Student debt cancellation would mean forgone revenue in the near term, but in the long term it could be an economic stimulus worth much more than the immediate cost. Money not spent paying off loans would be spent elsewhere. In that situation, lenders, debt collectors, servicers, guaranty agencies, asset-backed security investors and others who profit from student loans would suffer the most from debt forgiveness.

The Buzz on Hiveworks: A New Resource for Webcomics Creators

For many aspiring cartoonists, the effort of launching, creating, and maintaining a webcomic is a solo undertaking. It’s a long process that, while a labor of love, can prove arduous, especially if those creators are trying to make an income off of their work. For a long time there was no formal support system for these creators, whose work would likely never get picked up by a major print publisher and whose readership and revenue were entirely dependent on internet notoriety.

However, the comics collective Hiveworks, founded in 2011, is vastly improving the experience for online comics creators. Branding themselves as a combination publisher and studio, Hiveworks is offering the support and mentorship necessary for turning webcomics into sustainable businesses. The group provides a wide array of services including web hosting, ad placement (which increases both readership and revenue), facilitating web stores, marketing and product design, and even participating in Kickstarters. The result is a vast and diverse collection of comics and creators who can focus on the quality of their work, rather than the confusing and often overwhelming task of marketing that work.

I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with professional illustrator and Hiveworks Co-CEO Isabelle Melançon, whose popular webcomic Namesake I recommended last year.  Here’s what she had to say about her work with the collective:

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Eight girl scouts give cookie revenues to 75-year-old woman whose house burned down

Eight Girl Scouts, who had planned to spend $300 on a “Spa Day” for their troop, decided to donate the money to a woman who had lost everything in a house fire.

The fourth grade girls from West Carrollton, Ohio were going to use their reward money from cookie revenues on manicures and other pampering at a local spa, but on Monday night during their bi-monthly troop meeting they heard about the misfortunes of Barbara Dolan, the great-grandmother of one of the girls.

Last weekend, Barbara’s home burned to the ground and there was no insurance. When the girls heard the news, they decided, unanimously, to forgo their Spa Day and, instead, give away the money.

Read more

—Spoiler: A spa donated its services to the girls anyway!

Thinking about this from a completely different perspective…

I put on my financial advisor hat this morning and really started to analyze AMC networks stock performance over the past year. After coda aired, the Wall Street Journal AND Forbes wrote some pretty scathing reviews. What happened after had me giggling just a little. There was a bit of a selloff. The stock price dropped nearly 5%! That’s huge! Compare that to after season 4’s MSF when we lost Hershel. Prices were up about 3% in weeks immediately following.

But then something happened. More stock options were announced. The stock picked back up, and it’s been soaring ever since.

So what does the market know that we don’t? Investors have either a buy or strong buy for AMC networks right now. Something is up. With the announcement that the season finale will be 90 minutes, that should be about a 50% increase in ad revenue. But what else? There is obviously a huge increase in the budget for Season 6. The cast is getting huge. The sets are amazing. TPTB are really pulling for an Emmy this year.

My final thought? Beth is coming back. TPTB have had this in the works. It’s genius actually. People don’t know what they want until they don’t have it. That’s Beth. They are waiting to reveal her until 5X16 because it’s the most sound FINANCIAL plan. The summer is normally a slow time for AMC. But with Emily releasing an album, going to a lot of cons and touring, their new cash cow is going to keep interest alive!


Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, said Friday that it posted its first financial loss in 15 years as a result of insuring high numbers of older and sicker people under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Chapel Hill organization signed up 257,704 people under the federal health care law, which requires insurers to provide coverage regardless of a customer’s health condition.

New enrollees last year swelled Blue Cross’s covered membership to 3.91 million people, and boosted revenue by 25 percent to an all-time high of $8 billion.

But steep medical claims – for hip and knee replacements, heart procedures, specialty drugs and other costs – drove up medical claims from $5 billion in 2013 to $6.4 billion in 2014. Blue Cross also paid $156 million in ACA-related fees, a new cost for the company.

As a result, Blue Cross posted a loss of $50.6 million last year, compared to net income of $92.6 million in 2013. It’s the first annual loss for Blue Cross since 1999.

“While our 2014 results were a disappointment, they were not a surprise,” said Gerald Petkau, senior vice president and chief financial officer. “As a general rule, ACA customers were older and sicker and drove costs higher than we had anticipated.”

The weak financial performance was reflected – albeit incrementally – in executive compensation for the organization’s top officers. CEO Brad Wilson’s total pay package slipped to $2.8 million last year from nearly $3 million in 2013 because of a reduced bonus, even though Wilson’s base salary increased. Six Blue Cross executives saw lower pay in 2014, while four got pay raises.

The architects of the ACA foresaw a surge of sicker customers and created an insurance pool to cover losses for affected insurers. Blue Cross plans to seek $120 million from the pool this year and booked $60 million in pre-tax revenue it expects to collect in the coming three years.

Petkau said if Blue Cross were reimbursed $120 million, the company’s loss would be $10.6 million this year. Other contributors to the company’s 2014 financial loss were reduced Medicare reimbursements from the federal government and increased IT costs.

The ACA losses were exacerbated when President Barack Obama in 2013 allowed people to keep their old insurance plans, which were cheaper than ACA plans. Thousands of Blue Cross customers opted for the cheaper plans, causing a shortfall of expected revenue, Petkau said.

The ACA plans became more concentrated with sicker people, so that the most expensive 5 percent of ACA enrollees brought in $75 million in revenue but cost Blue Cross $830 million in medical claims.

NFL salary cap increases $10 million for 2015 season 

The NFL’s salary cap is going up $10 million to $143.28 million for the 2015 season.

All 32 teams and the players’ union were notified Monday of the increase, the second straight season the cap went up by at least $10 million. Adding in benefits, the league says the projected player costs will be $180.775 million per team.

The NFL’s business year starts March 10, when free agency begins.

The salary cap is determined by a series of NFL revenue streams, with the players receiving 46 percent to 48 percent of those revenues, depending on the year.

Several teams are carrying over wads of money they did not spend in 2014, giving them higher adjusted salary cap numbers. The highest such total is Jacksonville at $168.4 million; the Jaguars are carrying over $21.7 million in unspent money and have $3.43 in financial adjustments.

Other teams with substantially more to spend in 2015 include Cleveland ($161.7 million), Philadelphia ($159.8 million); the New York Jets ($156.1 million); and Tennessee ($154.3 million).

According to the 2011 labor agreement, the NFL and individual clubs must guarantee a minimum level of cash spending during two four-year cycles: 2013-16, and 2017-20. The CBA ends after the 2020 season.

The league guarantees that 95 percent of the cumulative salary caps will be spent, and each club guarantees 89 percent of the cumulative salary caps for those four years will be spent.

Since the current CBA was signed, the cap has been $120 million in 2011 and 2012, $123 million in 2013, and $133 million in 2014.

US Department of Treasury "grant" scam

I was targeted by this scam today. An excerpt from the link:

Scammers call an individual asserting that the individual has been awarded a grant or a similar sum of money and request personal information or a sum of money to “release” the funds.   The Treasury does not have such a program.   Likewise, e-mails promising a sum of money and purporting to be from the Treasury Secretary or his staff are false.  We urge recipients of such calls or e-mails to be extremely wary of any scheme requiring an advance payment for a later promise of funds—these are hallmarks of scams.  A similar scam is a caller falsely representing that he is from the Internal Revenue Service or impersonating an investigator from this Office and demanding payment or information.

In my case, they woke me up with a call at around 9 AM today. The caller had an Indian accent and was clearly in a call center; lots of overlapping chatter. The caller said that a pre-tax season review showed that I qualified for a treasury grant and that they wanted to get it to me as soon as possible. I suggested that they mail me the appropriate documentation and he said that the only way to get the grant was to provide my bank account information to him over the phone. I told him not to call again and hung up. The call came from 202-666-xxxx where the last 4 digits are randomized (once it was 202-666-7822, the other two times it was 202-666-4471). 

I know a lot of people who follow me are young and/or in significant debt, and the possibility of money for nothing to help pay that off sounds tempting… please be careful. The Department of the Treasury will never ask you for your account information, and there is no such thing as a grant you are pre-approved for. There’s a related scam with the IRS: the IRS will never ask you for your account information, nor will they demand money over the phone. 

Y’all work hard for your money. Don’t let someone cheat you out of it. 

Dick's Expected to Sport Robust Q4 Earnings

Before tomorrow’s markets open, Dick’s Sporting Goods will report results for the fourth quarter. The Estimize community is calling for EPS of $1.23, a penny higher than the Wall Street consensus, suggesting YoY growth of 11%. Revenues estimates of $2.1B are in-line with Wall Street, expected to grow 9% from the year-ago quarter.

The weaknesses and bright spots in Dick’s business segments are well known. It’s no secret that the company has struggled with their hunting and golfing businesses in the last several quarters. Dick’s owns Field & Stream stores which have felt the pain of lower firearm and ammunition sales in 2014. During 2012 - 2013 changing political winds encouraged a rush to purchase guns which has since died down, a pain point for competitors like Cabela’s as well. Similarly, sales at Golf Galaxy, Dick’s golf apparel and equipment store, have been hurting the overall business. Since the recession, many have turned away from the expensive sport, or cut down on how often they play. Golf is also having a hard time attracting a new generation of players. In Q3, Dick’s reported same store sales of 1.7%, but that figure jumped to 4.6% ex-golf and hunting. We’re expecting similar commentary this quarter.

The bright spot for Q4 will most certainly be athletic apparel, specifically for women and youth. This is an area that has been consistently growing for Dick’s. Under Armour is one of the most important brands that the sporting goods retailer carries, and that company performed phenomenally in Q4, growing earnings and revenues by over 30%. They’ve made a conscious effort to carve out a space for Under Armour in their stores, by launching shop-in-shop facilities, and that is expected to pay off this quarter.

(Photo Credit: Mike Mozart)

Didn't get the job

Woke up this morning to an email saying as much. Can’t say I’m surprised (though I am they told me so soon), but I am disappointed. A little part of me still hoped all that effort would get me somewhere.

Also then got an email from a different place saying my resume had been screened out even before the interview process.

So basically it’s been a shitty day so far and now I get to call revenue Canada about the money I owe so it’s not going to get any better.

but all jokes aside, the WTNV crew took time out of their european tour and paid for their own flights and hotel rooms only to get fucked over at dashcon.  if anything, we should raise $17000 to donate to the podcast and help support the crew

Will Kate Spade Follow Competitors Coach and Kors Down the Earnings Runway?

The last of the premium handbag companies to report for the fourth quarter releases results before tomorrow’s opening bell. Kate Spade currently has an Estimize EPS consensus of $0.26, a penny below the Wall Street consensus, suggesting the Estimize community is looking for a miss. While this denotes EPS growth of 73% over Q4 2013, revenues are expected to show a 8% decline. So what’s going on here?

Kate Spade admittedly had to offer deep discounts over the holiday season to compete with the likes of Coach and Michael Kors. At times those discounts got as high as 50% off. But they weren’t alone, because their competitors had to offer the same to drum up traffic. This is just another sign that specialty retail names aren’t getting as much of the love during the current low gas/improving employment environment which should translate to great things for the retailers. Consumers seem more willing to allocate disposable income towards electronics.

The company also recently announced the closing of their Kate Spade Saturday and Jack Spade lower-priced offshoots. Lower-priced spin-offs which were all the rage during the recession as a means to garner more business and woo younger shoppers, offer thinner profit margins, but more alarmingly they dilute the premium brand, making the items less special. Coach struggled with this when they opened outlet stores, and there are some beginning signs that Kors is heading in this direction too, as products become too accessible. In 2015 specialty retailers will focus more closely on their premium brands as a means of holding on to their high-end consumers.

(Photo Credit: Alexandra Duris)

Apple reports $37.5b revenue for Q4 2013: 33.8m iPhones, 14.1m iPads, 4.6m Macs

Apple’s earnings are always the most highly anticipated results of the season among technology companies, and this year’s September quarter is no different. The tail end of Apple’s fiscal fourth quarter caught the launch of the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c handsets and while they were only available for a total of eleven days in fiscal Q4, Wall Street is still expecting Apple’s results to get a nice boost from initial sales of the company’s new iPhones. Apple announced that it sold a record-smashing 9 million new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c handsets through the devices’ first weekend of availability alone, and analysts have been raising their fourth-quarter estimates ever since. Heading into Apple’s report on Monday evening, consensus estimates were looking for Apple to post earnings of $7.93 per share on $36.8 billion in revenue, right near the top of Apple’s Q4 revenue guidance of between $34 billion and $37 billion. The numbers are now in and Apple crushed estimates, having managed a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $8.26 per share on $37.5 billion in sales.

More Details atThe Tech Gets

One year later, ‘Blackfish’ is hitting SeaWorld where it hurts 

In yet more evidence that Blackfish has mortally wounded the current incarnation of SeaWorld, late last week the company’s CEO resigned after announcing that major changes would be coming after yet another bad quarter.

Outside Online reports that CEO Jim Atchison, who has been the head of the company since 2009, is resigning “amid tanking revenues.” Since SeaWorld admitted plummeting attendance numbers in August, stock has fallen from over $26 then to less than $16 now. NBC San Diego reports that the company’s third-quarter earnings were down 28% from 2013, while attendance had declined 5.6% to 8.4 million over the same time period. Just a year earlier, SeaWorld’s third-quarter attendance was just short of 9 million.

Mashableに「Tumblr Reportedly Made $13 Million in Revenue in 2012」という記事が掲載されていました。

  • Forbesの記事によれば、Tumblrは2012年に$13Mの収益を上げた。
  • QuantcastのトラフィックTop10としては多いと思われないかもしれないが、同社の2011年の収益は0だった。
  • 収益策として、2月にHighlighted Postsをリリースし、その後もPinned Posts、Radar、プレミアムアナリティクスツール(月額$500)をリリースした。


The company finished 2012 with $13 million in revenue; the hope in this “leap” year is that it’ll get to $100 million.


(2012.01.06追記) 記事タイトルの金額が「1,300億円」と誤っておりましたが、「1,300万ドル」です。申し訳ありません。誤記について、compozz様からご指摘いただきました。ありがとうございました。