Predictify the Presidential elections

Question: Who is going to win the Democratic primary nomination
Prediction: Barrack Obama

That is according to Predictify, an online site crowdcasting site that uses the wisdom of the masses to "predict" the outcome of events.

image The Preditify process is simple. On the site, you can either predict the outcome of events, or pose a question along with multiple choices, and let the global crystal ball steer you towards the truth.

Posting is free if you want up to 200 responses (after which that poll is closed), or you can post a premium question for which you get charged $1 per response up to the maximum number responses that you want to generate. Premium questions ask for some personal information from users. The overall demographic information is available online and also shared with the poster of the question.

The following were the responses to the predictions for the Oscar for best picture.

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Questions range from politics and current events to sports and pop culture.

So can the wisdom of the crowds be trusted? You be the judge

Question: What position will Hillary Clinton finish in the 2008 Iowa caucus?
Prediction: 1st
Actual: 3rd

Question: Who will capture the most delegates in the Republican primaries on super Tuesday?
Prediction: John McCain
Actual: John McCain

The first poll (at the top of this post) which places Barrack Obama as the popular choice for the democratic primary nomination might be suffering from population bias at this point (as they say, time will tell). Young, energetic democratic voters who spend a large part of their time on the web would be expected to support Barrack Obama in large numbers.

Which brings us to the next question; is there any real money to be made on the site? The answer is yes but it depends upon your definition of real. Part of the pot in premium questions is shared with the predictors. The amount depends on their accuracy, level of expertise and how quickly the users responded to the question (ie before the wisdom of the crowds became apparent).

The current top winners on Predictify are listed below. the #1 predictor’s payout is $154 or about $0.05 per question. There are respondents who have higher accuracies and are generating $0.50 per poll. Meanwhile, it would be safe to predict that the users of the site are hanging on to their day jobs!

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Question: Would you trust the wisdom of the crowds to make business decisions?
Take our poll (current poll is on the side bar; see here for past polls).



Tata: Leaping ahead with Jaguar

image In a steady shifting of the tide, more and more Asian companies have been buying up American companies in the last couple of years. According to WSJ, Asian acquisition of foreign companies more than doubled to a record $433 billion in 2007. In the same time, image US deals increased by only 14%.

Boosted by the growing economies, and the cheap dollar, US acquisitions are beginning to look decidedly more attractive to far eastern and south Asian companies seeking to establish an international presence.

One deal that is in the works, and is attracting a great deal of attention is the planned acquisition of Ford’s Jaguar and Land Rover units by Tata Motors, a part of the Indian conglomerate, the Tata Group.

image Tata Motors had a great photo-op recently, as Chairman Ratan Tata unveiled the much anticipated "Nano", which at $2500, is the cheapest car in the world. The Nano is aimed at becoming a "starter car" for the Indian market. With this car, Tata has created a niche space without any competitors - for now, anyway.

That selling its money losing Jaguar US operations seems to be a clearly beneficial move for Ford. The bigger speculation seems to be about what Tata’s plans are for the acquisition. Rumors are that they are planning to build a cheap car for the US market, and would, in future, leverage the Jaguar international distribution system.

The Tata group, which started in 1870’s as a textile mill in India, has since grown into a monolith with 98 companies in almost every business sector imaginable, including Iron and Steel, Energy, Consulting services, Engineering and Automotive.

The group has made several acquisitions recently and hit the headlines when it took over the European steel maker Corus group for $9.5 billion, in 2006.



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