AJAX and Web2.0 User Experience Bad For Traffic Counts

Back in December I read somewhere that MySpace had taken over the position as the most visited website from Yahoo.

The sheer numbers of pageviews and visitors were gigantic, in November, Comscore reported:

News Corp.’s MySpace recorded 38.7 billion U.S. page views last month, compared with 38.1 billion for Yahoo, according to comScore Media Metrix. MySpace’s growth was 2% over October and triple the 12.5 billion recorded in November 2005.

38.7 monthly billion pageviews is roughly 900,000 pageviews each second. Later there was talk about MySpace inflating the number of pageviews, while Yahoo tried to lower the number by using AJAX to load new content into pages (which obviously doesn’t qualify for a page view).

Now, the February numbers are somehow modified to adjust for this new situation, according to this article on “Mashable” by PeteCashmore:

The problem, of course, is that MySpace is a pageview factory, while Yahoo is trying to improve the user experience through the use of ajax, which reduces the number of pageviews per user. Stat companies rarely admit their stats are wrong, but ComScore had the guts to change direction: we got a press release to say they’ve created a new “Visits” metric for measuring user engagement.

They’re now measuring the “average visits per visitor” and unique visitors. They’ve also been fairly apologetic to Yahoo, emphasizing the effect that ajax had on Yahoo’s rank in particular. And the change in positions is pretty startling for the month of February 2007: Yahoo comes first using both visit-based metrics, while Fox/MySpace drops to 6th place in uniques during February 2007. It comes in 7th for average visits per visitor.

An interesting lesson here, I think:

User experience is a unique measurement, not related to any traffic measurement. More pageviews does not necessarily mean better user experience or more satisfied users. In my opinion, go for the best user experience, the best user satisfaction, and don’t worry about other metrics.

More info:

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8 Responses to “AJAX and Web2.0 User Experience Bad For Traffic Counts”

  1. L’expérience utilisateur est plus importante que le nombre de pages vues - pomdoo Says:

    […] la conclusion que défend Jesper Rønn-Jensen dans son article AJAX and Web2.0 User Experience Bad For Traffic Counts. Il prend l’exemple de MySpace, qui est devenu le site le plus visité à partir du moteur de […]

  2. Iacovos Constantinou Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you Jesper. More page views does not imply better user experience. On the contrary, it might mean that users can not easily find what are they looking for!

    It reminds me of the fact that someone says “My applications consist of 100 000 lines of code” implying that he wrote the best application ever :)

  3. Ajax, trafik-tælling og brugeroplevelse « Kollaborativ Says:

    […] trafik-tælling og brugeroplevelse På bloggen justaddwater.dk skriver jesper Røhnn-jensen om usabillity. Denne gang tager han fat i det paradoks, at et […]

  4. Timmy- The construction crane guy Says:

    I have been arguing with a friend for weeks now with regards to the inaccuracies of using pageviews instead of Unique Visitors to judge popularity of a site. Now, i’ve got more reason to back me up. To add on to what you’ve mentioned, i wonder if stats companies should also include ‘visitors length’ into their measuring metrics. In my opinion, ‘pageviews’ and ‘CPM’ may well be retired as a credible way of metrics for measurement. Instead, other metrics like visitors length, returning visits could very well be included too!
    But saying that, there has to be an agreement with the various big boys before reaching a cencensus for a newer set of metrics.

  5. Brian Says:

    I think this discussion regarding page views differ according to situation, like my site is used for plagiarism checking and its free as well, people hardly see any other page. Although there are 120 pages on my site. They just check copy pasting and leave.

  6. tim penny Says:

    Stats have to taken with a grain of salt particularly when comparing different sites that have different goals. Page views for one site might not be as important as page views for another depending on the business model.

  7. Imfashion Says:

    a interesting issues, I am on the fence with your opinion, I ‘d like to find more about this issue to read and think. thanks:)