Tumbling to and Fro with Sean Weigold Ferguson
My First Animated Gif
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Response to My PROTECT IP Act Letter


Dear Mr. Weigold:


I received your letter expressing your opposition to the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act,” commonly known as the “PROTECT IP Act.”  I appreciate knowing your views on this matter. 


America’s copyright industry is an important economic engine, and I believe copyright owners should be able to prevent their works from being illegally duplicated and stolen.  The protection of intellectual property is particularly important to California’s thriving film, music, and high-technology industries. 


The “PROTECT IP Act” (S. 968) would give both copyright and trademark owners and the U.S. Department of Justice the authority to take action against websites that are “dedicated to infringing activities.”  These are websites that have “no significant use other than engaging in, enabling, or facilitating” copyright infringement, the sale of goods with a counterfeit trademark, or the evasion of technological measures designed to protect against copying.  The bill would not violate Internet users’ First Amendment right to free speech because copyright piracy is not speech.  On May 26, 2011, this legislation was reported favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration by the full Senate. 


I understand that you oppose the “PROTECT IP Act.”  While I supported reporting the bill to the full Senate, please know that, prior to the close of the 111th Congress, I worked with California high-technology businesses and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to improve upon language from previous versions of the bill and to address the concerns of legitimate high-tech businesses, public interest groups, and others.  However, I recognize that the bill needs further work to prevent it from imposing undue burdens on legitimate businesses and activities, and I will be working to make the improvements, either by working in cooperation with Chairman Leahy or by offering amendments on the floor of the Senate.  Please know I will keep your concerns and thoughts in mind should the full Senate consider the “PROTECT IP Act.”


Once again, thank you for sharing your views.  I hope you will continue to keep me informed on issues of importance to you.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. 

          May I wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season.
Sincerely yours,

  Dianne Feinstein
         United States Senator

Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the Nation are available at my website, Feinstein.senate.gov.  You can also receive electronic e-mail updates by subscribing to my e-mail list. Click here to sign up.  Feel free to checkout my YouTube Page.

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Netflix Apology from Reed Hastings and Qwikster Announcement
Dear Sean, I messed up. I owe you an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. Let me explain what we are doing. For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us). So we moved quickly into streaming, but I should have personally given you a full explanation of why we are splitting the services and thereby increasing prices. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do.

So here is what we are doing and why. Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD. DVD is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection of movies.

I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I can watch anytime I want. The benefits of our streaming service are really quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail. We need to focus on rapid improvement as streaming technology and the market evolves, without maintaining compatibility with our DVD by mail service. So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two different businesses, with very different cost structures, that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.

It’s hard to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to “Qwikster”. We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name “Netflix” for streaming. Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to. It is just a new name, and DVD members will go to qwikster.com to access their DVD queues and choose movies. One improvement we will make at launch is to add a video games upgrade option, similar to our upgrade option for Blu-ray, for those who want to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Members have been asking for video games for many years, but now that DVD by mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done. Other improvements will follow. A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated.

There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). If you subscribe to both services you will have two entries on your credit card statement, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix. The total will be the same as your current charges. We will let you know in a few weeks when the Qwikster.com website is up and ready. For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy. The new envelope is still that lovely red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be similar for many of you.

I want to acknowledge and thank you for sticking with us, and to apologize again to those members, both current and former, who felt we treated them thoughtlessly. Both the Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard to regain your trust. We know it will not be overnight. Actions speak louder than words. But words help people to understand actions.

Respectfully yours, -Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix

p.s. I have a slightly longer explanation along with a video posted on our blog, where you can also post comments.

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Google Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter

Google Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter
2011, Volume 1, July 2011


1. Introduction

Welcome to the first volume of the Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter!

This month, we are replacing the standard “benchmarking” report in your Google Analytics account with data shared in this newsletter. We are using this newsletter as an experiment to surface more useful or interesting data to Analytics users. Data contained here comes from all websites which have opted-in anonymous data sharing with Google Analytics. Only those website administrators which have enabled this anonymous data sharing will receive this “benchmarking” newsletter.

You may be wondering, how many websites are in this “anonymous data sharing” pool? Currently, hundreds of thousands, and we’ve endeavored to make all of the metrics here statistically significant.

The date range of comparison for this newsletter is from November 1, 2010 - February 1, 2011. Comparison is done with data from November 1, 2009 - February 1, 2010. Absolute metrics such as total # visits, pageviews, or conversions for all opted-in websites are not reported.

To simplify the prose, the phrase “websites” will represent “websites which have opted into anonymous data sharing with Google Analytics” for the rest of this newsletter.

2. Site Metrics

Compared to a year ago, websites have seen reduced pages / visit, average time on site, as well as bounce rate.

11/1/09 - 2/1/1011/1/10 - 2/1/11Difference
Bounce Rate48.2%47.0%-1.2%
Avg Time on Site5:495:23-0:26

2.1 Breakdown by Geography

Our anonymous database has aggregated geographic breakdown at the country level. Here are a few representative countries and their respective aggregate metrics. The first number in each cell represents the metric for the date range 11/1/10-2/1/11. The parenthesized number is the Year over Year delta compared to a year ago.

CountryPages / VisitBounce RateAvg Time on Site
United States4.7 (-0.1)42.5% (-6.1%)6:06 (-0:10)
United Kingdom4.9 (-0.3)41.5% (+0.2%)5:38 (-0.27)
France4.4 (-0.4)49.7% (+1.4%)4:40 (-0:08)
Brazil4.1 (-0.1)47.8% (-2.9%)5:20 (+0:03)
China4.1 (-0.1)58.2% (+1.0%)3:46 (+0:37)
Japan3.9 (-0.1)48.6% (-9.0%)3:47 (-2:59)

For bounce rate, the distribution by country is plotted below:

The distribution above is annotated with some countries — which seem to indicate a story of leisure and stage of economic development. For a related metric: average time on site, the distribution by country is plotted below:

The type of countries annotated in the average time on site graph above seem to be in reverse order as those in the bounce rate distribution.

2.2 Breakdown by Traffic Sources

Traffic sources below are identified by how the “source” and “medium”“” parameters are received by the Google Analytics collecting servers. Here is an article describing what these designations refer to.

Traffic SourcesPages / VisitBounce RateAvg Time on Site
Direct4.0 (-0.5)47.2% (-4.0%)5:21 (-0:07)
Referral5.0 (+0.1)43.1% (-1.1%)6:36 (-1:48)
Organic Search4.9 (-0.1)47.9% (-1.1%)4:43 (+0:06)
CPC Search5.6 (+0.0)41.4 (-1.7%)3:57(+0:07)

2.4 Conversion Rate Distribution

Many marketers’ favorite metric is conversion rate. Here is the worldwide distribution of Google Analytics “goal conversion rate” by country.

Would anyone have guessed that states which are known for conversions are also high for their citizens’ goal conversion rate? Note that for some states with few population, the statistical significance of the conversion metric comes into doubt.

3. Traffic Sources

Traffic sources below are identified by how the “source” and “medium” parameters are received by the Google Analytics collecting servers. Here is an article describing what these designations refer to.

% Visits from Sources11/1/09 - 2/1/1011/1/10 - 2/1/11Difference
Search Engines27.0%28.0%+1.0%

4. Operating Systems

Browsers and Operation Systems (OS) are identified by the “referrer” string sent by users’ browsers.

% Visits from OS11/1/09 - 2/1/1011/1/10 - 2/1/11Difference


This is the first volume of our Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter. We hope that it provides useful insights. If you have specific comments or suggestions on how to improve this newsletter, please send your feedback to: analytics-benchmarking@google.com.

Happy analyzing,
Google Analytics Team

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