FryUp: Online users count: Telcos ring in the changes

Top Stories: - Online users count - Telcos ring in changes

Top Stories:

- Online users count

- Telcos ring in changes

- Online users count

So the numbers are in, and everyone has more users than we expected.

Red Sheriff, along with Phoenix Research, won the contract to provide user numbers for the online publishers group ("you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy...") which consists of XtraMSN, IDG (publisher and purveyor of fine email newsletters as well as some magazines, newspapers and things), Wilson & Horton, INL and a bunch of others.

Basically they were after numbers. How many users visit my site? When do they come? What do they do there? Who are they? Are they coming back?

There are three major players in this online counting game in New Zealand - Red Sheriff, which adds a small piece of code to customer websites that tracks usage; Hitwise, which takes the numbers from ISP traffic logs; and AC Nielsen, which runs a panel of users and monitors their surfing habits.

AC Nielsen was the "currency" of the online world for a long time. However, it pulled out of the New Zealand market leaving behind a panel of home users that it runs from Sydney.

Sadly, home users aren't much chop when the majority of your traffic comes through in the daytime. AC Nielsen keeps saying it has plans to introduce a business panel but time has moved on and there's still no sign of it.

Hitwise has a good model with obvious advantages: it counts all the users, so gets to produce a list of all the websites, right down to the very smallest.

But without the support of the major ISPs you have to wonder how skewed its numbers are - while it still has a huge number of users on its scheme it doesn't have Xtra or TelstraClear's ISPs, so you have to wonder what kind of results it is generating.

Red Sheriff certainly isn't the perfect solution either - but what is? The Sheriff only counts traffic on those sites that pay for its service, starting from $100 a month, so will only be of interest to those sites that make money or need to know such things.

Still, as a solution for a problem presented by a publishers group, who will pay for such a service, it's working nicely, although it took a bit longer than expected to get up and running.

XtraMSN is, of course, streets ahead of the rest of us in numbers. The interesting thing is that its traffic is almost 75% greater than previously estimated, due mostly to those visitors coming through in the day time.

News sites dominate the top 10 list, but that's hardly surprising either. Dynamic content - updated regularly and frequently - is the key here.

Trade Me, the online auction site, is the stealth winner-on-the-day. It has three sites in the top 20 and one of the stickiest sites in the country. Users spend over 15 minutes a day on the site, although each page is visited for only a handful of seconds - as you'd expect from an online auction.

All told things can only get better from here as we have the category groupings to see yet, as well as the qualitative data from Phoenix on just who these users are.

And as for IDGNet, you ask? We lie 13th, with a loyal band of about 18,500 readers in the first week who read each story in 1.54 minutes. I spend a whole day writing those damned stories and you leaf through them in under two minutes each?! I may need to lie down for a bit.

Red Sheriff online figures finally available - IDGNet

Trade Me bidding for top spot - IDGNet

Tracking the Websurfer - Aardvark

Online news audiences larger than previous estimates - NZ Herald

- Telcos ring in changes

The telco industry is taking its own sweet merry time about ringing in the changes, but finally it's getting up a good head of steam.

Two new initiatives are turning heads, raising eyebrows, inducing polite coughs and generally making everyone twitchy this week.

Counties Power, formerly the Franklin District Power Board, is going to build its own fibre/wireless network.

That's right - at a time when we are told that 94% of the world's fibre is unlit, these guys are going to build a whole new network.

Remarkable.

What is interesting is that they're quite serious about it - they're looking to sell connections to any other telco, network provider or ISP to onsell to customers like you and me.

So while the company doesn't have any actual contracts signed at the moment, doesn't have any final word on what technology it will use for its wireless component and doesn't actually have any end users, it does have a chunk of spectrum bought at the recent auction and a cool head on its shoulders.

The other company making waves is Walker Wireless. It's trialling its W-CDMA portable wireless broadband system in Auckland, will be rolling out a trial in Wellington shortly and has plans to launch commercially within months.

This is interesting because not only will the broadband connection supply fast internet access, but voice as well: customers need never buy from Telecom again.

This is also one of the few broadband competitors making a serious play in both business and residential markets - all too often the broadband players think the world stops at the edge of the CBD.

If there's one telecommunications company we should have heard from by now but haven't, it's Econet Wireless. Remember it? Over a year ago it said it'd build a GSM phone network and give us all competition in the cellphone market.

Clock's ticking, guys...

Electricity company launches broadband telco - IDGNet

User benefits seen in Counties network - IDGNet

Do telecomms deals now says Gartner - IDGNet

Walker Wireless/Vodafone trial proceeding well - IDGNet

Walker Wireless thinking big with telecom trial - NZ Herald

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