There are two reasons that make it increasingly difficult for page-view to be a good metric to compare across sites. First is in-page ajaxy activity. For example, on SlideShare you can download powerpoint file, add slideshow as a favorite and comment without going to another page. The second reason is related to consumption of multimedia content such as video and slideshows. A user might watch a slideshow for a while without impacting page views in any manner.
What can replace the page view? Neilsen moved from page views to time on site as a core metric last July. Now they say that the impact has been greater for video sites than sites with a lot of ajax. A new web metrics startup Nuconomy measures things like number of comments, downloads etc. to track engagement.
At SlideShare, we are starting to use “No of clicks per visit” as a measure of engagement. I like it more than time per visit, since it gives an index of activity on the site. At the same time it takes the multimedia viewing and ajaxiness of the site into account.What do you think about “No of clicks per visit” as a metric?
We have been on a kick for watching French movies – Blame it on Fidel; was the latest. It is told from the perspective of a 9-year old girl who questions everything. Its the 1970′s in France. She lives in a nice house with a nanny and garden which comes to an abrupt end when her uncle is killed by the Franco regime in Spain. Her father, overcome with guilt (he had fled Spain a few years ago), and mother who is a journalist, get involved in a movement to get Allende elected in Chile. And while her parents are getting more involved with the “communist” movement, her Nanny who has flown Castro’s Cuba is filling her head against communists. So the name: Blame it on Fidel.
The movie is the first one by Julie Gravas, daughter of the leftist Italian director Costa Gravas. I read in reviews later that there is an autobiographical thread in the movie (the questioning daughter and the father with leftist sympathies).
I enjoyed the movie – Anna, the main character is a precocious child who argues about everything with her parents (reminded me a bit of myself as a child a bit – I remember exasperated looks my father would give me). But its her process for coming to terms with what’s happening around her, for the leftist friends of her parents who hang around in the living room waiting for the election results in Chile, for the rallies she is taken to where they get tear gassed, for the women her mother is interviewing as she writes a book about abortion.
There has been a lot written about what a Yahoo-Microsoft deal might mean for startups. Most of it is focuses on how it takes out two out of the three players who compete for buying startups. Yahoo and Microsoft will be preoccupied for a little while, to say the least. I just saw a contrary viewpoint from Marc Andressen and find myself in agreement with him. Marc points out that the triumverate (Google, Yahoo & Microsoft) are not the only ones who do the acquiring. He lists Amazon, AOL, CBS, Cisco, Viacom and several other acquirers. So its not as if the startup M&A market is suddenly drying up. Second and more importantly, he points out that building a startup to get acquired is foolishness anyway. And to want to get acquired by particular companies is even more foolish. I often meet entrepreneurs and realize that they are hoping to flip their startups in a year or two, and turn a neat profit. In fact, when I heard Paul Graham speak at FOWA, that seemed to be his message as well. The picture he painted was of two twenty-year olds who build something, move to Silicon Valley, live on Ramen noodles and flip the startup in 2-3 years. If that is your model, then you will mourn the preoccupation of the two potential acquirers (especially if you were targeting them for the flip). But if are focused on really building a great product and a great company, then this does not change anything.
For SlideShare, we made a decision early on that we want to change the way that people share presentations, and build a great company. This news did not change anything for us.