It’s not that today has been designated the official porn day of the year, merely that Friday is the day when adult web sites get most of their traffic. That’s just one of the facts scattered throughout Bill Tancer’s Click: What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why It Matters, albeit the most memorable:
Whilst very much a popular book, rather than an academic book, it’s a worthwhile read from a webometric perspective. If nothing else you can curse the limited amount of data we have access to in comparison to our commercial counterparts: Whereas we have to count links, they get to follow click-streams; following the mood and reactions of people around the world.
Whilst there is obviously big money to made with the Hitwise data, as well as with the data of their competitors, maybe they would find the data even easier to sell if it had been shown to stand up to the rigour of the academic community and the peer review process. My door is always open
When I started ‘Webometric Thoughts’, almost ten months ago, there was a lot of talk about the death of the blogosphere in favour of the newer (and shinier) social networks and microblogging. Hitwise figures, however, show that far from dead traffic to blogs and personal websites is at an all time high (in the UK at least): Blogs and personal websites account for 1.19% of all UK traffic.
The new high is particularly impressive as it shows traffic to blogs and personal web sites rebounding from a dramatic fall during the first three quarters of 2007, from just over 0.8% of the traffic in January down to just over 0.4% of the traffic in August. It was August that I started to blog, and the blogosphere was unsurprisingly discussing its own demise.
Whilst the blogosphere has weathered the storm of social networks, and is in a stronger position to weather the possible coming storm of microblogging (if Twitter ever gets its act together), the statistics give no insights into why there has been an increase. Have blogs and personal web sites responded to falling traffic by improving the quality of their sites? Is it a greater emphasis on blogs by the big players (e.g., Windows Live Spaces & MySpace Blog)? Or is it all the result of small changes in the Google algorithm promoting the heavily interlinked blogs?
Whatever the reason, blogs and web sites will need to improve if the recent traffic increases are to continue, probably including aspects of social networks and microblogging, as well as technologies not yet thought of. Hopefully, however, blogs will continue to be primarily independent affairs that are not too reliant on the whims of the big organisations.
Hitwise have just released a white paper on:
The impact of social networking in the UK
Whilst I am still awaiting the actual white paper to appear in my inbox, it is probably worth having a look at (with a seemingly painless sign-up process).
Am I the only one surprised at the continued interest in Facebook?
Hitwise have just published a list of the top hot christmas gadgets based on search term analysis, which provides “great insight into people’s habits and desires”. However when the iPhone fails to make the top 10 mobile phones you have to question the methodology.
the top 2,000 search terms that sent traffic to a Hitwise Custom Category consisting of the top 100 online retail websites in the UK during the four weeks ending 22nd September 2007.
Rather than listing the gadgets that people are after, it may be that the list shows those gadgets that: people are after AND online retail websites dominate the search results.
Hitwise’s excuse that: “The new iPod Touch and the UK release of the iPhone were announced too late to have a significant impact on the retail search data”, doesn’t seem to hold much water, as we can see from Google Trends that searches for the iPhone in the UK are up with the N95, whilst the Nokia 5300 doesn’t even register.
There is a lot of interesting data held in the logs of web servers, but it is important that we don’t get carried away with how much we read into them.