Webometric Thoughts

May 29, 2008

bbc.co.uk: Reviewed

Filed under: BBC,BBC Trust,web — admin @ 6:30 pm

In its extensive review of bbc.co.uk the BBC Trust concludes (amongst other things):

bbc.co.uk is an excellent service that is highly valued by users and makes a strong contribution to delivering the BBC’s public purposes

Definitely the most obvious finding ever. Although the 75 page report does have some other interesting bits and pieces.

Whilst we all follow our Google Analytics, few of us could afford the traffic levels of the BBC:

My own hosting package (with streamline.net) includes un-restricted visitor bandwidth, however the most any of their customers uses is 1313.07GB, a thousandth of the BBC’s traffic. It would be interesting to see how the traffic has increased since December with the iPlayer (it didn’t launch to all until December 25th).

As someone who has enjoyed a limited amount of traffic from the BBC it is interesting to see the number of click-throughs they send:

My own 202 visitors from the BBC (over a number of months) quickly pales in comparison to these figures.

Whilst overall things at the BBC seem to be on the up, I was particularly pleased to notice that there seems a slight downward trend on the Have Your Say section of the site.

It sounds good to let the public publish their opinions, unfortunately most of them are extremely odious.

Unfortunately not everything is positive. The BBC got a bit carried away with their spending so the commercial rivals are having a bit of a whinge. However, the BBC is not competing with ITN or ITV, they’re competing with the world. If we want to have the British perspective promoted to the world, rather than a right-wing US perspective, then we need a strong BBC.

Merging Worlds

Filed under: desktop,web — admin @ 2:15 pm

The have been a number of launches recently that have brought the web and the desktop closer together. Microsoft’s Office Live (which I have been using regularly since its launch) has been joined by Live Mesh (which I was finally allowed to join yesterday); Yahoo are trying to merge the two worlds with their BrowserPlus; whilst yesterday saw the launch of a Google Earth plugin so it can be viewed in a browser.

Whilst having files or programs stuck in one place will soon seem very old fashioned, it did have advantages:
- You generally had a choice about whether to take the office home with you.
- And most importantly you always had an excuse for not doing a piece of work…’it’s finished, just on my other flash drive/laptop/computer’.

May 26, 2008

Microsoft concedes more ground to Google

Filed under: Google,live search,live search academic,live search books — admin @ 11:24 am

Microsoft announced on Friday that they are ending their Live Search Books and their Live Search Academic projects. Whilst you can’t blame them, you can’t help but feel slightly disappointed at the increasing dominance of Google on the web. If Microsoft can’t give Google a run for their money, who can?

The first comment in response to Microsoft’s blog announcement pretty much explains why Live Search Books and Live Search Academic are closing down “…this is first time i hear about book search…”. After the initial buzz around the launch of the services, they quickly dropped into the background with few people using them. It wasn’t just about monetizing the service, it was about getting people to use them. Personally I found them very un-user-friendly, and at one stage I seem to remember having to access Live Search Academic with Firefox as is it wasn’t compatible with the latest version of Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer. Whilst there have been numerous academic papers investigating Google Scholar, I can’t recollect one investigating Live Search Academic. Most people just didn’t like the services.

However, whilst I can’t mourn the passing of the poor Live Search Books and Live Search Academic, I can’t help but worry about the unstoppable Google behemoth. One of the first questions I ask of any new innovative service is: “Can this break Google’s domination?”. Unfortunately, all too often, the answer is no.

May 23, 2008

The Strange Case of the Webometrician’s Fan

Filed under: MIke Thelwall,webometrics — admin @ 9:01 am

It sometimes feels as though there is no piece of information, or opinion, that cannot be found online. If people have something in a digital format it seems natural for a large proportion of the population to publish it on the web, with little thought as to whether they would really want people looking at it for years to come.

Today my attention was drawn by the head of my research group, who had been engaging in some google-self-abuse (although he claims he was looking to see if his latest paper had been published yet), to one particular term paper: ‘“Webometrics”: Through the eyes of Mike Thelwall’. After working with Mike for four years I can assure readers that his appalling t-shirts are testiment to the fact he is not head of the ‘Sense of Humor Diagnosis Service’.

May 20, 2008

Is hot traffic ever rich traffic?

Filed under: Google Adsense,web traffic — admin @ 7:07 am

Quick Online Tips have posted about the effect on their traffic due to being mentioned on the BBC’s Click. One of the points that they noticed was that the extra visitors didn’t click on the Google Ads, something I have found whenever I have had an increase in traffic.

Whilst my Webometric Thoughts aren’t in the same traffic-ball-park as Quick Online Tips (since I started keeping statistics on Oct 9th I have had 8,609 absolute unique visitors, less than QOT has in the average day), there have nonetheless been a few occasions when I have seen an unexpected rise in traffic: mentions on the BBC’s internet blog,a recent rise due to my Wii Fit posts, and a comment I posted on Engadget (surprisingly producing my personal high of 176 absolute unique visitors in a day). But the rise rarely corresponds to a rise in ad-clicks.

As I am only discussing a low number of visitors in it hard to draw firm conclusions about the relationship between the number of visits and ad-clcks, although I think it probably goes something like this: Although a small proportion of all visitors will click on an ad, the proportion will be slightly higher for more regular visitors due to factors such as trust, and wanting a site to do well.

I would be interested to know if anyone has ever had a rise in traffic from one source that was particularly rich. Not necessarily a lot of clicks, just a high percentage.

May 19, 2008

Wii Fit Diary – End of Week 3

Filed under: diary,wii fit — admin @ 6:43 pm

Last Friday saw me ending my 3rd week on the Wii Fit. Unfortunately the week saw my BMI rise for the second week in a row, despite accumulating 6hrs 43mins in comparison to the previous week’s 4hrs 50mins.

It doesn’t look good for this week either, having already failed to workout either Saturday or Sunday. Defiantly time to put in some extra effort, and not just on the fun little balance games.

Will Twitter Go Mainstream?

Filed under: Twitter,micro-blogging — admin @ 4:50 pm

With the arrival of my ancient PhD supervisor on Twitter, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on how mainstream Twitter could become. Whilst the amount of Twitter discussion on the blogosphere and the number of sites that are based on Twitter would seem to indicate a burgeoning community, my experience is that it hasn’t moved beyond the web 2.0 geeks (which is also the conclusion of Compete.com too). Personally I am still failing to see a killer Twitter application, maybe that’s because there just isn’t one, or maybe we need to see the twitterings seperated from Twitter.

Twitter has been getting some good publicity recently as a news source, primarily because of the speed with which twitterings were appearing about the China eathquake but as ReadWriteWeb point out, Twitter is in no way a substitution for the traditional media. Earthquakes and other mass-news events are really the only occassions Twitter is likely to focus on one story: Millions of people on the ground feel an earthquake and it unsurprisingly makes a lot of noise, if I twittered about a murder outside my window it would barely make a ripple. For all the good publicity, news will not make Twitter mainstream.

Although I am not a big fan of Twitter, I do see some potential in micro-blogging. Not as a seperate service, but rather as an integrated part of people’s web presence. There are occassions when 140 characters would suffice for the odd musing I may be having, or for a link I wish to comment on, but I don’t necessarily want to use a specific site for this microblogging. It would be nice if I could microblog on my own site, follow other microblogs on my own site, and possibly even converse through microblog posts on my own site. I want to keep my own content. Twitter could provide a place for those without their own web space, as well as a central directory of microblogs. Maybe then microblogging could go mainstream.

nb. Before anyone says ‘they’re called tweets not twitterings’, I personally think that ‘twittering’ better reflects the continuous-droning-pointlessness of so many of the so-called ‘tweets’.

Crazy Finns, but not quite 1984

Filed under: 1984,Finland,Mashable,piracy — admin @ 3:52 pm

Personally I am a fan of all stories that make the Finns look silly; a justifiable penance for the creation of the Moomins. Last week Mashable reported that the Copyright Information and Anti-piracy Centre had disconnected a Finnish government office for downloading music illegally. I love the idea of disconnecting people who illegally share files, although the problem will always be with those who are downloading on someoneelse’s network. Is this story true? It sounds unlikely, and I could only find a reference to it on Mashable, and TorrentFreak (who they reference) on Google News. Nonetheless it provides the opportunity to have a little rant about the constant mentioning of 1984: the book’s cover accompanies this particular Mashable ‘article’, and it is also mentioned on a previous Mashable article the author references.

Reading the blogospere it often seems that the only book anyone has ever read is 1984. Whilst I am a fan of Orwell’s work, I don’t necessarily think that every occasion any level of surveillance is mentioned it is necessary to compare such surveillance with Orwell’s dystopian vision. Surely there is some Godwin’s law equivalent for the invocation of 1984 whenever a government tries to restrict a technophile’s unfettered use of a technology.

Blogging Excuses

Filed under: Bloglines,Newsgator,blogging — admin @ 3:28 pm

I always seem to have some excuse for not blogging at the moment, although since I posted a blog post last Wednesday I have collected a host of excuses:
-Thursday/Friday – My home internet connection was down. This is a bit of a rubbish excuse really as I could still access the web via my mobile and Eee PC. However it is a lot easier to blog on the big screen, especially when you have numerous windows open.
-Saturday/Sunday – So much to do on the allotment, with rows and rows of tomatoes now planted out. If you think I update this blog rarely you should see Plot 13!
-Monday morning – Newsgator seems to have been down. This is the first time I have had a problem with Newsgator since transfering from Bloglines back in January. So, whilst it was annoying for a few hours, it was actually a nice reminder of how good a service Newsgator is in comparison to Bloglines who seemed to have a picture of their ‘plumber’ up every other day.

Anyway, now is the time for catching up, including the results of Week 3 of the Wii Fit Diary.

May 14, 2008

Yahoo!Buzz overtakes Digg

Filed under: Digg,YahooBuzz — admin @ 9:17 am

The ComScore finding that Yahoo!Buzz has overtaken Digg is being widely discussed(e.g., ReadWriteWeb, Mashable). So what does Yahoo!Buzz have that Digg doesn’t?

There are two big differences: The publishers; and the audience. You can’t just Buzz any old page on Yahoo, instead it has to be one of a select group of publishers, which Yahoo is increasing on a rolling basis. Whilst the Yahoo!Buzz audience is also more mainstream, closely resembling the average internet audience, rather than those geek-survivalist-libertarians (“it’s all a conspiracy because it said so in a film I downloaded illegally on the internet”).

Which is better? Well that depends on what you want? Rather than bad news for Digg, this could actually be seen as good news for the Digg community. Yahoo!Buzz provides a place for the mainstream users to go, and stop interrupting the conspiracy theories that are so much more interesting than reality. Whereas the mainstream user no longer needs to put up with the opinions of Digg-pin-ups like Rosie O’Donnell.

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