Radar Screen

Back to Contents of Issue: December 2001

BB Net Corp / www.b-b-net.com
Grilled octopus balls, anyone? Takoyaki may not sound great when translated, but it's a popular snack among Japanese and foreigners alike that is sold by vendors on street corners all across the country. And it's those vendors of takoyaki, okonomiyaki (a "pancake" made from flour, eggs, shredded cabbage, and various meat and/or seafood), and teppanyaki (grilled veggies and meat) that are the target of BB Net and Manpuku Net's latest business venture, says Chika Goda of BB Net's public relations department.

The companies have just launched Teppanyaki, Okonomiyaki, and Takoyaki Prosperity Net (www.yakiyaki-net.com). On the site, vendors of grilled food can buy materials and equipment, look for potential store locations, or apply for BB Net's business consultant services. They can also converse with other vendors about their business plans. The site also attracts those folks who simply love to eat the grilled treats, by serving up recipes and the latest buzz in the industry.

Starchild Inc. "Poke Shockwave"
While more and more live music shows can be seen on the Net, you can't watch your favorite star's concert live on your keitai just yet. But mobile content provider Starchild is headed in the right direction. Its Poke Shockwave, which can be accessed through i-mode, J-sky, and EZweb, offers photos and voice messages of artists on the same day of a concert (hey, even this service used to take three days!).

For a subscription fee of JPY300 a month, users can also order CDs, concert tickets, and limited-edition original goods on the site. Starchild supports Indies artists, and the mobile site already has 120,000 members, mostly female teens (surprise, surprise).

Internet Telephone / www.tadatel.co.jp
Tadatel is a new service that offers free computer phone-line communications services (tada means free). While Internet phones usually allow only computer-to-computer communication, Tokyo based ad and telecom company Internet Telephone's service directly connects your computer to stationary phones. The service is geared by technology from Korean company Web2Phone, and it gives callers a high-quality direct connection to either stationary or cellular phones. But there's a catch. To get the free calls, you have to view ads on the company's Web site. Look at an ad for 10 to 15 seconds and you get five points; a one-minute phone call to the US requires 20 points. That means you have to stare at ads for about 60 seconds to get that one-minute free call. The company has about 160,000 users signed up. If you're low on cash this month, you can always stare your way to a few free holiday calls ...

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