Four sites account for half of Web surfing
June 5, 2001 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Four sites account for half of Web surfing 'Even more significantly, the number of companies controlling 60 percent of all U.S. surfing time plummeted from 110 to 14, according to Jupiter Media Metrix, which released the survey Monday.'
posted by rebeccablood (21 comments total)
it seems that our exclusivity is guaranteed. metafilter will always be "of the savvy, for the savvy, by the savvy".... until matt gets bought out by AOL.
posted by rebeccablood at 12:29 PM on June 5, 2001

Did they omit mentioning time spent surfing for porn out of decorum? It just makes me wonder (and snicker).
posted by Skot at 12:34 PM on June 5, 2001

All your surf are... um.

(At least CNN doesn't make the oh-so-typical mistake of calling Napster a "web site"; it's an "online property".)
posted by holgate at 12:39 PM on June 5, 2001

caveat: this is just a measure of users in the united states, surfing in english who aren't looking at porn.
posted by elsar at 12:41 PM on June 5, 2001

What's interesting too is that AOL/TW is first, with 32% - which is more than the remaining 13 firms on the list combined (28.2%)... Then again, remember that this is "online time," not specifically "on the Web time" - 2/3rds of AOL/TW's traffic came from AIM and email.

(Seriously, elsar, is that a criteria for inclusion in the stats (I can imagine it might be)? The article doesn't say that...)
posted by m.polo at 12:45 PM on June 5, 2001

Question: many people log on to AOL or MSN, then launch their browser of choice to surf, rather than use the dumbed-down, lame browser that comes with the service. Are they being counted as never leaving the AOL or MSN homepage?
posted by gimli at 12:52 PM on June 5, 2001

Yes. This article actually means nothing. People on AOL are often multitasking between, say, AOL chatrooms, AIM, and browsing non-AOL websites. Is that all counted as being in AOL? And what about this Napster junk? Are they suggesting that US people with internet access spend 4% of their time online staring at the Napster screen while their files download? Or that people spend 7% of their time at Yahoo (actually, more, because many people don't use Yahoo! at all. how can you spend ten or twelve percent of your time searching?) Unless they explain their method of calculation more clearly, this won't make any sense.
posted by fable at 1:10 PM on June 5, 2001

Yahoo is one of the premiere free-porn sites on the web. Although the links to the the individual clubs are no longer available from the front of Yahoo, there's about 10,000 free porn yahoo clubs operating quietly in the background.

Uh.. at least, so I'm told.
posted by Perigee at 1:13 PM on June 5, 2001

This is a little off-topic, but some people believe that Yahoo is about to remove all those clubs entirely. From mouthorgan:

Yahoo has removed the adult warning from its clubs and categories. This, plus the search removal, implies (to those who can read the writing on the wall) that Yahoo is about to take the cowardly approach to removing these clubs: Reluctant to deliver the axe-blow itself, they will simply leave the club owners open to charges that their content violates community standards ... somewhere. (Not to mention the Yahoo TOS.)
posted by acridrabbit at 1:22 PM on June 5, 2001

AOL/MSN are all about building their walled gardens, and people just aren't seeing the forest for the trees. There's no group or campaign or anything saying: "hey, look! cool indie stuff over here..."
posted by owillis at 1:26 PM on June 5, 2001

It reads as if yer consultant has done the typical thing, and divided the imaginary numbers for total time online by the imaginary numbers presented by the main online entities as usage stats.

fable: it isn't a representation of a single user's time online, but the proportion of total time spent online. The point being that there's undoubtedly a portalisation of the net, so if, say, 10 million users spend precisely five seconds each on the MSN home page, it adds up to more time than the many minutes that a few thousand people spend on a site like MeFi.

So the numbers actually mean something, but not the something that the report would like them to mean. It's not that "the user" devotes more time to these four online entities, but that AOL, MSFT, Yahoo and Napster take a tiny bit of time from everyone. It's about as steep a drop-off as you can get, so to argue that you might as well do all your banner adverts with AOL is bloody misleading, given that there's no guarantee that you're going to reach your customers in that five-second window.
posted by holgate at 1:30 PM on June 5, 2001

all that time logged into AOL is considered visiting AOL as a 'website,' which, i assume i don't need to tell anyone, is total crap(not AOL, but the statistic. wait, yes AOL is total crap but you already knew that).

for instance, JMM stats indicate that our favorite 'site,' is the 14th most visited web property. the majority of those 'hits/visitors' are calculated based upon the pop-ups that are served from the X10 domain. and we all know how many of those stupid things are being served.
posted by donkeysuck at 1:30 PM on June 5, 2001

The whole credibilty of this little piece of propagandistic fluff from CNN is put into question with the simple line:

AOL Time Warner is the parent company of

posted by crunchland at 1:58 PM on June 5, 2001

Here's a link to who owns what in the mediasphere
posted by owillis at 2:19 PM on June 5, 2001

AOL Time Warner is the parent company of

Here's a link to who owns what in the mediasphere

But thanks to AOL Time Warner's new insistence of putting that stupid Netscape bar up on top of every website of theirs, media synergy and corporate domination of information properties is a snap to discern!

So does AOL realize it's telling the world just how many media properties it owns, or does it just not care about pretense anymore?

Any company with a stylized eye-in-a-pyramid for a logo is not a good company. :)
posted by solistrato at 3:57 PM on June 5, 2001

There was a good article on Media Metrix in *cough* the May issue of Brill's Content. Basically, they get their numbers from random samples of 60,000 "typical" (in their definition) users, which includes phoning up users and asking them where they go.

I wonder what television or radio consumption patterns are like. I bet they're similar, that 4 or 5 TV channels account for 80+% of the all television watched in the US.

The only thing interesting about the web vs. other media was that it started out as 100% "indie" and it was so big and there were so many possibilities, and some of us liked that, we embraced the limitlessness of it all.

The majority though, prefer to find the 2 or 3 things that do it all for them and they just stay there. There are far too many websites to see them all, why not just stick to the ones you know and like?

Did anyone honestly think when the web really caught on, it wouldn't be consumed and used like other mass produced media? I know it's the most democratic and all, and that anyone can put up a homepage if they want, but did anyone think that would last forever?
posted by mathowie at 4:16 PM on June 5, 2001

Heh. How many times have you read that issue, Matt?
posted by fooljay at 6:35 PM on June 5, 2001

Did anyone honestly think when the web really caught on, it wouldn't be consumed and used like other mass produced media? I know it's the most democratic and all, and that anyone can put up a homepage if they want, but did anyone think that would last forever?

Well, it hasn't been assimilated yet: and I'm quite happy for other people to spend their lives clicking between Big Media sites as long as the alternative exists.
posted by holgate at 7:11 PM on June 5, 2001

I seriously question whether there is any attempt to count time spent on non-corporate sites -- such as metafilter, or god forbid, If we're not being counted at all, who's to say how much of that theoretical 100% we represent?
posted by dhartung at 8:35 PM on June 5, 2001

While, granted, these statistics may be a little skewed, for a medium where anyone can publish, this type of consolidation is shocking... and dangerous. As a society, we have consistently been wary of government censorship and control of media... should we not similarly worry about corporate control of media.

Yes, MetaFilter may represent much of the democratizing promise of the Internet, but our hope in these kind of niche communities should not blind us to the enormous power that the elite few have over this and most other media. Moreover, business and regulatory trends are favoring these media oligopolies and commercial interests in general. Our media play a central public service function... but as competition lessens in face of such remarkable consolidation, then so too does media diversity. Can we trust such huge companies to place public interests over their own interests in profits?

Frankly, this kind of dominance in online media really frightens me, as the Internet was supposed to usher in an era of media abundance, rather than scarcity, that would challenge big media's chokehold on content and distribution. However, people, in general, have a scarcity of attention that obviously makes them use the convenient, default, well-publicized, established, wealthy, and powerful media in favor of working to find viable alternatives. Even if these alternatives are out there on the Web, if people don't access them... or can't find them... given trends in the purchasing of search engine placements, etc. then what use are they?

Media critics such as Herbert Schiller (author of Culture, Inc.) and Robert McChesney (author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy) make convincing arguments about the dangers of media consolidation and its negative effects on an open and vibrant marketplace of ideas. I've had high hopes that the Internet would change the media landscape, but these hopes are fading.... fast.
posted by karlcleveland at 11:21 PM on June 5, 2001

Oh, but it gets worse! Anyone notice this?
AOL Time Warner Network 34
(or whatever the number was)

Isn't this a rather devious way to include absolutely every site owned by Turner Sports Warner Illustrated CNN under the verbal camouflage of AOL Time Warner Network? If you're counting everything from AOL and CNN to and the homepages of indie artists on Warner record labels, of course the numbers are gonna be huge.

The only people who will be fooled by these statistics are dumb-arse old-media types whose understanding of the Web began in 1998 and revolves around Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Hatemail, and Microsoft Internet Explorer. But you all know that.
posted by joeclark at 8:49 AM on June 6, 2001

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