Tag Archives: aol

Data’s Inigo Montoya Problem (Part I)

Of all the quotes in the infinitely quotable movie “The Princess Bride,” (“Have fun storming the castle!”  “As you wish,” “Never get involved in a land war in Asia!”), one always stood out for me:


Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

If I’ve encountered one problem more than any other in marketing data, I’d call it the Inigo Montoya problem: the dangers of using misleading data.


Photo courtesy of, let’s see here, The Daily News.  Huh.

The problem seems so widespread–and so dangerous–that I’ll address it over two columns:

  1. How misleading data occur
  2. How to prevent or work around bad data

In theory, bad data shouldn’t exist.  Of course, as Homer Simpson noted, “In theory, Communism works. In theory.”  How do bad data arise?

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Another sign of email’s unkillability

A chart from the Washington Post about the most popular websites over time (as ranked by ComScore) has been making the rounds on social media this morning.  I’ll share a snippet of interest:


Wait, Yahoo (#1), Microsoft (#3) and AOL (#5) are still important?  Here?  In the future?

I’m not as up on ComScore’s methodology as I should be, but I think the answer is email. Any large consumer email list has a sizable chunk, as much as 40%, of addresses with AOL, Microsoft/Hotmail or Yahoo domains.  Consumers open about 14% of their emails on webmail, so it’s a good bet that people checking webmail boost the figures for AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo.

What this reliance on webmail says about the advertising opportunities for these sites I can’t say.  What I can say is that it lends even more credence to the notion that email is unkillable.

Not that we need it.