Myspace users are older than you think says a new comscore report. Yet Yahoo and Berkeley’s Danah Boyd, almost certainly the sharpest and most knowledgeable researcher in this space, is challenging Comscore’s finding.
It’s good to question methodology, but I think Comscore is “correct” here though Dana’s right that we need more slicing and dicing of data to assess the significance of this finding.
1) I’m pretty sure the methodology is very strong in terms of demographic specifics. I think they have a pool of people they interview or measure regularly and then mine this data from this controlled and “known”, but very large online population.
2) Users *are* visitors! They are using the term “users” in the normal metrics sense of “unique visitors to the site”. Dana is making a distinction between users and visitors as active vs passive participants.
We’d want to see more info about time spent at the site to generalize more about this but I don’t think this time issue would refute the “user demographic” they are talking about.
Of course, if young users spend 10x the time at the site as older ones it would make the Comscore finding less important. They don’t seem to suggest this is the case however, so until further notice I’m going to keep thinking “wow, Myspace is getting to be an olderspace!”
Update: Fred’s take on this seems to be that method is OK but this needs more elaboration in the press which he thinks is “conflating” the terms user and visitor. He agrees with Danah that “user” and “unique visitor” are not the same. I’ve never seen anybody make that distinction but perhaps we need a new term?
Seems to me that they have been working with *subscriber data* and thus are surprised by this user data. Subscribers are probably are younger than visitors and spend a lot more time at the site. Relevant, but does not dismiss the Comscore findings.
Update: Mike Rubin at Comscore comments here. Appears my analysis was correct – Comscore’s data is solid but reflects visitors and not registered users, and young people stay on longer.
Here’s a nice list of internet purchases over the past few years. I’m starting to come to grips with the fact that even if you create a great company the payout is not that spectacular unless it’s the one in a hundred deal like a YouTube, Skype, Broadcast.com, etc. As one of the VC’s down at Mashup Camp pointed out those are the exceptional exceptions to the normal rule of deals worth millions, not billions. Even in those deals only a handful of people make more than a few million.
In a 20 million deal once you’ve paid off the VCs and generously dealt with other key employees I wonder what the average “founder payout” would be? The average VC funded buyout is about 47 million. This sounds high, but there are many, many VC fundings that end up dying. Thus the ‘average value’ of a VC funded company would be way below the average buyout price if I read that number correctly.
As my old pal Rick likes to say “A million dollars isn’t what it used to be!”
Here’s a good summary of the Google YouTube deal from the New York Times. They note that one analyst suggests this is not a spreadsheet valuation as much as a way to keep competitors away from all the juicy eyeballs at YouTube.
I still just don’t understand how any big player could not put the money to better use and grow their own. I was under the impression that many used YouTube rather than Google Video because the latter took longer to post – presumably because they screened content more aggressively -I would have thought that Google Video would have tried the same configuration as YouTube before spending so much, but this also supports the idea that this was a way to keep MS and Yahoo (who is currently the video stream leader), from gaining the market share Youtube will now provide to the Google family of sites.
I don’t think this is a shark jump by Google, but I think this may go down as the most expensive “junk content” site aquisition in history.
Danny Sullivan says he does not have much to say about it over here at Search Engine Watch. (Hey, I thought you left SEW Mr. King ‘o Search Optimization?!)