May 11, 2006

Halo 3 Trailer from E3

Posted in Category: Games — Amr Awadallah @ 1:34 am | link | | comment (0)
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Can’t wait, can’t wait …



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May 8, 2006

How to block Meebo ?

Posted in Category: Work — Amr Awadallah @ 6:57 pm | link | | comments (4)
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I was looking at the query logs for my blog and saw a lot of queries coming in with the query string “how to block Meebo?”, they were hitting a previous blog posting of mine.

Its rather simple to block Meebo, first note that unlike other messenger tools, Meebo does not use a specific port, rather Meebo works over the HTTP port just like any other web page.

So to block Meebo, you simply need to add the “meebo.com” domain to your banned domains list, and that’s it, no more Meebo in your corp network/school.

— amr

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May 4, 2006

New Blogs from some Yahoo friends …

Posted in Category: Work — Amr Awadallah @ 4:45 pm | link | | comment (0)
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A couple of friends of mine from yahoo, and two x-yahoo’s, started their own blogs, I think you might find them interesting too:

  • MandelBlog: David Mandelbrot spent many years at yahoo (eight I think), he left yahoo about 6 months ago and he is slacking ever since (he claims its to spend time with the family 🙂 ). However, I respect David alot for his gadget and electronic purchases, he does a ton of research and makes very good recommendations. He started a blog focused around that theme.
  • Abe Taha’s Blog: Abe is an Egyptian like me, we spent kindergarten, elementary, middle, high, and under-grad in the same schools. We split up when we came to the US, he went to UIUC, while I came to Stanford. About four years ago I convinced Abe to come over and work at Yahoo. He now leads an engineering group at Yahoo that builds infrastructure technologies for scalable tagging. I am not sure that there is a unifying theme to his blog, but he tends to be funny.
  • Gerster’s Blog: David Gerster became a Yahoo around April 2003, that’s when I first met him. We have two things in common (probably more), we share a strong passion for gaming (specially Halo), and our wives are significantly shorter than us :). David left Yahoo April 2004 to work for Xoom, he then joined Yahoo again later. His postings tend to me more on the life side (as opposed to work), with lots of media content (images and videos).
  • DShen’s Musings: David Shen is one of the early Yahoo employees, he designed the original yahoo logos, and he pioneered many of the yahoo interactive advertising designs. He left yahoo about two years ago, took some time off to rest, and now started a VC fund. He does not post a lot to his blog, but when he does, its fun stuff.

I am sure there are many other Yahoo’s/X-Yahoo’s out there with new blogs, if you are one of those folks and I forgot to mention you here, then I apologize, and please make sure to add your blog link to the comments section and I will definitely approve it.

Cheers,

— amr

 

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May 2, 2006

The YouTube tipping puzzle !

Posted in Category: Work — Amr Awadallah @ 12:32 am | link | | comment (0)
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Currently I am faced with a strong puzzle trying to explain why did YouTube tip much faster than any of its competitors, even competitors that were well established before YouTube appeared on the scene.

The chart below shows the Alexa rank for YouTube versus a number of other competitors in the video hosting space (this chart is on a log scale):


YouTube Alexa Rank

Notice how the YouTube growth (the cyan curve) is very fast and in a few months it surpasses MetaCafe, StupidVideos, and aBum, that is despite YouTube having a rather strict policy against adult content (which is more prevalent in all the other sites).

Many folks believe that the popular SNL “Lazy Sunday: Chronicles of Narnia” video is what made YouTube tip. That claim is negated by the chart above and also from the PV chart below, since the SNL clip was live on YouTube around Dec 17th, 2005, and notice that YouTube was well ahead of its competitors before that date. The video was pulled around mid Feb 2006 due to a nice letter from NBC lawyers, you can see the video on NBC’s site):


YouTube Alexa PVs

So really, I am puzzled by the YouTube growth, the only theories I have are the following:

  • A product that is designed from ground up to be super-viral, lots of support for email, community, online badges, and positive networking effects (ala Flickr), though MetaCafe had very similar features and did not grow this fast (they are the second fastest, but still way behind on the pv curve).
  • Strong initial association with MySpace. This was kind of a naive move by MySpace to let them fill that role, but as you know, MySpace is trying to take that back now (they started hosting videos a couple of months back).

Do you know of any other possible reasons for why YouTube strongly outpaced its competitors ? please shoot them my way by commenting on this blog entry.

Before I close, I happen to agree strongly with a blog posting by Mark Cuban, in that posting he initially expresses some jealousy of the YouTube success (note that he is truly the first person with such a vision for broadcast.com, just many years early to market), but then later on in that post he comments on how these sites will not be able to make enough advertising money to cover all the bandwidth costs.

— amr

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