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Is this the next big thing?

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Everybody wants to be the person who stumbles across the next big thing. Mark Zuckerberg was they guy that created Facebook in ’04. It was initially a big deal at Ivy League schools exclusively, but in the past 12 months, Facebook has official reached big thing status. Google decided YouTube was such a big thing that they paid over $1.6 billion to acquire the company in ’06. According to TV week, the potential next big thing is Howcast.com, a site devoting to answering “how to” questions via amateur and professional videos.

The “how to” site is divided into 25 searchable categories or you can enter a keyword to find results on your own. This week’s top viewed videos include How to Fake Being Sick, How to Debone a Chicken and How to Dance Without Embarrassing Yourself. The site is supported by advertising, although it’s starting off just as simple as Facebook’s advertising options used to be. Targeted sponsorships are available, but as the site takes off look for the options to become more vast and costly. For example, jetBlue is the sponsor of every video in the Travel section.

If you’re wondering if this “how to” thing is really legit, consider this. 2.6% of all search engine queries are of “how to” nature. That does not sound like a big number, but how many times do you visit Google in a day? Exactly, it’s huge. People are becoming much more educated on how to search for their desired results, thus creating much more specific queries. Two recent additions to YouTube, How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube, have received more than 1.8 million combined views.

In addition to HowCast, WonderHowTo.com and MonkeySee.com have recently launched, all with the same “how to” concept. WonderHowTo went live on January 4, 2008 and attracted more than 50,000 unique visitors in the month of January. Not bad out of the gate, right?

So keep an eye out for HowCast.com and the other how to sites.. When one of these becomes the next big thing, remember where you heard about it first!

And just for fun, here are the top 10 “how to” related internet searches for the four-week period ending 1/26/08.

  1. How to tie a tie
  2. How to…
  3. How to have sex
  4. How to get pregnant
  5. How to write a resume
  6. How to win the lottery
  7. How to kiss
  8. How to lose weight fast
  9. How to lose weight
  10. How to solve a Rubik’s Cube

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