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What Millions of People Are Doing Online ad Why It Matters

Bill Tancer

Works for a company called Hitwise, which sample the behaviour of 10 million Internet users in US, UK, Australia and NZ, updated daily. They can also see something called the clickstream - the sites visited just before and just after the site in question.

The "perfect information" that site like TripAdvisor provides - whereas before the hotelier had all the info and it was time-consuming or difficult for the guest to get the info, now all presented at a click - price of competitors rooms, reviews from guests, what is included, what distance to amenities.

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Think of the movie Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray lives the same day over and over again. At first he makes some bad decisions, but then, as he knows exactly what is going to happen, he is empowered to make best possible decisions.

Customer reviews on sites like Yelp. Sometimes it's just a problem with point of view. A restaurant may follow the traditional approach and only clear the table when everyone has finished eating. But a diner not aware of this custom may see it as slack service. Conversely, a traditional diner may be offended if dishes are cleared before everyone is finished.

Arctic Monkeys gave away demo CD's (rather than charging for them, as some bands did) and encouraged fans to distribute them on Internet. It made gigs better because fans came along knowing the words to the songs, and sang along. The group's first single "I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor" made history - went to No 1 on pop charts without aid of major record label. Hitwise looked at pattern of internet use relating to the AM's and found that the earliest buzz came from MySpace, specifically highly connected individuals who tried their mp3 files and passed them on. But then came a tipping point, as visits originating from search engines increased as visits from social networks tailed off. The level of interest from social networks was enough to allow author to predict other bands level of success.

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Reputation Control .........................................................................................Client William Flew