We caught up with Bill Gross earlier this month to see how his interesting new search engine is coming along. Gross unveiled Snap at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco in early October and vowed to do something we’d not seen at another company: share the daily financial details of his company with its users.
Sure enough, looking at Snap’s stats page today, we see that:
– They’ve served 2.6 million searches since they first launched.
– They made $55.88 yesterday.
– They have 1,235 advertisers.
– And they had 624 clicks on ads yesterday that generated revenue.
Digging deeper, we find that the most searches in one day was 59,723. In early November, the number of advertisers shot up from single-digits to the 1,235 that Snap has today. Last month, Snap made $1,176.40 in gross revenues. So far, this month it’s made $1,558.56.
Now that the business is up and running, we asked Gross if he’d changed his mind about this level of transparency.
Not in the least.
“Now whenever I want to find out how we’re doing, I just go to the home page,” Gross said from his Southern California office at Idealab.
Although Snap’s revenues and search counts are but a sliver of its competitors, Gross is thrilled with the speed with which the Web site has grown.
“We never thought we’d see a million searches this fast,” he said. “But now that we have, advertisers are starting to see that there’s a market.” (Snap crossed the 2 million search mark shortly after we chatted with him.)
Gross said that once the site opens up its self-serve advertising service — similar to what Overture and Google offer — the number of advertisers will shoot up.
“As soon as that goes up, we’ll have thousands. We have a lot of pent-up demand.”
We asked Gross if it really made sense for companies to be so forthright about their financial situation, particularly if they are new and off to a slow start. Won’t investors and potential business partners, sensing a dud, shy away when they see the numbers. It doesn’t give new companies much time to build momentum.
Consider, too, how the stock market would react to a company’s daily business diary. On the one hand, investors would get to see the daily life-cycle of a company. But how would investors react to daily or weekly blips in traffic or revenues? (Witness the dip and then spike in searches and revenues that Snap experienced around November 20 as an example.)
“That’s a good point. I would countercontend that we make the marketplace more interesting to advertisers. I’m predicting this is the wave. You can’t write that story for a year, but I’m predicting this is the way to go.”
“It’s kind of scary to put that data out there,’ he added. “But it’s liberating at the same time. I think it’s good in the long-term. I think it will be a trend. In every aspect, it’s better to be open.”