Major Internet Site Web Traffic

Paul Kedrosky references the Comscore internet traffic data. Its pretty interesting to see some of what’s getting measured and metrixed, and what the fastest growers are (YouTube, Social networkers,).

There are a few things about the Comscore ratings that strike me as rather incongruous; Have a look at Table 4, which shows the Top 50 Properties by Unique Visitors. The usual suspects round out the top 5: Yahoo!, AOL/Time Warner, MSN-Microsoft, Google, eBay.

There are quite a few oddities, some of which I attribute to flaws in the comcast rating system:

Bank of America is number 26, but the much larger Chase and Citigroup are nowhere to be found in the top 50. The NYT is # 9, but the Dow Jones sites are no shows.

What the hell is Gorilla Nation Media, a new media/advertising firm — doing at # 24 — ahead of CBS and Disney (28 and 30). I suspect that somehow, everytime someone clicks on on of theiur served ads, it shops up as a uniwue visitor to them. Oh, and ESPN (36) is not part of the Disney affiliated sites.

NBC, MSNBC, CNBC — all no shows.

As we mentioned back in February in Gaming the Blog Ecosystem, there are huge incentives to do what can bve done to improve your ratings (i.e., cheating).  I suspect its going on with web traffic also.

If companies are willing to engage in fraud with their actual reported earnings, then on the big table of ethically challenged corporate behavior,  tweaking some code to raise your ratings isn’t even a misdeameanor. . . 

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  1. Stuart commented on Jun 16

    I can understand Citi’s low rating … they may be bigger but compared BOA, they have fewer branches and probably fewer small customers that would be accessing the web-banking on a regular basis. Plus, there webhits are probably fragmented between and which handles their credit card clientel.

    With regard to CNBC, is that really to be considered an independent site or is it part of MSN now? Either way, I have never found their site to be particularly useful compared to what else is out there.

  2. econjohn commented on Jun 16

    Couple of possible answers to two of the issues you raise:

    – Bank of America won a Webby award last month for best banking site. Huge amounts of traffic flow just from that. I visited a couple of times and don’t have an account.

    – NYTimes gets blogged about (and hence linked to) like mad, WSJ/Marketwatch/BigCharts/etc. doesn’t.

  3. ~ Nona commented on Jun 16

    I won’t comment on the specific issue, i.e., proper traffic measurement, but I’d like to note that savvy use of the Internet is a matter of growing importance for all kinds political, entertainment, and business success.

    Item: I read that Senator Joseph Liberman is in the fight of his life with an opponent who is using Mr. Liberman’s war positions as club…in the blogosphere. LIkewise, would there have been a Howard Dean candidacy absent canny use of the Internet?

    Item: I note on pg. 156 of Forbes (7/03/06 issue) an article about a comic named Dane Cook who effectively used the Internet to get himself some serious fame, by-passing the usual route of personal appearances, publicity efforts, etc.

    Everyone can come up with his or her examples, so I won’t add more. The point? Old media had its audience measurement challenges: numbers of listeners (radio); viewers (television); readers (magazines, newspapers, etc.)

    These measurements were never perfect before; why expect them to be perfect now? In the end media users/buyers develop a sense of what seems to work for best for their purposes. The same will happen w/ the Internet. Meanwhile, all of us have to get smarter in figuring out how to effectively use the Internet for our respective purposes.

  4. Troy McConnell commented on Jun 19

    Actually, comscore is riddled with inconsistencies because of the methods they use to gather and estimate traffic. We run into it every day. If you care to discuss more, I can email you examples of what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, Internet advertising buyers use them as a benchmark and the press consistently cites them as the experts.

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