What’s Next for Tumblr?

Yahoo’s recent announcement of its intent to purchase Tumblr has brought out the virtual fangs. Lets take a look at some of the more creative responses.

Tumblr users are passionate and are worried about what will happen to their platform. Is that passion enough to keep their pages safe from being “Yahoo’ed?” If the deal goes down, Tumblr as you and I once knew it, may be done. Though the spin is that Yahoo will not screw it up, it’s tough to think that advertising, for example, does not become a focal point of the pages.

The evolution of a “social” start-up usually takes two paths, maybe three. There’s the fledgling, cash strapped version that dies the slow death never fully realizing its potential. There’s the doomed from the start version that never gets the funding it needs or just may be a good idea poorly executed and then there’s the Flickr, Posterous, Instagram, Tumblr variety. The types that get bought and are altered forever. Never fully being what they once were and not resembling what they once used to be in their newest and improved iteration.

Picture the arc of the  social startup looking something like this…

Lot’s of hope and promise, a grand show, a fitting finale that everyone loves and then it’s gone. Is that what lies ahead for Tumblr? How about Facebook?

The top 25 websites for February 2008

According to comScore here are the top 25 websites/properties that received the most traffic in February. Some of these should not surprise you. But it does give you a glimpse of what people’s surfing patterns consist of. The number next to it is uniques, as in millions. Yahoo! Sites continued to lead as the top property with 137 million visitors, followed by Google Sites with nearly 136 million visitors and Microsoft Sites with more than 118 million visitors. Wikipedia Sites and  The Ask Network each moved up one position in the top 10 to spots seven and nine, respectively. Glam Media jumped 10 spots to reach position 18 with more than 29 million visitors during the month. Since Tax season is upon us,  the IRS.gov site moved into the Top 50 ranking, capturing position 45.

Yahoo! Sites 136,767

Google Sites 135,970

Microsoft Sites 118,355

AOL LLC 108,911

Fox Interactive Media 83,638

eBay 77,864

Wikipedia Sites 55,906

Amazon Sites 55,172

Ask Network 54,120

Time Warner – Excluding AOL 52,661

New York Times Digital 47,632

Apple Inc 47,048

Viacom Digital 41,216

Weather Channel, The 41,057

CNET Networks 33,320

Facebook.com 32,436

Adobe Sites 30,620

Glam Media 29,136

Wal-Mart 27,651

Superpages.com Network 27,526

Verizon Communications Corporation 27,101

Disney Online 27,094

Craigslist, Inc 26,822

Gorilla Nation 26,710

Target Corporation 26,631

Search Engines Suck

Suck.. what you ask? or How? or Why?  My first thought was, How ’bout all of your cash if your trying to attract business and you have no clue what you’re doing in PPC land? Or how about just search results in general?  Or what about search engine algorithms? Why do they all have to keep changing them? I think that sucks. When they change them, the ripple effect is felt everywhere. Or better yet, whatever happened to finding exactly what you were looking for without bumping into 10 advertisers that were ranked right in front of the result your were looking for? I’d say that would be pretty sucky and a big waste of time!  

Or how about  how easy it is to find images that are not suitable for children? Why do we need an image search? Why does that need to be a part of a search engines capabilities. I think it sucks that I have to explain that to a child.  I’m a big champion of what a child should and should not see or find online, but filters, notwithstanding, The search engines are obligated to do a better job. 

I also think it sucks that  internet marketers are so tethered to the results of search engines. So much so, that it can make or break a deal, a company, a product and an industry. 

You know what else sucks about search engines? I need them. But they need me. They need us. We are the engine, not them. What would happen if we boycotted the search engines? We could have a national boycott the SE’s day. Would work cease? Would time stop? Would we have to revert back to fax machines and yellow legal pads? No, No, No and NO.

Think about it. What we would all do is type in the URL of whatever it was we were looking for and thus the importance of keywords in the title of the domain would skyrocket and supurfulous named sites would either be ingrained forever in our minds and thus we would continue to visit them; and others, alas would disappear. So cars.com, shoes.com, planes.com, these would all have more signifigance. In fact now that I think of it, these all could be Niche-y search engines about that specific item!!! 

Wait a minute, I just said Seach Engines suck. Ok, forget about it. I’ve changed my mind. Is niche-y a word?  Lastly,  speaking of Niche-y. I heard this the other day, “Nietzsche is Peachy but Sartre is Smarter”!

So tell me, what do you think of search engines are they the big brother of the 21st century?

Google Valuation. Where will it be in one year?

Google stock closed over 6 bills the other day and you’re probably sitting here thinking, “Why didn’t I get in on the IPO?” Well chances are, you probably thought that $85 a share was too much for your blood back in 04. I think it’s safe to say that Google stock is not for the faint of heart. The shares trade at 28 times 2008 earnings estimates. But it would be unfair to suggest that Google is absurdly expensive given its strong track record of growth during the past few years.

In addition, analysts expect Google’s earnings to increase by 44 percent this year, 28 percent in 2008 and at an average clip of about 34 percent a year for the next five years. That’s a much higher projected growth rate than Yahoo – yet Yahoo trades at 46 times 2008 earnings forecasts.

So the question is, how high can it go? If we look historically at stock prices, the price for one Class A share of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) briefly topped $100,000,  SunWest Bank is trading at $2,475 and First National Bank of Alaska is trading at $2,010. So as you can see, Banks not withstanding, there is plenty of room there for Google to grow.

Should you get in now? The answer is yes. Should you borrow to get in? Why not? The stock won’t be backing up. I can’t see Google imploding anytime soon. I can’t see Microsoft or Larry Ellison positioning themselves for a hostile takeover. In fact the only thing that seems logical is to quit kicking yourself for not getting in sooner. Although as a fall back Yahoo doesn’t look to bad either. Personally I think by the end of 2008, Google will be trading at over $700. What do you think it will be at? If you think there was buzz for the iphone, watch what happens when the Gphone comes out!

It’s not about Google, It’s Yahoo… Sorry MySpace..

Raise your hand if you use or access all three of the aformentioned.  Ok, I know we all use Google for something, and we all probably have a Yahoo mail account for some reason, and well MySpace… It’s something all together different, But I bet you have vistied a couple of MySpace pages. Hell, you might even have a MySpace page! If so…My bad..

 You see the first 2 sites have a specific purpose whereas MySpace is more “me-time” oriented.  The simple fact that we talk about MySpace in the same breath as a Yahoo mail or Google, is in and of itself an amazing phenomenon. Given it’s realtively short history.

As a social network app., MySpace doesn’t appeal to me that much. The technology that surrounds it does, but thats because I’m sorta “tech-y-geeky”. But we need to look at the demographic for MySpace to fully understand the impact of it. It’s geared towards 18-24 year olds, but it extends in either direction as well. i.e. 50 year olds use it and so do 15 year olds. But what it tells you, is that people are starved for self expression. Starved to meet someone or with the hopes that someone wants to meet them. They should call MySpace a Viral network thats connected by social norms. MyViralSpace.

I heard a comment last night on 60 minutes, that the internet is a  direct reflection of society. I always knew it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it is so true.  We want to meet other people, we want to be with those people and we want to be rich and we are motivated by things that will pleasure us and we dont want to work for our money, we want to slack off and and we want to have fun. All of the motivators of our off line world transposed online. As if our lives our now 2-D. the online life and the offline. See–>Second Life.

So Yahoo seems to cover it best. Just compare the Google interface with Yahoo. Yahoo is a portal, Google is not. Google is search, Yahoo is more like the place you stop to get your coffee, grab the paper, talk to someone real quick, read your mail, pay a bill, check a score and find out who is sleeping with who before you head to work or start work. Google is for checking for George Clooney’s house pics in Italy, seeing if your old college roomate is in jail, and researching for jobs in a bigger city than the one your currently in. Google is a tool. Yahoo is a resource and MySpace is a nightclub. MySpace is where people go to cruise for others and share their sense of wannabe coolness.

Can all three exist? You betcha, but where they all will stumble is when they think they can  do something that the other is doing, and do it better. Google as a portal? Maybe. Google as a social network, no chance in hell. Yahoo as search, holding their own, Yahoo Mash? The jury is still out. MySpace as a search tool, uhhhhh no. MySpace as a portal, well it sorta is, but not in the literal sense.

Ultimately, as they say content is king and thus Yahoo has prevailed up to this point because the content changes daily, hourly etc. MySpace may have some value in it’s ability to mine the data, but as a destination location, not gonna happen. And Google, well Google is as Google was. The bottom line, they all serve an audience that wont’ be going away anytime soon. At least for the next 12 months