It’s Alive! It’s Dead!

I ran across two statistics recently that made me stop and think about predicting either success or failure too soon.

First, I read that last month The Daily iPad app celebrated having 100,000 subscribers in its first year of operation (1). “Interesting,” I thought, “didn’t people proclaim that The Daily was doomed to fail?” A quick search shows that many people did predict failure (2), and that some still aren’t optimistic about their future. The numbers tell a different story, though. The news source’s publisher, Greg Clayman, says that they’re on mark to be profitable more quickly than the average print publication start-up (3).

Time will tell, but with 100,000 paying subscribers and a path to profitability, The Daily doesn’t seem to be as big a failure as pundits guessed.

The next figure that caught my attention was related to MySpace. MySpace has been the butt of marketing jokes about social media for some time now. How many times have we heard that MySpace is dead!”? Again, though, the numbers tell somewhat of a different story. In a December 2011 comScore study (4), MySpace ranked #4 in unique visitors, beating out Tumblr, Google Plus, and Pinterest (I believe Pinterest has surpassed MySpace by now). The report is clear that MySpace traffic has steadily declined over the past two years, but the holding the #4 position in today’s social media obsessed world isn’t a rank to shake a stick at. It would seem to suggest that people still visit the site, and advertisers still pay to communicate with them.

Is MySpace dying? It would seem that way. But the numbers seem to show that it is far from dead.

Here’s the lesson I’ve been thinking about lately: success can’t live on expectation, and check the pulse before you say that something’s dead.

  • You can read the Mashable interview with The Daily’s publisher, Greg Clayman, here.
  • You can find examples of predicted Daily failure here and here.
  • You can read the New York Times article about The Daily’s “struggles” here.
  • You can read the comScore report here.

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