Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Brand value on the internet

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[This blog entry was originally published here]

Blog king Robert Scoble recently posted a mildly critical opinion of Live Maps in comparison to Google Maps. That isn’t what got my attention though and isn’t why I’m posting this. The discussion in the comments section got round to brand value on the internet and Robert stated:

"Brand doesn’t mean shit anymore. It’s who has the best service. Period."

I don’t want that to be taken out of context so I must point out that Robert was specifically talking about the value of Microsoft’s Windows brand as services and software moves to the internet. 

To be fair, he later retracted it:

"my point about branding was stupid and I retract it. Of course brand means a lot."


It got me thinking though. How valuable is a brand on the internet? In recent history Windows has probably been the most well-known brand in our industry and yet Microsoft is losing big-time in the online game. To add fuel to the debate, here is a short synopsis of a conversation I recently had with my fiancé, Helen.

Helen: I know you use all Microsoft’s Live stuff all the time but I’ll stick with Google thanks.

Me: Why?

Helen: Cos I’m using what I know and its a trusted source. I’m not saying all the stuff from Google’s competitors isn’t good but I just don’t feel the need to go and find out.

Helen isn’t a techie-geek like me and I think that puts her in the majority of internet users, hence her opinion here is very valuable. She used the word "trust" in reference to Google and I take that to mean that she trusts the Google brand. That trust is built out of her experiences of Google search and that tallies with the second bit of Robert’s comment "It’s who has the best service".

[By the way, Helen isn’t completely correct when she says I use Live all the time. For searching I definately prefer to use Google, and I’m a very big user of Flickr. I also use Live Maps, Twitter (now and again) Live Search macros, Helen and I’s Live Space, Live Writer… amongst others]


So, how valuable IS a brand on the internet? Well if brand were the be all and end all then Youtube wouldn’t have come from nothing to become the astounding success story that it currently is. Neither would Flickr or MySpace. Or, to a lesser extent, Twitter. They are all big brands now of course, but they all came from nothing.

There are people that blog on this site that know far more about the value of a brand than I do so hopefully they’ll have an opinion around all this. In the meantime, what do you think? What is going to determine who becomes the internet powerhouse(s) in the future? Let me know by leaving a comment.




UPDATE 2007-04-23: I saw this report: http://software.silicon.com/applications/0,39024653,39166829,00.htm this morning stating that Google has been named as the most powerful brand of 2007. Good timing!!



Written by Jamiet

August 14, 2007 at 1:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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