Top Candidate Web Sites, December 2003

I hadn’t seen this Comscore list of candidate political web sites until today. I’m compiling a list of the 100 most popular political web sites, not just candidate or party sites, but issue and advocacy sites of all kinds. Since I no longer have a subscription to, I have to create my list the hard way. But in the process I stumble upon all kinds of interesting sites and ideas. So maybe it’s worth it. Not really, if I had $30k sitting around, I’d love to buy a subscription to Comscore’s top 10,000 web sites report which they release monthly. I used to live for that report to be released each month. It was definitely a major factor in my ability to find up-and-coming web sites, to analyze the internet marketing practices used by the fastest growing sites, and to practice competitive intelligence.
So back to my blog. Here’s a December 2003 list of candidate web sites, ranked by unique visitors.

Visitors to Major Candidate and Party Sites

December 2003

Source: comScore Media Metrix Custom Data

Unique Visitors










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India Using Computerized Voting

India has more than 660 million registered voters. All of them will be using electronic voting equipment in the current election which runs through May 10th. More than 1 million computerized voting machines are being used in this massive election.

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Instant Messaging and Social Networking: ICQ Universe

I haven’t been a fan of instant messaging, but many of my co-workers swear by it. I just don’t like constant interruptions when I am thinking, writing, researching or working on anything for that matter. I’m considering using MSN instant messenger with my new Suunto watch, but I still haven’t decided if I want to be that reachable.

I did track ICQ (the first instant messaging client) in the early days of the internet because of its meteoric adoption rates. In June 1998 when AOL acquired ICQ for $287 million in cash (from 4 Israeli developers) the company had no revenue but 12 million people had downloaded its “I Seek You” instant messaging client. (Kind of reminds me of Skype!) I remember being amazed at how the site was functional and utilitarian and visual design was the least of the concerns of the ICQ development team. This company and its extraordinary valuation helped persuade me that web site utility and functionality was FAR more important than visual site design. Check out what ICQ looked like in 1998 and 1999. (If you ever want to create a viral application, you better study these early sites using the Way Back Machine.)

Today AOL announced ICQ Lite which according to Bambi Francisco is designed for advertising and media company partners. In her column on CBS Marketwatch, Bambi explained that “the new ICQ client allows advertising partners, like online dating service Lavalife, to create their own IM services on top of ICQ.”

And last month AOL launched ICQ Universe as another social networking option. Now ICQ users have the ability to map out their universe of friends or buddies through an animated interface. The user’s photo or animation is in the middle with images of friends, family members and co-workers circled about them. When you click on one of your contacts, you then see their Universe view, with the people they know scattered about them.

I suppose AOL feels the need to jump on the social networking bandwagon using the ICQ asset, but I’m not sure this will revitalize their IM usage or not in the face of fierce competition from Yahoo and MSN.

In August 2003, CNET reported on instant messaging use.

“In March 2003, AIM had 31.9 million unique users while ICQ had 28.3 million, according to ComScore Media Metrix. MSN Messenger reached 23.1 million unique users while Yahoo Messenger reached 19 million. Both Microsoft and Yahoo launched IM clients with virtually zero market share.”

I am personally more interested in seeing the professional social networking services in integrating message boards, blogs and perhaps even instant messaging into their referral systems. To me, the business value of social networking is in the aggregation of highly reputable people and the system of trust.

The other question that comes to mind for me as I contemplate the IM landscape is this:

After Google launches with its 1 GB of email space and powerful search engine, and they begin to dramatically cut into the market share of other email providers (namely, MSN, Yahoo and AOL), will Google figure out a 10x improvement on instant messaging and launch its own instant messaging client? Will the brilliant folks at Google figure out how to incorporate search tools or document management into IM and make it far more valuable for business users like me. I predict that if Google ever does IM, it will be the first IM client that I love and use.

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Top Political Web Sites

As we prepare to launch, a political web site service whose mission is to help every citizen get actively involved in self-government (“let your vote count every day” is our slogan), we are seriously researching all existing political web sites to see which sites are getting the most traffic. I have been analyzing dozens of the top sites and just built a web page showing the internet traffic levels for a few of the top political web sites. I’ll be adding more later.

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Winner of Largest Technology Award

Tim Berners Lee is the first winner of the world’s largest technology award, a prize of $1.23 million awarded by the Finnish Technology Award Foundation for inventing the simple protocols that created the powerful world wide web. Definitely well deserved. The fact that he never commercialized his invention but rather made it a public good — with the huge adoption rates that followed — guarantees him a place as one of the innovators with the greatest impact in the history of the world. The web has completed changed the world.

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Universities with Most Patents

In February 2004, the US Patent and Trademark Office released a preliminary list of the ten universities with the most patents in 2003.

Rank in 2003*
Number of Patents in 2003*
(Rank in 2002)
(Number of Patents in 2002)
University of California
California Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Texas
Stanford University
University of Wisconsin
Johns Hopkins University
University of Michigan
Columbia University
Cornell University
University of Florida

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60 million new public records online

On March 12, 2004 the Government Printing Office (GPO) held a meeting to discuss the digital scanning and preservation of 2.2 million documents that are housed in government repository libraries. This represents approximately 60 million pages of content that may eventually be available online.

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Businesses With Most Patents in 2003

From USPTO, January 2004

Top 10 Private Sector Patent Recipients for the 2003 Calendar Year

PreliminaryRank in 2003*
Preliminary# Patents in 2003*
(Final Rank in 2002)
(Final Number of Patents in 2002)
International Business Machines Corporation
Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
Hitachi, Ltd.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.
Micron Technology, Inc.
Intel Corporation
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Sony Corporation

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Christian Satellite TV Network

I just got an interesting email about Sky Angel, an alternative TV delivery satellite system (with both Christian and clean secular TV programming) that aims to have 1 million subscribers by 2005. It competes with DishNetwork and DirecTV; apparently it operates on the same equipment as the DishNetwork (but not at the same time). It offers 36 Christian and family radio and TV channels at present.

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XanGo and Networking Marketing Business Models

Gary Hollister, CEO of XanGo, spoke today at UVSC. From what I have heard, XanGo may go down in history as the fastest growing networking marketing company ever.

Gary spoke to the UVSC business students about his experience in business. His background was 25 years at Merle Norman cosmetics, 14 as president. When he became president, the company was 47 years old and had $60 million in annual revenue. In the next 5 years he grew revenue to $350 million and had 3,000 franchisees. 98% of them were owned by women. In 1991 he became CEO of #1 beauty salon company in the U.S. Sales were $300 million, but only 2% were product sales. He grew that to 25% of total sales through a unique training program to help stylists (who are artists) to sell more product. He tried to create a Monday Morning company (where people can’t wait to go to work) not a Friday afternoon company (where they can’t wait for it to end).

Gary shared statistics from the

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