Arabian Business / Accenture Web Index - October 2001 Report

The massive surges in page impressions that we’ve seen since the Summer continued in October. Arabia.com leapt from almost 51 million impressions in September to almost 65 million in October.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  December 6, 2001

Traffic surges but user numbers don’t|~||~||~|Click here to view the Arabian Business/Accenture Web Index for October 2001"

The massive surges in page impressions that we’ve seen since the Summer continued in October. Arabia.com leapt from almost 51 million impressions in September to almost 65 million in October. Ajeeb.com also leapt a phenomenal amount, by around nine million impressions compared to the previous month.

Now, before all of Arabia’s rivals start shouting, hear me out. A reason for the huge rises in page impressions is becoming clear — September 11.

Amazingly, both Arabia.com and Maktoob.com for once agree on one thing: that they have seen massive rises in activity in their news sections since the attacks on New York and Washington. Arabia says that its chat sections have been extremely busy, particularly its recently launched Arabic chat section, where the conversation tends to become very political.

You may also recall that last month I started to question the validity of using page impressions as the best way to judge a site’s popularity and success. Whilst impressions do give some idea of how popular a site is, there is endless room for contention over what constitutes an impression.

That’s why Arabian Business has decided to take a lead from Nielsen/NetRatings and give prominence in this month’s table to the number of unique visitors. If you look at Nielsen/NetRatings’ tables for the USA on page 62 you’ll see that page impressions do not even figure in the count.

This is no doubt going to make me highly unpopular in some quarters. For example, Arabia.com comes out top in the number of page impressions, but look at the unique visitor figure and Maktoob creeps out ahead.

Arabia.com, however, welcomes the greater focus on visitor numbers, as does a reader in Egypt, Thaqib Halwani, from HalwaniSMS.com. In a lengthy e-mail to Arabian Business, Thaqib passionately argued the case for ranking sites by unique visitors. You’ll be glad to know Thaqib that your points have been taken on board.

The surge in impressions that has been seen since September 11 also illustrates one very interesting point. Compare unique visitor numbers now with what they have been in previous months and you’ll see that the figures have not grown significantly.

That suggests that whilst overall activity on regional news sites has grown enormously, the number of people online has not. The inevitable conclusion is that growth in regional Internet activity in recent month has come from existing users going online more, not from a growth in overall user numbers.

Over in the USA, Internet usage continues to mushroom. In October, the figure rose to 115.2 million users (work and home combined), 15% year over year growth. Surfers accessing the Internet at home fueled the increase, jumping to more than 103.7 million Internet users.
“The active Internet universe hit an all-time high in October. This indicates that the overall health of the Internet is solid in spite of the current economic conditions and recent national events,” says Sean Kaldor, vice president of analytical services, NetRatings.

There are further statistics to indicate that the Internet is alive and well. 62% of all Americans had Internet access in October 2001, compared to 57 percent last year.
Surfers also spent more time online and logged onto the Internet more frequently in October compared to last year. On average, Web surfers spent 19 hours online during October, rising nearly nine percent from 17.5 hours a year ago.

Americans also averaged 35 sessions in October. This is a 6% year on year jump from 33 sessions during the same time last year.

Click here to view the Arabian Business/Accenture Web Index for October 2001"

Research by Annika Pohjola. Send feedback to: david.ingham@itp.net.

||**||Web Index: Glossary of terms|~||~||~|Ranking in category by page views: Web sites are ranked according to the total number of page views reported in the sample period.

URL: Internet address of the Web site.

Site description: Web site owners have submitted their own descriptions. These have been edited by Arabian Business.com due to space constraints.

Site category: Categories have been formed by Arabian Business.com for the purpose of comparing Web sites in a like-with-like environment.

Total number of visits in period: The cummulative total of visits to a site in the specified period. A person visiting more than once in the sample period will be counted every time that person visits. Visitors to a site for a prolonged period, i.e. opens a Web site and leaves that site open on his machine all day, can count as several visitor sessions in that day. Web tracking software can effectively call a visitor session closed if it remains inactive for a predefined period.

Average duration of visitor session in period: The time taken between entering a site and leaving a site.

No. of new visitors in period: A count of visitors who have not at any time been logged by the Web tracking software.

No. of unique visitors per month: Unique visitors are counted using the visitor's IP address, domain name, or cookie.

No. of page impressions in period: A count of hits to pages defined as documents or forms by the Web tracking software. In most, but not all cases, a cick to a new page within a Web site will count as a single additional page impression. The supporting graphics on pages are not counted.

Sample period: The dates during which the log data was generated.

Verified by: Note of whether the visitor data has been checked by Arabian Business.com and Accenture or whether the site owner has supplied data without independent verification.

Click here to view the Arabian Business/Accenture Web Index for October 2001"||**||

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