Did Web 1.0 begin dying in September 2008?

Nicholas Moerman has put together an impressive collection of graphs showing a general decline over the past year in visits to mainstream websites across a raft of categories, from content and commerce to portals and porn. The only sites that buck the trend? I’ll let you guess.

He doesn’t know why this is (or even if he’s seeing things), which is rather refreshing, but offers some ideas, and it’s certainly food for thought. Here it is:

10 thoughts on “Did Web 1.0 begin dying in September 2008?

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  2. Stilgherrian

    “The web” is not “the internet”. Internet traffic and participation continues to rise, as it always has done. What is shifting is the balance of usage between big-brand centralised sources of information which people passively consume, and people participating in their own conversations with the people that matter to them — friends and family.

    The graphs are only “impressive” because he’s cherry-picked them to illustrate a theme. Factoids like that are not insights.

  3. James

    September is only a couple of months after the release of the second generation iPhone – I wonder if this has anything to do with the trend away from those sites.

  4. Paul Bradshaw

    @Stilgherrian Yes, I was a little uncomfortable with the use of the word ‘internet’ so have now replaced it with ‘Web 1.0’ which is more accurate if a little buzzwordy.
    As for cherry-picking, his blog post suggests that he saw one trend, checked a whole bunch of sites and kept seeing it, with the exception of a few sites that are shooting up. The presentation is asking a question, not pushing a particular agenda, so less likely to be cherry-picked. The easiest way to check, of course, is to look at similar data for other sites using Google Trends.

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  6. nicolas.

    I’ve been seeing that a lot in France & the EU recently, too. But this Google Trend data contradicts almost every other traffic analytics.

    My guess: Google modified the way it computed its traffic estimations in late 2008.

  7. Stilgherrian

    @nicolas: I wonder if you’re right about Google Trends changing their methodology. I’ll follow that up with Google. Stand by.

    @Paul Bradshaw: I’m seeing a similar audience decline, albeit not necessarily starting in September 2008, for the websites of some random UK newspapers, major Australian newspapers and, quite recently, for Australian political comment websites.

    Apart from possible explanations like the global financial crisis or changes to Google’s secret sauce, it could perhaps also be a change in things like users’ security software or ISPs’ proxying methods which produce a systematic error — but then Google presumably tries to filter out those artefacts?

    Over at Compete I’m seeing roughly equivalent declines in some sites, like the Sydney Morning Herald‘s, but not others.

    Mind you, I’m doing this all “by eye” rather than downloading the numbers and doing a proper statistical analysis.

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