The Beatles Sell 2m Songs on iTunes – From Social Media, not Search!

This is fascinating and a wake up call to those who doubt the future of social commerce.

The following  are excerpts from an article on Danny Sullivan’s Search Engine land blog

Billboard magazine reports that The Beatles sold more than two million individual songs worldwide and in excess of 450,000 albums in its first week on Apple’s iTunes Music Store. (The Beatles’ catalog was added to iTunes on November 16th.)

According to Experian Hitwise, it was social media — not search — that drove a lot of the online interest and, more importantly, the online traffic surrounding The Beatles addition to iTunes. Consider this stat: On November 16, the first day Beatles songs were available on iTunes, 26% of UK traffic to came from social media, about double the amount that came from search.

And Hitwise says Apple received a “huge spike” in UK traffic coming specifically from Facebook. The week prior to The Beatles launch on iTunes, Apple was the 86th most popular outbound destination from Facebook; after the launch, it jumped up to the 20th most popular. Hitwise says that one in every 200 web site visits that left Facebook went straight to Apple’s web site.

To an extent this demonstrates that you reep what you sew – sew what? (sorry). Certainly the blogosphere was buzzing with word that,  according to Apple, “Tomorrow will be a day you’ll never forget” the day before the announcement that iTunes was to offer Beatles songs. But the fact that Apple chose to seed this information on social media so heavily shows just how important this movement is going to be in the future?

What is the long term future for search marketing given the consolidation of social and search functionality between Facebook and Microsoft in apparent alliance against Google?

Google Instant – Warning Contains Adult Content and a Disappointing Level of Service.

Last month I published a small post about the launch of Google instant and the possible effects it might have for paid search. But yesterday I read an amazing article by Danny Sullivan of Search Engineland about some bizarre results that Google presents to people on via it’s Images search function.

If you are of a delicate disposition or easily offended, PLEASE stop reading now!

I’ve added my screen grabs so that you can see he didn’t make this up. But try it yourself!

If you type ‘G’ into Google Images the top suggested search results are:


girls without dress


girls breast feeding each other

And another step through the alphabet to ‘H’ produces these results:

So images of girls, girls without dresses and hot girls top the lists for Google Image search.

Of course, we shouldn’t really be surprised by this. And Danny Sullivan gives some expert insight into how users can change their settings to protect themselves and others from these results. That’s not the purpose of this post.

The point of this article, (apart from being astonished at these results) is that it serves as a warning to businesses generally against over automating its processes.

OK, so this is an extreme example, I’m not suggesting Google employ millions of people to tailor search results for its users; its algorithms stand by each of us every day with no complaints whatsoever. But for those of you who have an FAQ’s section on your website, or a CRM system with 4 options – none of which answer my question – beware! What people really crave when interacting with a company or organisation is a human reaction and the bar has been raised!

Fall beneath this bar at your peril.


Facebook Jumps Into Bed With Microsoft

This week Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be joining forces with Bing, by adding a ‘Bing Social’ search facility providing links to topics being discussed on Facebook.

This new collaboration with Microsoft puts Facebook in further competition with online search giant Google Inc. But Zuckerberg called Microsoft,  the “underdog” in search.

“I couldn’t think of anyone better to work with on the next generation of search,” Zuckerberg said.

So recommendations for restaurants or movies will now appear as a result of Facebook discussions and ‘social search’ will be a powerful element in making word of mouth truly the greatest channel that marketers will need to address.

But the adage “You are what Google (or Bing in this case) says you are” will be never more true!

So be careful when updating your status. If you wouldn’t say it to your Granny, then it’s probably best not to say it – it will be there forever!

For as the even truer adage goes, “You can’t take pi$$ out of a swimming pool!”

Yahoo! – The Death of a Search Engine

I heard the news today – Oh Boy!

It seems that west coast the fault lines running through Yahoo! are opening up once more. The news today is that three more top executives are due to resign.

Reading this, I’d forgotten about the failed takeover by Microsoft a few years ago, but it seems that Carol Bartz, the CEO who replaced Jerry Yang, to ‘clean up’ and restore  Yahoo! to greatness, after that failed attempt, is now presiding over a sinking ship.

I recall a great article I read a month or so ago by Paul Graham who detailed meeting founder Jerry Yang to discuss a new model for online advertising. The model they discussed was essentially the PPC model we know today, but at the time of the meeting, online ad revenues were being generated by banners and CPM deals. Advertisers were still living in the twentieth century and impressions were king. As this new model looked like giving advertisers much more visibility of the power of their ad dollars, Yang ran for the hills, preferring instead to sit on his throne of banners and skyscrapers.

Of course we all know who eventually saw the potential of the new model and now who cleans up!

Does anyone use Yahoo!? It’s a serious question. I know they went on an acquisition trail, picking up Flickr, Kelkoo and Delicious, so yes we probably use Yahoo! to access these services – but do you use Yahoo! for email, or even (sshhhh) search?

Paul Graham talks of there being no ‘hacker’ culture at Yahoo! Which was in complete contrast to the other silicon valley companies at the time. Instead, Yahoo! had an old fashioned approach towards its employees. Clock in, clock out.

Back in the day, there was Compuserve, Alta Vista, Yahoo! and then a odd one called Google. Whilst others have gone by the wayside, it’s a shame to hear of Yahoo’s seemingly imminent demise. But you reap what you sow I suppose.