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Polaris is Excited to Back

Yesterday, Formspring ( announced a $2.5m Series A investment that was led by Baseline Ventures and FreeStyle Capital. Polaris is excited to also participate alongside a slew of terrific angel investors: Ron Conway’s SV Angels, Maples Investments, Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, Kevin Rose, Travis Kalanick, Dave Morin and Scott Dorsey. Formspring is a social Q&A platform that makes it very simple to ask questions and receive answers from targeted users. Through Facebook Connect and Twitter , answers arrive almost instantly; and thanks to Formspring's large network, users and answers are highly targeted. The combination of:

- a simple user-experience - a clear consumer impulse (questions / answers) - that delivers immediate gratification - in a viral and social way

... has translated into significant growth. Since their November 25th launch, Formspring now reaches over 44m users and had over 300m questions answered. For a taste of their size, search for on Twitter ... you will notice 100s of posts each minute:

Whether you are looking for creative direction or seeking input on a specific topic, I encourage you to give Formspring a spin.

More reading: VCMike: Why Polaris is Backing Formspring

Tiger Woods Propels TMZ to 51st Most Visited Website

These days, sponsors might not like Tiger Woods... but TMZ sure does. Steady at 3-4.5m daily pageviews, the news surrounding Tiger Woods over Thanksgiving doubled TMZ's traffic, propelled them to the 51st most visited website, and grew their audience to nearly 22m global uniques.

To put that in perspective, Hulu is 23.8m monthly uniques, Huffington Post is 25.5m, Pandora is 16m and LinkedIn is 31.7m (all are also directly measured via Quantcast).

The Tiger Woods scandal drove significant traffic for TMZ (and continues to do so as the story develops / continues) - and it drives traffic for other sites as well. But TMZ has become the leader in pop-culture gossip after breaking several key stories including Michael Jackson's passing... and they have clearly become the most trafficked gossip site (nearly twice the visitors of - although 2/5th of the pageviews per visitor).

Amidst their growth, TMZ has announced the upcoming launch of TMZ Sports site to expand the brand and reach new audiences.

Michael Jackson Drives Perez Hilton to Record 2m Uniques in Day

Michael Jackson's death was remarkable in several ways - one of which was what it signified for news delivery and discovery. Like millions of others, I first found out through Facebook, Twitter, text messages... all of which led me to TMZ and Perez Hilton. The first major news source to break Jackson's death was the LA Times - and it is important to note that it was done first through their blog and not the homepage. Of course, that was discovered and then shared instantly via Twitter.

Hitwise today notes that TMZ experienced record traffic - catapulting into the 60th most trafficked website (and struggling to support the overwhelming growth).

But you can also look at Perez Hilton to give perspective on the traffic growth. is measured by Quantacst and we can therefore get a public, accurate representation of his traffic. Two million uniques visited on June 26th - a huge leap from the previous high of 1.6m. Those 2m visitors delivered 15.3m total page views for the day - which was his third biggest total but short of the April 22nd record of 17.7m.

perez-hilton To put this in perspective, we can compare it to Huffington Post's traffic for June 26th (also measured by Quantcast). Measured by uniques, HuffingtonPost is a far larger site: 19.5m monthly uniques vs. 13.1m. By pagviews, PerezHilton is far larger: ~300m monthly views vs. ~220m. But Perez dominated by any measurement and, regardless of the 'winner', these are huge numbers for nontraditional media sources and proof that 'breaking' news is being delivered - and read! - in nontraditional places. 15.3m pageviews and 2m uniques 9m pageviews and 1.7m uniques


Widgetbox Breaks 100m Monthly Uniques, Introduces Facebook Connect

Today Widgetbox reached a significant milestone in its three-year history: 100,000,000 monthly uniques (covered by TechCrunch here). Measured by Quantcast, our widgets are now seen by 100.5m unique users each month and served over 700m times - representing more than 2x growth in the last year: widgetbox-100m-uniques-quantcast Those users are split evenly between men and women (51% / 49%) and have sweet spot of 35-49 and 18-34 year olds (35% and 30% respectively):

demographic-gender-quantcast demographic-age-bracket-quantcast

Also worth noting: only 1% of those 100m uniques are on Facebook - meaning our core audience is distributed across a long tail of 100,000s of domains.

Of course, Facebook is a current priority for Widgetbox and we are focused on also growing that audience. Widgetbox has now introduced Facebook Connect - enabling users to share / publish their widgets directly within the Facebook Feed.

Below is an example of a widget published through Facebook Connect (notice the 'play' button overlayed atop the widget's icon):


When clicked, the widget expands and is fully interactive... directly within the Facebook Feed:

facebook-connect-widget-in-the-feed-play The Web's Hottest Property

Nearly 30 million monthly uniques according to Quantcast - placing as the 26th biggest website. The 30m uniques represents 10x growth since January 1st:

Those are very big numbers. But more interesting (and obvious!), if you extend the above chart to twelve months, you have the perfect (and most exaggerated) definition of seasonality. Not so obvious: continued to grow through April and peaked in June.

Perez Hilton Hits 14,000,000 Pageviews Yesterday. Wow.

You might not be interested in celebrity news and gossip...You might not consider it important or meaningful... But to the web, it is significant and marks a major move in the Digital Media space.

I've written about Perez Hilton many times before and the values / perils of being a one-man brand.

But by doing 14,000,000 pageviews yesterday... Perez has clearly showed those are not issues for and his business. 14m pageviews is a staggering number for what is basically a one-man shop and blog. Those numbers cement him as a major online brand and space (obvious even a year ago). Consider that 14m pageviews is ahead of Huffington Post (max was 7.7m / day in last month) and on the heels of (max was 20.8m in last month).

It is also worth noting that all three sites (, and are directly measured by Quantcast.

Perez Hilton's daily traffic measured against Huffington Post (to show scale):

Perez Hilton's daily traffic measured against's:

Perez Hilton's Monthly Uniques

Perez Hilton's Monthly Pageviews:

Hulu's Lazy Sunday: Family Guy & Saturday Night Live Clips?

I love Hulu. Hulu understands the web, delivers great quality, the experience is simple, and understands both search and portability.... better than any other video site on the web.

When YouTube hit it big, much credit was given to Saturday Night Live's Lazy Sunday video - and appropriately so. Hulu hasn't had a Lazy Sunday equivalent - in part because hit videos are now distributed across numerous sources and players. But Hulu did see big growth thanks to the election and the subsequent Sarah Palin hit videos (thank you Tina Fey).

While Hulu can't point to a single video, it can look to Family Guy, American Dad and Saturday Night Live. Hulu sorts videoes by time (all time, week, day, etc) and type (episodes and clips).

For episodes, Fox cartoons account for nearly 100% of the most popular videos:

Today's most watched: 8/8 episodes are Family Guy This week's most watched: 7/8 episodes are Family Guy This month's most watched: 5/8 episodes are Family Guy, 1/8 is The Simpsons All time most watched: 8/8 Family Guy

For clips (usually four minutes and less), Saturday Night Live represents the majority: Today's most watched: 4/8 are SNL This week's most watched: 6/8 clips are SNL This month's most watched: 7/8 are SNL All time most watched: 7/8 are SNL

I understand why SNL dominates Hulu Clips - great content intended to be digested in "clip" format. But I am surprised that Hulu episodes are dominated by a single source... after all, Hulu has great diversity. I have never watched an episode of American Dad or Family Guy on Hulu, but I have watched Arrested Development and The Office... and I would expect that similar shows appeal to larger demographics. This suggests one (or all) of the following:

- As consumers move from viewing clips to full episodes, shows like Family Guy are best suited for that shift (less plot, more one-liners) - Hulu's core user base is younger (according to Quantcast, 50% of viewers are under 34) - Cartoons are simply more viral

Regardless, I hope that Hulu continues to onboard all types of content... after all, I believe Hulu is a key to bringing the internet to the television.

Hulu Family Guy

ComScore Announces Self Service Model - Coming After Quantcast?

At the poorly-attended breakfast session at TechCrunch 50 (maybe because its 8am) - ComScore has announced quietly that they are releasing a self-service model "in the next few days". A publisher will be able to tag their own site and then collect standard ComScore reporting metrics.

This places them directly across the table from Quantcast and opens them to smaller publishers who traditionally cannot afford to work with ComScore. It is yet to be seen how ComScore will treat their self-service (supposedly free) model with their revenue-based model (which is prohibitively expensive for most).

Quantcast is the clear leader in the self service space. Compete is trying to differentiate themselves through premium data. To date, ComScore has served the large publishers... interesting to see what traction ComScore gets with the smaller publishers... there is only room for so many tracking pixels on each webpage.

Also interesting to note that ComScore has now mentioned Quantcast in passing a handful of times during their presentation.

Widgetbox's Network Breaks 60,000,000 Monthly Uniques

About two weeks, Widgetbox unveiled a new look and navigation. At that time, we launched hubs for partners and advertisers with a promo-graphic touting the network's 56,000,000 monthly uniques - a number we are quite proud of.

… Now, just two weeks later, we are proud to announce a new number: 60,000,000 (or 60.6 to be exact!). Just a few days have passed and the network has grown significantly. We use Quantcast (another one of my favorite companies) to verify our metrics and data.