Can Online Sharing Stats Predict the Oscars?

Can Online Sharing Stats Predict the Oscars?

Over at AddThis, we analyzed some statistics trying to predict who was going to win the Best Actor and Actress as well as Best Movie based on how much sharing activity we have seen.  Predictions are just that, guesses based on what we see is happening on the internet and our network.

While I would love to see Jesse Eisenberg and Natalie Portman win, will it happen?  It is too hard to say.  The internet can be a funny place, Jesse Eisenberg may have been mentioned a lot because The Social Network is about Facebook, or maybe he is just that good of an actor in his role.  Natalie Portman has always been an internet favorite, but her role in Black Swan may have caused an over-index in sharing.

As for best movie, I am rooting for Inception.  My childhood friend was the co-producer and the film was really great.  Go Jordan, I am rooting for you.

I can’t wait to see if the analytics are correct in predicting who will win.  Great job team for pulling this together.

AddThis Releases Recent Account Updates

Recent Account Updates.

Yesterday we had a great release for publishers looking to have more control over access to their analytics, and even easier registration for new publishers and users.  For new users, we now support creating an account with Facebook, Google and OpenID making it very easy to get started integrating sharing into your site.

There are a lot of other goodies in this release that we will cover over the next week, but the new account and registration changes are going to make life a lot better for our publishers.

The Balance of Openness

I have been meaning to write about Twitter’s handling of UberTwitter and how hard it is to run an API program when balancing that program against revenue targets.  I certainly felt this when I was leading the Open AIM program.  We were constantly debating internally what was more important, owned and operated AIM clients, or the “power of the network.”  Twitter, I think is having some of these same internal discussions now.

For services and products that have open APIs, it is an awesome opportunity to grow your network and delight developers.  APIs work well if they can directly contribute to your monetization through licensing, or indirectly by contributing to the ecosystem.  Where it gets tricky is if your APIs do neither.  Companies start putting in controls and terms that prevent developers from innovating, and it is a slippery slope.

I cannot speak for what is happening at Twitter.  I love Twitter’s API, I have used it for years, and know that without that API, Twitter would not be here today.  I can share what happened with OpenAIM, that early on we were able to monetize through licensing, but never took it seriously enough.  Since we could not monetize indirectly off of OpenAIM, because monetizing AIM was always a difficult task, we started putting limits on the access and rules for developers.  That was a death knell for OpenAIM, especially when Google had opened up GTalk.  Hindsight being what it is, I wish we had pushed harder on the licensing front and basically completely opening up the rest of the program with no strings attached.

For Twitter, I hope they can find that balance that allows 3rd party developers to continue to have the access that they have enjoyed.  Innovation is a great thing, and Twitter has to thank a lot of the developers who have used the platform to build things like TwitPic.

Behind the Scenes at an Apple Store

Popular Mechanics had a great article today from an Apple Store employee, who I am sure is now an ex-store employee given Apple’s stringent rules.

Despite my inside access at Apple’s Cupertino Campus for years, I never was able to get details on what happened at Apple Stores.  Though I did get a great story about “testing” the Apple Store before any opened in May 2001, from friends.  Apparently, Apple put its own employees on buses and took them to non descript warehouses in the Valley.  When they walked in the warehouses were set up as Apple Stores.  The employees were given time to “shop” and executives observed how the overall flow of the store worked.  After a certain amount of time, they would clear out the store, reconfigure it, and start the process all over again.  Eventually they found a perfect combination of displays, open space, number of clerks, etc.

As for some of the behind the scenes hilarity:

  • Dealing with drug dealers who come in and try to buy iPhones with fake IDs ranks high on the list.
  • Pushing MobileMe and AppleCare is a common theme, and happens to me every time I buy something at the Apple Store, and I never get it.
  • Foreign resellers haggling on prices is an issue, but if you go to Sawgrass Mills Mall in Florida you will see that is a common problem even at the Lee Jeans Store.

I am definitely going to look at my shopping experience more closely the next time I am in the Apple Store.

via Wikipedia

You know what’s cool? It’s not 100K registered users.

For years, startups were measured by how many registered users they had.  The company’s valuation was directly tied to this number, and in some cases this key stat was used to calculate a purchase price.  It was amazing that acquirers or VCs did not pay attention to the active users, and startups were pretty coy in trying to hide the active number unless it was a good number.

In today’s world, getting registered users is so easy thanks to things like oAuth and Facebook Connect, that having a registered user count is almost pointless.  The friction to register is so small, that any site can launch today and have a 100K users tomorrow.  Yet, I still see press releases touting registered users in combination with the recent round of funding.

The press still talks about Skype’s registered users (over 600M) but ignored their active user number for years (25M concurrent, ~200M 30 day active).  You know what, I can say that AIM has over 1B registered users, but I am not sure that number indicates how successful the product is.

I am always intrigued by two metrics when I talk with startups.  First, of course, is active users over a 30 day period, if the startup will tell me.  The second number, depending upon the product, is how many users are contributing data to the site.  The first number will of course cut through the BS of registered users and get to the heart of how many users are really using your product.  The second number flushes out how many users are just passive consumers versus how many actually participate in the site.  So at the start you may have a company say they have 100K registered users, but their actives are 30K, and 3000 contribute.

To borrow a fake line from a fake movie and to make it my own, “100K registered users isn’t cool.  You know what’s cool? 100K active users.”

You’ve Got Props – Why I like the AOL Purchase of HuffPo

I have to hand it to Tim Armstrong and team at AOL for buying The Huffington Post yesterday.  While the $300M in cash they paid hits their bottom line pretty hard and they are paying Ariana Huffington $4M a year, it was a move that had to happen.  AOL has said repeatedly that content is king, and HuffPo will help fulfill that vision.  It flies in the face of the leaked document last week with had the AOL content strategy.  What baffled me about the leak is that it encourages robo content, but robo content is definitely not what a “king” will produce.

So here comes Ariana and The Huffington Post with their quality editorial staff and quality content (even if it is sourced from multiple locations around the web).  They automatically will help legitimize AOL’s content efforts.  AOL also made a smart move in making Ariana the editor in chief of all of AOL’s media properties.  I do wonder what happens to the team in place currently.

How the Social Media World Reacted to Super Bowl Ads

How the Social Media World Reacted to Super Bowl Ads [STATS].

We provided some insights into the aftermath of the Super Bowl ads.  We saw huge increase (3000%) in shares in posts mentioning Pepsi Max, but Groupon was much smaller.  While search may have indicated who the winner was going to be, clearly social can indicated who the advertising winners were.


The Super Bowl of Gambling…

As I sit here on Sunday morning, the clock is ticking toward kick off for tonight’s Super Bowl, and gambling sites online are melting under the traffic load they are seeing today.  The Super Bowl, which used to be just a game 45 years ago, has become a can’t miss event for advertisers and ridiculous half time shows.  In the last 10 years as we have quadrupled the number of people online, we no longer have to call our bookies, we just go to our browsers.

Each year the types of things you can bet on get funnier.  Many years ago you could wager on the coin flip, then a few years ago sports books added the color of the gatorade that would be dumped on the coach.  This year brings us the opportunity to bet on how long Christina Aguilera will sing the Star Spangled Banner and who the winning coach will thank first in his game winning speech.

So while most get settled in to watch the kickoff realize that someone has already won or loss money on the coin toss, how long Christina Aguilera held the note on the word “brave.”  Happy gambling day America, now how much do you want to bet I overeat tonight?

The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder

The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder.

Even though this article was from back in November, since this is Super Bowl week, I am hoping my Steeler and Packer friends have some sympathy as here in Washington we deal with one of the most bizarre and confused sports owners and businessman of all time.  If Snyder ever teamed up with Isaiah Thomas, I wonder what would happen?

Hopefully the man with Napoleonic complex sells the team at some point.

Updated AddThis WordPress Plugin

Today we posted an update to our WordPress plugin.  AddThis 2.0 for WordPress, has a bunch of great updates.  First we have a brand new settings page that allows you to select the latest sharing tools including Like and Tweet counters.  Another feature I love is the preview button that lets you see what your page, prior to the page going live, will look like based on the sharing tools you select.  The last killer feature is the updated dashboard that will display key social analytics and sharing statistics.

Installation is super simple with a single click install.  You can get more info and instructions here.

Kudos to the team in getting this update out to our community.