Signal to Noise: 100 Million Sites

Forget “500 channels and nothing on,” CNN reports that the Internet has now crossed a significant milestone; there are 100 million operating websites. Not only that, the growth of the website population has been growing like human population growth: “There were just 18,000 Web sites when Netcraft, based in Bath, England, began keeping track in August of 1995. It took until May of 2004 to reach the 50 million milestone; then only 30 more months to hit 100 million, late in the month of October 2006.”

This all means that there’s more and more noise online and it’s only getting “worse.” I’ve been talking about that in the limited context of local. But the general cacophony of new and me-too sites and services only means that brands and habitual behavior become more powerful; people will fall back on what they like, know and trust rather than try new things.

The idea that “our competition is only a click away” only really means something if you’re a no-name site. It’s very different if you’re Google or Yahoo (or even MySpace now).

People talk about “the Internet” in the same way they discuss “the small business market.” There is no “small business market,” there are only 10 or 14 or 17 or 20 million small businesses, with some shared characteristics. Similarly, “the Internet” is not a monolith, but 100 million websites.

Thus those would would “aggregate the tail” (whether eyeballs, publishers/site or marketers) are thus increasingly important to the online ecosystem.

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3 Responses to “Signal to Noise: 100 Million Sites”

  1. John K Says:

    Greg,
    After several years listening to people talk about aggregating “the tail”, when it comes to advertising, I think “the tail” is WAY over-rated.

    The great thing about the internet is that going after the tail is pretty cheap and easy. However, the money is on the right side of the line that separates the tail from the head.

    So I’m short the tail, at this point.

  2. Media Blog Says:

    Back in about 1996, on the online-news list, I was pretty much ignored when I said that someday the Internet would be so big, that local would be a true value proposition … back then every newspaper thought they could go after an international market … I said then, and I said now that just because you can reach an international market doesn’t mean that’s what you should aim for.

    As the Net gets bigger, the value proposition of niche sites, such as local sites, increases.

    And search is an important part of this.

  3. Who Will Solve the Local Mess? « Screenwerk Says:

    […] There are now 100 million operating websites. That’s only going to continue to grow, with local shadowing the larger trends. […]

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