deal sites drive non-recurring customers at a steep discount or loss to the business and great profits to the deal site.  His example:

Consider what would happen if the deal companies broke out their fees like Ticketmaster does:

Face value – $50.00

Discount – $25.00

Payment to business – $12.50

Google Offers service fee – $12.50

People would be up in arms and complain about the fee just as they complain about Ticketmaster fees.

Transparency alone would drive a race toward lower fees. Of course, none of the deal companies would want to do this. But the fact that the business model would not survive transparency should be a red flag to investors.

This alone was enough to give me pause, but he makes some very solid arguments about the kind of customer this drives, and the fact that the companies selling these deals don’t do much to help the small businesses that buy them make the most out of the experience.

Why I Want Google Offers And The Entire Daily Deals Business To Die | TechCrunch

Photo Credit: Carmela Songer

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