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Time To Unify Web Metrics?

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[ Business]

There are lots of ways to measure the popularity of a social networking site. The general shift seems to be toward measuring engagement – how long users spend at a site and how often they show up. Even then, you’ll often see the same names pop up that you would have if page views and/or unique visitors were measured alone.

Time To Unify Web Metrics?
Time To Unify Web Metrics?

Recently, venture capitalists have been measuring engagement by noting not just unique visitors, but also pageviews per visitor per visit and average visits per visitor. Even this, though, in a dawning age of widgeteering, may cease to be an accurate measure.

EBizMBA has ranked 30 social bookmarking sites using a quintet of factors: inbound links, monthly visitors according to Compete, monthly visitors according to Quantcast, Alexa ranking, and Page Rank.

If you’re persnickety, you’ll question a few things right away: the ability to game links; the large variation between Quantcast and Compete numbers (Digg has somewhere between 7 million and 22 million monthly visitors); the gnawing remembrance that Alexa is far from accurate; an uncertainty if the stated Page Rank is the actual Page Rank Google uses for its algorithm.

All those concerns aside (no metric is perfect after all, and eBizMBA notes that the data is useful for "gauging relative audience size"), the list is still interesting and it is in an order you might expect, with a couple of surprises.

The top 10 are:

1.    Digg.com
2.    Netscape.com
3.    Technorati.com
4.    del.icio.us
5.    Fark.com
6.    StumbleUpon.com
7.    MyBlogLog.com
8.    reddit.com
9.    kaboodle.com
10.    Slashdot.com

It would be interesting to see a more overall view that added pageviews per visitor, average visits per visitor, session time per visitor, and some sort of widget measurement. Perhaps someone can give us an overall score based on the combination of those metrics.

Time To Unify Web Metrics?
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