What Did Parsons Say?

Dick Parsons said this today:

"The Googles of the world, they are the Custer of the modern world. We are the Sioux nation," Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Richard Parsons said, referring to the Civil War American general George Custer who was defeated by Native Americans in a battle dubbed "Custer’s Last Stand".

"They will lose this war if they go to war," Parsons added, "The notion that the new kids on the block have taken over is a false notion."

Well that’s kind of an unfortunate analogy considering the Sioux won the battle, lost the war, and were subject to brutal and inhumane treatment, ultimately being driven out of the Dakotas and Minnesota… I’m not sure Parsons wants to hitch his wagon to that sad part of history.

I’d like to suggest that I have some idea of what Parsons was trying to say, but ultimately I think this is the tough talk that accompanies a fundamental shift in an industry away from incumbants. A fundamental shift in how much power the incumbants have, to be more precise.

I really don’t think Parsons is attempting to define the us vs. them as print vs. online, and in all fairness it is entirely appropriate for them to exercise their copyright protections as it relates to online. However, what Parsons might be glossing over is the fundamental shift in how advertising is being sold, measured, and delivered by Google, Yahoo! and others.


I was poking around today in Feedburner to see what my feed statistics look like, here’s the breakdown on where my blog readers (who get it by feed) come from:

  • Google Fetcher : 27%
  • Newsgator : 23%
  • Bloglines : 18%
  • Netvibes : 7%
  • Outlook : 3%
  • Rojo : 3%
  • Other : 20%

A couple of observations, having looked at this data previously (although not frequently so I’m relying on memory here). Google came out of nowhere and rocketed up to the most dominant source of feed reads, but I am assuming that is driven by both Google Reader and Google Blogsearch so the number may be skewed a little insofar as actual Google Reader users are concerned.

Netvibes increased a percentage point since the last time I looked at this, which I remember because before they were at 6% they were just in the "other" category. What this tells me is that their feed reader module gets a lot of exercise among Netvibes users, and also that they are growing their userbase, of course.

Newsgator has actually gone up over time indicating that they are increasing share despite competition from Google and Netvibes, and also benefiting from the consolidation of the standalone aggregator client market. I wonder if the Outlook share is actually Newsgator in Outlook? If so, then they are probably the single largest group of users in my feed community, after discounting the Google number because of search.

Rojo is an odd one, IMO. I actually have 3 feeds on this blog, it’s a long story but comes down to not knowing how to organize this aspect of my blog in the early days. All 3 feeds point to the same source, which through Feedburner is a breeze to manage because the actual feed spit out by the blog and the published feed URI are two different things. Anyway, long story short, I have 3,931 Rojo users on one of the 3 feeds alone, which makes me think it’s a statistical anomaly because of the way their service consumes feeds so I am not including that.

The other interesting observation is "whare is Yahoo!" or more specifically, where is MyYahoo! At one point this was 20% of my feed consumption, through MyYahoo! but it appears to have slipped into the "other" category. Perhaps this is because Google has come up strong, I really don’t know but in my referrer log I still see a lot of MyYahoo! links.

Another weird observation is that on every Wednesday my feed stats jump up by about 21,000 subscribers through Bloglines but then the next day they go away.

One thing you could do that would help in this statistics collection is ensure that you are using my preferred feed, which is linked here and on the sidebar. At some point I would like to kill the other 2 feeds so that I can better manage this process. Thanks in advance.

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