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ACS-STAF  January 1998

ACS-STAF January 1998

Subject:

Lies, Damn Lies and Web Statistics: How to Spot the Real Web Winners

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Tue, 13 Jan 1998 16:36:10 -0500

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This message was forwarded to you from ZDNet AnchorDesk
located at http://www.anchordesk.com If you would like to
receive further high-tech news alerts, simply forward
this message to [log in to unmask] and you will
automatically receive a free sample.

Comment from sender:

How to Spot the Real Web Winners
URL: http://www.anchordesk/story/story_1644.html
Berst Alert
Jesse Berst, Editorial Director<BR><I>ZDNet AnchorDesk</I>
Tuesday, January 13, 1998

Back in the 1800s, English politician Benjamin Disraeli
first uttered the adage, "There are lies, damn lies, and
statistics." Better make that "Web statistics."

Internet research firm RelevantKnowledge has issued its
newest top Web site report, for December 1997. Click for
full story.
In it, it declares search site Yahoo! the winner -- based
upon the number of unique visitors who stopped by. RelevantKnowledge
is one of a number of services that collect data on Web
traffic data. And attempt to rank sites accordingly. But
they don't all measure the same way. Which explains why
you'll find Yahoo! in the number two spot on hot100.com
(which measures overall traffic volume). And not listed
at all on www.web100.com (which is a popularity contest).

If you are interested in which sites are doing the best,
you first need to know which ranking services to watch.
Here are several I rely on:

Media Matrix. The oldest, user-based ratings service on
the Web. It has meters installed on the computers of about
10,000 Web surfers. It observes their behavior, then extrapolates
the results.
RelevantKnowledge. Like Media Matrix, Relevant Knowledge
uses software to monitor a panel of Web surfers, in this
case a sample of about 6,000 people. It analyzes the data
to provide audience projections and demographics to its
subscribers.
Nielsen I/PRO. The TV-ratings people teamed up with I/PRO
to track traffic using Web site logs. Useful for determining
how well a particular site is performing (in terms of
popular pages, page views delivered, visitor origins).
However, does not provide a solid comparison of web sites
against each other.
www.100hot.com. Measures gross volume of traffic.
www.web100.com. Users vote for their favorite sites.

With so many services using so many different yard sticks,
it is easy to draw the wrong conclusions. Raw "impressions"
or "page views" provide a starting point to gauge popularity.
But you also need to consider three additional factors:
Unique visitors. Many advertisers want to get exposure
to as many different people as possible.
Pages per view. How many pages a person peruses per visit
indicates the depths of their interest in -- and loyalty
to -- a topic.
Destination or drive-by? Sites that are "destinations"
have more intrinsic value for advertisers because they
consistently deliver interested targets. Pass-through
sites deliver people who are looking for something else
-- as with the search sites -- or people who never changed
the default start page in their browser and click away
immediately. That is why you are seeing such efforts by
Yahoo!, Netscape and others to evolve from "drive-bys"
to destinations. Click for full story.

How much weight do you give Web site rankings? Which do
you trust -- and why? Scroll to the bottom of the page
and send me a TalkBack message. I'll post some of the
best responses beneath this story.

The bottom line is this: Progress is being made. But measuring
Web site performance is more complex than it appears.
When it comes to statistics, raw numbers never tell the
whole story. If you need to measure site effectiveness
for any reason -- to judge your own site, to choose where
to advertise, or just to visit the most popular sites
-- you can't rely on raw numbers alone. Just ask Benjamin
Disraeli.



READ MORE:
 Yahoo! Still Number One - ZDNN
  http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/content/reut/0112/270155.html
 RelevantKnowledge - Internet
  http://www.relevantknowledge.com/rk/Press.html
 Yahoo!, MCI Team Up on Online Service - ZDNN
  http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/content/zdnn/0112/270319.html

TECH TIPS:
 Analyze Your Site's Traffic - ZDNet Products Channel
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/sitemanager/analysis.html

LEARN HOW:
 Web SearchUser: The Ultimate Search Resource - ZDNet Products Channel
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/searchuser.html

COMPANIES:
 Yahoo!
  http://www.anchordesk.com/company/company_2272.html

TOPICS:
 Internet
  http://www.anchordesk.com/topics/topics_18.html

TALKBACK:
 Nick Galea
  Why not list Alexa?
   http://www.anchordesk.com/talkback/talkback_66071.html
 Donald A. Bandy
  Tough to determine true numbers
   http://www.anchordesk.com/talkback/talkback_66075.html
 Horace 'Kicker' Vallas
  Time and path useful too
   http://www.anchordesk.com/talkback/talkback_66076.html
 Chris Stinson
  Price of free info just went up
   http://www.anchordesk.com/talkback/talkback_66080.html
 Jon Winters
  Try Web Side Story
   http://www.anchordesk.com/talkback/talkback_66101.html
 Sandor Padilla
  Death by extrapolation
   http://www.anchordesk.com/talkback/talkback_66104.html

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