Reading List: Mesh Businesses

The Promise of Mesh Businesses: For all the hype around social media, some of the most interesting new businesses don’t use sharing just for commercial messages and customer service but as a core part of their businesses. Think of Netflix, Zipcar and other “mesh businesses” chronicled by Lisa Gansky. One interesting new entrant into the shar-and-share-alike model is Artsicle, a service that lets people rent art for a month. That allows people to have a $5,000 painting for a month at $50. This is an exciting area because it fits perfectly with an era that seems destined to be less about consumption and more about finding new ways to fit a consumer economy to a time when resources are more scarce. Inc

Web Publishers Looking East: It’s comforting to think that somewhere out there in the world has figured out the dilemma publishers face in converting to digital business models. Paywalls are the holy grail. That’s why it would be a lovely story if the answer to publisher problems could be found in Slovakia, where publishers banded together to charge for content. It’s been a success, as Ad Age tells it. But the lessons here are few. For one, U.S. publishers trying such a stunt would quickly run afould of anti-competitive practices and price-fixing laws. For another, Slovakia is a tiny, tiny market — home to just 2.5 million Web users. It’s easy to create scarcity, the real holy grail of traditional publishing models, in a tiny market like that. Not so easy in a market the size of the U.S., which has 214 million Internet users. Ad Age

Stat of the Day: The iPad, out in the wild just over a year, already accounts for 1 percent of the world’s Web traffic and 2.1 percent in the U.S. Mashable

Hulu’s Dance Card: Hulu’s suitors are the big unknown. Kara Swisher at All Things D has details on Hulu’s exploration of a sale. She reports Hulu has already met with Microsoft, while other meetings are lined up with Yahoo, Verizon, AT&T, Amazon and, of course, Google. It’s an interesting cast of characters. If Swisher’s report is accurate, it’s pretty clear Hulu wants a sale. The question is which partner will be palatable to Hulu owners Comcast, Disney, Comcast and Providence Equity Partners. It’s particularly sticky since Hulu is apparently pitching itself as a cable threat. I’m not sure Comcast would be so crazy about that. All Things D

Twitter at $7B?: At this point, there’s hardly a number for a hot Internet company that would cause people to bat an eye. Twitter is reported by the WSJ raising hundreds of millions in financial backing at a valuation of $7 billion. Who know what figures are used to jusitify this. The company is forecast by eMarketer to produce just $150 million in revenue this year. WSJ

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