Archive for the ‘Traffic issues’ Category

RedBeacon: Tough Slogging Ahead

September 15, 2009

In a quick Twitter post I described RedBeacon as ServiceMagic meets LocalPrice meets Bookfresh or Booking Angel:

Picture 81

And you could substitute other company names for the ones above; there’s nothing truly novel here as far as I can tell. Admittedly I haven’t spoken to anyone at the company but the challenges of executing on this type of model — though it works in theory for both advertisers and consumers — are considerable and fairly well documented:

  • Must build consumer awareness and traffic
  • Sell to SMBs

When you’re bootstrapping both sides of the local equation it’s extremely difficult.

Shouldn’t Most ‘Product Search’ Count as Local?

March 31, 2009

On Wednesday morning I’m moderating a panel at the Web 2.0 event in San Francisco: “Local is the New Global.” It features the CEOs of Zvents, TheFind, NearbyNow and Krillion. Interestingly three out of four of these companies are product-related and have nothing to do with services — the area everyone tends to focus on in discussing “local search.”

Along those lines, there are many studies in the market that show the majority of consumers are doing online product research but mostly buying products offline. One of the earliest of these studies to document the online-offline phenomenon for products was from comScore and Yahoo! in 2004. They found that 92% of Internet/search influenced consumer electronics purchases happen offline in local stores. Here’s the slide from 2004 (the data were collected in Q1 ’04):

picture-181

But let’s not focus on or debate the precise accuracy of this 92% figure.

There have been plenty of other such studies since 2004 from BIG Research, Yahoo!, Nielsen and others with varying percentages who research online but ultimately buy offline. This “ROBO” number ranges from 70% to the low 90% range depending on the study and product category being examined. The point is that the large majority of Internet users conducting product research then buy offline in local stores.

picture-171

Source: Compete Inc., 2008 (n=1,257 US adults; context was mobile phone purchase)

Over the past couple years comScore has maintained, using a conservative methodology, that the percentage of search that is “local” is around 12%-13%. Product search is largely ignored in this calculation unless someone explicitly looks for a product with a geo-modifier attached (e.g., laptops, Jersey City).

But if at least 70% of Internet users doing product research are consistently buying offline/locally shouldn’t we consider at least 70% of the product search pie to be local? Perhaps these folks are open to buying online when they begin their research and so their “local intent” may not be completely conscious or “top of mind.” But the numbers are consistent across the studies. And e-commerce isn’t going to change anything in the foreseeable future; its growth curve has flattened.

Making the connection between search query and the store or POS (the “last mile of search”), as do companies like TheFind, NearbyNow and Krillion (among others like ShopLocal), only plays into the local side of the equation. Indeed, the failure to connect those dots represents a huge lost opportunity for marketers across the product spectrum. Retailers, for example, should be buying product keywords for all products they sell in stores and using geotargeting in search and on the ad networks to capture that shopper who’s ultimately going to buy offline. But, alas, few companies are doing that — let alone doing it well.

Back to the data. Just think how radical it is to say — and it’s true as a practical matter — that at least 70% of all product-related searches are local. It turns the whole e-commerce/local equation on its head.

Anyone want to disagree?

MerchantCircle Traffic Growth

January 25, 2009

Last week comScore put out its global Internet data: more than a billion users globally, China now number 1, etc. An interesting bit there, which many have already remarked about, is the fact that Facebook now has considerably more traffic globally than MySpace. The latter still leads domestically but it would appear that Facebook is pulling away on a global scale.

picture-24

Last week was the December US Top 50 data — 12 of which are explicitly local (not counting search engines):

picture-34

But what struck me was the appearance of MerchantCircle on the list of “top gaining” sites:

picture-49

MerchantCircle isn’t a consumer destination so what’s going on here? It’s got to be mostly SEO traffic from search engines in local search results. That’s my guess — other theories?

Craigslist, eBay Top Paid, Organic Search

September 17, 2008

Speaking of eBay, it was at or near the top of Hitwise’s highest volume search terms in August:

Also note MapQuest on the paid side and Craigslist on the organic side. Very interesting.

What do you think is the explanation behind the high ranking of eBay and Craigslist among organic search queries?

Local.com Announces Traffic

June 4, 2008

The company said it had 6 million monthly uniques for the Local.com destination and 16 million monthly uniques for its extended partner/ad network.

Here’s the most recent comScore IYP data made public:
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The firm used to include Local.com in the IYP mix but no longer does:

comscore data june 2007

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Correction: I got the traffic data above confused; here’s Local.com’s traffic clarification:

Total uniques for both the site and network was 16 million for May. Total organic traffic exceeded 6 million uniques in May.

Google Q1 Results Challenge comScore

April 18, 2008

Publishers and site owners have long complained that third-party traffic measurement services such as Nielsen and comScore under-count their traffic and unique users. For example, Yelp sent me an email in late Feb saying that internally it shows more than 8 million monthly uniques, which was more than some of the third party services reported. See this early March comparison of Yelp, Citysearch and Local.com (per Compete):

compete march

I just a moment ago looked on Compete and, based on the earlier email, these numbers would now appear to correspond to the internal counting and trajectory of the Yelp numbers (not sure re Citysearch and Local.com).

compete data

According to the Wall Street Journal, comScore is taking some heat (and from investors) over apparent discrepancies between its metrics regarding declining paid clicks on Google and Google’s strong Q1 results. comScore itself tried to clarify there wasn’t necessarily a direct link between its data and Google’s performance. But Wall Street analysts, with some justification, continued to obsess on the paid click data.

(Google said in the earnings release, however, that paid clicks grew “approximately 4% over the fourth quarter of 2007.”)

I never directly reviewed the recent, controversial comScore reports themselves but have read the data in third party discussions. For its part comScore appears to have been incorrect on the raw numbers and was perhaps mistaken to not put enough caveats around its data. However, financial analysts were insufficiently sophisticated about the metrics and user behavior to be more “restrained” and “sober” about it in their corresponding “notes.”

There’s also a herd mentality that exists in such situations; and there’s some segment of the population that would have liked to see Google stumble and be proven an “ordinary company” not immune from the pressures facing others. That created a certain receptiveness to the declining clicks information.

However, I’ve always felt that the focus on paid clicks was misplaced as an indicator of whether Google was suffering from the larger problems of the economy. The better metrics would have been query volume and market share (comScore discusses this to some degree in the “clarify” link above). Paid clicks is a function of ad coverage and search volume. If search volumes had declined (which they haven’t) or Google had been losing market share (which it hasn’t) then these concerns would have been more justified.

Because there’s no “cost” to consumers to click on ads, clicks are not necessarily going to suffer in a recession. What will likely suffer are certain kinds of commercial queries. For example, if I put off buying the new car then I might not be doing as many searches for cars. That in turn will translate into fewer paid clicks. However, in the aggregate, query volumes were not going down (as comScore said):

The most puzzling data element is that Google’s U.S. paid clicks dropped sequentially by 7%, while, at the same time, its total number of search queries grew by 9%. At the same time, Google’s market share of all search queries grew slightly from December, and its annual query growth remains very strong. All indicators point to the company continuing to do very well as far as consumer usage and competitive position.

Some questions are approrpiate to raise about whether comScore’s methodology needs some fixing. Yet there should be no schadenfreude. Third party measurement is critical to industry credibility. Simultaneously, everybody has to take all the numbers, whatever their source, with some perspective and see them not as literal truth but rather as directional indicators.

Facebook’s Growth and Demographic Shifts

July 6, 2007

Facebook Platform was simply a genius move by the social network, which had seen growth since opening up to general registration. But since Platform was announced, I and many of the people I know have seen scores of invitations to connect. LinkedIn was apparently feeling the pressure and so announced a couple of weeks ago that it would be allowing third-party developers to build applications for the site — as has MySpace.

From comScore, here’s the changed demographic makeup of the site:

Facebook demographics

I’m in the last category. :)

Look how the traffic has grown massively in a year — from 14 to 26 million users, with most of the growth in older and younger (than college-aged) groups. This huge user base has already made the difference for some applications utilizing the Facebook Platform for exposure and distribution.

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Related: A survey from Parks & Assoc. argues that users have little loyalty to particular social networks. I haven’t seen the report so can’t dispute the conclusion. Certainly Friendster wouldn’t dispute it. :)

I didn’t scrutinize the comScore data, but took it at face value (so to speak). I got an email pointing me to this post, which is highly critical of the numbers presented and say they are simply wrong. Specifially the idea that there were 5+ million 35+ year-old users a year ago is implausible says the author.

Metrics Malaise Comes to a Head

April 23, 2007

MediaPost (reg req’d) reports this morning that traffic metrics are the center of a dispute between the IAB and comScore and Nielsen:

The Interactive Advertising Bureau late last week issued an open letter to comScore and Nielsen//NetRatings requesting they submit to a third-party audit of their measurement processes.

Although the IAB has spent years pushing the two major Web audience measurement services, an audit by the independent Media Rating Council is more likely now because there’s a sense of urgency and greater industry support, said Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of IAB since January. The issue of bad metrics, he said, was the resounding issue that IAB members named when he assumed the job.

“The IAB and the MRC have been asking for this since 1999 and they haven’t even established a timetable,” said Rothenberg, alluding to the measurement firms. “Tensions are running high as the Internet becomes the center of all marketing.”

Publishers in particular have long been dissatisfied with the way their traffic is reported. For more mature sites, traffic metrics can translate directly into ad rates and, for younger sites, funding and M&A opportunities. And for public companies metrics can impact stock prices. Recall the controversy and verbal combat over whether MySpace had passed Yahoo as the Internet’s biggest site.

There’s obviously a great deal at stake in this debate. We’ll see what happens and whether a uniform system that has “buy-in” from major publishers and marketers emerges from the discussion.

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Related: Here’s the IAB letter. PaidContent summarizes the responses of the two companies with links to their press releases.

Off Topic: MySpace Blocking Photobucket

April 11, 2007

MySpace is not a “Web 2.0″ company. Perhaps it is in terms of its age, but not in terms of its ethos. Here’s the controversy (blocking third party content). Here’s related coverage from NY Times’ Brad Stone, TechCrunch and GigaOM.

Here’s the now infamous quote from News Corp. COO Peter Chernin:

“If you look at virtually any Web 2.0 application, whether its YouTube, whether it’s Flickr, whether it’s Photobucket or any of the next-generation Web applications, almost all of them are really driven off the back of MySpace.”

This is a decidedly “Web 1.0″ attitude (which is still pervasive): We want to own all the traffic, advertising revenue and the end user. MySpace is flexing its muscles — because it can — and trying to enforce a traditional media ethos on its Internet community.

In the end, it won’t work and if Fox frustrates users with too restrictive policies its core users will go to Facebook (most are already there too) or elsewhere.

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Here’s my earlier, related post: Sharks, Lampreys and Widgets.

Sharks, Lampreys and Widgets

March 20, 2007

Brad Stone of the NY Times writes about MySpace’s widget restrictions. Lots of people want access to the traffic, but MySpace is seeking to control who or what makes money on its site. TechCrunch has written in the past about MySpace and its widget-blocking, which is not total but widespread. (The company owns SpringWidgets.)

The larger issue, which is more interesting to me, is that on the Internet there are some big sharks and then there are lots of lampreys. I don’t mean to imply too much about the lampreys other than that they have to rely on the sharks for food. The sharks of course are the big sites and destinations where consumers routinely go. The lampreys generally are everybody else who needs and wants traffic and is having trouble getting attention and so must turn to these syndication strategies.

The rise of the “widget economy” is partly a function of that reality. Another way to look at this is as the tension between “Web 1.0″ and “Web 2.0.”

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Related: Yesterday’s post, “The Portalization of MySpace,” discusses eMarketer data reflecting that the “portals” are grabbing the bulk of ad dollars online.

Also: An entirely widget-based telephony tool, Jaxtr comes out of private beta (via Mashable).

Alexa Slammed

March 5, 2007

Alexa.com

It’s not like people don’t know the data are flawed, but Search Engine Watch’s Kevin Newcomb posts on an analysis done by Google’s research director Peter Norvig that seeks to undermine any claim to accuracy.

Compete Tracks Google Traffic

February 21, 2007

As Hitwise has done before it, Compete posted about the distribution of traffic (and traffic growth) across Google domains:

Video, Blog search, Google Scholar and Google Desktop showed the most growth (from positions of relatively recent introduction or obscurity generally). So-called “under-performers” (traffic declines) included Froogle (taken off the homepage in favor of Video), Catalogs (never promoted) and “Local.”

The Compete blog headline “Local Dying” misleads somewhat because Google renamed Local “Maps” last year. Essentially there is no more “Google Local;” local.google.com yields the same site as Google Maps. And, according to Compete, Google Maps makes the strongest showing in its middle category, so-called “performers”:

Part of that is tied to increased local search volumes on Google itself and no doubt the heighted “OneBox” presence of Maps on the Google homepage, see, e.g.:

Hotels on Google

Monday Roundup

January 22, 2007

Over the weekend, the WSJ (sub req’d) speculated that Google would soon be acquiring Adscape Media, which inserts ads into video games. Microsoft bought Massive, which does the same thing, last year. This of course makes sense for Google as it seeks to expand its reach. According to the Entertainment Software Assn., about 60% of the US population plays video games. It skews about 60% male (not as high as one might think perhaps) and a the average age of game players is 33 (I’ve seen conflicting data on this point). The point here is that gaming is a multi-billion dollar market with lots of users.

The NY Times over the weekend ran a piece about using ads in mobile to subsidize mobile Internet access or higher cost services like video. In other words, people will be asked to accept ads (opt-in) in exchange for lower monthly wireless bills. While this looks good “on paper,” I’m doubtful that this will be a mainstream phenomenon unless it is very carefully executed. From the article:

“I would not want them on the phone even if that would help cut costs,” said Conor Kelly, 20, a student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.

MarketWatch ran an interesting piece on the traffic controversy and an audit of Nielsen and comScore methodology going on now. This is a chronic problem in the industry and affects things like ad rates and stock prices.

Here’s a GigaOM post on telcos rallying around to promote Net non-Neutrality to defend against Google et al. AT&T was forced to make certain neutrality concessions prior to gaining approval of its BellSouth takeover. I believe, however, this is ultimately a self-defeating move by the telcos and they should just compete more effectively (if they can) rather than pursuing government protection of their franchises. (Yahoo!’s in an interesting position here given its relationship with AT&T.)

IBM said it will build social networking features into its Lotus software with the enterprise in mind. And the NY Times featured a wide-ranging article on social networks and how “big media” have fully embraced the phenomenon. Now that “everybody’s doing it,” publishers will find that not everybody will participate and it can’t be done in a perfunctory way. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come.

In a related article, here’s CNet’s Stefanie Olsen on children and their expectation of and control over on-demand media.

Steve Case’s vertical portal RevolutionHealth launches today. This is a hot and increasingly competitive segment with an anticipated Google Health on the way. Here’s the WSJ story. The business model is low-end free with premium (consumer pays) services. Whether this strategy is viable depends on how good the content and site are vs. free competitors such as Healthline and WebMD.

Travel site Farecast launches “airfare insurance” program Fare Guard. This product, critical to the site, offers to pay the difference between what you may have paid on Farecast and a lower fare that may occur after your purchase. In my view this will NOT help the site gain traction because it requires too much of consumers. Farecast is ultimately a feature of a larger travel site and not a site unto itself.

Search: It’s Traffic Time

January 16, 2007

Here’s Compete’s relative ranking of the top search engines for December 2006:

And here’s comScore’s December 2006 US market share data (6.7 billion total searches):

comscore

The two sites disagree on Yahoo! and AOL directionally. For Yahoo! comScore shows a gain; Compete shows a loss of share. Regarding AOL, Compete shows a bit of a recovery while comScore shows further erosion.

To throw in a bit of local search perspective: the local products of the majors are capturing about 1% of the traffic of general search. comScore says local search is 13% of all search but it’s a much bigger number when you consider (per WebVisible-Nielsen research) that as much as 51% of local search queries don’t carry a geographic modifier.

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Related: Danny Sullivan’s extensive discussion of Microsoft’s challenge to build share in search. And a long, traffic trend analysis.

Nielsen: Yahoo! with the Most Views

December 21, 2006

From today’s MediaPost (reg req’d):

Nielsen reports that in 2006 Yahoo! was the page view king with 354.5 billion through the end of November. Notice Craigslist, Viacom (Nickelodeon) and Comcast. Also, if you combine the MSFT properties it moves into fourth position. (Click the chart to expand.)

Nielsen Page View Data

Source: Nielsen-NetRatings

iTunes: He Said, She Said

December 15, 2006

Lots of folks uncritically cite numbers that appear in the marketplace. There are lots of weak forecasts and data out there that aren’t very rigorously developed. And then there are the conflicting traffic numbers that I’ve posted about several times.

In another related and interesting case of “How could they be so far off?” Forrester and comScore came up with widly different iTunes sales estimates. MediaPost (reg req’d) reports:

comScore Networks Thursday reported that sales at Apple’s digital music store year-over-year have grown 84% during the first nine months of this year.

The comScore data comes the same week that Forrester Research ignited a controversy with a report stating that iTunes sales had fallen 65% the first six months of the year.

Apple fired back with a statement denying that sales had slowed, and claiming that iTunes accounts for nearly 6% of all the music sold in the United States, making Apple the fourth-largest music-retailer. Piper Jaffray chimed in with its own research Tuesday, indicating that the number of songs sold per week on iTunes had grown 78% during the first nine months of 2006 compared to the year-earlier period.

Eventually we’ll see the real numbers in this case. But, more generally, these forecasts and estimates have real-world consequences because they shape perceptions of success or momentum and impact the share price of public companies.

Is MySpace Now the the Biggest?

December 13, 2006

There’s no offical comScore release out yet, but several sources are reporting (this is the TechCrunch post) that MySpace has become “the biggest site on the Internet” in terms of total page views (vs reach). Here’s the chart that Michael Arrington posts (per comScore):

Now here’s Compete’s Snapshot, which strongly disputes the chart above in terms of overall traffic (though not page views):

compete

Here’s Google Trends, which shows Yahoo still ahead in terms of traffic, but with MySpace very close:

Trends

And here’s Alexa data, which looks more like the Compete chart above (same when you look at views): Alexa

Murdoch et al. are crowing about this and there will be a lot of public discussion about whether the comScore data are accurate. Indeed, maybe this is an opportunity for “the industry” to really carefully scrunitize the methodology being used to generate these numbers and traffic data online more generally. There are people who are are quite skeptical about MySpace’s claims about its number of users, etc.

The “public data” above (Google Trends, Compete and Alexa) to varying degrees show that Yahoo! still is the “biggest site” on the Internet. But of the three sets, Compete is the most reliable. Nielsen and Hitwise will need to weigh in here. In the past, comScore has been criticized (Nielsen as well) regarding its methodology. (Here’s the company’s public response). I think we do have something of a credibility problem regarding the data in the market, which does need to be addressed in a transparent way.

There’s a lot at stake here. If Wall Street believes comScore, Yahoo!’s share price will likely suffer (although that hasn’t yet happened). What do others think?

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Here’s PaidContent’s related post.

SnapShot: Free Traffic Tool

October 31, 2006

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B2B research firm Compete has launched SnapShot, a free traffic tool that draws on the company’s 2+ million consumer panel.

So you say that sampling is inherently problematic and flawed? I asked the company about that and they provided a range of explanations regarding why their data are better and more representative than other samplers in the marketplace.

Compete has also launched a consumer search engine as well, which is another interesting aspect of what the company is doing.

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Related: From AhmedF, here’s another one: Quantcast.

Monday Morning Miscellany

October 30, 2006

There’s always more to write about than time to write. This week I’m going to ease up on my beloved blogging a bit to concentrate on other things that need to be addressed. So there may be a few days this week without any posting. It will be a test of my resolve.

Anyway, here are some items from this weekend and this morning that caught my eye:

Since Yahoo!’s stock took a hit a couple months ago when CEO Terry Semel announced that Q3 revenues would be at the low end of guidance, there’s been growing speculation about Yahoo!’s future and whether it would merge, acquire or be acquired. Much of this speculation is wild and probably way off the mark. Now it has reached Fortune, with an article outlining a number of potential courses of action for the portal. Last week the Wall Street Journal, in an article about Comcast, speculated whether the cable giant would seek to buy Yahoo!

The NY Times (reg req’d) reports that brands and marketers are demanding independent traffic and click auditing. This goes to click fraud, but also the larger confusion and conflict over whom to believe: traffic measurement firms, publishers, etc.

John Battelle and others posted about YouTube removing copyrighted clips, including from the Daily Show, during the past several days. Here’s the NY Times’ summary overview on the subject. Copyrighted material is partly why YouTube became so popular. Google now needs to do a bunch of quick deals to ensure that material remains on YouTube. If it fails to do those deals and keeps “purging” copyrighted content, YouTube fans will start to lose interest. I dispute the idea that user-generated content is the principal attraction of the site. That’s only partly true: you need both “the head” and “the tail” for success.

This morning, iMedia briefly mentions a new technology embedding product links in user-generated media and specifically video content: product linking or “plinking.”

From CNET, Brightcove is angling to become a video marketplace, both launching new tools for ad insertion into online video and offering syndication/distribution to third party sites. The aim is to become the AdSense of online video. Here’s more from MediaPost on the same story.

Hitwise’s LeeAnn Prescott posted about a spike in Second Life’s traffic and the changing (read: aging) demographics of site visitors. As brands and others seek to capitalize on the popularity of the virtual world, some denizens are upset. Several articles recently appeared to this effect. It will be interesting to see how Second Life’s founders balance the demands of marketers and the interests of “residents.” There’s clearly some tension there.

CNN writes about Apple being awarded a patent for “for a speech-recognition technology” tied to mobile phones. I don’t know how that is, given all the patents already in the space. But speech is the natural mobile interface and the one(s) that get it right, with a combined SMS or other “output,” will have a powerful application that could break out with mobile users.

Here are mspatial’s top ten mobile local search categories in the UK for September: 1) Fast food & takeaways, 2) Drinking, 3) Taxi, 4) Supermarkets, 5) Cinema, 6) Hotels, 7) Bed & Breakfasts, 8. Home & Garden, 9) Electrical & Electronics, 10) Clothing & Fashion

Business intelligence site Hoovers.com seeks to add business/social networking and will, accordingly, be competing with LinkedIn. (See Bob Tedeschi’s NY Times story.) New networking/research site Jigsaw sits somewhere in-between. Here’s more from The Kelsey Group on Jigsaw.

Finally here’s an interesting, very long article on the buying power of women from the Sunday NY Times. This goes to the “Momster” phenomenon and why it’s potentially so powerful.

Video Traffic: Whom Do You Believe?

October 20, 2006

Is something desperately wrong here? comScore released August video metrics and found the following:

  • In August, 6.98 billion video streams were initiated by U.S. Internet users.
  • The average U.S. streamer consumed 63.3 streams during August, or approximately 2 streams per day.
  • Streamers at Fox Interactive showed the highest levels of video consumption per person at 35.5 streams per streamer, followed by Yahoo! Sites (20.6 streams per streamer) and YouTube (19.4 streams per streamer).
  • The U.S streaming audience increased 4 percent from July to reach 110.3 million streamers in August, representing about 64 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience.
  • Yahoo! Sites attracted the most streamers in August with 39.9 million, followed by Fox Interactive (39.5 million) and YouTube (35.5 million).

Using “share of streams,” comScore ranked video sites accordingly:

  1. Fox Interactive (MySpace)
  2. Yahoo! Sites
  3. YouTube
  4. Viacom Digital
  5. Time Warner Network
  6. Microsoft Sites
  7. Google Sites
  8. Ebaumsworld.com
  9. Comcast Corporation
  10. Real.com Network

Using video audience reach, comScore ranked video sites this way:

  1. Yahoo! Sites
  2. Fox Interactive
  3. YouTube
  4. Time Warner Network
  5. Microsoft Sites
  6. Viacom Digital
  7. Google Sites
  8. MLB
  9. Ebaumsworld.com
  10. Sony Online

Yet Hitwise continues to affirm that YouTube is the market leader. Here’s Bill Tancer’s recent blog post. I don’t have the most recent Hitwise video numbers, but here’s the video market share data the company put out in August this year:

video aug06.png

Share of visits:

  • YouTube: 45.46%
  • MySpace Videos: 22.99%
  • Google Video: 10.25%
  • Yahoo! Video: 6.06%
  • MSN Video: 5.92%

Tancer says the following about trending: “Our weekly chart shows the magnitude of Google Video’s increase last week alongside YouTube’s continued rapid climb. MySpace Vids and Yahoo! Video demonstrate moderate to flat growth since July.”

Here’s (unreliable) data I got from Alexa:

website traffic graphs comparing youtube.com, vids.myspace.com, video.msn.com, video.yahoo.com and video.google.com

And here’s a comparison at similarly unreliable Google Trends:

youtube myspace video yahoo video google video msn video

There are many caveats that need to be mentioned regarding Alexa and Google Trends. I won’t go into them other than to say they’re only directional at best and Alexa, apparently, can be manipulated. In addition, in the case of Google, Yahoo! and MSN, Alexa appears to be picking up traffic to the main domain rather than the video domain that I plugged in. But in both cases, they show YouTube ahead of MySpace in video traffic/reach.

Nielsen//NetRatings reported that YouTube had (only) 19.6 monthly uniques in June, 2006. comScore, by contrast, said that YouTube had roughly 35.5 million “unique streamers” in August.

The market “consensus” seems to be that YouTube is ahead of MySpace, as well as the other video sites in terms of traffic and reach. comScore’s metric “streams” seems to be eqivalent to time on site or engagement. But its ranking of sites by reach seems to be distinctly at odds with other traffic data.

Here’s my previous post about traffic measurement problems, citing the recent BusinessWeek article on the subject. And here’s my earlier post on these dueling video metrics.

As I said before, traffic measurement is the new click fraud.  (Sort of a play on ” . . . is the new black.”)


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