In March 2015 dot-com domains turn 30 years old, and coincidently I will as well. The first “.com” domain was registered on March 15, 1985, some 6 years before the launch of the world-wide-web in 1991, and since then nothing has ever been the same.
Like many Millennials now entering their middle ages, I’m nostalgic for nearly everything from my youth, including the old websites we grew up browsing. So I thought it might be fun to surf down memory lane, comparing the top websites from back-in-the-day with their modern counterparts. Combining tools like the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine (which catalogs snapshots of the web) with publicly available data on web usage in the U.S., here’s a look back at the top websites in 2005 compared to those in 2015: Continue reading Networked Nostalgia: The Internet and Web Enters Its Middle Ages
Today Apple is expected to unveil its new Apple Watch (finally), but six months ago it wasn’t clear to everyone why Apple announced their newest product so early. So that same day in September I wrote this blog post about why Apple might have announced their newest product so far in advance, from a marketing strategist’s perspective.
Post originally appeared on September 9th, 2014 on MattHurst.com: Continue reading Why Did Apple Announce Its Watch So Early? A Strategic Marketer’s View
What happens when the internet, the backbone of our high-tech economy, is down? That’s a question recently brought to the forefront of the public’s attention, between the debate over Net Neutrality, hacking attacks, and President Obama’s recent proposal to expand broadband options. Despite years of gains, millions of Americans lack broadband access, and even where it is available speeds often lag other markets. Yet we’re also more reliant on the web than ever before, constantly connected whether at home, at work, or anywhere on the go with smartphones. It’s easy to take for granted the benefits of fast, reliable broadband internet – at least until we lose our own connections.
During the recent hurricanes and winter storms which managed to shut down major parts of the U.S. East Coast, there were numerous reports of internet service outages and website downtime for major hubs like Huffington Post and Netflix. Some of these issues could have been caused by infrastructure damage from the storms, but at least some downtime was attributed to servers buckling under the load of millions more Americans simultaneously logging-on while stuck indoors during the inclement weather. In fact, even during normal nights Netflix can account for as much as one-third of internet traffic during the peak evening hours, straining web servers and ISP networks.
Knowing these trends I formed a hypothesis: local ISPs would crumble during last week’s storm (Winter Storm Juno) under the heavy load of snowed-in users. To test my hypothesis, I recruited a simple network sample, emailing my friends across the New York metro area to run speed tests at the same time: around 9 PM EST on Monday, January 26th 2015. For the methodology we used SpeedOf.me to gauge speeds, while I collected details about each participant’s ISP and connection type, attempting to rule out as many variables as possible. So here are some results from our little experiment: Continue reading Snowed out: Testing ISP Speeds on a Snow Day
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: internet service providers want to create a “fast-lane” for certain websites (namely those who pay for the privilege) at the expense of effectively slowing down other websites. If it seems like we’ve been defending the principles of Net Neutrality for at least a decade you’re not far off (myself included during my early blogging days), but telecom companies continue to spend millions of dollars every year to lobby for policies designed to create an uneven playing field from which they profit but at the expense of consumers. Today I’ve joined thousands of bloggers and websites by participating an Internet Slowdown protest, simulating the same slowdown we might experience if ISPs are able to remove Net Neutrality rules set by the FCC.
First let’s make sure we understands what Net Neutrality is: a guiding principle of the internet that the web should be open and level-playing field for all websites. For the uninitiated, talk show John Oliver has an excellent primer on Net Neutrality and why it’s important: Continue reading Defend the web: Why I Support Net Neutrality
Today consumers own more devices than ever before, and the greatest growth comes from digital devices, many of which didn’t even exist a few years ago. If fact, according to Nielsen’s recent Digital Consumer Report (full disclosure: I helped research and create this report) not only do the majority of Americans now own smartphones, but during 2013 time spent accessing the internet using smartphone apps (34 hours per person on average) surpassed time spent surfing the web on computers (27 hours on average). Whether consumers using the devices to access media or connect with one another, advertisers and marketers must follow consumer’s eyeballs as they jump across multiple screens and platforms.
So where do consumers spend their time and attention when using media? Continue reading Media Universe: Exploring Consumers’ Expanding Use of Digital Devices
The last year has been a year of memories and milestones for me, from my engagement at the start of the year to the 25th anniversary of my father’s passing at the end. In between I watched, listened, and learned from countless media during 2013, influencing my daily life and providing inspiration for ideas of my own. Because I love building lists (and what blogger doesn’t), I wanted to share some of my top moments for 2013, at least from my own media usage and perspective:
My Top Instagram Photos in 2013
My Top Tweets of 2013
My Top 13 Albums of 2013
Today marks the 25th anniversary of my Dad’s death. He is remembered for many things in his life: as a husband to my mother, a father to me and my sister, a brother and son to the Hurst family, and a friend to many. But his life is most remembered for how it ended: alongside the 270 other people killed on Pan Am Flight 103 and in Lockerbie, Scotland as the airplane was bombed in an act of terrorism on December 21, 1988.
I was only 3 years old when my father died, so I don’t have many memories about him or from that day. I do remember sitting in our home by the Christmas tree seeing my mom crying by the phone, an unusual sight for a young boy. In a few short days we’d be flying home to St. Louis to mourn with our family, relocating to Missouri where my mom would raise me and my sister. It all happened so fast that it took years to fully understand my family’s life had changed forever. Continue reading In Memory of My Father, Roger Hurst