Archive for the 'industry' Category

17
May
08

comScore’s microsoft sites ranking is so flawed

Check out this chart out from comScore via Paul Kedrosky:

Surprise!

The top two sites are probably not a surprise to anyone. But look at the third ranked entry: “Microsoft Sites.” If you haven’t followed comScore before, you probably would be surprised by the high ranking of Microsoft, given its generally lacking performance of its web properties. But before you jump to the conclusion that MSN or Windows Live (or whatever their latest brand is), you should know that this number includes microsoft.com. Microsoft.com is the corporate home page for Microsoft, visited by people to check for the latest Windows or Office patches, searching for support info, finding out about their product offerings, etc. I have no idea why comScore combines two very different sets of content, msn.com/live.com, and microsoft.com, into one measure. This just seems wrong to me, particularly if I’m an advertiser. The traffic to microsoft.com does not show ads, nor does it give my ads any impressions. So why combine the measure?

Ok, you may argue that microsoft.com is probably not a very big traffic driver compared to say msn.com/live.com properties. But you would be completely wrong. Just look at Apple.com, which is entirely about their product lines (perhaps with a very small contribution from .Mac). Apple generated ~48M unique visitors in April. In contrast, Microsoft, which owns about 95% of both the desktop OS and office productivity apps market, and also has a much wider product line than Apple, should in theory generate alot more unique visitors to microsoft.com. And yet the “Microsoft Sites” number is just 2.5x of the Apple numbers.

So the question is: just how many uniques is going to hotmail.com, msn.com and live.com properties, the real competitors to Google and Yahoo? I think comScore will be well served by tallying msn/live separately from microsoft.com.

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05
Jan
08

Interesting thoughts from Edsger Dijkstra (Turing Award Winner)

He’s about as far from the School of Hacks as you can possibly find in the field of Computer Science. While I am not sure I subscribe to his philosophy, his philosophy as documented on this video series “Discipline in Thoughts” is very interesting in our age. In particular, his disdain for the tech industries’ propensity to ship Beta or v1 craps and then rev it. It’s worth thinking about:

“You just cobble something together to sell. It need not be any good. As long as you can fool people into buying it, you can always try to make better versions later. So then you get these version numbers, even with decimals, version 2.6 or 2.7. That nonsense. While version 1 should have been the finished product.”





07
Nov
07

facebook’s social ads beacon just used me

Update: see the response by kongregate co-founder emily greer in the comments…

like everyone else, i read facebook’s announcement yesterday with interest, but hesitation. techcrunch is already documenting the backlash, but i have one anecdote to add about the Beacon, hmmm, feature. i thought that Beacon is the api where brands can push news feeds to you if you are a fan of the brand. well, my first hand initial experience with Beacon completely spooked me as a user, and has me wondering if king zuckerberg has any clothes.

the web is built around your email as your user id. i, like most users, have an email address that i used to signs up to various sites. i do it with web2 sites that i’m checking out, i do it with sites that i use on a regular basis, i do it with sites that i have passing interests. in this case, signed up to kongregate.com, where i waste many hours playing casual games, and of course the same email is on my facbeook profile. but when i signed up on either of these sites, i never expected that those two islands are going to gang up on me and use me as an unwitting endorser of kongregate’s products. and yet that’s exactly what just happened.

i was playing games on kongregate, and in the middle of a game something pop’ed up telling me that kongregate just added a note to my facebook news feeds. i did a double take; did i just see that correctly? how did kongregate know about my facebook without me doing anything? kongregate didn’t ask me for a facebook id, or whether it’s okay to send something to facebook; it just fired it off. now most sites will send the occassional email “news”, but at least they usually have a checkbox for you to opt out of them at signup. in this case, i had no expectation that this was a possibility, and no opton to turn it off. i dig thru all the kongregate settings and couldn’t find any facebook opt-out checkbox.

not being able to stop the spam at the source, i logged on to facebook. it notified me that with this little box on top of my facebook home page:

facebook_spam.jpg

at first sight, i had no idea whether that notice was about. was it the equivalent of “is this spam and should i proceed?” or was it “the spam already went through, but we thought you should at least know about it.” given the ambiguity, i decided to go check out my profile and read my own mini feed. guess what, it was the latter! it already spammed all my friends without my permission! awesome, way to treat your users!

Facebook_spam2.jpg

i went back to my facebook home page, and now even that notice is gone. it didn’t even obey its own “don’t show me this again” checkbox, which i never checked. now i don’t know where to block kongregate from doing this again. it sure isn’t under facebook’s “privacy” page.

so in summary:

– this is worse than spam, part 1: facebook and in this case kongregate spammed me without asking, and since it’s the wild west, there’s no law requiring them to label things as spam, or the mandatory “unsubscribe” button

– this is worse than spam, part 2: not only do they spam you, the user, they spam you and all your friends on facebook.

– this is worse than anything on the web today: google at least keep it to themselves what they know about you. facebook and their advertisers, in this case, exposes what they know about you to all your friends. if you are a closet gamer (or “worse”), and don’t want all your co-workers or friends to know a particular aspect of your life, too bad.

how on earth does facebook overlook all these privacy issues? was it because of the dollar sign? was kongregate just a renegade and just didn’t obey the rules? but even then, how can facebook betray the trust of its own users and let the “news” be published to all his friends without first obtaining consent (opt-in), or at minimum a notice (opt-out)?

turning facebook users into unwitting endorsers of brands? is zuckerberg on drugs?

24
Oct
07

facebook/microsoft in an ala carte deal

techcrunch liveblogged of the press conference:

some quick thoughts:

i think the question everyone has is why isn’t the deal for 5% – 10% as rumored? assuming that zuckerberg was the one in the driver’s seat in the negotiation, i assume it’s his doing that this deal isn’t for more money or broader in scope.

microsoft achieved/missed:
+ bootstrapping adcenter so people have some real compelling reason to use it. it’s ads, ads, ads in microsoft; reign of kevin johnson continues.
+ secured two additional years of ads exclusivity, plus gone from us only to global
+ 240M is pocket change for microsoft, shareholders would be happy with not spending that much but helping ads
– the limited scope of the deal, in terms of dollar as well as in time, may fit with ballmer’s attitude that social networking is a fad
– did not help any of the other windows live / office live properties, such as messenger, spaces, etc.
– 1.6% doesn’t buy ballmer much leverage with facebook. this is an ala carte deal, anything else microsoft wants from facebook, ballmer will have to pay.

from facebook’s perspective, seems all positive:
+ getting a big player to validate that we are worth $15b is a-okay!!!
+ well positioned now to get good valuation from additional investors, as well as posturing for an ipo
+ did not have to give up anything to microsoft regarding its vision, its platform
+ microsoft’s investment is minimal and won’t have much sway over the board or officers
+ switching ads provider to another party in 2011 is easy as pie
+ checking google’s dominance, who is a bigger threat than microsoft anyway
– adcenter’s limited reach currently may dissuade some smaller players from buying ads on facebook; bigger player wouldn’t care anyway

google lost an opportunity:
– risk of seeing facebook explode in popularity and loses out a way for its advertiser to reach that space
– adcenter gets in the game, whereas before it’s virtually non-existent
– did microsoft’s slowing dow of the doubleclick acquisition cause them this deal? hmm…
+ not lost forever, can come back in 2011 and bid again

yahoo just lost completely, its financials limited it from even entering the field. can microsoft pass panama on reveune from this?