Implications of Net Neutrality for Online Marketers
Net neutrality, which relates to the concept of all data passing through networks being treated equally in terms of bandwidth and cost, has come to the fore with an overhaul of US telecommunication laws. The debate is whether net neutrality which is the Internet model of today will be protected by legislation - or if carriers will be able to charge for tiered network services.
Search Terms - Industry Search Term Report for Sports
This issue is as likely to affect Asia Pacific Internet website owners and users as much as those in the US. In Australia for example, 57% of all online visits were directed to overseas websites, for the week ending June 17, 2006. Furthermore, net neutrality legislation will affect global Internet usage due to the inherent linking structure of the World Wide Web.
For business owners and content providers, this relates directly to affiliate marketing which is based on referral traffic between website properties. Here are some Hitwise Industry statistics which may put in perspective the necessity of net neutrality for online marketers.
Hitwise currently tracks visits to over half a million websites. To be exact, in the Australian market, there were 617,881 websites measured for the week ending June 17, 2006. Traffic distribution analysis indicates that the Top 500 websites accounted for 50.3% of all Internet visits. That means the remaining long-tail of web properties, i.e. 617,381, accounted for the remaining 49.7% of traffic. The spread of traffic share over this number of websites is one indicator of the shear diversity of Internet content today.
In the scenario where carriers could favour data based on higher subscription rates, or in fact carriers' own content, the spread of overall traffic could show a completely altered distribution pattern. Hitwise Clickstream data, which measure movement from one website or industry to another, indicate that for the Top 100 websites in Australia, the average amount of upstream traffic referred to all categories was 0.55%, for the week ending June 17, 2006. In the US the average was 0.61%, and 0.59% in the UK. The fact that the top online properties attribute for a minimal amount of total referral traffic is another indicator of the democracy of the Internet.
The democracy of content across the Internet is essential to the major search engines which rely on the multitude of small and medium publishers for contextual search revenues, such as Google AdSense. The large spread of visits across all websites and low concentration of overall clickstream traffic may be further considered a symptom of the rise and popularity of consumer generated media. Businesses are still exploring the marketing applications of this, and it could be a great shame if this was nipped in the bud by lack of legislation to protect net neutrality.
The following report lists the most popular terms typed into a search engine over the 12 weeks ending July 22, 2006 that resulted in traffic to websites classified by Hitwise within the 'Sports' industry. For example, the most popular search term was 'afl' representing 2.48% of all search terms that delivered users to websites classified by Hitwise in the 'Sports' industry.
Fast Mover - Big Brother Australia
|Search Term||Share (%)|
|3.||fifa world cup||0.75|
|7.||world cup 2006||0.38|
|8.||the world game||0.27|
|10.||tour de france||0.27|
Category Spotlight: Sports - Cycling
Position on April 22: 278
Position on July 2: 8
Positions jumped: 270
Big Brother Australia 2006 commenced on April 22, 2006 and will conclude on July 31, 2006. On April 22, bigbrother.3mobile.com.au, as measured by Hitwise, was the 278th most popular site in Australia and by April 24 it was the 25th most popular site. The most popular day to date has been July 2 when the site spiked to 8th: this spike was largely because of the removal of two contestants from the Big Brother House because they had breached the rules.
Hitwise Demographics data show that 50.47% of the website's users are male and 49.53% are female for the week ending July 15. Hitwise Demographics data also show that 29.25% of the websites user's are in the 25 - 34 year old demographic, 23.21% are in the 35-44 demographic and 21.07% are in the 18-24 demographic.
This category encompasses all websites related to cycling. The data below is based on All sites » Weekly rankings for the week ending 15/07/2006 » Ranks by 'Visits'.
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Copyright Hitwise Pty Ltd, July 2006