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Tue, May 6th - 8:52PM

Summer Blahs and Internet Stats

I love statistics.

No seriously, I really do. Websites like the CIA World Factbook always interest me. I spend hours on them looking up "relatively useless" info on how much people in Zimbabwe make per year, or how oil is produced in Saudi Arabia, or what the population of Vietnam is. Sometimes this info does become important when I get inspired to write something on a particular topic.

But since we also run a popular website about provocative topics its necessary sometimes to look at our own statistics and see how well we fare. This is especially important for tracking our WebRing Experiment.

And the thing we've noticed over the years is that summer, especially July and August, is the lowest point in the year. September to December is the "bumper crop" season for internet surfers. If we could coin a phrase right now we could call it the Internet Surfing Season.

July and August therefore is the season during which more people go outside and enjoy themselves in the sun, play baseball, basketball and maybe go surfing on actual waves. This is translated online to roughly a 10% to 20% decrease in visitor statistics.

In September however its like someone turned on a switch and suddenly the number of people online gets doubled. I think its a combination effect of children going back to school (with new computers), university/college students going to a new place (with new computers), and parents suddenly finding themselves with more free time (which they then spend online).

This increases more so in October and November, with either November or December being the high point of the year. We can only use our website as an example, but other industry experts have noticed the trend too and bank their advertising dollars on the Spring to December season because they know that is the time of the year that they will see the most "bang for the buck".

Other factors for this increase is online shoppers surfing for Christmas gifts, television networks releasing new seasons of shows which people are more likely to download episodes of these days instead of watching it on an actual television (its reached a point where many networks now allow free downloads from their website and include ads on those websites and sometimes even included in the download [the internet success of the hit show "The Office" is an excellent example), back to school sales pushing computers for your kids, a growing trend towards every family and school having internet access, and international popularity of the internet growing in countries overseas (see the stats below from internetworldstats.com).

WORLD INTERNET USAGE AND POPULATION STATISTICS

World Regions

Population
( 2008 Est.)

Population
% of World

Internet Usage,
Latest Data

% Population
( Penetration )

Usage
% of World

Usage Growth
2000-2008

Africa

955,206,348

14.3 %

45,321,040

4.7 %

3.3 %

903.9 %

Asia

3,776,181,949

56.6 %

512,251,104

13.6 %

37.8 %

348.1 %

Europe

800,401,065

12.0 %

374,244,342

46.8 %

27.6 %

256.1 %

Middle East

197,090,443

3.0 %

33,625,200

17.1 %

2.5 %

923.7 %

North America

337,167,248

5.1 %

243,399,574

72.2 %

18.0 %

125.2 %

Latin America/Caribbean

576,091,673

8.6 %

127,093,209

22.1 %

9.4 %

603.4 %

Oceania / Australia

33,981,562

0.5 %

19,176,162

56.4 %

1.4 %

151.6 %

WORLD TOTAL

6,676,120,288

100.0 %

1,355,110,631

20.3 %

100.0 %

275.4 %



I have yet to see any industry statistics on the precise numbers effected by the Summer Internet Blahs and the Internet Surfing Season, but I am sure it would be an interesting read. It might be difficult to measure, but I am sure it could be done.

The closest thing I've found for tracking such things is Alexa.com, which tracks the popularity, usage and visits to individual websites.

Now if only someone could figure out what those same stats were for the entire internet, how many people are online during a given month, how much time they are spending online.

Companies that sell computers probably see a huge rise in internet traffic in late August/early September, and also just before Christmas too. Knowing the above information might allow such companies to more effectively focus their advertising dollars.

The problem with this is how the industry or governments actual track such information. Many people don't like their privacy being invaded. Despite this people still frequent sites like Facebook and MySpace where we know we are watched and gauged, and ultimately advertised to.

Such websites become a key tool for the economy to determine what people want. Capitalism, at its core, is about learning what people want, figuring out when and how to market it to them, and finally selling it to them.

Our economy may falter when we hit roadblocks like high gasoline and food prices, but industries these days are tracking our every like and dislike that these fluctuations can be dealt by measuring what people want and then boosting the economy by offering a product that everyone will go out and buy.

The successes of cellphones, Blackberries, SUVs and flatscreen televisions are prime examples.

So in the future if the automotive industry determines there is a lot of money to be made by switching from gasoline cars to hydrogen cars (while still gouging gasoline users with high gas prices) they will do so.

The average American buys a new car every 10 years or an used car every 5 years. So in theory some years will be better than other years because car buying is a cyclical event. Knowing when to release and market a new vehicle can be a tricky issue and thats why companies use concept cars to determine what the public wants.

Concept cars rarely ever get made, but the customer feedback and the amount of attention to particular aspects of the cars allow automakers to decide what new gadgets or features to include in their latest line of cars (Satellite Navigation for example).

Now if only they could stick more cup holders in the back seats. Parents with kids will know the benefits of having more cupholders in the back. The family car will always be the true staple of the automotive industry and its amazing that automakers don't make more family-friendly cars with more rear cupholders.

- Charles Moffat
Assistant Editor of the Lilith eZine




Comment (3)


Tue, May 6th - 8:35PM

Oil nears $US 123
Oil futures set a new record near US$123 a barrel today, gaining momentum as investors bought on a forecast of much higher prices and on any news hinting at supply shortages. Light, sweet crude for June delivery jumped to a new record of $122.73 a barrel before retreating to settle up $1.87 at $121.84 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Retail gas prices edged lower, but appear poised to rise to new records of their own in coming weeks.

A new Goldman Sachs prediction that oil prices could rise to $150 to $200 within two years seemed to motivate much of the buying today, although a falling U.S. dollar and increasing concerns about declining crude production in Mexico and Russia contributed, analysts say.

The U.S. Energy Department raised its oil and gasoline price forecasts, but also predicted that high prices will cut demand more than previously thought.

Oil prices have nearly doubled from about $62 a barrel a year ago, which Goldman sees as a sign that the world is in the midst of a "super spike" in oil prices. Analyst Arjun Murti said in a research note released Monday that prices would ultimately force demand to fall sharply.


Hundred Dollar Oil - $100/Barrel Oil - The Politics eZine




Comment (1)


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