A million downloads in 49 days

Yossi Vardi is the investor who was behind ICQ. He’s also a nice guy and just sent me a note that said that one of his new companies is seeing extraordinary growth very quickly. A million downloads in 49 days. What does it do? Accelerates videos on YouTube and other video streaming sites.

The word-of-mouth network is getting more efficient. In the first six weeks of ICQ they only saw about 65,000 downloads (that was back in 1996).

UPDATE: I made a mistake that I corrected above. Yossi was the investor behind ICQ. Not sure where I got DoubleClick from. I think I have DoubleClick on my brain.

Fear of Google

Yesterday, during his speech at the Forbes shindig I attended, Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer’s funniest remark was when he told us that the “Fear of Google” was so prevelent that it even had a three-letter acronymn: FOG.

Anyway, I’ve been hearing more and more about FOG all weekend as I talk with advertising and marketing executives from some of the world’s biggest companies. Here’s a few examples:

1) Why did the stock market drive shares of Yahoo up so fast on total rumors that Microsoft was buying Yahoo? Easy, we wanted it to happen. “We” being journalists who are living in FOG land. Bloggers who’d like to see Microsoft be interesting again (which is why I linked to it).

2) What will do when Google’s growth slows down? One advertising agency exec says he’s afraid of pricing control Google will be able to have if they continue gobbling up market share and advertising companies like DoubleClick. Have a bad quarter coming up? Raise prices!

3) Google is changing expectations of advertisers. One advertising agency exec told me she’s seeing that more and more advertisers are only willing to pay for “the last click” — she works for an airline, for instance, who wants to see ROI reports on all ads now, so it’s getting harder and harder to do creative advertising (which is where advertising agencies add their value and get their fees) in exchange for “boring” text ads. Online “pay per action” ads are training advertisers that they should be able to track everything about advertising and how well it’s working for them. Of course, as we were talking about this on the bus we rolled by a Coca Cola umbrella. I wonder how well THAT is converting!

Anyway, back to #1. Several people on the boat were hoping that Microsoft would buy Yahoo simply to keep competition going in the advertising market. The perception on the street is that Google is leaving its competitors in the dust and they don’t like that, which is causing them to cheer on Microsoft and Yahoo just so they’ll do something interesting and stay in the game.

Oh, and advertisers want to track everything about you on the Internet. They want to know if you saw a blog about something, and a banner about that, and other stuff about that — how does that all mix into your purchasing behavior. They are looking to Google to give them more answers. I heard more than one brand manager decry that he couldn’t see anything about you other than you clicked on an ad on Google to find his company’s stuff.

Because these folks have so much advertising buying power, watch for Google (and Yahoo and Microsoft, to be fair) to cater to them and give them more data about where you’ve been and what you’ve seen.

Do you have FOG? If so, why?

24-hours in Flickr…

I love seeing the photos get sent into the 24-hours in Flickr event. There are already more than 3,000 photos (you can only put your best photo onto the group, so that’s 3,000 separate people’s photos). If you shot a picture yesterday (May 5th) you can add your photo to this group — the best ones will be added to a book about the day.

You can see where the photos are coming from on the 24-hours of Flickr map (only photos that were geotagged will show up on that, though).

John Edwards’ $400 haircut

One of my hobbies lately that I usually keep off of my blog is talking with people about politics. Why? Because it usually is a good topic when you meet people who could care less about what Twitter is, or what Silverlight will do, or what the latest gadget is.

Anyway, here in Cancun I’ve been spending the afternoon sitting in the pool and meeting people. It’s amazing how many people have brought up John Edwards’ $400 haircut.

Consensus? That it demonstrates a lack of judgment and an unconcern for how this would play with voters. Neither are good messages to send and they sure aren’t playing well with people in the Cancun pool.

How would I handle this if I were running Edward’s campaign? Put video of the haircut (or his next one) up on YouTube and interview the stylist for why his/her prices are so high. I’m sure John doesn’t think this is important to do, would rather discuss issues of more importance like how we get out of the war, but this is hurting his campaign far more than anything else he’s done lately.

Disrupting the Web in Cancun

Scott Beale linked to video of our session yesterday and some photos that Violet Blue took. Here’s my own photos. Hope you’re having a great weekend. Thanks to Forbes.com for inviting us here.

Violet Blue has the video of our “Disrupting the Web” panel discussion, as well as a few other video blogs from Cancun. The questions we got here were from traditional marketers and were interesting to hear. Definitely not the Web 2.0 echochamber, as Renee Blodget puts it.

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