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comScore Stats: The Web Is Contracting

 11:59 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

comScore Stats: The Web Is Contracting [allthingsd.com]
We all read the statistics every week documenting the meteoric new growth areas of the Internet, and they are impressive:

Online video is exploding, with annual user growth of more than 45 percent. Mobile-device time spent increased 28 percent last year — with average smartphone time spent doubling. And social networks are now used by 90 percent of U.S. Internet users — for an average of more than four hours a month.

None of this is a newsflash. Every venture capitalist, Web publisher, and digital marketer is hyper-aware of these three trends.

But what’s happening to the rest of the Web?

The Web Is Shrinking. Really.

Here are the facts:

When you exclude just Facebook from the rest of the Web, consumption in terms of minutes of use shrank by nearly nine percent between March 2010 and March 2011, according to data from comScore. And, even when you include Facebook usage, total non-mobile Internet consumption still dropped three percent over the same period.



 7:29 pm on Jul 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you want to predict the future of computing -- do a study of 12-18 year old's computing habits.

My "in house research group" is 18 ..my son

..research group "outside of the house", is the rest of them his age, or a little older..smallish laptops is as big as they get..

Bigger laptops they don't want..unless its to watch bluerays on ..and then they have PS3's anyway ..and HD TV to hook them up to. ..

He is unusual for the "research group" in that he builds games and works with 3D and animations ..and has 3 desktops with their own dual screen hi-def setups on each ..and all the consoles currently on the market and HD TV ..

The rest of them have no desktops ..just phones ..pads and laptops ..they do 90% of their surfing via their phones or pads..10% by their laptops ..non of the laptops have screens bigger than the 900 vertical def ..they use them for watching movies in 720p widescreen...

Higher def tablets ..maybe..but they use them already for browsing the web ..what they want is for ithings to run flash..it has to be shiny, a fashion brand, and run websites with flash, just like a laptop ..same applies to TV s that can run the web ..they need to run flash..the day that apple slabs and phones run flash..laptop sales will as g1smd said "fall of a cliff"...

Schools are already giving out tablets for kids to do homework on ..in this respect the USA is waaaay behind what is happening in the rest of the world..our local school ( and I live in a small place on the sea shore not a big town ) just gave out 200 ipads ..and only 100 laptops for the kids to use for course and home work..

Telecoms here are already giving them away, pads and tabs in the 7" and 10" sizes and HD def with two year contacts ..and they are flying out the door faster than they can unpack them ..my ISP is offering them from september free ..no caps ..I just have to add a few euros per month onto how much I already pay for no caps and worldwide phone calls and free calls to mobiles nationally.. calls from pads and smart phones and surfing from them are a "tag on" to their deal..total cost ..less than $50.oo per month..

If the kids are over 18 and going through college then maybe a laptop ..but there are already pad devices and phones with keyboards and keyboard docks ..soon as ( probably apple or maybe samsung or acer ) brings out tablets with thumb operated keyboards so that you can type the way you text..laptops will become something you'll have to ask for as only a few, if any will be on display in the shops.


 8:05 pm on Jul 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

These old webmasters don't realize their early 2000's monetization paradigm is also disappearing. They just don't get it yet. Rely on Adsense at your peril otherwise have a back up career to fall upon.

Solve Media, an advertising consulting company, has discovered how much more likely you are to do even the most statistically unlikely of things than click on one of these intrusive advertisements, Business Insider reports.

For example, "you are 31.25 times more likely to win a prize in the Mega Millions than you are to click on a banner ad." Not only that, "you are 87.8 times more likely to apply to Harvard and get in...112.50 times more likely to sign up for and complete NAVY SEAL training...279.64 times more likely to climb Mount Everest...and 475.28 times more likely to survive a plane crash than you are to click on a banner ad."



 1:38 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure how many teenagers browse my websites, but I suspect they don't make me much money. Although I can not point to one right now, I know there are studies showing that most web traffic comes from offices during working hours. Looking at my stats - the peak hours are between 10 am and 12pm. Wouldn't many of today's teenagers work in an office 10 years from now? And wouldn't they be in front of a desktop computer while at the office? Or maybe laptop or pad, but it would have to be a big screen computer for them to be able to get some work done.

My point is I don't see why teen computer habits are at all relevant here.


 5:14 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

It was an interesting article but the author is making some assumptions and not qualifying them as such, particularly that people are flocking away from web content.

True fact
More people are spending a lot of time on FaceBook.

False assumption
The Internet audience at FaceBook andwas poached from content sites, thus the web pie is shrinking.

Just because some people are obsessing with FB doesn't mean they were poached from content sites. If they're researching their vacation, spas, resorts, bicycles for their kids, a romantic restaurant for their date, how to trim a tree, etc. they're not going to reach for FaceBook.

Nevertheless, the author does raise some thought provoking ideas. I was especially intrigued by this one:

...changes the role of companies on the Web from mere content publishers or providers to truly connected digital partners for real people.

That's interesting. Provoked me into asking questions like, What are the ways a content site can integrate it's usefulness into a site visitor's life and depend on it?


 5:35 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

System: The following message was cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/facebook/4333558.htm [webmasterworld.com] by engine - 9:00 am on Jul 5, 2011 (utc +1)

My point is I don't see why teen computer habits are at all relevant here.

It was a longhand version of saying, "Sure, they all use cell phones to communicate, but when it comes to actual computing, (research, writing papers, video and photo editing, online chat, etc), they use a larger screen laptop/desktop and go to websites".

They are the future users of "the web".

To exclude Facebook from the data or consider "mobile computing" to not be "the web" is just a way of juggling numbers for the sake of posting the hyperbole article of the day, (which is another whole issue -- sites that just post something to generate traffic and [pay per] clicks). Maybe there was no real news the day that article was written.

And I also agree, (with vivalasvegas, above), that a larger percentage of purposeful web surfing is done by 9-5'ers on laptops and desktops.

So, I don't think "the web" is dying anytime soon.

BTW - the article the OP cites was written by Ben Elowitz, CEO of "Wetpaint" --- Wetpaint is backed by Accel Partners, the investors behind Facebook and Groupon... and the article basically promotes social networking and the "connected web" --- primarily Facebook. Oh, and his sites: Blue Nile and Wetpaint are plain-old-websites.

Use "old webmasters" might not know everything, but we are wise enough to consider the source.

Sign me: Happily webmastering since 1994 1/2 -- and ready for at least another 10 years or so.

[edited by: engine at 8:02 am (utc) on Jul 5, 2011]


 4:42 am on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

"In a few year's time there won't be such a thing as a website," claimed Boulton. "With the rise of the social Web, now online experiences are built around the individual rather than around the organization."

Ah yes. I never had a domain name, I still use my AOL keyword from back in the day. Anyone else?

I can't say I disagree too much with the author of either of the articles, however Ben Elowitz makes a couple of points that few have read before. One very critical piece for webmasters to understand about the Google ecosystem:

Unlike the ecosystem set up by Google, where the search engine ironically intermediates between users and the objects of their queries (so that users reinforce their loyalty to Google, far more than to the publisher), in the world of social publishing, the Facebook hub enables a direct, if constrained, relationship between users and media brands.

Excellent point Brett. Yet, with declining use Google has to figure out how to increase earnings by 15-20% each year. Shall we guess where that money is coming from ?

I heard that on Chrome they even removed the url bar, they want users to forget domain names, just search for them...on Google. Once there maybe Google will guess that you want to actually see something else :).

The web world is changing, it's becoming cut throat and all bets are off.

Which is why Google is pushing so hard for the "mobile experience" ..and why it is so important that sites look good and work well on mobile devices..especially phones and tablets..

Actually Android has Google search and Google can penetrate even countries where they aren't doing well otherwise (Korea for example.) By hoping to make Android the new Windows they hope to keep and expand their search empire. However looks like a lot of patents were ignored so the big boys are now gunning for Google.


 6:26 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Lexipixel, you're one of the few in this thread that makes sense. Speaking as a slightly above average user and speaking also as an observer of users, I can corroborate your statements:

The mobile experience is lacking, insufficient, and unfulfilling.
Desktops and laptops are not going away.
Ipads, and mobile devices supplement, but do not replace.
Mobile devices (pads) will begin to come in larger sizes.

Also, I wouldn't overestimate facebook. It is essentially a hangout forum with most of the hangers comprised of people you don't know or did know but don't care about. Re: the latter, if you had cared to maintain a friendship...you would have maintained a flesh and blood one. Facebook will begin to fade. In industrialized countries, it already is fading. And, crap, most of the most active users are women and kids with too much time on their hands throughout the course of a day.

In a normal day, I do a number of searches on my cursed android EVO. It is almost never satisfying. To date, its best use is to get a restaurant phone number. And the EVO screen is huge compared to most. Actually, the most useful thing about the phone has nothing to do with search but using this or that app to ID a song.

The IPAD? Great for convenient news reading. But...real searching? Real researching? Real comparison shopping? The user experience is only acceptable when a decent size screen and a keyboard is involved.

The augmentary devices, pads and phones, are whittling away at search. But search will never be replaced by some social hangout club or something that fits in my pocket with a buggy OS.


 7:29 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

The mobile experience is lacking, insufficient, and unfulfilling.
Desktops and laptops are not going away.
Ipads, and mobile devices supplement, but do not replace.
Mobile devices (pads) will begin to come in larger sizes.

i agree 10000%

when I do stuff on my cell i think hmmm cool, but i wish it was on a bigger screen.

when i use a tab hm thats cool but it lacks a keyboard and some functionality.

when i use a laptop i think this is nice but after a while the screen size and keyboard annoy me.

when i use my desktop i think AH awesome, big screen, big keyboard, more power.... but its not mobile.

so each has its pros / cons and they all live happily together without really replacing each other. I wouldn't replace my laptop with a tab, i wouldn't replace my desktop with a laptop...etc. Mobile devices are niche devices.


 7:33 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

The rest of them have no desktops ..just phones ..pads and laptops ..they do 90% of their surfing via their phones or pads..10% by their laptops

They must be very satisfied then with inferior usability. Perhaps the same way that that generation has no clue as to what a nice home audio system sounds like.

Fortunately, my target audience typically starts at 35 years old and higher. Plenty of eyeballs for years to come.

I haven't seen, btw, a huge dropoff in laptop/desktop options at bestbuy.


 8:03 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

[insert new buzz device here] is going to kill the PC!

its been said over and over and over and over for how many years?


 9:21 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Another curious thing is happening with regard to computers per se, my brother, not web or comupter savvy, bought a new laptop a month or so ago. He only got net access last week, so I asked him how was the laptop, he said "I only got it working a couple of days ago"! In other words the 'puter didn't work because it didn't have internet access, he has no use for it otherwise as a standalone device.
How many others 'think' the same way? Taught me a lesson when considering how to promote my sites and write content!


 2:29 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Doesn't windows still come with Notepad and Solitaire?


 8:09 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

He'll know Solitaire but not a clue what notepad is!


 1:51 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

"I only got it working a couple of days ago"! In other words the 'puter didn't work because it didn't have internet access, he has no use for it otherwise as a standalone device.

back in the mid 90's i only used my computer for games and general screwing around.... then i found out what a BBS was...suddenly my computers 2nd most popular use was dialing up to a BBS and poking around. Next came the internet, now my computer was playing games, dialing up to a BBS and exploring this new internet thing.

I can do plenty of things on a disconnected computer, but they've been coming with network adapters all a long for a reason, they are meant to talk to each other and communicate!

if you gave him a chromebook and an internet connection he might say the same thing...uh it kinda works but not everything works. Or um just the web works but nothing else. People think thats the only thing that matters... perception. To and end user its all blurry and doesn't make much sense.


 4:40 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

To and end user its all blurry and doesn't make much sense.

A big difference now is when the power goes out the first thing many people think is, "Oh crap! My internet connection is down! Now what will I do?", but in the old days the first thing they'd worry about was that food in the freezer would go bad.


 5:37 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

if people are worrying more about their internet when the power goes down......we have issues.

the world will become mindless net zombies, then people that actually have solid brains between their ears.


 2:07 am on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Then we have issues.

The only cure is camping -- real camping, in the woods, with no electricity. It takes a couple days for their brains to fully disconnect, then the zombie curse fades and they come back to reality.

Save the world from net-zombie-ism, take a geek camping!


 2:39 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

haha cause the food in the fridge still melts!

maybe its cause im not hooked up into this online social cluster that i don't feel the need to look at some device every 15 seconds. I see those people all the time and I don't wanna become one. Motivation enough for me to be "online" anti-social :-)


 4:07 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Guess I'll post this (again)...

I want to coin a phrase:

anti-social networking; the combined and ongoing acts of disseminating or perusing information online in a non-personal way so as to have no actual social contact.

-lexipixel (Oct. 21, 2007)


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