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What are the best measures of Internet traffic?

Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, Comscore ....?

     
8:09 am on May 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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No one seems to trust Alexa.. so where do you get better numbers for traffic data? Nielsen Net Ratings? Comscore?

Anyone here monitor the "top500" for marketing purposes? How often does the "top500" list really change? (more than just rearranging the same sites)

Just curious....

10:44 pm on May 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I would guess that few people really care who is number one, two, three, etc. overall. Everyone wants more traffic, more money, more fame. Even Google. (Hmmm, maybe especially Google.)
11:27 pm on May 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I could care less about traffic going to 3rd party sites and how they rank. Why does that matter anyway?

The only issue I am concerned with is my own traffic and stats.

12:46 am on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I guess I'm asking the wrong people.. I'm extremely interested in the overall rankings -- and I know more than a few people who are also interested. Hitwise, Nielsen, etc are in business for a reason! :P

I was just wondering if people here had an opinion on which of these services was better than others -- or at least more cost effective.

How do they really differ in terms of getting their data, etc..? How reliable are their rankings?

3:42 am on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Don't think webmasters and site owners who are members here are interested in those rankings of top traffic sites. Those services are more for Madison Ave advetising execs, big business publicists, large corporate execs, corp marketing sales people and the national media.
5:21 am on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm none of those people.. but.. I guess I'm not really a webmaster, either. So thanks for the explanation. I thought everyone was interested in their traffic rankings...
1:51 pm on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Knowing the rankings of top traffic sites is essential to remaining relevant. If you don't pay attention to the competition, you're going to be left behind, because no matter your niche, it will change.

The bar for what works is continually rising. It may rise slower in some markets, but it's still climbing. Whenever someone starts a new site, they start at the current height. If you're not at that the same height, you'll either have to play catch-up or drop out.

If you don't care about the competition, someone else will eventually take your place. You can't be a bit player forever.

Also, being the first in a niche doesn't last. My favorite example is Airfare.com. For a long time, their website had only a phone number. They had the domain name, they started the market...but didn't keep up with the competition—Expedia and Travelocity. Sure, they got a paycheck, but they missed out on a huge opportunity.

Two cents :)

2:07 pm on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Panel-based systems like ComScore have difficulty with niche topic sites and anything less than 1.5 million US uniques. For example, if they accidentally have a high percentage of fly fishermen in their panel, fly fishing sites will be well-represented in traffic numbers.

Here's an idea for discussion...

Is a website's true measure of traffic and relevance a function of the number of monthly visits it gets from organic search?

After all... repeat visitors tend not to go back to search to look for their favorite site... and new visitors almost always tend to arrive via organic search.

This is the one metric from site analytics packages which is easily audited and confirmed.

[edited by: TheSkepticGuy at 2:08 pm (utc) on May 6, 2008]