StratVantage Consulting, LLC — Mike’s Take on the News 02/15/01

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StratVantage Consulting, LLC — Mike’s Take on the News 02/15/01

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The News – 02/15/01

News Flash: Sex Sells

One of the findings of a newly released two-year study by Alexa Research is that the number one word people enter into search engines is “sex” (1 of every 300 terms). Some things never change. Porn launched the VCR, and it’s certainly fueling some of the growth of the Internet. People will be people, and the social uses (if you can call porn social) of the Internet will probably always be paramount.

Take my new favorite site: www.HotOrNot.com . This is a site for masochists and voyeurs. Normal folks (the masochists) put up pictures of themselves, and site visitors (the voyeurs) rank their appeal on a 10-point scale. Some people are obviously in it for a goof (http://www.hotornot.com/r/?eid=OYNREE&key=TPW ). Others are probably unaware that someone has posted their picture (

http://www.hotornot.com/r/?eid=G8SZKL&key=HDA ). Still others really think they’re hot, and may be surprised at their ratings. Rolling through the pix and observing the aggregate ratings does give you a bit of an insight into the cultural norms, at least as far as men’s tastes go (I concentrated on the women, and didn’t look at too many of the guys). Anybody in a bathing suit is an 8 or a 9. The more provocative the pose, the higher the rating. Asians seem to be rated lower than blacks or whites. Don’t be heavy, or they’ll be cruel.

This site has been held up as an example of Peer-to-peer computing (about which I am researching a white paper; this is a totally business-related exercise!) but I don’t see why. It’s an example of community, to be sure, but I don’t see any P2P implications.

Anyway, the popularity of this site (over 600 Million votes counted and 800,000 photos submitted) is not surprising in the context of Survivor and Cops and the dozens of Fox reality shows on TV. Like Chance the Gardener , we like to watch. Americans are becoming fascinated with watching reality. Witness the proliferation of traffic cams and other location video cameras on the Net. There are tremendous business opportunities in feeding this need for reality programming on the Web. But are we headed toward a future where someone’s always watching? I, for one, am not too comfortable with that prospect. Once all the 7 Eleven security cams are net accessible, I’m not ever leaving my house again.

Searching the Web a Problem for Many

Other findings from the Alexa survey indicate that people are either lazier than anticipated, or are finding it hard to navigate to sites they want. The survey found that in a large number of the 42 million searches examined, the user merely entered the name of a Web site rather than typing it into the browser’s address bar.

Four of the top 10 search terms sought by users in the study were Web site names or addresses. Hotmail — whether entered as "hotmail," "hotmail.com" or www.hotmail.com

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