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Is there some sort of industry accepted and trusted stats that most people use to determine which search engines are generating the most traffic?
I know certain search engines supply others with results but I really need ALL stats i.e. stats for the portals that people use, for example AOL, as well as the sites that supply them, Inktomi.
IMHO, all the stats point to the same top 8 - 10 engines. you'll drive yourself nuts trying to figure out which is "right" and they are all in a constant state of flux.The rankings may change every time they are measured.
Each has a different way of measuring traffic, or their own parameters. For example, Alexa measures using their own system; Media Metrix - I have heard, and believe is all self reported <the engines give their own numbers - not TOO much chance of fudging the numbers,eh?> StatMarket reportedly measures REFERRALS rather than traffic through a given portal. Keep in mind also, that a number may represent ALL traffic - email, chat rooms, download, not just "pure" search engine traffic.
The advertising world still does not even have a solid understanding of what they are selling online in terms of exposure.
In the beginning, I falsely believed that analysis of my own web logs would indicate best engines, but that is reverse logic. That just shows where my presence is good.
If ANYONE has a definitive source of stats, I'd be very interested also.
MMXI currently covers Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the USA.
Nielsen/NetRatings covers USA, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK, Brazil, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore.
You should know that the prices for these reports may make the teeth of BBC's financial director rattle. The top 10 sites for each country are published monthly and for free on their respective corporate sites, but will cover only a few of the top search engines.
The method used by both is a panel of randomly selected panelists, whose PC:s are fitted with special software logging everything the panelists do online. Economic incentives are offered to keep the wash-out of non-participants as low as possible. This is considered a reliable method. Beware of research companies that do not draw panelists at random, but lets anyone who wants participate. That introduces a really big bias.
Other than this, we are trying to get a grip on the relative volumes of European search engines from a variety of sources in WmW:s European forum. There is one discussion going on for each of 35 European countries.
Also, talking about industry recognized search engine stats, I hate seeing references to that GVU study showing that "85% of users find new web sites via a search engine." That study is now 2 years old and although internet time is slowing, I don't believe it is reflective of today's users anymore. (On the other hand, I have seen a June 2000 Forrester report showing the figure is about 81% for European users.) I would love see more recent statistics on what methods people (and specifically Americans) use to find information online.
tedres: I agree that the traffic figures for major directories such as Yahoo really don't tell us a thing about searches. But google.yahoo.com makes it into the Nielsen/NetRatings and MMXI reports, so at least there, we can find out part of the picture.