Twitter is Overhyped—Which is Why It Will Succeed

In April, I decided Yelp would Make It. They’re growing fast (like lots of companies that tank), they’re offering a fun product (like about half a dozen competitors in their own industry), and their users love them (like, oh, everybody). But what Yelp did in April was simpler: they hired Cuil’s former PR guy. Cuil pulled off the PR coup of the decade when they managed to get portrayed as the Next Big Thing for about a week.

That’s the kind of advertising you can’t buy. Which is why it’s too bad they didn’t get their money’s worth. Google deflated the announcement by beating Cuil’s numbers, and talking numbers down. But what really killed Cuil is that you can’t build anything on it. When you’re looking at platforms to build something on, the most overhyped is likely to win. Read the rest of this entry »


Metcalfe Was a Pessimist

The value of a network grows at roughly the square of the growth rate of the users. That makes sense for telephone networks—add one more user to a network, and the number of new connections available goes up by the number of existing users.

Classically, this breaks down because the first people to add it get the most out of it. Maybe a phone was crucial for the first few people to use it—but the next phone sold today is probably going to replace an old phone, replace borrowing somebody else’s phone, or complement an existing Skype connection.

But Metcalfe’s law can break in the opposite direction, and I think we’re seing that in social media. In fact, I think we’ll see a lot more of it. Read the rest of this entry »


Pity the Bookmarkleteers: Bookmarklets and SEO

If you love to get links, you’ll love this: imagine having an online app users flock to, evangelize, and use on a daily—or even hourly—basis. Imagine that it solves a serious, growing problem, in a pleasant and unobtrusive way.

Now imagine getting a smidgen of a fraction of the attention (and link-love!) you’re due, and you’ll you what it’s like to be Arc90. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Not SEO And…

I advocate SEO for the generally sensible reason that I do a lot of it. And the reason I end up doing a lot of it is that it works. But search engine optimization works best when it’s combined with other kinds of marketing. Not to reprise yesterday’s post too slavishly, but: why not try SEO and…

  • Pay per click advertising.
  • Banner ads.
  • Social media marketing.
  • Traditional Media
  • PR
  • No new marketing spending
  • Nothing else

Read the rest of this entry »

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Why SEO and Not…

Advertising is a competitive business. Budgets are tight, and still tightening. When I persuade someone to use search engine optimization as a strategy, I have to persuade them to use SEO instead of:

  • Pay per click advertising.
  • Banner ads.
  • Social media marketing.
  • Traditional Media
  • PR
  • Cash under a mattress
  • Shotguns next to the canned goods under a mattress that doubles as an all-weather escape raft / emergency shelter.

Read the rest of this entry »


After Anonymity

Most online annoyances are anonymous. Email spammers, twitter spammers, trolls, splogs, script kiddies, scammers—they’re all anonymous. And most good writers (of text and of software) operate under their own names, if only so they can easily get paid. But anonymous and psuedonymous people are being squeezed out of the online ecosystem. Is that going to change the world? Read the rest of this entry »