Monday, August 06, 2007

1 Million Page Views | What are they doing?

Blue Dot has just hit the 1 Million page view per month mark. I thought it would be interesting to share where Blue Dot users are spending their time. I particularly want to thank the avid fans and friends of Blue Dot, that have been contributing so many interesting and useful web sites to the Blue Dot database over the past year. First of all, the total time spent on Blue Dot is pretty amazing. We believe people spend 1.5 minutes on each page on average, so we're getting over 25,000 hours of user attention per month. If people value their time at $10/hour, they're investing over $3M per year just in using Blue Dot. Since a large portion of our traffic is coming from search engines (about 75%), the "average user" is not someone who is a regular user, creating their own dots. Rather, they are browsing and reading the dots created by our regular user base. When we created Blue Dot Buzz, we thought the majority of search traffic would be directed there. That's not at all what's happening. Most search traffic is landing on the individual profile pages of our users. In fact, over 60% of our total page views are spent looking in user profiles. Of those, 10% of time people are looking at a top level user profile, with the remaining page views split evenly between viewing a profile restricted to an individual tag (e.g. http://bluedot.us/users/mike/tag/travel), and individual Dot "permalink" pages (e.g. 144 Places I've Slept in the World). Surprisingly, less than 5% of our traffic is to our "Front Page" summary of today's dots. But about 10% of our page views go to "Buzz" pages where people are finding the most recently popular Dots about a particular category (e.g., http://bluedot.us/buzz/movies).

11 Comments:

Anonymous Tosh Meston said...

Nice!

8/6/07, 8:08 PM  
Blogger Marcelo said...

Congrats on the big number.

8/6/07, 8:47 PM  
Blogger gloria said...

I'm one who stumbled into Blue Dot on a search mission and stayed. I love my dots! And my 'friends' dot. Thanks, BD

8/6/07, 11:11 PM  
Blogger Mike Koss said...

@gloria: That's what I love to hear! We're trying to make Blue Dot more attractive to people who find us via Search so that they will stick around and become regular contributors in the Blue Dot party!

8/7/07, 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike: thanks for sharing this info! That's a big SE dependency there. Aren't you scared?

Also, why do you think people spend so much time on user profiles? The latest dots? Tags? Or maybe that friends box with thumbnail images?

8/10/07, 7:16 AM  
Blogger Mike Koss said...

@anon. I don't think our SE traffic is going away any time soon. If anything, it's a challenge we're rising to to try to show this audience that there is more on Blue Dot than just their search landing page. Our goal is convert these folks to repeat users.

8/11/07, 1:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mike - thanks for following-up!
Could you please explain why you are not afraid of such a large dependency on SEs? Google & friends change how they index pages, how they boost or deboost them pretty regularly, so if you start showing up below the fold or on page 2, your traffic is gone, no?

Of course, I understand that the goal is always to take these random visitors and convert them into regular users.

But look at my previous comment, please. I looked at users' profiles on Bluedot and don't see what attracts people to those profiles. Do you know what makes profiles so attractive?

Finally, out of curiosity, out of the total SE traffic, what percentage is Google? Over 50%?

I look forward to you answers!
Many thanks!

8/12/07, 5:22 AM  
Blogger Mike Koss said...

@anon (BTW - can you identify yourself - it would be nice to know who I'm "talking" to).

75% of our traffic is SE-driven. So, yes, we have a HUGE dependency on search engines (and Google in particular).

The reason I'm not scared, is that I think it remains in Google's interest to continue to drive traffic to our site. There is not a good reason for them to stop, and they benefit by being our Ad provider on our site as well.

Sites like Blue Dot are unique in that they give voice to a whole new class of user - the web READER. In that past, Google could only rank pages based on what PUBLISHERS thought about web sites. We actually provide something that even blogs don't do that well - measure the pulse of the internet audience to determine what they find as the most appealing content.

We further validate real users from "link spammers" by taking measures to sandbox users until we think they are authentic (you'll note that new users's links are "nofollow" until they are out of the sandbox). We also agressively delete user accounts of obvious link spammers.

Since we are still a fairly small site, by Internet standards, we are not yet being given traffic for the most competitive keywords; so we find that most of our traffic comes from either breaking news type searches or more "long tail" queries.

In as much as our users make comments about the quality of web sites, we provide information you can't get through more traditional web sites.

The profiles are popular, I think, because Google thinks those are the most relevant pages for searches to land; they also demonstrate popularity by the number of friends you have on Blue Dot as friend pages are cross-linked to each other.

8/13/07, 1:49 PM  
Blogger Mike Koss said...

@anon

Oh, yes - and Google is about 90% of our SE traffic. In fact, Google Japan dominates even Yahoo and MSN search.

One thing I note is that Google just does a better job of indexing. We get over 3 million page views per week from Google's crawler. So they are doing an excellent job of sorting through all the new content in a very timely manner. the other search engines are barely on the radar in comparison.

I hear the same thing from other web startups I've talked to as well.

8/13/07, 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike:
Thanks for the detailed response, I appreciate it. That Googlebot crawling must translate to much bandwidth chewed up and higher hosting bills - ouch! :(

8/13/07, 11:53 PM  
Blogger Bon said...

Mike and team,

Blue Dot is such a great way to commumicate with workshops, and research for projects. Congrats on the 1 million page views...it will continue to grow. Personally I like the private feature and being able to share dots purposely.

Bonnie

8/15/07, 10:45 PM  

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