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Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Eric K.

Dave, this tactic was popular among college students for awhile to sell their football tickets.

Before Facebook limited the number of people tags, we would tag a picture of a football ticket with every single one of my friends and that would spread not to just my network but theirs also. Quick way to get the word out that you want to sell a ticket.

David Berkowitz

Thanks for the good read, Dave. Can't wait for the tag spam epidemic.

Ed Vielmetti

dave - if you syndicate your blog into your notes, you can tag those imported notes with people too.

i don't quite know the semantics - is it "to the attention of"? "mentioned within is"? because you might want to tag someone who's not mentioned because you want to tell them about it.

it reminds me a tiny bit of delicious's "for:username" mechanism, in that it lets you push something into someone else's attention bucket without interrupting them. i'm a big fan also of the delicious "via:" tag, which they never mechanized but which shows up tidily in searches so I can tell who's rebookmarking my stuff.

dave mcclure


My people? I LOVE my people... PULL!

[shoots peasant flung into air]


Scott Ruthfield

And all this time, Dave, I thought you were tagging me because of pure love, not facebook-testing shenanigans. :)

-Scott, a tiny bit heartbroken

Jeremy Toeman

Funny you should ask that - I look at "user votes" as the most important metric for apprate. It doesn't matter as much to me if people install the app as it does if they *use* it. Either to contribute back to the community, or to find apps they want. I feel the current "popularity contest" metric is terrible.

My favorite feature in the FB app we built is the page that shows Top Apps - Friends Votes. This one shows me what MY friends actually like, in one aggregated view. There's no other way for me to get that info within FB.

But, I know I'm an outlier when it comes to these topics. The reality is people seem to be numbers-obsessed these days. 11 million people use Top Friends (up from 4 million one month ago), an application I personally despise (more out of principle than anything - do I need to tell the world I'm better friends with XX than YY?)...

dave mcclure

hey Jeremy -

thanks for the comment... and i'm sure you do have the metrics to back that up.

still i wonder: ***are you measuring the right metric?***

app installs is probably a lousy way to measure active users, certainly not a good way to measure retention or monetization (tho no one is doing much of that just yet).

if all you're measuring is the high-water mark of app installs (minus uninstalls), i think what you get is a false metric for success.

again, this would be the equivalent of measuring retail store success based on the # of unique people who had ever crossed the doorstep just once -- rather than repeat visits overall, or better yet actual sales.

while i'm not saying that # users isn't a proxy for other growth, i think it's easy to look at successful apps and justify everything that they're doing, instead of the one or two *unique* things that caused success. we had similar stories at PayPal, where the primary viral engine of growth was so successful, many other questionable actions & decisions were masked.

ultimately, i still strongly believe most successful apps will be measured more based on retention or revenue metrics than unique visitors or app installs. i could be wrong on that point, but i'd love to see a deeper analysis & correlation of initial invite-happy apps vs others using more engaged metrics.

my .02,

- dave mc

Jeremy Toeman

Great post Dave. One other thing I've noticed with so far is that the virality of an application that does NOT have built-in ponzilike features (eg "bite a friend") is significantly slower than one that does have them. For us, the app is starting to spread faster than before (from 2-3 new users a day to 5-10 now), and our outreach was limited to informing friends&family about the existence of the app...

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