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New Web Metric Likely To Hurt Google

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the bye-bye-page-views dept.

The Internet 226

StonyandCher write(s) with news that one of the largest Net measurement companies, Nielsen/NetRatings, is about to abandon page views as its primary metric for comparing sites. Instead the company will use total time spent on a site. The article notes, "This is likely to affect Google's ranking because while users visit the site often, they don't usually spend much time there. 'It is not that page views are irrelevant now, but they are a less accurate gauge of total site traffic and engagement,' said Scott Ross, director of product marketing at Nielsen/NetRatings. 'Total minutes is the most accurate gauge to compare between two sites. If [Web] 1.0 is full page refreshes for content, Web 2.0 is, "How do I minimize page views and deliver content more seamlessly?"'"

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Google announces acquisition of Nielsen/NetRatings (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19808589)

Moments ago, Google purchased Nielsen/NetRatings for approximately $135 million in cash. The new metric ranking was immediately disabled for further work.

Re:Google announces acquisition of Nielsen/NetRati (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19808689)

Now THAT's what I call American resistance to the metric system.

--parasonic

Hey mods! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19809183)

Mod this one up.

The new Google NetRatings is in beta now! (2, Funny)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808811)

And will remain so for many, many, many years to come.

Re:Google announces acquisition of Nielsen/NetRati (1)

painworthy (979388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808893)

Google who?

Love the headline (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19808593)

"New Web metric likely to hurt Google, help YouTube." - very insightful. YouTube better watchout! With this kind of headlines they're likely to get bought. Oh wait.

Seriously retarded method (4, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808937)

What matters is not page views or page durations but redirects to pay-sites. That's the value of any site from an advertisers point of view. When I read the NY times I spend a long time there but I'm not likely to be shopping and even if I was in a mood to shop the probability they happen to show me an ad for something I'm interested in is close to nil. Plus the adds they tend to show there are delux flash moving ads or big long columns.

Now when I go to google and type in "blow up dolls" or Airline miles or 629 investments or some purchase worthy topic, I read the ads. Not only that but the ads are short. so I don't spend much time. But I click through a dozen of them into tabs in a few seconds.

When I watch you tube, how long to I look at the ads? probably not at all--I scroll then off screen. But I do see the adds on the leader of the video. But that's only a few second on a 5 minute video. A good and focused 5 seconds yes. Even subject worthy 5 seconds. But not 5 minutes.

YouTube is different......... (0)

soccer_Dude88888 (1043938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809155)

Since people are likely to watch the entire clip during the visit of a particular clip, page views is directly proportional to viewing time.

For example, there are more than 10,000 people already watched the video clip of the upcoming Source-engine-based FPS aiming against the world evil force.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUY-ciT-mu4 [youtube.com]

Re:Love the headline (4, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809243)

This is the most hilariously worded Slashdot headline I've seen in like a week. The guy was basically describing an algorithm, nothing more. For technical reasons page view statistics are becoming irrelevant- so now they calculate a new metric that supposedly gives weight to longer user session lifetimes. Maybe they just pay more attention to overall HTTP query traffic or something. The effect of this would be, say, to boost a site such as AOL chat (an extreme example of a site with a low page view count and long session lifetime), and de-emphasize a site such as Google (an extreme example of a site with a high page view count and short session lifetime). For purposes of illustration, he just picked two examples that would make sense to people.

The article submission takes the angle that this is a kick in the nuts for Google! As if Google depends on Nielsen's reporting high metrics to advertisers so that they can charge more for banner ads! So Nielsen would report a low metric for Google! Oooh, what intrigue! Nielsen has their balls in a sling now! How will Google retaliate?

But that wasn't the point the guy was making at all; for him Google was just a good example of an extreme example. I would guess that nobody in either company is really concerned about Nielsen's calculated metric for Google. Google acts as its own Nielsen and competes with Nielsen using a not-quite-equivalent business model. It's a sort of integrated content provider/ratings company all on its own. They don't need to have their metrics reported to advertisers. Advertisers are showing up with money already for that AdSense program, and the cost is associated with a metric calculated for a search term, not Google as a content provider itself. The advertiser has already chosen Google (as the content provider) so implicitly of course they also have to agree to the terms of Google's ratings service since it's part of the package. Nielsen's rating of the Google home page doesn't enter into it! Just ask anyone using AdSense if they gave a crap about Google's Nielsen rating.

But (4, Insightful)

Verte (1053342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808597)

you can't measure that...

Re:But (1)

Don'tTreadOnMe (686201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808619)

Maybe Nielsen is positioning themselves to be the "computer top box" that measures page views, since the demise of broadcast TV will eliminate the need for set top boxes...

Re:But - well, what about sessions? (1)

celerityfm (181760) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808647)

Sessions is what they'll use- and it'll be what many analytics (google included) use for measuring time spent at a site.

Re:But - well, what about sessions? (1)

celerityfm (181760) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808695)

and by "it'll be" I meant- "it is" - doh!

Re:But - well, what about sessions? (4, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808763)

Sessions is what they'll use- and it'll be what many analytics (google included) use for measuring time spent at a site.
Is that why I've been getting page views that take forever to close their connection? They're keeping a download incomplete so that they can measure when the client gives up as time visited per page?

Anyway, they shouldn't just abandon page hits for time spent. Lots of quick impressions should be just as valuable as a few long impressions, maybe even more so(1) depending on the type of ads being sold (static splash vs. animated flash).

(1) Spell-check says "moreso" isn't a word? I'm sure I've seen it before.

Re:But - well, what about sessions? (1)

brian.gunderson (1012885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809005)

(1) Spell-check says "moreso" isn't a word? I'm sure I've seen it before.

I still get hung up on 'alot'...

Re:But - well, what about sessions? (2, Informative)

earborne (1079947) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809035)

Spell-check says "moreso" isn't a word? I'm sure I've seen it before.

It should be "more so." Not that spell-check is ever to be trusted.

http://wsu.edu/~brians/errors/moreso.html [wsu.edu]

Re:But - well, what about sessions? (1)

Twisted64 (837490) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809105)

Perhaps you meant "moreover?"

Re:But - well, what about sessions? (5, Insightful)

Verte (1053342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808793)

Sure, sessions will work for sites like forums. However, is there going to be anything shown by session length that won't be shown by page views in that case? What about pages that you can really spend days to weeks at a time staring at, such as the glibc [gnu.org] manual or the Coyotos microkernel specification [coyotos.org] ? If the user never refreshes the page before the end of the session, information-packed sites aren't going to be measured at all.

Re:But - well, what about sessions? (2, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808897)

What about pages that you can really spend days to weeks at a time staring at
Most of the sites that make their money on ads have about 3 words of content and 57 ads per "page" of an article, so this really won't be an issue.

Re:But (4, Interesting)

wish bot (265150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808679)

This was the rage about 10 years ago - pages had to become more 'sticky', or so marketing people told everyone. I think this led directly to the demise of the blink tag - no one could bear to look at blinking text for any period of time. You made a page more sticky by providing better and more in-depth content. What actually happened is that sites started splitting up content over 10 or 20 pages, alla ad-view-generating tech sites today. Prepare for unending mazes of content to make you stay much longer on one web site.

Re:But (5, Funny)

Verte (1053342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808827)

On the other hand, we will be seeing sites with a lot of completely useless content that make you search around all day to find what you're looking for.

Re:But (2, Funny)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808949)

Are we talking about the same internet?

Re:But (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809187)

Like this [yahoo.com] ?

New money-making Firefox feature (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809077)

What actually happened is that sites started splitting up content over 10 or 20 pages, alla ad-view-generating tech sites today. Prepare for unending mazes of content to make you stay much longer on one web site.
This sounds like a new needed firefox plug in. Content-re-aggregator. Detects multiple page articles and re-assembles them into one page or at least pre-loads them all. It does not actually have to detect anything. in manual mode you tell it when to re-aggregate, in ultra-dumb mode maybe you even show it where the "next" button is. Then wham. Re-aggregates the content, strips out the ads and replaces them with google-ads. Cha Ching.

Re:But (1)

Lobster Quadrille (965591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809265)

I think this led directly to the demise of the blink tag


I thought the blink tag was dead, but it keeps coming back on bad web sites all over the place. I hadn't seen it for a few weeks, but today, I check out the new local deli's takeout menu for lunch and lo and behold, there it is, like an old friend who won't leave you alone with your new friends and kinda smells like scotch and vomit.
 
Please go away, blinky, and take your friend marquee with you.

Of course you can (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808825)

Use some programmability/flash/whatever to keep pinging back to the host.

Re:Of course you can (1)

Verte (1053342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808941)

No, you can measure a subset of usage this way. Sites that call home often are going to get closed or disused very quickly. More and more people tend to whitelist active content, because it is increasingly annoying. As that gets worse, you can still use cookies in some cases, but that also assumes you refresh the site. This is a great way to measure usage of enterprisey AJAX pages, and maybe forums [although there's no advantage with this method here], but otherwise, it's not always going to work.

Re:Of course you can (4, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809051)

Use some programmability/flash/whatever to keep pinging back to the host.

Right, so the users behind my NAT are going to be measured as one person spending all day on somepopularsite.com, in 8 different places simultaneously? What about the four other open tabs currently open in my browser? Am I still visiting those sites? The answer could be 'yes', but I don't see how that adds value for advertisers.

HTTP is a stateless protocol, which means that it's inherently difficult (i.e. impossible) to consistently get accurate data about the duration of a given visit. It can be argued that you can derive data that's statistically significant. You can argue further that if everyone uses the same metric then they'll be valid for comparison purposes, which is enough for the MBAs in Marketing, I suppose.

I personally think time spent on a website is a silly metric, and will continue to hold that opinion until someone can make the case that staring at an advertisement for longer period of time actually encourages a person to finally click on it, rather than tune it out completely. (This works well for branding, but for little else.)

There's a lot of nuance that can be brought into this discussion, and this is where the good advertisers and marketers earn their keep. Assuming that either page views or time spent on a site are sufficient to make a solid judgement of the value of a given website is, uh, a little short on nuance.

My God! (5, Funny)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808599)

Now all those people who choose their search engine by its Nielsen/NetRatings ratings are going to stop using Google.....why that might be a few dozen people at least!

Re:My God! (1)

x_MeRLiN_x (935994) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808699)

If [Web] 1.0 is full page refreshes for content, Web 2.0 is, "How do I minimize page views and deliver content more seamlessly?"
Unless of course your site uses advertising agencies that value page views; in which case you'll spread as little content as possible over as many pages as you can. A slightly puzzling trend I've seen more recently is to refresh the whole page every so often regardless of whether this provides any sort of benefit.

Re:My God! (4, Insightful)

vic-traill (1038742) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809173)

Now that's good fer a god-honest knee-slappin' guffaw!

Thanks - I needed that.

Just so I don't get karma-slapped upside the OT head ... I've always thought of Nielson as a mechanism for pricing ads; like all representations of average behaviour, it doesn't say shinola about a particular individual's viewing habits. So, as long as the advertisers think they're getting value out of the metric, that's fine. But I've never talked to anyone who used a Nielson rating as a TV viewing guide.

Similarly, I've never talked to anyone who uses Nielson/NetRatings as a measure of the usefulness of quality/level of interest/etc. of a web site. And NetRatings doesn't even have the mindshare of Nielson the TV dudes. Anyway - in the context of a mechanism for ad pricing, google is the web equivalent of a TV ad about TV ads, which doesn't make any sense for a NetRatings rating. For that matter, what's the NetRatings measure of http://www.nielsen-netratings.com/ [nielsen-netratings.com] ?

Methinks that this announcement of a change in metric is just an attempt to get some profile on NetRatings' existence, and the notion of affecting google.com's measure for ads is plain absurd, because google *is* the advertiser. Drawing an equivalency between an indexing and search discovery mechanism like google and a less meta-focused content site is just boneheaded.

A bit of a lame submission IMHO.

Idiotic (4, Insightful)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808601)

In my experience, most people don't bother to close their browser when they are done browsing. It's even worse for people used to tabbed browsing. How many times do you shut down the computer at night with tabs containing something you looked at with your morning coffee? I know I do as often as not.

Re:Idiotic (3, Interesting)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808697)

In my experience, most people don't bother to close their browser when they are done browsing. It's even worse for people used to tabbed browsing. How many times do you shut down the computer at night with tabs containing something you looked at with your morning coffee? I know I do as often as not.
That doesn't matter. Assuming you don't have some kind of page refresh every n seconds, most analytics software have timeout values between page loads. If you don't close your browser and then come back the next morning and continue where you left off, the analytics software should see that it's been more than 30 minutes between page loads and consider it a new visit.
 

Re:Idiotic (5, Insightful)

needacoolnickname (716083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808801)

That doesn't matter. Assuming you don't have some kind of page refresh every n seconds, most analytics software have timeout values between page loads. If you don't close your browser and then come back the next morning and continue where you left off, the analytics software should see that it's been more than 30 minutes between page loads and consider it a new visit.


That might be true, but what about when I open a link in a new tab from something I am reading but don't get to it for another 20 minutes. After I get to it I notice that the link is crap and close it right away. Total time spent = 4 seconds. Total time they think spent is 20 minutes 4 seconds.

Re:Idiotic (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809117)

That might be true, but what about when I open a link in a new tab from something I am reading but don't get to it for another 20 minutes. After I get to it I notice that the link is crap and close it right away. Total time spent = 4 seconds. Total time they think spent is 20 minutes 4 seconds.
There will always be examples like that. However, unless such behavior becomes even remotely normal then statistically speaking I don't think it would make a dent in usage patterns. Certainly not if you consider median usage rather than average.
 

Re:Idiotic (1)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808943)

Assuming you don't have some kind of page refresh every n seconds
Two notes on that:

1) iGoogle, Gmail, and other AJAX websites do a sort of self-update every so often. I wonder how those would factor into the ratings for people who always keep those open in a tab (I, for example, pretty much always have iGoogle open in a tab).

2) I'm a regular user of Opera, which, in its latest iteration, includes a feature called "Speed Dial [opera.com] ." This feature consists of a tab that has previews of nine user-selected web pages. The user can define how often the page preview updates--I have mine set to every 30 minutes. The page previews update even when the Speed Dial tab is not open (that way the previews are there instantaniously when you open the Speed Dial tab, so you don't have to wait for each preview to load to see the page preview). So that means that the whole time I have Opera open it's reloading pages that I might not view at all. Note, however--this feature throws a wrench in ratings measured by the number of page views as well.

I suppose my response to myself on my second note is that probably any page that the user causes to be refreshed so often deserves to get a high count from that user, no matter the metric used. On the other hand--what if I set the page in my Speed Dial but then end up never actually using the page because my thoughts on how useful it would be turned out to be wrong? (I'll call this Fiddler on the Roof-style commenting)

I guess I can just say I'm glad I'm not in the business of calculating ratings for web pages. It seems like a difficult thing to measure, particularly in this day of tabs and self-refreshing web pages, etc.

Re:Idiotic (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809017)

2) I'm a regular user of Opera...The user can define how often the page preview updates--I have mine set to every 30 minutes.

I love Opera too. If you right-click on any page there is a "Reload Every..." submenu on the context menu. I have 8 tabs in the background, updating at different rates depending on their content (active eBay bids every 20 minutes until close to the end, then every 5 seconds. News every 10 minutes. TV listings every 30 minutes (what a surprise), etc.)

Re:Idiotic (1)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809227)

I suppose this is somewhat offtopic from the story, but as you mention it, I do sometimes use that page reload feature in Opera--I have a question about it, though, that reading the story led me to do a little research on, but I couldn't find the answer:

As far as I can tell, there is no way to set a page, for example Slashdot, to always reload every n minutes. If I have sufficiently searched every corner, it seems that I would have to check the "enable" setting every time I open Slashdot for it to automatically reload. The closest I can come to automatically autoreloading Slashdot is, perhaps, saving a session with that option ticked (if that would even work, I haven't tried it, but I will after I submit this post). But that doesn't quite solve the problem because I'd have to be careful to not close the particular Slashdot page that opened with the session. I'd like to find a way to have the autoreload be part of the site preferences--maybe a user javascript? Those are a little advanced for me though.

Re:Idiotic (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809163)

For situations like that, I can see several possibilities which would emerge if such features gain traction. The first would be to implement a different useragent string to identify this specific behavior. Instead of "Opera/X.Y ..." it would be great to have "Opera-SpeedDial/X.Y ...". This would allow you to filter out those hits and it gives the added benefit that now you can specifically track how many SpeedDial visits there were and, should this increase sufficiently, perhaps design your pages in such a way as to be more thumbnail friendly.

The other possibility is to pass something in along with the HTTP request much like passing in authentication credentials or cookie values. Effectively a "don't count my visit" parameter. However, I think this has more potential to be abused and the useragent method is likely of more value.
 

Re:Idiotic (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808813)

At my workplace, we're forbidden from shutting our computers down at the end of the day. (Each desktop machine is used for distributed builds.) I keep Firefox open for weeks until it starts eating 100% of CPU for opening a link, then I kill-9 it and restart, restoring my tabs. I have 34 tabs open right now, though this one will be closed soon after I hit Submit.

And it doesn't appear to be a memory issue. I free up more memory by killing gnome-panel.

Re:Idiotic (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809007)

34 tabs?!

And they're all Slashdot articles...SysAdmin, huh?

So? (5, Insightful)

Mr.Progressive (812475) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808621)

Google is its own Web metric

Re:So? (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808983)

Here Here!

I mean really, it's not like anyone needs Nielsen to tell them that putting your ad on Google is going to generate fairly well targeted views. Personally, IF I were to advertise something, I'd rather it be unobtrusive (not annoying) and well-targeted: something Google does quite well.

Tabbed browsers (5, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808643)

Sometimes i visit a site that links a lot of places (an common one is a google search) and open every site in a different browser tab, and then i read. Now, the last tabs are likely to be there for long time, either till i close it, read it, or even click on links there. How that kind of behaviour gives more weight to the sites i opened at the end?

And to make it worse, most browsers now support tabs.

Re:Tabbed browsers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19808671)

Flash can tell when the page is actually visible.

Re:Tabbed browsers (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808835)

Flash can tell when the page is actually visible.

Flash can also tell if you're sitting in front of your webcam and hear what you're talking about if you let it.

Re:Tabbed browsers (1)

brian.gunderson (1012885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809021)

With a pair of 22" lcd's in front of me, I can have a lot 'visible' that I'm still not really looking at...

Embedded Google? (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808649)

How does nielsen account for google usage that is embedded in other application (firefox), or in your own webpage? In those cases, i'm accessing google via an API rather than surfing over to google.com and typing in my query there.

Re:Embedded Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19808799)

How does nielsen account for google usage that is embedded in other application (firefox), or in your own webpage? In those cases, i'm accessing google via an API rather than surfing over to google.com and typing in my query there.
Don't you think the 99.9975% of other people using Google likely outweighs your isolated example?
 

Re:Embedded Google? (1)

DaSH Alpha (979904) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809165)

yeah, including apps like Google Desktop. I have Desktop Sidebar installed so whenever my pc is on I have images from the Weather Channel on my desktop so would they consider that 24/7 usage, or will they only consider web site views through a web browser? Eh, it's not like it'll really matter anyway, it's just another metric to use in their bag.

Time on page (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808661)

I think google owns blogger so that should help them out a bit. Folks will generally spend 1:07 on a blog page that takes three scroll roles. Seems everyone reads faster than I do.
--
Solar power the easy way: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

How can this ever hurt Google ? (1)

insincere boy (898557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808669)

The headline in the original article is misguided.

* First of all, just because they have a different way of ranking, it does not mean Google's revenue's or popularity are suddenly going to fall. Do consumers care where Google falls in some agency's new ranking system ?

* Here is a better metric for for-profit companies: Revenue per user per month. That is what really matters for the bottomline. Even I visit the search page for 5 seconds, if I clicked on that ad to get away from Google, its better than spending 30 mins playing chess at Yahoo. A search engine has both enormous number of users as well as decent revenue per user. And its a better test for comparing business models across companies.

* Ranking web-sites is a multi-dimensional issue. Different types of sites require different metrics. Time per visit or user makes lot of sense for video sites. Number of searches makes sense for search engines. Number of transactions per user or per day makes sense for marketplaces like eBay. So just approaching this using a single metric is not going to work across the internet, especially where revenue is concerned.

Re:How can this ever hurt Google ? (1)

ken9 (1126035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808871)

It would seem to me that there are two distinct types of advertising that would be measured in two different ways.

Brand awareness, whose measure could be the amount of time that the ad is in front of the user, is notoriously difficult to measure and value as there is not a direct link between the ad and the future action of the purchaser. When we add AJAX to advertising we get the opportunity to sell X user minutes per dollar. Given that, the advertiser would care about the number of users they would reach out of their potential client pool. So the metric would seem to be number of discrete users, at least until a way of further profiling web users is achieved... Hmmm Google, didn't I read about a series of concerns from your competitors about your ability to do this in the future?

Referrals from a site to the advertiser, or potential competitors of the advertiser, is the one that matters most as this is a direct conversion of ad to sales. Given the internet culture is one of immediate gratification, why should we assume any different for advertisers within that culture? Hmmm, sounds like profiled click-throughs to me.

Since there are two different types of advertising with two different metrics, trying to rank them on a single scale will always fail.

My $0.02 worth.

Ummm... (4, Interesting)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808677)

Not spending a lot of time on a search engine is a GOOD thing. It means the engine is doing what it is supposed to...direct you quickly to what you are looking for.

Re:Ummm... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808855)

That depends on what you're searching for. I'd bet people spend more time per page on images.google.com single-handed than they do on regular searches.

Why would google care? (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808687)

Why would Google care if their Nielson rating drops? A very low time-on-page, in my view, as both a user and AdWords advertiser, is good. I want a search engine that gives me what I want and lets me get to the content. I want advertisements that are concise and to the point -- and only catch the right person. The more time a person spends on a search results page, the more likely they are to click my ads for no real purpose other than to "see the result" -- driving up my advertising costs needlessly.

The only ones that benefit from a lot of clicks are websites that advertise themselves and get paid on impression rates. I don't do either (no advertising at all in fact, only our own product pages).

This doesn't make sense (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808693)

How is a ranking going to hurt google? They aren't offering content, they're offering a service - one, which I might add, is best when I don't have to be there long.

Re:This doesn't make sense (1)

athena_wiles (967508) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809081)

true - and furthermore, won't the new rankings affect all search engines the same way? even if google's ranking falls overall when taken in the context of the ENTIRE web, I don't see how it will have much affect when you look just at search sites.

but who knows, maybe it will become the big test of search engine effectiveness to see who can maximize page views while minimizing time spent on the site (i.e. looking for the search results one wants)...

Opening a can of carnivorous worms (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808731)

This is going to bite the rating company big-time. First thing, a fair percentage of the userbase does things that severely interfere with time-on-site measurements. Blocking cookies is an obvious one. Another is blocking of various Javascript functions like onunload that prevent the page from seeing the user leaving the site. Unless the site eliminates direct off-site links and always redirects through it's own page, which users tend not to like either. And even after resolving all those issues, what constitutes visiting or leaving a site in this day and age of tabbed browsing? Suppose I pull up a Google page and then open 10 search-result links in new tabs, all without closing any tabs. Who gets credit for my time on site? Surely if I spend 10 seconds looking at the Google page and 10 minutes looking at one of the search-result tabs it should be the site I'm looking at that gets credit for my time, but how can the monitoring page code know that I've switched to another tab? Not to mention how the monitoring code handles my leaving the site, and then leaving the site again 5 minutes later, and then leaving the site again a minute after that, as I open links in new tabs, close those tabs and open new ones without reloading the original page.

Done Web analytics. It ain't as easy as the Web analytics' company's salescritters would like you to believe.

Data (1)

jnguy (683993) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808745)

Alexa gets its data from a toolbar, apparently...(I actually didn't know that, and now no longer trust their information). Where is Nielsen/NetRatings going to get their data from? It actually poses a good question about all these traffic reports for TV and internet. Are they self reported? Who checks the data? Just curious.

Re:Data (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809123)

Same place they get their TV ratings from, panels of "randomly" selected people track by either software or by journals.

I imagine they are about as accurate at rating websites as they are at rating TV shows: so-so at mainstream and really lousy at anything niche.

Re:Data (1)

theskunkmonkey (839144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809135)

They randomly select people to participate and those that agree get to install software on their computer that monitors their surfing and sends that data back to Neilsen.

I participated in the program a few years back but had to uninstall the software as you could not configure when the data was sent. It invariably chose a time at which my bandwidth was most precious, i.e. during some online game.

Skunky

Re:Data (1)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809207)

they don't get anything from me. stats scripts, bugs and other junk gets filtered and/or blocked, in and out.. when i run across one i haven't seen before, it gets added right away and they'll only log one or two hits and that's it.

stats which one can opt-out of or avoid altogether are only slightly more accurate than the RNC surveying only republicans to see if the "general public" likes the prez or not; or checking only microsoft's server logs to come up with browser market shares...

total time spent on a site is almost as worthless of a statistic as page views.

google (search) is the often cited example of a popular short-visit site... but googlemail and even grooops are pretty "sticky"; many people leave their googlemail open 24/7..

on the other side, you've got the "sticky" sites like this one right here, woot during woot-offs; and even yahoo's "game channel", which auto-refreshes and may be open for several hours at a time as you keep tabs on 'the game(s)'.

Re:Data (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809209)

PS, Alexa is a good example of how Neilsen would be bad at niche sites. If you get somebody in one of their panels to use your site, hurray, they say .5% of the world uses your site, even if only that person is using your site at all.

Of course Alexa is even worse, since they track a self-selecting audience. I don't have Alexa installed on this machine, but everybody at work does, so our site thus looks on Alexa like 50% of Alexa users that visit our site spend 8 hours a day on our site. And we can then guess that about 10 people who visit our site a day have the toolbar installed and how much credence we should give Alexa when looking at similar sites.

Is this Nielson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19808747)

trying to act like they are relevant in the 21st century?

Will Help Google (1)

DevanJedi (892762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808749)

This sort of metric will actually help the 'web 2.0'/ajax-ey parts of Google. If you measure the amount of time I spend on GMail- it is all day, every day. It's always open in a tab. Same with Google Reader and I refresh my iGoogle homepage once in a while. I bet this will show that GMail has a much larger marketshare than was suspected because it is no longer tested on the basis of page views.

re: Uninformed posts about leaving tabs open.. (3, Informative)

celerityfm (181760) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808755)

Guys, guys- they aren't going to measure how long your WINDOW is open, they are going to measure how long your session is active for. Your session will timeout eventually. They'll be able to account for that, and voila- problem solved.

They already do it, and will be doing it. Google Analytics delivers it. It's quite informative.

1 million times 1 second is alot of seconds... (2, Informative)

riprjak (158717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808771)

I just cant see how this hurts google. Sure, entering a search and retrieving the result is generally VERY quick (maybe this is why its my search engine of choice)...

But for the very reason that I dont need to spend much time there and more often than not its 2 clicks to my result, one click on "search" and the next click on one of the first page search returns; I go there regularly as a starting point, resulting in a massive number of short visits.

If the measure is TOTAL time, google would still be number 1 followed closely by slashdot for me... Because 47 bazillion* one second page views per day is still 47 bazillion seconds of eyeball per day!

*the author realises that, as a complete idiot, he is prone to stupid exaggeration
err!
jak.

"Hurt Google" ? (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808783)

This summary takes the article's original title, which compares how this will hurt Google, but help YouTube, as an example of how the new ranking method will affect different sites.

If the ratings didn't change with a new metric, it wouldn't really be a new metric, would it? Why does Slashdot need to spin this just for the negative side?

Personally, I think this is a good change. Page views are a terrible metric, and encourage sites to make bad design choices, like breaking articles into twenty parts to make you keep clicking for more. In the end, the people who look at these metrics (ie, advertisers), are mainly interested in how much time people's eyes are spending on the site. So why not measure that directly?

Neilsen? (1)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808815)

I cannot believe anyone would take Neilsen seriously in this day and age, especially in regards to any sort of internet ranking system. The "total time spent on a site" is a very innacurate way to rank web pages. Take for instance Fark.com. It is a site that primarily links to other sites. I spend not very much time on fark, as I am clicking on the links to other sites. I check with fark.com about thirty times each day for new news, but according to the big "N" that does not mean shite.

Web 2.0 is... (1)

klenwell (960296) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808823)

If [Web] 1.0 is full page refreshes for content, Web 2.0 is, "How do I minimize page views and deliver content more seamlessly?"'

Never seen this definition of Web 2.0 before.

Does this mean we can start putting online articles all back on a single page again now?

Well, maybe some good will come of this after all.

google is for faggots (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19808831)

they're just as evil as microsoft yet you faggots keep praising them. a bunch of hypocritical homosexuals. imagine that you fucking dick smoking faggots.

Re:google is for faggots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19809065)

Google - best of many search engines, free
motto: "Don't be evil"

MS - monopoly, charges huge fees
motto: "Crush the competition, rape their women and burn their villages"

Google in great peril! (3, Funny)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808833)

The guy who operates the backhoe in the accounting department has said that Google may see two or three fewer truckloads of hundred dollar bills each hour.

only one "metric" matters (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808839)

the bottom line, is how often does someone click on your ad and have it result in a purchase? anything else is meaningless.

Re:only one "metric" matters (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809063)

What's clicking got to do with it? Someone might see your ad, remember the name of your company and what they sell, then 10 months later tell a friend, who then goes and buys your product.

There's no way to track that (hopefully), and yet a lot of business comes about exactly that way.

This is why real advertisers sell space and don't bother with tracking. If the ad isn't getting you business, you wouldn't have renewed your contract with the advertiser.

No good can come of this (a new slower web) (3, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808845)

I predict this change will lead to more sites where all interaction and pacing is under the control of a designer, not the user. I can see it now:

PHB: "How can we get people to stay longer?"
Eager-Beaver Designer: "Let's put everything in Flash, put fewer words per screen and longer pauses between new screens."
PHB: "Great!"

My point is that I am a browser and I use a web browser. That means I want to browse. That means I want to be able to glance at something, make a quick decision, and control the movement to the next chunk of content.

This emphasis on viewing time will cause designers (and their bosses) to try anything they can think of to slow down the user.

Re:No good can come of this (a new slower web) (3, Funny)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808927)

~~begin quote~~
PHB: "How can we get people to stay longer?"
Eager-Beaver Designer: "Let's put everything in Flash, put fewer words per screen and longer pauses between new screens."
PHB: "Great!"
~~end quote~~

Hmm, I think they've already done this ... it's called Web 2.0

In other news, Amazon has decided to allow worldwide royalty-free use of one click, whilst simultaneously patenting their new 'one hundred click slo-purchase' system.

Re:No good can come of this (a new slower web) (1)

acciaccatura (790971) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809139)

Oh great! Sites will now disable the back button or open in a new window, and have no clickable links.
Seriously though, there is always going to be problems, and this is probably a better metric.

Gmail? (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808849)

So if they are going to count hours interacting, I suppose they are going to figure out a way to exclude Gmail and competitors?

Any one-dimensional ranking is biased. Bias notwithstanding, Google is a *big player*. What meaning has a ranking beyond that?

I told you metric was bad (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808875)

If they would have stuck with customary, there wouldn't be a problem.

All well and good. (3, Insightful)

xigxag (167441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808899)

But surely advertisers don't care how long you stay on a site except insofar as it increases your exposure to their ad. E.g., on Slashdot, you might spend ten minutes reading comments but quickly scroll past the ads in the first 30 seconds and the rest is all content. However, if you choose to post a comment, an ad is visible on the comment pages and stays visible during the duration of your composition. I'd say the second ad, continuously viewed during the three mintues it takes to write a comment, is more valuable than the first ad, which goes off screen almost immediately.

Re:All well and good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19809085)

I'd say the second ad, continuously viewed during the three mintues it takes to write a commen

Three minutes to write a comment!!!

Now I believe in-depth articles are better than blog posts!

Starting now... (1)

DMBmelch (1125371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808915)

...I'm going to open up my homepage right now, set my CPU not to sleep, and wait for it to top the charts!

How does the "Web 2.0" metaphor work with Porn? (3, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808961)

If [Web] 1.0 is full page refreshes for content, Web 2.0 is, "How do I minimize page views and deliver content more seamlessly?"'"

If 1.0 is surfing one handed while jerking off, Web 2.0 is having a USB pocket pussy connected to an interactive AJAX interface.

In all seriousness, can we dispense with the fucking Web 2.0 crap? It is today's "information superhighway". If you use the phrase without a hint of sarcasm, you are an idiot.

Hurt Google? (2, Insightful)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19808981)

Can someone please explain the rationale for declaring that a metric change will "hurt Google"? When is the last time someone decided to use a particular site based on a commercial web-rating? I certainly don't use Alexa to decide which news sites interest me, at which banks to do online banking, etc.

Certainly there are a few closet Google employees around here... So tell me, are the higher-ups even remotely concerned with a traffic ranking? I mean, if suddenly MSN Search spikes up over Google in the ratings because its so goddamned user-hating that it takes 3 minutes to search a single topic...is anyone going to blow a gasket, provided traffic and revenue remain at present expected levels?

I sincerely doubt it.

Re:Hurt Google? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19809237)

In all its years as the number one search engine, Google has never run an ad on TV. I don't think that they are worried that they are going to lose business because of a change in a random metric. Google provides advertisers with customized information on how many well their own ads are doing, and I doubt that most of the advertisers even know that there are other companies ranking these websites.

Re:Hurt Google? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19809293)

IANAGE* but I don't think that Google cares one bit about the Neilsen ratings, because they don't charge their advertisers based on "page views" or "session time", and they don't place image and flash ads on their sites. The Neilsen ratings attempt to measure the number of times an advert is seen, or the length of time an advertisement is viewed.

*I am not a Google employee

This will hurt Nielsen/netratings (1, Flamebait)

pem (1013437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809023)

They are practically shouting to the world that they don't have a clue how to pick the right site to advertise on (or that if they ever did have a clue, they just lost it).

I'm sorry... (2, Insightful)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809025)

Isn't the sign of a good site that people are able to get what they want QUICKLY?

This can only 'help' pages that take forever to load...

Worthless Spin (1)

The MESMERIC (766636) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809061)

If I design a site, specially one that offers a service - I don't want customers to stay there for too long; i want them to pick up the phone with their enquiry straight away. (Or they may be distracted by something else)

We have only a few paragraphs to cause that one positive impression, our a 10 second pitch if you like. That is the optimal for "sales"

New Web Metric Likely To Hurt Google?
One wonders how much time, money and effort have Nielsen & Co have wasted with some media monkeys to force such worthless piece of disinformation to circle around.

There's no Googl here, keep moving (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809103)

This is likely to affect Google's ranking because while users visit the site often, they don't usually spend much time there. 'It is not that page views are irrelevant now, but they are a less accurate gauge of total site traffic and engagement,' said Scott Ross, director of product marketing at Nielsen/NetRatings

Don't you guys see what's going on here. A creative way to throw "Google" in the mix, to get your press release a better publicity.

Englighten me, how is Google affected by NetRatings ranking anyway? I thought their revenue comes from ad clicks and aggregate data they sell to various companies.

Scott Ross seems overly concerned though: don't worry Scott, they don't care, nor do we.

Wrong. (1)

m0nkyman (7101) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809125)

I spend waaaaay more time on google maps and gmail and....

See, google isn't just a search engine anymore folks. It is not going to hurt them.

This will help YouTube.com though (1)

gig (78408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809137)

This will help Google's YouTube because a lot of YouTube page views last 10 minutes.

No matter how you count popularity, Google will do alright.

Get The Word Out! (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809145)

'If [Web] 1.0 is full page refreshes for content, Web 2.0 is, "How do I minimize page views and deliver content more seamlessly?"'

Has anyone explained this to the marketoids? As far as I can tell "Web 2.0" is a marketing term that means "We're new and improved and you should look at us so you can see the ads we present and make us money." I've found no consistent explanation from any of the supposed Web 2.0 purveyors as to exactly what they mean by it. If the ratings folks have a valid and generalizable definition, perhaps they'll pass it on.

From what I can tell, they're taking their definition from blogging, which used to be considered a rude and wasteful practice of piling more and more stuff on the same page. How little things change, except what it's called and how people react to that. But then that's marketing.

Unlikely, trust me (2, Interesting)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809235)

If even half of users work like I do, then Google isn't going to suffer...in fact, they might even gain a score higher. Here's why:

I would estimate that for 80% of my day, I have Google open.

Sure, I might not be looking at the page, in fact I'm probably not. I'm probably on one of the 15 tabs that I've opened from the search results. It might take me 5 minutes, or it might take me an hour to work through the results, but eventually I get back to the Google tab, and either search again, or close it.

If I close it, I'm willing to bet not 20 more minutes go by until I'm back there. I also have Google's personal homepage as my homepage, so it already has a head start.

No, I don't think this is going to hurt Google at all.

this from a company that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19809261)

rates TV shows based on statistical nonsense of viewership that EXCLUDES people who dont even watch TV.

time spent == dumb idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19809273)

The amount of time that I spend reading a page has absolutely no bearing on how useful it is.

e.g., I own shares of Ingram Micro ("IM"). In Google, I type "IM". It gives me the day's stock quote (delayed 20 minutes) as the first item returned. As a result of this, I often don't even bother clicking on a page -- Google has found the data for me, and that's that. (I wonder how *that* would fare in Nielsen's rating system -- "no page viewed, oh noes, failed search!")

At any rate, I'll sometimes click on the Yahoo! link for IM to read up briefly on company news. My total time spent reading the subsequent page is usually less than ~10-15 seconds (because I'm usually up-to-speed on what's happening anyway). But that's not to say that the page is useless or that my search failed. In fact, I got what I wanted and all is well.

I can think of numerous other cases (e.g., reference/dictionary/wiki lookups) where the concept of "time spent" does not translate into anything meaningful -- there are lots of times where I simply want to confirm something and then I'm done.

Meh. I doubt that Google is worried.

F'rinstance (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809297)

Okay, I'm not the target of most advertising money ... but I am of some. And that money can find me because of Google's keyword-based ad system. It sure doesn't find me on /. or the blogs or news sites I visit regularly. On those sites, any advertising that's obtrusive enough to get in the way of what I'm after gets Adblocked - pretty much in direct proportion to how much time I spend on those sites, and thus how annoying the particular advertising becomes to me. On a Google search though, if it's about some project I'm in the middle of spending money on, I read every single ad, and follow through on a few. Better than a third of the time I find what I want through the advertising there rather than in the primary search results - although half the time I find it through those primary results, and the remainder I still do better browsing in physical stores.

Considering that I skip ads on TV 98 percent of the time, and view magazine advertising as visual candy at best with zero viable information content, it would be safe to say that Google ads are the only advertising reaching me - well, with some allowance for the local newspapers, where the ads can make good bathroom reading ... but sell me something maybe twice a year. Google's ads are selling me stuff on a monthly basis. And because they're absent the intelligence-insulting eye candy of most culture-obliterating American advertising, I don't even resent them for it.

Welcome to 2.0. (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 7 years ago | (#19809309)

What was the phrase? Oh yes... "it's about the data, stupid."

This "2.0" crap generally has nothing to do with data; it's generally related to bullsh*t, and that's why most of us don't "get it" as having a point. And in that context - page hits are an excellent metric for data; time-sink is an excellent metric for "feel-good" crud. I think a lot of us see TFA as pointless because of that difference. The non-data crap has no point, so a metric that measures something pointless is... pointless.

Ya have to remember - "1.0" success is based on the merit of the data. "2.0" success is effectively based on users, and the data (if any) typically has no actual merit - so page hits have no meaning. It's all about "look at the monkey! look at the silly monkey!" - an area in which Nielsen has great expertise (Wackiness ensues).

The stupidity of "2.0" aside, Nielson is probably correct in their assertion about measuring it (not the stupidity... that's too big to be measured. But the time-sink aspect seems correct.)
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