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I was checking Quantcast's US Internet rank for AnalyticBridge, and found that it went significantly better in the last 6 months: from 140,000 to below 90,000. Yet the our traffic volume experienced only a 25% improvement over the same time period.

You would expect that a 25% increase in volume (for a top 100,000 website) would result in a far less than 25% - maybe a mere 10% - improvement in rank because of the very peculiar nature of web traffic distribution across all domains: heavy tail distribution, billions of domains, with very few - less than 10,000 - having tremendous amounts of traffic and accounting for 98% of all Internet traffic. It's similar to revenue distribution: if you are in the top 5 percentiles and increase your revenue by 25%, your rank (in the list of the wealthiest people) will probably increase by less than 10%.

Anyway, I'd like to see whether this is a general phenomenon (that is, the Internet is really shrinking) or whether this is a data anomaly due to Quantcast changing its metrics or due to some other, domain-specific artifact.

There are some reasons why the Internet could be shrinking:

  • Many people no longer have money to maintain websites and pay for webhosting, domain hosting etc.
  • Domain aggregation through mergers and acquisitions
  • Domain aggregation being performed by Quantcast?
  • Lot's of fraudulent domains being shut down in the last 6 months
  • Large companies eliminating non-profitable domains

What do you think is the correct explanation? In any case, it's an interesting "big data" question.

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All of the above? The gold rush is over and reality has set in. The novelty has worn off. Everyone who needed to create a website has done so. Now it's just another marketing channel that has the same financial constraints and ROI requirements as other marketing channels. I also believe that the growth in big data has allowed companies to be less emotional and more intelligent in their approach to the channel.

I believe the growth moving forward is going to come from disruptive technologies and business models. Unless companies can offer websites that offer a better mousetrap, then the cost of entry and the cost to gain marketshare is going to be too cost prohibitive.

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