The best free tool for internet marketers in years

My friend Spencer sent me a link to Quantcast.com this morning and I tried it out and then made in the centerpiece of my training today at the Provo Labs Academy.

This is an incredibly powerful tool that provides demographic information on the visitors who visit your site, your competitor’s sites and any one of 20 million other web sites. It’s like the wonderful free Alexa tool combined with the extremely expensive data that comes from high end internet traffic companies like Comscore or Hitwise–but the Quantcast service is free.

You can see the age, gender, income, and education level of your site visitors. The power here, of course, is not to just get free data about your own site visitors, but to use this tool to find hundreds of other sites with similar demographics for media planning and buying purposes.

It also includes keyword research. You can see the keywords your site visitors are likely to search for. You can find other web sites that your site visitors tend to visit.

I know I will be spending many, many hours using this service.

At the Academy, one of the members expressed concern about how Quantcast would make money. I have no doubt that hundreds of thousands of internet marketers will get addicted to their free services, so that if they roll out premium services, they’ll have a willing audience to sell to.

I’m not sure a more important free service has launched since Goto.com (later Overture and now Yahoo Search Marketing) started providing its free keyword suggestion tool for search engine marketers.

This takes that concept to an entirely new level. I applaud the team behind this incredible new Quantcast service and predict that it will spread very quickly. The user interface is excellent. It’s fast and easy to use.

My first hope is that their premium service will provide access to “more….” data under each category that they track. But for now, I’m very excited to use Quincast for genealogy purposes, and to encourage all the Provo Labs portfolio companies to use it as well.

In our Academy training today we also discussed direct mail list brokers who can provide extremely targeted mailing lists for promotional purposes. We discussed Microsoft’s efforts to one-up Google with better demographic targeting and behavioral targeting on AdCenter, which is possibly because they have some demographic data on their 263 million Hotmail users, and they combine it with search engine query histories for each customer.

A few other topics we covered include:

  • Microsoft getting into Web Analytics with a free service to compete with Google Analytics
  • How to use Clickatell‘s SMS services to provide your customers with valuable opt-in SMS alerts. We discussed some potential uses of this service.
  • How some merchants are using Google’s $10 bonus for new Google Checkout customers to advertise “$10 off of our product when you sign up for Google Checkout.” (NY Times article from December).
  • Netflix is now letting its customers stream 1,000 movies as it finally launches its online movie rental service. Netflix has 70,000 DVDs in its rental library.
  • Skype’s founders are backing the launch of a potentially industry changing online peer-to-peer television platform called Joost. It’s been code-named “The Venice Project” for some time now; but Joost is now in beta. Based on this week’s Alexa chart for Joost, I would say this project has the most hype potential and therefore may be the single most disruptive play in online video to date. Skype’s founders first launched KaZaa, then Skype (sold to eBay for $2.6 billion plus.) The chances are good that this company will sell for even more than Skype after it gets its 50-100 million users; after all television is a much sexier industry than telecommunications. It’s too early to tell for sure, but I wouldn’t bet against this company and its backers.

I wanted to talk about several other things, but we ran out of time. They included:

  • Google may someday put advertising kiosks in Malls to compete with the OnSpot Digital Network.
  • Millennial Media, a mobile advertising network raised venture funding this week. It will compete with AdMobs (the leader I think) and Third Screen Media.
  • Geni.com launched this week with a very cool web 2.0 family tree builder application. They got TechCrunched and got a huge spike in traffic. (See the Alexa Chart for Geni. Also, see the 5-year chart for MyFamily.com and Geni.) It will be very interesting to see how much stickiness they have over time.
  • Bloglines may still be the most used RSS reader, but Google Reader may be catching up.
  • Popular Science’s best of CES 2007 included the Nokia N800 internet tablet, the Ion iProjector (plug in your video ipod and project!), the OQO Model 02, and the Garmin Astro 220 (used by hunters to track the location within 10 miles of their hunting dogs, who have mini trasmitters on them. Would this work with kids?)
  • MTVu acquired RateMyProfessors.com (900,000 professors rated, 10 million annual student visitors). They now have the 2nd highest trafficked college interest network.
  • Microsoft will be embedding hyperlinks in online video by this summer.
  • How Flixster got 5 million registered users for its social network around movies.
  • This week was an especially good week with news and announcements for internet entrepreneurs. It’s impossible to keep track of all of them, but with the help of my Google Reader and it’s 100 RSS feeds and my network of hundreds of business friends who pass along news, and my Blackberry which I can use any time to search Google News, we do a pretty good job at the Academy of covering the major ones.

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9 Comments

  1. […] Quantcast.com is a new “Open Internet Ratings Service” that I learned about from Paul Allen. It’s a free service that looks nice, runs quick, and seems to have a good amount of data. Quantcast says this about their service: Quantcast is the world’s first open internet ratings service. Advertisers can find reports on the audiences of millions of web sites. Publishers can ensure their sites are represented accurately by tagging them for direct measurement. The service is free to everyone. […]

  2. J Patack

    Man, I have used comScore, Netratings, Hiwise, Compete, Alexa… damn.. probably others I haven’t even mentioned and I trust them all more than Quantcast.

    I invite you to compare Quantcast data against any small/med/large site with any of the forementioned companies and you will find they are off by an order of magnitude.

    Seriously, this is a very misleading story. Reader beware.

  3. […] Für alle Liebhaber von Reichweitenmessungen und Trafficauswertungen gibt es jetzt ein neues Spielzeug mit dem Namen: Quantcast! Quantcast bietet derzeit neben verschiedenen Infos zur Nutzung und der Benutzerfrequenz auch einen Bereich für demographische Daten wie Einkommen, Religion und Alter von U.S Bürgern. In wie weit man dieser Datenquelle vertrauen kann, steht auf einem anderen Blatt. An dieser Stelle sollte man jedoch erwähnen, dass der Gründer von Quantcast, Konrad Feldman, auch hinter der Gründung der Firma Fortent steckt, welche führend im Bereich der “terrorist financing detection” ist… Prinzipiell kann man natürlich mit den demographischen Daten der U.S. Bürger auch Rückschlüsse auf das Verhalten vergleichbarer Seiten in anderen Ländern ziehen und somit eine unbekannte Webseite besser einordnen und analysieren. [via Paul Allen] […]

  4. The best free tool for internet marketers in years | FreeTra

    […] Original post by Paul Allen and software by Elliott Back […]

  5. Aaron

    Paul,

    I’m glad you’re back. I always love reading your posts and it seems you are back to posting your helpful and resourceful articles.

    I signed up with Quantacast and will try them and see how it works.

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