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1 Billion Apps - So Now What for iTunes' App Store?

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It's a staggering number: 1,000,000,000.

The iPhone App store launched in July of 2008 and grew faster than most anticipated - both inventory and adoption. The App Store's 25,000 apps will reach one-billion downloads sometime in the next 48 hours. That's an average of 40,000 downloads per app.

billion-apps So what's next for Apple's App Store? The iPhone 3.0 OS that will launch this summer will create a new wave of applications and inspire a new series of innovations. But equally important, the App Store needs to change. It needs a total overhaul.

The App Store is overwhelmed by the flood of content - which is sorted in only three ways: - recency - popularity (which is somewhat of a black box) - featured content

The result is that users are left downloading already popular applications or sifting through new content (25 at a time). It is akin to buying music from either the Billboard Top 25 or being placed in front of a rack of everything else - sorted only by release date. Shouldn't my recent purchases play a role? Better yet, my reviews and defined preferences? How about my social graph and their selections?

Another great example is the difference between shopping on Amazon and on eBay / Craigslist. They both have seemingly unlimited inventory - but Amazon's shopping experience is efficient because it is based on recommendations and user history / data. Meanwhile, you have to sift through listings on eBay and Craigslist to find the right product, seller and price.

The other constraint is that the App Store is most conveniently accessed on the iPhone / iPod Touch - which makes search-based navigation even more cumbersome.

I think there are two clear solutions:

1. Integration into the Social Graph

Ideally, iTunes would integrate Facebook Connect. I want to know what apps my friends have downloaded and how they were rated (and it's in the developers' best interest to share that information). Furthermore, most applications are more engaging if connected to the social graph (whether socially or directly through Facebook Connect).

2. Premium App Store

I believe editorial can and should play a role. Whether it's featured content or paid placements (a revenue opportunity for iTunes) - there is an opportunity to expand on what they already do for music (Editor's Picks, lists, etc). A pay-for-placement (or performance) marketplace could arise as well.

Craigslist, eBay & Amazon: 2008 Trending & Site Efficiency

I've always been struck by the different experiences Craigslist, Amazon and eBay offer. For certain needs and products, each has it's own positives / negatives. For instance, all of our household products (from toiletries to electronics to groceries) are purchased on Amazon; our time sensitive and high-value products are sold on Craiglist; and our unique products are bought / sold on eBay. As 2008 wraps up today, I plotted data from each of those big three against each other. The results are fascinating.

Unique Visitors

eBay entered 2008 more than twice the size of Craigslist and 33% larger than Amazon. But while eBay dropped significantly and Amazon flattened - Craigslist grew from less than 30m monthly uniques to over 40m... approaching the traditional big boys. But both eBay and Amazon saw huge growth in Q4 while Craigslist (which is not an ideal experience for end-of-season shopping) flattened. Interesting questions arise out of this:

- How large a role does holiday pricing and incentives play for Amazon and eBay? - Conceptually, eBay and Craigslist shouldn't see drastically different swings in Q4... so marketing budgets must be in play? - Will Amazon pass eBay in December (after a record month)?

Craigslist eBay Amazon Traffic

Pageviews per Visit

This is the most interesting analysis: Craigslist users view over 50 pages per session, eBay users ~25 and Amazon users ~12. A couple reasons why:

- First, listing on Craigslist has become increasingly more cumbersome. To list a single item can take over seven steps. The same can be said for eBay. - Second, the finding experience on Craigslist and eBay is predicated on hunting for values... back and forth through search results. - Meanwhile, Amazon is the king of targeted search results and streamlined purchasing

... which leads to me to conclude that this data is more of an example of efficiency than of stickiness. Amazon is more than twice as efficient as eBay and four times as efficient as Craigslist.

eBay Craigslist Amazon Pageviews

That same trend is evident in minutes spent on these sites per month. The trends are nearly identical and again speak to the efficiency of the sites:

eBay Craigslist Amazon Minutes has Replaced Craigslist, eBay and Kijiji for my Online Selling is oft-overlooked in the landscape of consumer-to-consumer commerce. Most people talk about eBay, Craigslist, Kijiji and Amazon... but forget about eBay's fixed-price powerhouse: Honestly, I'm guilty of overlooking myself - even though one of my first jobs at eBay was running the affiliate program... but I've used over the last couple weeks to unload some old DVDs and video games and it's been tremendously effective. In fact, I posted listing on Craigslist, Kijiji and - and Half has been the most effective in terms of:

- listing efficiency and ease - number of inquiries and sales - speed of sales - value per sale

Nothing else really matters right?!

But here is why is so impressive: it's dead simple to list. My biggest pain point with Craigslist and eBay (in particular) is how time consuming they are. The effort is front-loaded with eBay (listing takes way too long) and the effort is back-loaded with classifieds sites (dealing with email inquiries, phone calls and visitors).

With, you enter the ISBN or UPC and that's it. Half suggests a price - you either agree or set your own price. Within hours from listing I had made a couple sales and was completely satisfied. I might be in the minority, but I'd rather list and sell efficiently than spend significantly more time for slightly more value... that said, I found that delivered greater buyer demand the sales prices were actually greater than those offered via Craigslist.

So there you have it: I have become a seller and an Amazon buyer. The connection between and Amazon is more than their roots in books: they are driven by simplicity and efficiency.

You'll notice that is a seasonal business (August and January) - that is because is dominant in textbooks (a really unique market considering the high costs, numerous volumes, and single-semester life-cycle). Consequently, Half's big business is done in back-to-school seasons (August is fall semester and January marks second semester).

Landing a Great Start Up Job: The Best Job Resources

A great thread has been growing on Hacker News about the best place to find start up jobs. I've include the mentioned websites at the bottom of the post - but wanted to first give a couple higher level comments:

1. Read and participate on blogs. Fred Wilson commonly posts about openings in his portfolio and did so again yesterday. Reading his blog (and others) can inform you of opportunities - participating on his blog (comments, linkbacks, etc) can help you build credibilty. Secondly, most bloggers make their contact information available. My email is on the left side of every post and I, for instance, have job opportunities available. Read and be aggressive.

2. Most major blogs (like TechCrunch, GigaOm, etc) have job boards and have company indexes. Browse each. If a company is particularly attractive, visit their site and their job board.

3. Classifieds sites work - particularly if you live in the Bay Area. Craigslist and Kijiji have tons of listings. Search regularly and set up rss alerts. You can also be more proactive and post your resume.

4. Job search engines / aggregators work. Try,,, and so on.

5. Network. Network. Network. Upcoming and other sites list start up events and conferences. Attend, engage and carry business cards.

6. Don't be deterred because a company has no job openings. If you're smart and are a great fit, they'll take you. You can never have an excess of excellent people (at least that's my view).

Best resources to find start up jobs (from Hacker News):

- TechCrunch's CrunchbBoard - CrunchBase - Hacker News Jobs - Sequoia Portfolio Jobs - KPCB Portfolio Jobs - HotStartupJobs - - - Go Big Network - - -

Craigslist, Kijiji & Oodle: The Geographic Distribution of Classifieds 2.0

One of my primary attractions to sites like Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, etc is that they are predicated on distribution and portability. But a recent New York Times article ‘Craig Looks Beyond the Web’ made me rethink the definition of distribution. The article describes how Craigslist has added over 250 new locations (ie [city] to expand their reach and help drive growth (of note, Kijiji launched in the US in 200+ cities – a complete list is available on

The fascinating part is in understanding how ‘distributed’ each of the big three classifieds sites are: Craigslist, Kijiji and Oodle. Using Quantcast’s public data, I charted the percentage of traffic that each city represents for its respective network:

The results are very interesting and suggest that distribution is quite different for each site and brand:

- 13% of Craigslist’s traffic is from San Francisco (where CL got its start). The bay area represents less than 2% of traffic for both Kijiji and Oodle.

- Oodle doesn’t appear to be heavily dependent on any particular city because their UI is unique and based on zip codes and refinement by locale. Craigslist and Kijiji have geographic hubs.

- Outside of San Francisco, Craigslist’s traffic break down is rather linear / stable while Kijiji is far different and more diverse: Las Vegas and Washington DC are +21% and New York City is ~15%. Are these cities that Craigslist has struggled in? Or, are they large enough that they can support multiple sites?

- Within each network, there are prominent cities that are quite surprising: Craigslist (Portland = 6.5%), Kijiji (Detroit = 3%, Allentown = 1.8%), Oodle (NYC = 1.2%... quite low comparatively)

Note: where the line is at 0% - it means that the data is not available on Quantcast as it is not one of the 20 most active subdomains on the site.

Also worth noting: each of these sites is growing quite quickly. This chart is also from Quantcast (can you tell yet that I use them all the time?) and displays the relative growth. Craigslist in blue; Kijiji in red; Oodle is green.

More data available at Quantcast (Craigslist, Kijiji, Oodle)

15 Websites / Services I'd Actually Pay For

One measure of a service’s utility and stickiness is its ability to charge for usage. Consequently, I regularly find myself asking, “Is this important enough to me that I’d pay for it?”

Here are some of the services / sites where that answer is yes… And what I’d be willing to pay: Gmail: I’d pay to keep my Gmail account more because the switching cost is high than because of the functionality. That switching cost is painful enough that I’d spend $75 to prevent it. I will likely end up paying for increased storage too.

Google Maps: Love Google Maps for my Blackberry. Telenav is $9.99 / mo and offers greater functionality – I’d likely pay $10 to download Google Maps or some nominal monthly fee. If Google Maps added navigational directions, I would pay $10 / month. The benefit of blogging with WP is so significant (SEO, functionality, flexibility) that it’s well worth paying for. I’d probably pay a $200 for an installation… which makes me realize how much I rely on the product.

Google Analytics: If Google analytics weren’t free, I would unhappily pay a monthly fee to install it ($10) because, despite my disdain for the interface and lack of real-time metrics, it really is a necessity.

Google Analytics w/ Real Time Data: I would certainly pay extra for real-time Google Analytics.

Slimstat: Slimstat is a free Wordpress plugin that delivers real-time analytics. I would pay $40 to install it.

Slimstat “Premium”: … And I’d pay a lot more if Slimstat offered a model with unlimited data capturing / storage (the basic one shows the last ‘n’ records). I would pay $100 / domain.

Mint Analytics: I gladly paid $40 to install Mint on my domains. Great data and great interface.

Craigslist: I would pay for premium listings on Craigslist (if they introduced some sort of featured ads format) and I’ve paid the jobs listing fees before (many times).

Amazon Prime: I spend enough on Amazon that they gave me Amazon Prime for free when it first launched. Considering that I buy my groceries, toiletries, electronics, dog food, etc on it – I’d pay for Prime if Amazon forced me to.

iStockPhoto Premium: I love iStockPhoto – but it’s a pain to purchase credits. I’d pay for a premium account that enables power-usage. MLB is the only major sport that has truly adopted the web and their radio and video streaming is fantastic. I already pay for the service (estimates: $14.99 for radio broadcast of all games,$99-$179 for video)

Podcasts / On-demand Radio: There are certain podcasts and radio shows that I would pay to be able to download in entirety. For instance, I love The Thundering Herd on ESPN Radio but it streams too early on the west coast for me to catch it – and the Podcast only captures 30 minutes of the broadcast. I would pay $5-$10 a month to listen to it on-demand, in its entirety (price depends on whether or not ads are in the broadcast). The same can be said for Tony Bruno and JT the Brick.

eLance: I love eLance. Use it all the time. They choose to charge the service provider – but if they reversed it, I would pay on a per-listing basis. The price depends on the project, but a nominal amount ($5?).

ESPN360: It’s the only way that I can catch Duke games without leaving work at 3pm pst... I’d pay either per game or per month ($5-10) for the service. I’d pay a whole lot more if they could include MLB, NFL and NBA (would start to challenge my Comcast bill).

Hiring Moves Web 2.0 (Through Facebook, Blogs and Classifieds)

This might not come as a surprise since networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are becoming popular, effective ways to make business introductions and even hires. But a couple posts on some of my favorite blogs demonstrate that web 2.0 hiring has become precisely that. A few examples:

* Fred Wilson wrote a post saying "We are Looking for an Analyst" and is only accepting "links to your web presence"... fascinating. No resume. No email. No cover letter.

Fred and his firm are saying that your understanding of the web should be evident from your web activity - and that's all they need to know to get started. I would argue that's a great filter for the business they are in.

And if you look at the Union Square Ventures post, nearly 100 people have loaded up their web links (LinkedIn and blog urls are most prevalent). The most interesting submission was a candidate linking to a google search for his own name!

One question about this tactic though - those candidates have all made their interest public... which is problematic for their current jobs / employers and actually exposes their contact information to other companies (not bad for the candidate, but bad for Union Square right?)

* Josh Kopelman wrote a fascinating post about using Facebook Ads to connect with interested candidates for his various start-ups (updated study here). While the ads were more of a field study on Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook's advertising system - the responses indeed indicate that this was a successful endeavor.

By the way, if you've never advertised on Facebook, spend $20 to promote something off-Facebook - it's a fascinating experience compared to AdWords, Y! and MSN...

* Finally, I posted recently about beRecruited hiring bloggers through Craigslist, Kijiji, and LinkedIn... and how those compare to hiring work through sites like Elance. While my efforts are less savvy (or interesting) than Fred's or Josh's - they have been quite fruitful (albeit quite time consuming).

Hiring Bloggers - Where to Look (Oh yeah, We're Hiring a SportsWrap Editor!)

Over the course of beRecruited's growth, we've relied heavily on organic growth and grass-roots marketing. Similarly, we've used Elance, Craigslist, and Kijiji to outsource smaller projects... and, while each is time consuming, it's been effective for us on a project-by-project basis. Now we are hiring a full time beRecruited SportsWrap editor and a few bloggers and, while promoting the open role, I was quite disappointed to find that Valleywag's job board has closed! We had advertised on Valleywag previously and found it *far* more successful than any other medium. Not only were the leads plentiful... they were qualified! There are few locations to reach potential bloggers who are truly web savvy, get SEO, love sports, etc - but Valleywag worked.


LinkedIn works decently. Kijiji and Craigslist generate leads - but are time intensive (and Craigslist is expensive). Elance is better for projects and developments (rather than ongoing employment). TechCrunch, GigaOM, etc seem better for senior-level jobs than for recruiting writers.

Of course if you have any contacts or ideas - please pass my way!

Comscore Releases Search Engine and Search Query Traffic: Amazon +20%, Craigslist +6%

Comscore released their December search engine statistics and, among the usual information, there is some very interesting data. A couple thoughts: - Across the board, December traffic is lower than November (due to the holidays) - While that makes sense for informational sites, Amazon surged +20% - Craigslist (another highly 'transactional' site) was also +6% - In the social worlds, Youtube grew nearly 8% while Facebook dropped 14% and MySpace nearly reached 20%... but Youtube is more reliant on the search box than Facebook or MySpace - but that really shouldn't change that drastically on a monthly basis. - Mapquest is dying. Who uses Mapquest anymore?

Full chart after the jump...


comScore Expanded Search Query Report
December 2007
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore qSearch 2.0


Expanded Search Entity

Search Queries (MM)



Percent Change Dec-07 vs. Nov-07

Total Expanded Search




Google Sites








     YouTube/All Other




Yahoo! Sites








     All Other




Microsoft Sites




     MSN-Windows Live




     Microsoft/All Other




Time Warner Network








     MapQuest/All Other








Ask Network






-9.5% All Other




Fox Interactive Media








     All Other







Amazon Sites








To request more information on comScore qSearch 2.0, please visit

About comScore
comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 2 million consumers who have given comScore permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. comScore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions. Through its proprietary technology, comScore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes.  comScore analysts apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI.  comScore services are used by more than 800 clients, including global leaders such as AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo!, BBC, Carat, Cyworld, Deutsche Bank, France Telecom, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Financial Times, ESPN, Fox Sports, Nestlé, Starcom, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, Verizon, ViaMichelin, Merck and Expedia.  For more information, please visit