Webometric Thoughts

October 3, 2008

It’s Porn Friday!!!

Filed under: Click,Hitwise,webometrics — admin @ 9:21 am

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 :-)

June 11, 2008

Blogging is far from dead

Filed under: Hitwise,blogosphere — admin @ 7:55 am

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.

January 16, 2008

Is content king of social networks?

Filed under: Hitwise,content,facebook,imeem,social web — admin @ 6:33 pm

I have just finished Hitwise’s “The Impact of Social Networking in the UK“, and as I thought it is well worth a read (although it didn’t actually appear in my inbox until lunchtime today).

Whilst I would agree with most of the report’s predictions for 2008, especially the growth in the role of social networks for marketing and the increase in specialist social networks, the report didn’t particularly address the issue of content. By which I mean the quality content of the music, film and television studios, rather than the strange things that pass for humour amongst the user-generating masses. The general social network that successfully ties up the rights for their users to share music and video seems likely to take the spoils, and a successful new entrant could quickly usurp the market leaders.

The music rights secured by Imeem are likely to have been a major contributory factor in the social network’s massive growth over the last year, and that these rights are only for the US helps explains the network’s missing from the top 25 UK social networks. Whilst the growth seems to have slowed of late (at least according to alexa and google trends), music rights are not likely to be as enticing as video rights. People want to listen to music on numerous different platforms, whereas television programmes are usually only watched the once.

Whilst I have tired of Facebook, I could be persuaded to return on a more regular basis if I got to do the social stuff whilst watching quality TV programmes.

January 15, 2008

The Impact of Social Networking in the UK

Filed under: Hitwise — admin @ 5:29 pm

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?

October 9, 2007

Is Manchester the second city or just a big footballing city?

Filed under: Google Trends,Hitwise,football — admin @ 11:59 am

Hitwise has access to loads of data that I would love to get my hands on, the sort of data that would keep me busy for the rest of my academic life. It is therefore probably pure jealousy that makes me complain about some of the ways it utilises its data. Its latest post addresses the question: Which is the UK’s second city? As well as showing the traffic to the cities’ respective tourist information sites, it also shows that Manchester is searched for more often than Birmingham.

Unfortunately it fails to mention one particularly word. Football. Manchester United are the current premiership champions, whilst Manchester City ride high in the table under the previous England manager Sven Goran Eriksson. In comparison Birmingham City bob between the premiership and the championship and Aston Villa doesn’t even have Birmingham in their title!

Does football make much of a difference? Well Google trends would seem to suggest that it can. Liverpool can be seen to have shot past Manchester on the back of its footballing glories (and failures), whilst Arsenal have have captured as many hits as Manchester on occassion without the additional ‘city’ searches.

I appreciate that the purpose of these articles is to show the sort of data Hitwise can provide your company with, but these sort of analyses are just a bit annoying…but as I say, its probably just jealousy.

September 28, 2007

Christmas search term analysis

Filed under: Google Trends,Hitwise,N95,iphone,webometrics — admin @ 9:36 am

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.

Hitwise analysed:

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.

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