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[liberationtech] Anchor Free

Hal Roberts hroberts at
Tue Feb 8 19:35:40 PST 2011

I don't think those are believable numbers.  On the face of it, it's 
really hard to believe.  Egypt only has about 17 million Internet users 
total.  I think hotspotshield has on the order of 1 million users 
worldwide.  AnchorFree has a habit of publishing very large usage 
numbers.  I suspect what they mean is that they had 1 million individual 
connections to their service over the last couple of weeks, which is 
obviously not at all the same as 1 million unique users, which is what 
most people would take away from their claim below.

Here's a quick check to see whether there has been a massive upswelling 
of interest in hotspotshield in egypt:

This compares search freq for 'youtube' (the 6th most popular search 
term in egypt) v. 'hotspotshield' for the last 30 days.  You can see a 
blip of increased interest in hss before the blackout, but 'youtube' is 
79x more popular than 'hotspotshield' right through today.  It's very 
unlikely that 5% of the internet population quickly jumped onto the tool 
without more interest than that.


On 2/8/11 9:14 PM, Yosem Companys wrote:
> Have you guys seen this?
> YC
> *SOURCE: AnchorFree*
> <>
> Feb 08, 2011 11:00 ET
>   Popular Privacy and Anti-Censorship Tool Sees Surge in Traffic as
>   Egyptians Struggle to Stay Connected Online
>     One Million Egyptians Access Censored Content With AnchorFree's
>     Hotspot Shield, More Than 10 Times the Pre-Revolt Number
> MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - February 8, 2011) - In response to
> their government's decision to curtail Internet communications,
> Egyptians turned to technology that enables freedom to access censored
> information. Masses of users in Egypt used technology solutions to
> access blocked sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google. The tools
> have become one of the key technologies Egyptians have relied on to stay
> connected, communicate with each other, coordinate protests and deliver
> their messages to the world.
> AnchorFree, providers of the world's most popular free privacy tool
> Hotspot Shield, witnessed a dramatic uptick in usage in the Middle East
> as soon as the Egyptian government began blocking sites. Traffic surged
> to ten times the average amount in Egypt, from 100,000 to one million
> users, as Egyptians worked to rally together and share with the world
> what was happening in their country.
> Over the past couple of years, Hotspot Shield has proven to be a
> reliable way for people in countries like China and Tunisia to overcome
> government censorship and maintain their privacy and anonymity while
> using the Internet.
> "We created Hotspot Shield as a privacy tool to keep people secure from
> hackers online and maintain their anonymity. It was never our intention
> to have it serve as an anti-censorship tool, but in times like these, it
> gives us great pride to know that people can use it to maintain free
> speech," said the CEO of AnchorFree, David Gorodyansky. "Our spike in
> traffic shows that one million Egyptians were able to access censored
> content with the help of Hotspot Shield, despite government intervention."
> Traffic subsequently plummeted once the government shut down the
> country's ISPs on January 27, initiating a five-day Internet blackout.
> Despite this additional hurdle to free speech, citizens still managed to
> access blocked Internet content by using dial-up services and turning on
> Hotspot Shield.
> Hotspot Shield works by establishing a secure tunnel between a user's
> computer and Internet connection, encrypting each user's entire Web
> sessions to keep users protected. When users connect to Hotspot Shield
> it encrypts every page they visit and makes them private online. In the
> United States and Europe people use Hotspot Shield to secure their
> browsing while at home and on Wi-Fi networks. In regions with
> censorship, Hotspot Shield is used to enable complete freedom and
> privacy online. Watch this video
> <> to
> learn more about how Hotspot Shield works.
> To download Hotspot Shield, visit:
> <>.
> The program is free and will install automatically. Anyone having
> problems accessing the site
> <> can
> email win at <mailto:win at> or mac at
> <mailto:mac at> to get a free version of the tool sent to them
> directly. Hotspot Shield is available on all Windows operating systems,
> as well as Mac OS X (10.6 Snow Leopard), Mac OS X (10.5 Leopard) and Mac
> OS X (10.4 Tiger).
> *About AnchorFree
> *AnchorFree enables millions of users globally to surf the Web freely
> and securely through Hotspot Shield, the world's first and most popular
> ad-supported virtual private network. More than 8.5 million monthly
> users in 100 countries rely on Hotspot Shield to secure their Web
> browsing experience, proliferating freedom of information online and
> democratizing the Web. It is the only free way to ensure privacy and
> total anonymity online on desktop computers, laptops and iPhones.
> Hotspot Shield is powered by AnchorFree's proprietary communication
> platform that enables marketers to distribute ad campaigns, messaging
> and content to millions of users, totaling over two billion page views
> every month. AnchorFree is a privately held venture backed Company and
> is based in Mountain View, California. For more information or to
> download Hotspot Shield, please visit
> <>.
> The UK version of the tool, Expat Shield is available at
> <>.
> Media Contacts
> LaunchSquad (for AnchorFree)
> 415.625.8555
> anchorfree(at)launchsquad(dot)com
> Back <>
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