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The Internet Galaxy
July 27, 2012 1:35 PM   Subscribe

This is a map of the 350,000 largest sites on the web,

"... a project of Russian coder Ruslan Enikeev, with help from the Google Maps API and Russian creative agency Positive Communications.
The bigger the traffic, the larger the bubble. (The data comes from the web-tracking firm Alexa, circa the end of 2011). The color corresponds to the country of origin: light blue for America, dark blue for Germany, red for Russia, yellow for China, and so on. Enikeev even used a dynamic physics model to determine the position of each site, plotting traffic between sites as attractive forces and letting the bubbles sort themselves into groups."


Via Buzzfeed, which also links to a more in-depth [and in Russian] description of the process.
posted by FirstMateKate (69 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Looking for Metafilter? Type in in the search box. Also, we're the tiny aqua bubble just above the purple Google.Ca bubble, directly north of Google.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:39 PM on July 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


We're bigger than Mastercard!
posted by Thorzdad at 1:40 PM on July 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


It could really use a legend.
posted by maryr at 1:42 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Slybaldguys.com orbits around MetaFilter?

Humm.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:45 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


We seem to have attracted some sly bald guys.
posted by Kabanos at 1:46 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


arrgh! Well that was sly Kadin2048!
posted by Kabanos at 1:47 PM on July 27, 2012


What does it say that the bubbles sorted themselves so that MetaFilter.com is surrounded by tiny bubbles for
propertyworld.com
method.com
5goldig.de
wunderland.com
jinlabs.com
bingopalace.com
royalzinc.com
expressobeans.com
sportsrehabexpert.com
lowtechmagazine.com
uvcards.com
star.com
vembu.com
thecagedoor.net
car2go.com
centralfact.com
slybaldguys.com
autotransportandshipping.com
posted by carsonb at 1:47 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I noticed that one too. Weird.
posted by maryr at 1:47 PM on July 27, 2012


Metafilter used to be in Troll Bay, just west of the Sea of Memes.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:48 PM on July 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


In fact, I'm curious as to what the hell half of those sites are, but not so curious as I'll visit from work.
posted by maryr at 1:48 PM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


In 300 bits....turn....left. *DING!*
posted by schmod at 1:53 PM on July 27, 2012


I think what it means is something like: "nobody on the other big sites ever links to those guys, but we've linked to them maybe once or twice, so they're in our orbit now."
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:53 PM on July 27, 2012


Ha, zooming out a bit from MeFi and seeing us dwarfed by xe.com, I thought NO WAY is that retrostalgia blog that bigger than us. Then I did some googling and the world made sense again.
posted by yellowbinder at 1:54 PM on July 27, 2012


^Presumably NSFW link in that last comment....
posted by schmod at 1:57 PM on July 27, 2012


This reminds me of dot com data visualizations circa 2004. There was a company in the North Bay of SF, Grokker, that used circles within circles in an app called Groxis to help users navigate ... something. Ah yes, to group search results.
posted by zippy at 2:00 PM on July 27, 2012


Those sites are all SEO garbage. if anything they stole content from Metafilter for content farms or something.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:01 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


^Presumably NSFW link in that last comment....

Not really? It's a defunct blog about 80s crap. There are no sexy pics or offensive content... I think you'd have more to worry from the slybaldguys.
posted by yellowbinder at 2:02 PM on July 27, 2012


slybladguys is trying to sell shaving supplies
posted by Ad hominem at 2:03 PM on July 27, 2012


Geocities is on that map for some reason.
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 2:04 PM on July 27, 2012


uh can I just be the first person to shout "PRETTY!" about this? cause it's pretty.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:15 PM on July 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I actually started going to some of those sites in our orbit, expecting that they were total SEO garbage. (Since it looks like proximity on this map is determined by number of links between the sites, I was wondering whether these particular sites had ended up next to us because some clever SEO fuckwad had managed to sneak in a link to them in a post here and not get caught. I was gearing up to go all Internet Detective on their ass.)

So, okay, one is the website for an ATM network. One is a site by the people who make the game FLUXX. One seems to be like Librarything but for fine art prints (and as far as I can tell is really genuinely not selling anything at all). After that I stopped checking.

If these are part of some SEO scam, they're either really bad at it or so good at it that their content farm is indistinguishable from a real useful website. Or did I just miss the really egregious ones?
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:16 PM on July 27, 2012


I see that grindr is a minor planetoid in orbit around Facebook. Well it's sorta like Facebook.
posted by Danf at 2:19 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, that will teach me to look for my sites on this total perspective vortex.
posted by maxwelton at 2:20 PM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


ok , I misjudged them. Some look legit. I still think stuff like propertyworld.com are content farms that scrape or churn out low quality content. answers.com is a pretty sophisticated operation but look at stuff like What about the ball mill use. What the shit is that ? That wasn't even a question and somehow it got anwered, and conveniently there are links to milling equipment companies.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:27 PM on July 27, 2012


They must have skipped some TLDs. I can't seem to find any .edu hosts, for example.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:28 PM on July 27, 2012


We're way too close to Google for comfort. I say we bomb the fuck out of it, then invade and liberate whatever's left of their resources.

I'm all pumped to get this thing going. Who's with me?
posted by item at 2:29 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh wait. That appears to be google.ca. Fuck it, let's use it as a training exercise.
posted by item at 2:30 PM on July 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, looking at it, propertyworld does seem like it's Nothing Good.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:32 PM on July 27, 2012


This is a really beautiful visualization of the internet.
posted by Flashman at 2:39 PM on July 27, 2012


Found my personal site. Yes, I am that much of a nerd. Hard by Google.com.au, however, which is a bit puzzling.
posted by jscalzi at 2:55 PM on July 27, 2012


They must have skipped some TLDs. I can't seem to find any .edu hosts, for example.

Try umich.edu (Go Blue!), berkeley.edu, mit.edu for starters.
posted by axiom at 2:56 PM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaking of xe.com, isn't it Canadian?
posted by jamincan at 2:59 PM on July 27, 2012


I note method.com is there. They were my first client back in 2005. They're a design studio out in SF with offices in London and NYC (unless someone has hijacked the http://method.com rather that it being the www.method.com as sometimes I've noticed happens to perfectly legit sites)
posted by infini at 3:02 PM on July 27, 2012


I can see my house homepage from here
posted by hal9k at 3:03 PM on July 27, 2012


"site not found"

sigh.
posted by infini at 3:07 PM on July 27, 2012


Direct link to Metafilter.

I like the visualization. From the about link, the proximity of circles has to do with how closely linked they are. Forcing that down to two dimensions is difficult and limiting, but if you want a 2d map it's a good choice. I like how China is clustered off to the left in the yellow constellation. Strange that Japan is all the way to the right. And is it me or are there no Korean sites in the idnex?
posted by Nelson at 3:08 PM on July 27, 2012


We're adrift in a sea of porn.
posted by cmyk at 3:09 PM on July 27, 2012


Instead of SEO stuff, couldn't the metafilter satellites be from ad click-throughs? Non-members/loggedin get ads.
posted by porpoise at 3:22 PM on July 27, 2012


It's not totally clear from the description under "About," but it sounds like the notion of "closeness" used here isn't "A links to B" but rather "Users on site A often next visit site B."
posted by escabeche at 3:33 PM on July 27, 2012


Am I the only one that's a bit sad to see wordpress.com floating out there all alone at 10 o'clock?
posted by doublesix at 3:39 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, doublesix. In fact I came in here to comment on that exact thing.

Who actually uses wordpress.com and not a local install of wordpress on their own domain?
posted by Hamusutaa at 3:48 PM on July 27, 2012


Internet cartography. Finally.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:58 PM on July 27, 2012


Also, this is additionally cool as a map of metaphorical geography, as the landscape totally changes based on the mapping metric. Not that actual geographic maps aren't metaphors too, but a map of the internet, in its own way, shows you what a map actually is.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:00 PM on July 27, 2012


It's not totally clear from the description under "About," but it sounds like the notion of "closeness" used here isn't "A links to B" but rather "Users on site A often next visit site B."

I don't think the proximity system is working well at all. Look at live, bing, msn, and microsoft. Other sites I know to be closely linked are similarly scattered.
posted by Chuckles at 4:03 PM on July 27, 2012


Who actually uses wordpress.com and not a local install of wordpress on their own domain?

Me -- is that weird?
posted by escabeche at 4:15 PM on July 27, 2012


Not really? It's a defunct blog about 80s crap.

I'll always remember x-entertainment.com, no matter how defunct it gets, because of the Nathan Bitner Saga, which I'm pretty sure I learned about through one of my first encounters with Metafilter.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:24 PM on July 27, 2012


Avenue Q was right. The Interenet really is for porn.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:29 PM on July 27, 2012


Did you know that all women stalk?
posted by symbioid at 4:34 PM on July 27, 2012


Hmm, what I'm finding fascinating about this map is the degree of insularity of some sites vs others. E.g. both linkedin and twitter are afloat in a sea of light-blue, while wikipedia and blogspot are both far more international. I can only imagine that the latter two here are only barely classified as 'American', while the former are probably quite definitively so. Of course it's a little hard to draw too many conclusions from this this without more details on the 'closeness' metric being used...

Oh, and of course that's neglecting the elephant in the room, which is the isolated island nation of China. It's incredible, actually -- on the boarder region between China and everywhere else, the sites get miniscule. Which gives you a sense of the degree of separation that the Great Firewall brings.
posted by Arandia at 4:52 PM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


So one of the things that surprised me about this is how little of the internet is for porn these days, unless I'm missing something. Most of the porn is clustered in the lower right, right?

Possible research question: at what point was the ratio of porn to non-porn content on the Internet highest?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:09 PM on July 27, 2012


Who actually uses wordpress.com and not a local install of wordpress on their own domain?

Speaking for myself, people who don't have terribly important blogs or people who don't have their own servers and such. So...lots of people?
posted by maryr at 5:19 PM on July 27, 2012


Also -- why is all of the 'American' porn so distant from the mainstream US sites, yet right next door to Japan and Brazil?
posted by Arandia at 5:23 PM on July 27, 2012


Hmm -- Canada's a kind of interesting case study here. It's basically a series of islands spread throughout the US. There's the banking isle (with all of the big five), the stock isle, the media isle, the real estate isle, the jobs isle, the sports isle, the Quebec isle... I can go on.

Mind you, the same groupings probably exist for American/other sites too, but we can easily see the Canadian groupings because they're a distinct colour from the background.




Wow, I'm really spending too much time on this.
posted by Arandia at 5:37 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm finding the proximity stuff is working pretty well. It's an interesting way to discover sites.
posted by alms at 6:02 PM on July 27, 2012


Also -- why is all of the 'American' porn so distant from the mainstream US sites, yet right next door to Japan...

Could we blame 4chan for this?

I'm like 99% kidding here, but only 99%.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:05 PM on July 27, 2012


I just discovered how fantastic this is for randomly exploring internet neighborhoods. For ex. I did s search for asofterworld.com (because I freakin' love that site) and found xkcd (not hard to miss) and a handful of other comics sites that I know and don't know about.

Now I only wish the dots would actually take you there (and in a new window).

I wonder the rates of change for this map over time. And the ways that it changes.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:35 PM on July 27, 2012


I just noticed that expressobeans.com is one of MetaFilter's many moons.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:41 PM on July 27, 2012


Way to overthink that domain name!
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:44 PM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Outside the ordered universe us that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.

Just saying.
posted by SPrintF at 6:47 PM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


FirstMateKate: "red for Russia, yellow for China"

That's almost as bad as my old radio station's CD filing system. Brown for 'world music', red for native american.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:47 PM on July 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


nebulawindphone: "Could we blame 4chan for this?

I'm like 99% kidding here, but only 99%.


I don't know, but I must admit that that was my first line of thought too. Or perhaps something to do with certain... manga comics? :-p
posted by Arandia at 8:08 PM on July 27, 2012


From the about: "...the much-spoken-about, yet-to-be-found Higgs’ boson..."
Ha!
posted by Valued Customer at 8:28 PM on July 27, 2012


So if you combined all of the google sites (google.ca, google.de, google.co.in) would the resulting gigantic google star become a black hole that sucks in all of the other sites? ...into the bizarro world in which Ask Jeeves is the most important search engine?
posted by goethean at 9:29 PM on July 27, 2012


Did anyone notice that every site is only six clicks away from kevinbaconblog.org?
posted by mule98J at 10:58 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


You Can't Tip a Buick: "uh can I just be the first person to shout "PRETTY!" about this? cause it's pretty."

I want it on a huge interactive wall so I can play with all the pretty dots.
posted by deborah at 11:16 PM on July 27, 2012


Who actually uses wordpress.com and not a local install of wordpress on their own domain?

Literally millions of people. It can become easy to forget when one spends most of one's time interacting with tech-savvy folks that the overwhelming majority of people don't know webhosting and domain registration from quantum physics.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:50 AM on July 28, 2012


And not everyone has US dollars for a domain registration, nor a credit card that might work to achieve the same, yet their voices may still be heard (read) online.
posted by infini at 2:14 AM on July 28, 2012


Outside the ordered universe us that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.

I think these days the boundless daemon goes by the name Facebook.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:28 AM on July 28, 2012


"Who the fuck invited Bing to the party? We gotta get him out of here."
"Look how big he is. You gonna tell him to leave?"
posted by Rykey at 6:54 AM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


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