The Number of Active Users Is Different Than The Number of Accounts Created

More and more when I talk with application developers and people who run startups, they throw around numbers like I’ve gotten 400,000 people who’ve created an account with my application or 100,000 people who’ve added my applications on Facebook.

These numbers are really decieving.  While it may sound like getting 100,000 people to add your application on Facebook is really good, if you dig deeper,  you’ll find out that they only have 3,000 active uers.

Is a 3% return rate good enough?  It wouldn’t be for me…  I’d start questioning the long term success of my product.

You don’t judge a new brick and mortar store by how many people show up on grand opening day.  You go three months later and see if people still care.  Is it still serving a need when all the buzz has warn off?

Almost 10 million people have been like, hey Second Life sounds cool (which is AWESOME).  They’re going to give that a try.  Only around a million have decided to stick around and login in the last 30 days.  Thats a 10% return rate.  I’m not going to run around and just tell people the approx. 10 million signups number.  I’m going to also tell them about the number of active users.

I dunno… it just seems like we need to become more knowledgeable about the metrics that we throw around and hold accountable the people who use them irresponsibly.

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