Thursday, April 27, 2006

Skype subscribers

Skype just passed the 100MM user mark :) That's a doubling of users since eBay acquired the company. Now I'd like to see the anti-eBay/Skype blogging community find fault with that...

Update: Just when you thought you were safe. This post from our friends at Techdirt. Lol.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Google Base Traffic v2

This post from the Hitwise blog goes more directly to the point regarding Google Base traffic. Traffic on Base in March and April is down to its lowest point since it was launched... Another tidbit "Average session time was fairly brief, at just under 6 minutes for the month of March".

Friday, April 21, 2006

Fortune... wrong again.

In the latest Fortune (I'm actually a fan of the magazine - just not their predictions), on page 76 they state:

"Where the ACTION IS... Here are some of the sites that are making the Net hot again.

1. Yub Social networking meets discount shopping
2. Craigslist
3. Facebook
4. Gawker
5..."and so on... the rest is too banal.

Now I like Craigslist, but I'm not sure I'd describe the site as "where the ACTION IS". The worst reference however, is Yub as the #1 "hot" site. Checking Alexa, Yub's traffic peaked last year and is heading way south (as in Antarctic). In fact, Yub is so "hot" that one of the sites most visited by Yub users (per Alexa) is (apparently the only hoze nozzle you will ever need). Okie-doke.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Henry Blodget

Henry Blodget is a genius on this post regarding eBay/Paypal/Skype's future. Or at least I hope he is :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wireless AJAX

Just a quick note on wireless initiatives with this post from The Register on Nokia's interest in supporting Ajax. We're one step closer to consumers engaging web content/services from the phone as freely as they can from their desktop. This should be another wake-up call to all online content, service and eCommerce providers out there to stop focusing within their four walls. Businesses who enable their apps/content/data via web services, simply put, will have much broader access to consumers than those who don't.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Google Base traffic

There's been running commentary from pundits of the increasing competitiveness of Google Base vs eBay. Just wanted to make sure folks were aware of the below from Alexa...

Now obviously this is only directional (and a couple of percentage points of Google's traffic can still be significant) but it makes clear that the vast majority of usage is still focused on basic search (I know... duh). There seems to be strong adoption of Gmail and some impressive initial activity on Google Video. But note Base (which was launched 3 months prior to Google Video) doesn't surpass News or even Froogle activity (both of which are direct links from the homepage). Yes, I understand Google can/will introduce Base into Search listings, yada yada. Maybe things will drastically change when that happens. But note News/Froogle with direct links from the home page (and the top of every subsequent search page) haven't gotten too much consumer love. Much to do about nothing... at least to date.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Web 2.0 Companies

In the middle of trying to compose a long post on some other subject but saw this on Ventureblog today and had to comment. It's a long (but incomplete) list of Web 2.0 players that are out there today (check here). It's fairly telling how low a barrier of entry there is in building a Web 2.0 focused business (especially when it comes to tagging). Obviously each of these companies can't have the 'growth' story behind them. Case example is 43Things. I actually really like the concept, let people tag an experience/want/need and build a community around these common interests. But looking at their growth on Alexa, pageviews peaked this January and have stalled since.

Tagging in general is a great thing and has driven interactivity to the online experience (consider Digg or Wink). But I'm not convinced that the mass market is ready for actually tagging themselves (although they will leverage the data driven from it). A lot of early adopters in the user community have driven usage of tagging sites and their growth. But with increasing competition in the space (as evidenced in the list above), there's only so many early adopters around to drive the growth of these sites. The mass market isn't going to accept the concept of tagging for themselves (I can't imagine my mom, sister, father or many of my friends doing it no matter how much I evangelize its utility). There's a big free-rider problem here folks. Shouldn't be a surprise that the vast majority of these companies will ultimately cede to a few winners in each of the spaces. And those winners will be defined by how they convince the mass market to adopt their services (which will require a whole lot more than facilitating tagging alone)...

Then there are the folks who are gaming the system. Consider GoogleBase. A folksonomy based on user tagging at first sounds ideal. Let users manage their own attribution of their products, look at the most popular tags, and wala you have a product structure. But when I type "ipod nano" into GoogleBase, trying to actually find a real ipod is a bear. Define your search by 'Product', the list of "products" includes a lot of... well honestly... crap. Pick "MP3 player" and you get page after page of ipod nano accessories. Try the same for "Treo 650". Same difference. Again, I'm biased. But truth be told, I don't see folksonomy driving mass market appeal... yet.

The Web 2.0 movement will have tremendous impact on how the Internet is used. Of that there is no doubt. Will many of the companies that exist in this space today be part of that? (with an unwavering focus on user-generated content/tagging as the primary driver for viral growth) That seems more dubious...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Parts & Accessories

Just a quick note. A couple of weeks ago I changed my career course here at eBay and am now managing eBay's Parts & Accessories business. Wanted to bring to bear much of what I've learned on the technology side of things to a large, fast growing part of eBay. The transition has me playing a lot of catch up though and less time to blog :( Once I catch my breath, I'll be back in full force! I know the half-dozen of you who read my blog are all waiting with breathless anticipation. :)

Friday, April 07, 2006

YouTube Legal issues

Good post from Don Dodge on YouTube's potential legal issues. Essentially Don, a former VP at Napster, thinks that YouTube has very limited legal exposure due to "significant non-infringing use" of its service (i.e. lots of home made videos without copyright protection vs otherwise). So long as YouTube pulls down content at the request of a copyright owner, they're in good shape. Cool.

On a completely different note, a couple of months ago I posted something on Google fighting the government over privacy and the gov's interest in tracking searches on pornography. Since then I saw a nice lift in daily traffic. After a little digging on StatCounter I found that all the traffic was coming from the keywords "Google Porno". Doh. Apparently has me as the #1 search result out of 570K results. Not sure that's quality traffic :( At the very least that's a great example of the power of blogs (even if somewhat misguided).

Monday, April 03, 2006


Claria (one of the most reviled adware companies to date) is now reborn as PersonalWeb. As I referred in a recent post, the personalization of the web is going to have some impact. Claria has essentially taken their traffic-snooping technology and converted it to a service that automatically presents relevant content in a personalized homepage. Hate to say it, but that's pretty cool :)

Claria found that users who personalize their pages use them more and spend twice as much time with their favorite publishers than people who have a more generic home page. Sounds rational. PersonalWeb/Claria then serves up ads on the homepage itself (again contextually related to a users' actual searches /sites visited). On this basis they just raised $40MM from Softbank, Sand Hill Capital and others.

To reiterate: With personalization of the web gearing up pretty quickly it's important for eCommerce, content and online service providers to enable themselves via web services (take the eBay Widget as an example). Requiring users to come to your site directly will become increasingly difficult as personalized access points to the Internet (like PersonalWeb or become more relevant. Choosing between competitive content/service sites that I can engage with directly from my 'owned' homepage or those that force me to their URL won't be a choice at all...

FCC on Net Neutrality

Sometimes the right thing does get done. From Business 2.0's blog, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps made a statement on Net Neutrality which is actually the 'correct' view (completely unbiased from my perspective of course :)). Forgive me for saying it, but I'm liking the FCC at the moment. Copps' perspective:

"I think this is one of the most important dialogues taking place in the country. We view the Internet as a place of freedom and openness, a place where anyone with a good idea can develop a business plan with global reach. But news reports have sounded the warning bell where new broadband toll bridges may restrict services like VOIP or your ability to watch videos over the Web. The more concentrated that network providers get, the easier it will be for them to become gatekeepers. We cannot let that happen. If that occurs history will not forgive us, nor should it.

"We still have a long way to go to secure the future of the Internet. Network providers are saying Websites should pay for broadband. This misses the mark because Website content is what makes network providers' services valuable in the first place. It seems to me they want to double dip [by charging both consumers and Websites for the same content]. If providers with bottleneck control can erect tolls that inverts the entire democratic network of the Internet. It makes the pipe intelligent and the end-user dumb. It artificially constrains the supply of bandwidth.

"Broadband is going be one of the drivers of our economy, so we need to get our national policy right. More I important we need to get a national policy. It is not just about a better Internet, this is about a better America."

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