Convergence of Social Web Users
I was doing a writeup on Digg.com and decided to check what the latest traffic rankings were for competiting social web services. The results were pretty interesting. If you look at the chart above, you’ll immediately see a point of convergence in the traffic rankings of Digg.com, Slashdot.org and del.icio.us. Remember that each of them originated at different points in time, notable by the diverse traffic rankings at the start of 2005.
Understanding Alexa’s Traffic Ranking
Before we can make any assumptions out of this, it’s important to understand how the traffic ranking is computed. Note that traffic is an abstract figure: some refer to it as page views, while some by number of unique visitors. For example, check out the chart on right to see how there is still a great difference in the visitor traffic of Digg and Slashdot. According to Alexa, the traffic rank is based on aggregated historical traffic data from Alexa Toolbar users and is a combined measure of page views and users (reach) on a daily basis. The main Alexa traffic rank is based on the geometric mean of these two quantities averaged over time (so that the rank of a site reflects both the number of users who visit that site as well as the number of pages on the site viewed by those users). For example, on July 1, the three-month change would show the difference between the rank based on traffic during the first quarter of the year and the rank based on traffic during the second quarter.
Implications of this Convergence
Since Traffic Ranking is one way to measure the utility of a web site, this convergence could mean the following:
1. Everyone now consistently knows and uses social web as part of their daily life.
2. There is a tendency of the same netizens to use all of these web services.
3. We’re reaching the point of saturation on the amount of social web users.
4. Alexa’s Traffic Ranking algorithm inherently scores these three sites similarly.
1. Could Hurricane Katrina be responsible for the consistent peak in traffic across all services in August 2005 (see chart)?
2. Traffic peaks consistently before Christmas but drops around the New Year. Holidays matter.
What else can you make of this chart?