Sunday, February 10, 2008

Eons is turning into the US’s version of Heyday

I have no idea how Heyday is doing after it was radically scaled back. I suspect it is in the “valley of death” – not making enough (any) money to finance a decent promotional campaign which means its membership slowly (or maybe quickly) evaporates. I suspect the reason for its continuing existence is more to protect the egos of Age Concern’s senior management rather than its chance of commercial success.

Eons looks like it is heading the same way. The New York Times ran an article about it over the weekend. I will not bother with all of the history but what did interest me were a few facts about the site’s traffic.

In early 2007, traffic data seemed to suggest that Eons had found the key to attracting boomers. But then its visitors all but disappeared. According to comScore Media Metrix, Eons attracted almost 1.2 million unique visitors in May 2007, but by December, the visitor tally had fallen to 285,000. What happened? You may well ask. Let me give you a hint – it starts with G and ends with E.

The rapid rise in traffic had been obtained by unsustainable means. Eons had secured traffic by buying advertising rights to keywords on Google and other search engines. At one point, it bought 26,000 phrases — like “retirement living Chicago,” “R.V. travel in Dallas” and so on — but the visitors sent by the search engines stayed at Eons for an average of only 7 seconds. By contrast, regular members of Eons stayed for an average of 20 minutes a visit.

I wonder how much of the venture capital pot went straight to Google? Just goes to prove in adversity somebody does well.

Facebook doesn't seem to have any problems in adding new, older users. Roughly 44% of Facebook's 34.7 million users in December 2007 were 35 or older, up significantly from a year earlier, according to the comScore. Dick Stroud

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