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  • Gerrit Eicker 07:00 on 24. April 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Traffic, ,   

    Local TV: Sports, Weather and Traffic 

    In local TV sports, weather and traffic now account on average for 40% of the content produced; http://eicker.at/NewsMedia2013

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 07:00 on 3. September 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Traffic,   

    Social Media News: Important, Not Overwhelming 

    Social media are important but not overwhelming drivers of news, at least not yet; http://eicker.at/NewsMedia2012

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 23:18 on 22. March 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Traffic, , ,   

    The Robots Have Landed 

    Joel: Are those robots or people clicking on your site? http://j.mp/GKv0Mf Incapsula: 51% non-human; http://j.mp/GKb2Td

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 09:05 on 18. December 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Corporate Blogging, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Traffic, ,   

    Blogosphere 2011 

    Technorati Blogosphere 2011: blogging and social media, marketing, motivations, consequences; http://eicker.at/Blogosphere2011

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:06 on 18. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Technorati: “Welcome to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2011 report. Since 2004, our annual study has followed growth and trends in the blogosphere. This year’s topics include: blogging and social media, bloggers and traditional media, traffic and analysis, brands and marketing in the blogosphere, bloggers’ motivations and consequences, monetization, and changes within the blogosphere over 2011. … The Blogosphere is constantly changing and evolving. In 2011 we are seeing bloggers updating their blogs more frequently and spending more time blogging. The type of information influencing blogging has shifted from conversations with friends, which was the primary influence in 2010, to other blogs, which for 68% of bloggers are having more of an influence in 2011. … Penn Schoen Berland conducted an Internet survey from September 13-October 4, 2011 among 4,114 bloggers around the world. The margin of error is +/- 1.4% at the 95% confidence level and larger for subgroups.

      Technorati: “Who are the Bloggers? – We started with a basic inquiry about the identity of the respondents. Roughly three fifths are male, a proportion that holds true over all blogger types. Not surprisingly, a majority of bloggers are in the 25-44 age range – but a third are over 44. … Although our survey was administered only in English, bloggers responded from 45 countries, with nearly half from the United States. … Income: While half of Corporates receive no annual salary for blogging, and the mean non-salary income of that blogger type was $17,101, 54% report an annual household income of $50,000 or more. This seems to indicate that the majority of Corporates are using any revenue from blogging as a supplement to their household income. … A quarter of respondents reported being self-employed, while just under half told us they were employed full-time… Overall, fewer bloggers reported this year that they are making a living via their blogs. (4% vs. 11% in 2010) … Combining these demos, we see a picture of Professional Full Timers as slightly older and likely to be in life circumstances (such as having another income due to marriage, or being currently a stay-at-home parent) that allow them time to pursue professional routes such as blogging. … Among those whose blog is a business, 81% manage the blog themselves. Corporate bloggers are most likely to have a paid full- or part-time staff (38%). … The majority of respondents update their blog two to three times per week. Professional Full Time bloggers tend to update their blog more frequently than any other bloggers, with 26% reporting that they update their blog at least three times per day. … Overall, there is a rise in the number of bloggers who say they are blogging more, and fewer bloggers report they are blogging less.

      Technorati: “Bloggers and the Traditional Media – We continue to see a very large overlap between bloggers and traditional media. Almost one third of bloggers have worked for the traditional media, with a monthly magazine being the most common form (41%). 55% of Professional Full Timers and half of all Corporate bloggers have worked for a monthly magazine in the past. Of those who have worked with traditional media, 24% are still employed and blog separately. … Nearly all (96%) bloggers have an independent blog. … 81% report that their blog is part of a non-media company.Brands and the BlogosphereThe blogosphere is influencing itself – respondents say that the number one influence on the topics they blog about are other blogs they read, a huge jump from 2010. Conversations with friends and social media accounts are also influencing blogging topics. … 38% of respondents say they blog about brands that they love or hate. 33% of Professional Part Timers post reviews at least once a week. … 65% of bloggers use social media to follow brands, and this holds fairly consistently across blogger types, indicating a common practice. Further, blogging on these brands is a common activity. … Bloggers are being actively courted. Nearly four out of 10 overall, 59% of Professional Part Timers, and 66% of Professional Full Timers have been approached to write about or review products. Pros are approached eight times per week on average. The most frequently approached Hobbyist, Professional Part Time, Professional Full Time, and Entrepreneur bloggers report being approached more than 200 times per week. … The majority of bloggers feel that bloggers are treated less professionally by brand representatives compared to traditional media. … Most (86%) – but not all – bloggers who participated in sponsored posts indicate that they disclosed that the post was sponsored or paid. … Among those working with brands, 45% are aware of the FTC ruling on disclosure. Professional Part Timers and Full Timers have higher awareness (56% and 64% respectively) of it. 59% said the ruling had not had any effect on their blogging activities.”

      Technorati: “Consumers in the Blogsphere – This is the second year we surveyed consumers on their trust of and attitudes toward the media they consume. Compared with other media, blogs continue to outpace other social media and many traditional media in terms of trust and generating consumer recommendations and purchases. Facebook remains somewhat influential, but less so than blogs, and Twitter has seen a drop in influence over the past year.”

      Technorati: “What’s in it for the Bloggers? Motivations and Consequences of Blogging – Among Professionals, Corporates, and Entrepreneurs, the leading metric of success is the number of unique visitors, while 42% of Professional Part Timers and 38% of Professional Full Timers cited revenue as the leading metric compared to 13% of respondents overall. 69% of Hobbyists say that personal satisfaction is a way they measure the success of their blog, compared to 57% of Professional Part Timers, 49% of Professional Full Timers, 40% of Corporate bloggers and 47% of Entrepreneur bloggers. … 70% of all bloggers use their blog to share their expertise and experience with others. Professionals also use their blog as a way to make money or supplement their income. Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers are looking to gain professional recognition, while also using their blog as a way to attract new clients to their business. … Asked what is the primary reason they blog, the greatest number of respondents overall said they use their blog as a way to share expertise and experience with others. … Overall, respondents seem to feel that blogging has had a positive impact on their personal life. 54% of respondents agree that they have made friends through their blog, and the same number agree that they have become more involved with their passion areas as a result of blogging. More than 60% of Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers have gained greater visibility in their industry through blogging.

      Technorati: “Bloggers and Social Media – 82% of bloggers surveyed are using Twitter, with almost all Professional Full Timers (93%) and Professional Part Timers (91%) using Twitter and having on average over 1,000 followers. Those who use Twitter say they do so to promote their blog (77%), follow friends (60%), and bring interesting links to light (59%). Professional, Corporate, and Entrepreneur bloggers use Twitter to promote themselves professionally. … Nearly half of bloggers who use Twitter link their blogs to it. Among respondents who do not use Twitter, the most common reason for not doing so is a lack of desire to broadcast one’s life (45%). Another 42% simply don’t have time. … Almost nine out of ten bloggers surveyed (89%) use Facebook. 50% of all bloggers have separate Facebook pages for their blog and for their personal account, a jump from only 34% last year. … Among Facebook users, the most common reason for using the social network is to promote one’s blog. 61% of Entrepreneur bloggers use Facebook to promote their business. … More than six out of ten respondents use Google+. Of those who use this service only 13% have a separate account for their blog and personal use. … Other than Facebook and Twitter, the most popular social networking platforms among respondents are LinkedIn and YouTube. Not surprisingly, respondents found Facebook and Twitter to be the most effective social networking tools to market their blogs and drive traffic. … Blogging Topics – Personal musings are most blogged about by Hobbyists, while Professional, Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers tend to blog about technology. Business is also a very popular topic for Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers. … 79% of all respondents describe their blogging style as ‘sincere,’ and 67% describe their style as ‘conversational.’ Professional, Corporates, and Entrepreneurs also describe their style as ‘expert.’

      Technorati: “Brands in the Blogosphere: What Do the Marketers Say? – We heard from marketers who are just getting started in social media, and veterans who are using every available tool. We also received detailed examples and case studies, which we’ll be profiling in upcoming articles. We also asked them about the most significant developments in social media in 2011 and their predictions for the coming year. – Overall, advice was centered along these main themes: Encourage and enable sharing across platforms. Bloggers are trusted peers. Work with them to create or curate unfiltered, credible content and reviews, in order to create a conversation around your brand. Focus on building long-term relationships. Use blogger outreach organically and encourage these social influencers to be honest and open about their opinions so that they don’t feel forced to give a ‘good’ review, but rather, their ‘own’ review. Use social media not only to distribute content but to build active communities and interact with and respond to your audiences. Layer on social media measurement tools to find where users fall into your conversion funnels. Leverage paid media on social channels. … What are your top three DOs for social media? Here is just a sampling of the advice we received: Be a personality, not just a brand. Be responsive and quick. Recognize and reward your fans. Push for organic conversation. Pull content streams into ad units. Provide value to your audience. … What are your top three DON’Ts for social media? The majority of the responses came in along these lines: Don’t use social media as a direct marketing channel. Don’t pay for likes. Don’t believe that social media is free. Time is money. Social media takes time and strategy. Don’t open up a two-way conversation if you aren’t fully aware of the likely conversation flow. Once you’ve opened up a dialog, be ready to turn negatives into positives, but DON’T censor a participant who has a negative opinion. Don’t expect that social media = mass exposure with no investment. … We asked: In the past year, what was the biggest change or the most significant development you saw in social media? The most popular answers centered around a few major trends: brand strategy, blogging, the evolution of specific social media channels, advancements in mobile devices, developments in analytics, and the problem of information overload.”

      Technorati: “Active Blogging – According to Technorati’s index, a minority of bloggers are posting daily, or even weekly. Further, the Technorati index skews to more active bloggers – presumably they have listed their blog with Technorati because they are actively creating content and want others to find it. Active blogging is clearly rewarded. When looking at average posts per month and per day by Technorati Authority, bloggers in the Top 100 generate 36 times more content than the average blogger. We also see a higher use of tags as part of their arsenal of strategies to bring audiences to their content, with 92% of the Top 100 bloggers using tags. … Blogging Technology – Most respondents’ blogs are individual blogs. Blogging Collectives are most common among Corporate bloggers, where they account for 35%. … WordPress is the most popular blog hosting service among all respondents, used by 51%. Blogger and Blogspot hosting services are also popular (21% and 14%). … Nearly 90% of bloggers are using some form of multimedia on their blogs, the most popular form being photos. Half of all bloggers surveyed use video on their blog, while another 10% use audio. … Of those using multimedia, slightly more create these assets themselves than repurpose them from other sites. … Particular blogging tools are very widespread among bloggers, especially built-in syndication (75%) and social sharing widgets (75%), as well as site search (58%). Among bloggers who use built-in syndication, the majority (76%) support full content. … Professional Full Timers have seen the most impact from the adoption of tablets and smartphones, with almost a third (32%) indicating their blogging style has changed. … Those impacted by tablets and smartphones indicate they are using photos and images (45%) more often and writing shorter posts (43%).”

      Technorati: “Traffic and Analytics – Bloggers continue to pay close attention to their readership: 65% use a third-party service to track their blog’s traffic. Across bloggers, Google Analytics is by far the most popular service. … Professional bloggers receive the most views, with over half of the blogs viewed more than 10,000 times per month. 58% of bloggers using third-party analytics receive fewer than 5,000 page views per month. … Professional bloggers receive the most unique visitors per month, with more than a third having over 10,000 unique visitors. … Monetization and Revenue – Of the 14% of bloggers who earn a salary for blogging, the average annual amount is $24,086. Corporate bloggers earn more, averaging $33,577 per year. … Most are not paid per post, but half of those who are earned less than $25 per post on average. … About half of all bloggers paid by the post earn less than $1,000 per year from per-post fees. – Display ads, affiliate marketing links, and search ads are the most common ways bloggers generate revenue from their blogs. 60% of Corporate bloggers said they do not have any advertising on their blog. … Most blog-related revenue is generated through giving speeches on blogging topics and advertising. … Among those who do not have advertising on their blogs, 52% say they do not have advertising because they don’t want their blogs to be cluttered with ads, while 38% said they don’t have enough visitors to make it worthwhile. Another 36% are not interested in making money on their blog. … Among those with advertising on their blog, 60% use self-serve tools, while 50% have affiliate advertising links on their site.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:48 on 18. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Civil Rights, COICA, , , Demand Progress, E-Parasite Act, , Fight For the Future, , , , , , , , , H.R.3261, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , PPF, PRO-IP Act, , Public Knowledge, , , , S.986, , , , , Traffic, , , , ,   

    Internet Censorship: SOPA and PIPA 

    Internet censorship made in the USA: SOPA and PIPA are a major attack on Internet freedom; http://eicker.at/InternetCensorship

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:49 on 18. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wikipedia: “The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R.3261 and the E-Parasite (Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation) Act, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011 by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. – The bill’s sponsors and advocates say it’s needed to help U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders fight online traffic in copyrighted intellectual property and ensuing revenue and job losses. Its opponents say it will ‘break the internet’, cost jobs, and threaten whistleblowers and other free speech. Now before the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008. The Senate’s corresponding bill, the Protect IP Act, was prevented from passing in early 2011 with a hold placed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). – The bill is divided into two titles with the first focusing on combating ‘foreign rogue sites’, websites outside U.S. jurisdiction that enable or facilitate copyright infringement, and the second focusing on increased penalties to combat intellectual property theft via digital means.

      Wikipedia: “PIPA – Protect IP Act, or (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011), is also known as United States Senate Bill S.968. It was introduced on May 12, 2011 by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and 11 initial bipartisan co-sponsors. Its goal is to give the government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to ‘rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods’, especially those registered outside the U.S. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that implementation of the bill would cost the federal government $47 million through 2016, to cover enforcement costs and the hiring and training of 22 new special agents and 26 support staff. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill, but Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) placed a hold on it. – The Protect IP Act is a re-write of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass in 2010. A similar House version of the bill, theStop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced on October 26, 2011.

      American Censorship: “American Censorship Day: Nov 16, 2011 – Congress holds hearings of the first American Internet censorship system. This bill can pass. If it does the Internet and free speech will never be the same. Join all of us to stop this bill. … Website Blocking – The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users. … Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users – It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook. … Chaos for the Internet – Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn’t be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system. … Supporters: Public Knowledge, EFF, Free Software Foundation, Mozilla, Demand Progress, Fight For the Future, PPF, Creative Commons, Wikimedia

      Mashable: “Tumblr, Firefox and Reddit drew broad black lines on their websites Wednesday to protest a proposed U.S. law that Internet companies have dubbed ‘censorship’ and entertainment companies ‘piracy protection.’ – Tumblr has blacked out all user-generated content you see when you first log in. When you click on the gray lines to investigate, you’re told: ‘Congress is holding hearings today and will soon pass a bill empowering corporations to censor the Internet unless you tell them no,’ and then have an option to leave a phone number to be connected to your elected representative.”

      TC: “Among numerous other issues, SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act, would allow copyright holders to easily obtain court orders to stop US payment and ad providers from doing business with foreign sites, force search engines to block links to allegedly infringing sites, and require domain service providers to block domains of allegedly infringing sites from being accessible. Be sure to check out Devin Coldewey’s excellent teardown of SOPA and PROTECT IP for more details on why we and many (but not all) other internet users are opposed.”

      Guardian: “Stop Sopa now – The Stop Online Piracy Act will kill online innovation and serve the interests not of ordinary web users but a corporate cartel – America is fond of chiding other nations about freedom of speech in the internet age. Leaders including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are constantly reminding their global counterparts, especially in places like China, that internet censorship is a detriment to open government and honest self-rule. Yet, the Obama administration has used tactics that smell of censorship, and Congress is making common cause with a corporate cartel that wants to turn the internet into little more than an enhanced form of cable television. … The damage Sopa would cause to existing services is bad enough. But the longer-range damage is literally incalculable, because the legislation is aimed at preventing innovation – and speech – that the cartel can’t control. … Meanwhile, the major media have been essentially silent on the issue. I’m not surprised. Big Media is an ally and member of the copyright cartel – and there may be more than a few people in traditional news organisations who fear the internet more than they worry about stifling speech.”

      GigaOM: “The Internet isn’t just pipes; it’s a belief system – Draconian new anti-piracy laws that are being pushed through both the Senate and the House of Representatives are about more than just an academic debate over different legislative methods for fighting copyright infringement. … As the Stop Online Piracy Act – and its cousin the E-Parasite Act – have worked their way through the Senate and the House, a loose coalition of technology companies and open-Internet advocates have come together to oppose the legislation – including companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo… The Internet by its nature is – among other things – a giant copyright-infringement machine. Because anyone can grab whatever content they wish and change it, mash it up with other content and instantly republish, it’s hugely frightening and threatening for many media companies and content owners. … That doesn’t mean we should encourage piracy, or deprive content owners of the tools to fight it when it occurs, but the reality is that they have those tools already in the DMCA and other existing legislation. SOPA and the E-Parasite Act aren’t just an expansion of those tools, they would alter the balance of power on the internet in fundamental ways and threaten the openness and freedom that generates a lot of the web’s value, both for businesses and for society as a whole. That’s not a trade we should make lightly, if at all.”

      EFF: “This week the House of Representatives opens hearings on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill that EFF – along with a number of prominent organizations and other actors – has opposed loudly and vigorously. – Though the bill would have grave implications on free expression for American Internet users, website owners, and intermediaries, its effects on the international community are even worse. In light of that fact, a coalition of international civil society and human rights groups have penned a letter expressing their opposition to the bill.

      SOPA Letter From Int’l Human Rights Community: “As press freedom and human rights advocates, we write to express our deep concern withH.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). While this is a domestic bill, there are several provisions within SOPA that would have serious implications for international civil and human rights which raise concerns about how the United States is approaching global internetgovernance. … Through SOPA, the United States is attempting to dominate a shared global resource.SOPA puts the interests of rightsholders ahead of the rights of society.Censoring the internet is the wrong approach to protecting any sectoral interest in business. By adopting SOPA, the United States would lose its position as a global leader in supporting a free and open Internet for public good. – The international civil and human rights community urges Congress to reject the Stop Online Privacy Act.

      GigaOM: “What the web is saying about SOPA – We’ve gathered a sample from various sources to help readers get a feel for the comments out there and see the big picture. Happy reading.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:01 on 13. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Browser Extension, Browser Toolbar, , , , , , Link Filtering, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Social Framework, , , StumbleUpon Paid Discovery, StumbleUpon Recommendation Technology, Traffic, ,   

    StumbleUpon 

    Is social bookmarking and link filtering service StumbleUpon finally gaining traction? http://eicker.at/StumbleUpon

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:01 on 13. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      In October 2011 StumbleUpon crossed the 20 million users‘ mark: “We are excited to announce that StumbleUpon has just reached 20 million members! We’ve come a long way over the last few years, and I wanted to thank all of our Stumblers for helping us get to this point. What started as a Firefox extension has now become available on any browser, as well as iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Our userbase – which has more than doubled since last year – now stumbles more than 1,000 times per second at peak times of the day. When I recently came across a magazine clipping from 2003, it struck me that we now serve as many stumbles in a single hour as we did in our first year of existence! So it’s very exciting for us to reach such a milestone, all from the simple idea of ‘click a button, find cool stuff.’

      StumbleUpon claims it’s driving over 50 percent of social media traffic in the USA: “You may have heard the stat that StumbleUpon drives more traffic referrals than any other social media site. We wanted to shed some light on this by describing the lifecycle of a web page in StumbleUpon, especially how long you could expect the average web page to keep getting visitors. … You might be wondering why the time-on-site data for StumbleUpon traffic that we’ve shared in this graphic may differ from what you’re used to seeing in your web tracking platforms, such as Google Analytics, WebTrends, Yahoo! Web Analytics, CoreMetrics, etc. It’s because these platforms assign a ‘zero’ time-on-site to all single-page visits, regardless of how long those visitors spend on that one page.”

      So what is StumbleUpon?StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites. As you click Stumble!, we deliver high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended by your friends or one of over [20] million other websurfers with interests similar to you. Rating these sites you like automatically shares them with like-minded people – and helps you discover great sites your friends recommend. … StumbleUpon uses ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality. When you stumble, you will only see pages that friends and like-minded stumblers have recommended. This helps you discover great content you probably wouldn’t find using a search engine. … Using search engines to locate relevant content typically means hunting through pages of results. Rather than searching for quality web sites, StumbleUpon members are taken directly to web sites matching their personal interests and preferences. … Using a combination of human opinions and machine learning to immediately deliver relevant content, StumbleUpon presents only web sites that have been suggested by other like-minded Stumblers.”

      StumbleUpon’s Recommendation Technology: “StumbleUpon integrates peer-to-peer and social networking principles with one-click blogging to create an emergent content referral system. Our patent-pending toolbar system automates the collection, distribution and review of web content within an intuitive social framework, providing users with a browsing experience which resembles ‘channel-surfing’ the web. This architecture has easily scaled to millions of users. … StumbleUpon combines collaborative human opinions with machine learning of personal preference to create virtual communities of like-minded websurfers. Rating websites updates a personal profile (weblog) and generates peer networks of websurfers linked by common interest. These social networks coordinate the distribution of web content, such that users ‘stumble upon’ pages explicitly recommended by friends and peers. This social content discovery approach automates the ‘word-of-mouth’ referral of peer-approved websites and simplifies web navigation.

      How does StumbleUpon’s business model work? “Users stumble the best of the web, finding sites that reflect their interests and friends by simply hitting a button in their browsers or on their mobile devices. With Paid Discovery, your URL becomes part of that stream. The user is eager to engage with new and exciting content, making your product’s discovery a welcome experience in the eyes of a Stumbler. … Pay only for engaged unique visitors, on a budget that you control. No minimum spend and no bidding required.

      Wikipedia: “StumbleUpon is a discovery engine (a form of web search engine) that finds and recommends web content to its users. Its features allow users to discover and rate Web pages, photos, and videos that are personalized to their tastes and interests using peer-sourcing and social-networking principles. – Toolbar versions exist for Firefox, Mozilla Application Suite, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, but StumbleUpon also works with some independent Mozilla-based browsers… StumbleUpon uses collaborative filtering (an automated process combining human opinions with machine learning of personal preference) to create virtual communities of like-minded Web surfers. Rating Web sites update a personal profile (a blog-style record of rated sites) and generate peer networks of Web surfers linked by common interest. These social networks coordinate the distribution of Web content, so that users ‘stumble upon’ pages explicitly recommended by friends and peers. Giving a site a thumbs up results in the site being placed under the user’s ‘favorites’. Furthermore, users have the ability to stumble their personal interests like ‘History’ or ‘Games’.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:14 on 4. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Business Practices, , , , , , , , Debiasing, , Economic Incentives, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Replication, , , , Search Bias, Search Engine Bias, , , , , , , , Traffic, , ,   

    Search Engine Bias 

    Does Google favour its own sites in search results? New study: Google less biased than Bing; http://eicker.at/SearchEngineBias

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:14 on 4. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      SEL: “Does Google favor its own sites in search results, as many critics have claimed? Not necessarily. New research suggests that claims that Google is ‘biased’ are overblown, and that Google’s primary competitor, Microsoft’s Bing, may actually be serving Microsoft-related results ‘far more’ often than Google links to its own services in search results. – In an analysis of a large, random sample of search queries, the study from Josh Wright, Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, found that Bing generally favors Microsoft content more frequently, and far more prominently, than Google favors its own content. According to the findings, Google references its own content in its first results position in just 6.7% of queries, while Bing provides search result links to Microsoft content more than twice as often (14.3%). … The findings of the new study are in stark contrast with a study on search engine ‘bias’ released earlier this year. That study, conducted by Harvard professor Ben Edelman concluded that ‘by comparing results across multiple search engines, we provide prima facie evidence of bias; especially in light of the anomalous click-through rates we describe above, we can only conclude that Google intentionally places its results first.’ … So, what conclusions to draw? Wright says that ‘analysis finds that own-content bias is a relatively infrequent phenomenon’ – meaning that although Microsoft appears to favor its own sites more often than Google, it’s not really a major issue, at least in terms of ‘bias’ or ‘fairness’ of search results that the engines present. Reasonable conclusion: Google [and Bing, though less so] really are trying to deliver the best results possible, regardless of whether they come from their own services [local search, product search, etc] or not. … But just because a company has grown into a dominant position doesn’t mean they’re doing wrong, or that governments should intervene and force changes that may or may not be “beneficial” to users or customers.

      Edelman/Lockwood: “By comparing results between leading search engines, we identify patterns in their algorithmic search listings. We find that each search engine favors its own services in that each search engine links to its own services more often than other search engines do so. But some search engines promote their own services significantly more than others. We examine patterns in these differences, and we flag keywords where the problem is particularly widespread. Even excluding ‘rich results’ (whereby search engines feature their own images, videos, maps, etc.), we find that Google’s algorithmic search results link to Google’s own services more than three times as often as other search engines link to Google’s services. For selected keywords, biased results advance search engines’ interests at users’ expense: We demonstrate that lower-ranked listings for other sites sometimes manage to obtain more clicks than Google and Yahoo’s own-site listings, even when Google and Yahoo put their own links first. … Google typically claims that its results are ‘algorithmically-generated’, ‘objective’, and ‘never manipulated.’ Google asks the public to believe that algorithms rule, and that no bias results from its partnerships, growth aspirations, or related services. We are skeptical. For one, the economic incentives for bias are overpowering: Search engines can use biased results to expand into new sectors, to grant instant free traffic to their own new services, and to block competitors and would-be competitors. The incentive for bias is all the stronger because the lack of obvious benchmarks makes most bias would be difficult to uncover. That said, by comparing results across multiple search engine, we provide prima facie evidence of bias; especially in light of the anomalous click-through rates we describe above, we can only conclude that Google intentionally places its results first.”

      ICLE: “A new report released [PDF] by the International Center for Law und Economics and authored by Joshua Wright, Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, critiques, replicates, and extends the study, finding Edelman und Lockwood’s claim of Google’s unique bias inaccurate and misleading. Although frequently cited for it, the Edelman und Lockwod study fails to support any claim of consumer harm – or call for antitrust action – arising from Google’s practices.Prof. Wright’s analysis finds own-content bias is actually an infrequent phenomenon, and Google references its own content more favorably than other search engines far less frequently than does Bing: In the replication of Edelman und Lockwood, Google refers to its own content in its first page of results when its rivals do not for only 7.9% of the queries, whereas Bing does so nearly twice as often (13.2%). – Again using Edelman und Lockwood’s own data, neither Bing nor Google demonstrates much bias when considering Microsoft or Google content, respectively, referred to on the first page of search results. – In our more robust analysis of a large, random sample of search queries we find that Bing generally favors Microsoft content more frequently-and far more prominently-than Google favors its own content. – Google references own content in its first results position when no other engine does in just 6.7% of queries; Bing does so over twice as often (14.3%). – The results suggest that this so-called bias is an efficient business practice, as economists have long understood, and consistent with competition rather than the foreclosure of competition. One necessary condition of the anticompetitive theories of own-content bias raised by Google’s rivals is that the bias must be sufficient in magnitude to exclude rival search engines from achieving efficient scale. A corollary of this condition is that the bias must actually be directed toward Google’s rivals. That Google displays less own-content bias than its closest rival, and that such bias is nonetheless relatively infrequent, demonstrates that this condition is not met, suggesting that intervention aimed at ‘debiasing’ would likely harm, rather than help, consumers.”

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