Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nielsen/NetRatings Elevates 'Time-Sink' To #1 Metric for New-Web Success

"Total minutes is the most accurate gauge to compare between two sites. If [Web] 1.0 is full page refreshes for content, Web 2.0 is, 'How do I minimize page views and deliver content more seamlessly?'" With that declaration, Scott Ross, director of product marketing at Nielsen/NetRatings, aligned his company with the New Web and the next-generation Internet.

While Nielsen/NetRatings will still report page views as a secondary metric, Ross continued, "For the foreseeable future, we will champion minutes if you are comparing two sites.

The news immediately made Slashdot, where worries were expressed that this emphasis on viewing time will cause designers (and their bosses) to try anything they can think of to slow down the user.

Although today's longer user session lifetimes are with us to stay, one Slashdot regular – SmurfButcher Bob – found the implications of the Nielsen/NetRatings announcement objectionable:

"Welcome to Web 2.0. What was the phrase? Oh yes... 'it's about the data, stupid.'

This "2.0" cr*p generally has nothing to do with data; it's generally related to bullsh*t, and that's why most of us don't "get it" as having a point. And in that context - page hits are an excellent metric for data; time-sink is an excellent metric for "feel-good" crud. ... The non-data crap has no point, so a metric that measures something pointless is... pointless.

Ya have to remember - "1.0" success is based on the merit of the data. "2.0" success is effectively based on users, and the data (if any) typically has no actual merit - so page hits have no meaning. It's all about "look at the monkey! look at the silly monkey!" - an area in which Nielsen has great expertise (Wackiness ensues).

The stupidity of "2.0" aside, Nielson is probably correct in their assertion about measuring it (not the stupidity... that's too big to be measured. But the time-sink aspect seems correct.)"

Ouch. If he's not already a member, it sounnds like SmurfButcher Bob will soon be joining the Boycott "Web 2." group now active on Facebook, as reported earlier this week by Social Computing Magazine.

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