Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
The Internet

Web Surfing Losing Its Luster 328

asv108 writes "The New York Times has an article about how trolling the web is not nearly as much fun as it used to be. Reasons for the decline cited in the article include: commercialization, lack of compelling content, instant messaging, P2P, and the fact that it's been mainstream for a couple of years now. The average online session decreased from 90 (March 2000) to 83 minutes in March of 2001." It'll be interesting to see where the Net fits in relative to TV and movies for pure entertainment.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Web Surfing Losing Its Luster

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:21PM (#3241968)
    Time to put ads everywhere! The growth of the web is limited only buy your imagination! Make big bucks now!!!

    • Re:Advertisements! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      One possibility not mentioned in the article is that newcomers to the web might not spend as much time as the die-hards. I bet if you did a study on the average IQ on the web, you'd find that went down as it has gotten older, as well. =)
    • Re:Advertisements! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mrnick ( 108356 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @03:00PM (#3242798) Homepage
      Have you noticed how even the once most respected sites has started pushing pop ups and pop overs to try and sell you a credit card, etc??? Makes me surf less for SURE!

  • entertainment? (Score:2, Insightful)

    i thought the net was about disemination (sp) of information, not really entertainment. the entertaining aspects can be accomplished elsewhere (online games, downloading music, etc).

    i REALLY hope my online session times start to decrease, productivity needs to increase :)
    • Re:entertainment? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Binky The Oracle ( 567747 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:52PM (#3242234)

      Back in the dark ages when I was trying to convince my (then) employer that we needed to be online, the primary management objection was loss of productivity. I told them that yes, there would be a period where people got addicted to surfing and that there would be a temporary drop, but that it lost it's allure pretty quickly and that the overall benefits of quick access to information would outweigh the time lost to surfing.

      They were also worried about their liability from employees downloading pr0n on company machines. I advised them to treat it like any other policy violation. Ultimately, they decided to wait.

      Two years later I was talking to the CEO (I had already left the company) who told me they were finally getting everyone online and that what I told them had turned out to be accurate.

      The web is like any cool toy - most people will get addicted to it for a brief period of time, then the attraction tapers off. The useful parts stay useful and, for most people, the fluff loses it's attraction. You can only watch Napster BAD! [] so many times...

      Of course, here I am on Slashdot and it's workin' time.

  • BFAs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Reasons for the decline cited in the article include: commercialization, lack of compelling content, instant messaging, P2P...

    Big Fucking Ads...

    • Re:BFAs (Score:2, Informative)

      by splume ( 560873 )
      I totally agree with this. When it takes my browser 5 seconds to download and load up a pop-up, pop-under, pop-over, pop-insideyourskull ad every time I surf to a page, surfing the net becomes tedious and boring. I don't know about the rest of you, but when an ad interupts my surfing experience, I make an effort to never shop from that advertised site.
    • Or did slashdot intentionally pick this article to change the ad server from to

      Does anyone know if * works for mozilla image blocking?

  • Trolling? (Score:2, Funny)

    by NewbieSpaz ( 172080 )
    <I>The New York Times has an article about how trolling the web is not nearly as much fun as it used to be. </I>
    It seems that there are still plenty of trolls on Slashdot who still think it's as fun as ever. ;)
    • "It seems that there are still plenty of trolls on Slashdot who still think it's as fun as ever. ;)"

      You'd think they'd be skilled at it right now. Just like Hollywood, they keep rehashing the same old stuff over and over again.
      • by sllort ( 442574 )
        You'd think they'd be skilled at it right now. Just like Hollywood, they keep rehashing the same old stuff over and over again.


        • LOL! I think it's funny you were modded down for that. It seems pretty obvious you were joking.

          Somebody's trigger finger is itchy today!!

          Could somebody mod him back up again? He was illustrating my point.

  • Broadband (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zach Garner ( 74342 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:23PM (#3241989)
    I'm sure I've shaved off 7 minutes of online time by just having a faster connection...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:28PM (#3242042)
      I'm sure I've shaved off 7 minutes of online time by just having a faster connection

      Those extra 7 minutes were then spent downloading larger banner ads.
    • Re:Broadband (Score:5, Interesting)

      by OrenWolf ( 140914 ) <> on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:30PM (#3242060) Homepage

      I can virtually guarantee this is the reason, coupled with the fact that people are now able to find things *signifigantly* faster than before. Think about the level of difficulty you had finding and accessing content a few years ago, compared to our broadband, post-google era.. People need to surf for shorter periods of time to accomplish the same tasks.

      In essence, it is that the web is now more efficient than it was a few years ago.

      • Re:Broadband (Score:3, Interesting)

        by moeman ( 11668 )
        Think about the level of difficulty you had finding and accessing content a few years ago, compared to our broadband, post-google era..

        That was my initial thought as well (when I heard this statistic about a year ago when it was actually current). However the statistic shows a 7 minute drop over a one year period. (march 2000: 90 minutes, march 2001: 83 minutes) Both google and broadband were widly avalable in march 2000. Although increased bandwidth over one year may account for some of it, I do believe that there was really a drop. I don't, however, believe that it makes a big difference to anyone.
        • Re:Broadband (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jafac ( 1449 )
          Or, it could be that people don't have as much free time to surf anymore because of the dip in the economy.

          When I surf - I'm doing either one of two things. Either I'm looking for something specific (in which case, the fact that Google and Broadband make the task much more quick is not insignificant) - OR, I'm just aimlessly surfing. But if I have to go to work, or something, then I won't spend as much time aimlessly surfing.

          Recession=on average, less money for more work for a given person; either that person has lost their job and is working another job or two at reduced salary, or that person narrowly escaped a RIF (Reduction In Force) or fears one, so that person is working harder to avoid being in the bottom 10%. Hence, they're not aimlessly surfing as much.
    • Re:Broadband (Score:4, Insightful)

      by morgajel ( 568462 ) <<slashreader> <at> <>> on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:31PM (#3242073) Homepage
      this is a very good point- I remember back in the day, during the days of gozilla and getright, staying connected over night, waiting for stuff to download(~1997, but I had a crappy phone company). I think that the commercialization is a big issue too. I use the web to get info, not to be sold stuff. I don't go to yahoo anymore because of their damn x10 ads. it's getting harder and harder to find interesting stuff- and as a grow older, I find I have less time/wanting to meander across the digital highway. ...which brings me to another interesting point- any chance that perhaps most netizens who came to the net are reaching the point of digital maturity? They know what they want, they know where to get it. they get it and get offline.
      • Re:Broadband (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jafac ( 1449 )
        No - look at Look at the history. A year, two years ago, we'd see 10, 15 submissions, weird shit, web sites to go to every day. Now it's like 3-5 at best.

        There is definately a decline in the amount of interesting places to go. I'm not talking about big organized established sites like news sites or software develepment sites. I'm talking about the quirky "too-much-time-on-their-hands" stuff that is interesting to check out when you're aimlessly surfing.

        This decline may have something to do with maturity, again. Maybe a larger percentage of people no longer have too much time on their hands. Maybe all the neat weird quirky stuff has been done.

        Or maybe it's getting harder and more expensive to host things, and these trivial sites are disappearing off the net as ISPs continue to raise the bar. (by increasing fees, increasing restrictions, all as a result of consolidation, less competition).
    • Re:Broadband (Score:2, Informative)

      Exactly.....or.. The information / resources that I use are more efficient. For example that I have Google I spend a lot less time researching.

      ( More relevant information ) / (Less Time) = Greater Productivity

      When Greenspan talks about IT adding effieciency to our economy this one of the results.

    • Re:Broadband (Score:2, Insightful)

      by danamania ( 540950 )
      Apart from being a fairly heavy net user to start with, I'm finding that the larger the net grows, the quicker I'm able to find info about what I'm looking for.

      Whenever my family needs to know some odd little factoid, look up some news quickly or the like, it's also my job to go find it - it's all becoming so much quicker. Yesterday my mother wondered what whalemeat tasted like, and I could tell her within minutes that about a dozen people online said it was much like beef. 3 years ago I'd be lucky to find that information online within 20 minutes, if it were even there.

      The net might be getting more passe, but in ways it's a lot more efficient. Blame google!

    • Re:Broadband (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 )
      I'm sure I've shaved off 7 minutes of online time by just having a faster connection...

      I'm sure if I had broadband, my surfing would go up, but after a while it would peak and drop off. One thing to keep in mind, national or world events can be a very large draw, when it's first reported and as follow-up articles continue and readers do a little research to satisfy curiousity (i.e. where's Khandahar, have they found bin Laden yet, etc.)

    • Re:Broadband (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FFFish ( 7567 )
      The invention of Google must surely have a lot to do with reducing the time people waste on the net.

      Lord knows it took freakin' forever to find things back in the days of Archie and Gopher! Yahoo was just terrific... until it became impossible to catalog all web sites by hand.

      There was a while there when we were all relying on crappy HotBot and Altavista and the like, spending ages trying to figure out just the "right" search term to find what we wanted.

      Thank goodness for Google. Damn, I love those folk! I think I'll name my children after them.
    • What do you mean? You can't have broadband yet! Don't you know that "The lack of high quality digital content continues to hinder consumer adoption of broadband Internet service" []? Or that "The secure protection of digital content is a necessary precondition to the dissemination, and on-line availability, of high quality digital content, which will benefit consumers and lead to the rapid growth of broadband networks" []?

      Because the CBDTPA hasn't been passed yet, there's no way you could have broadband. Nice try. It's obvious that you are surfing less because there's no high quality digital Disney Approved Content on the web for you!
  • Ad size... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Corporate Drone ( 316880 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:24PM (#3241996)
    Wow... and we thought that the recent increase in size of on-line ads was atrocious. imagine how big they'll have to be (and how obnoxious the new animated ads will get), once marketers realize they're competing for fewer eyeballs...

    • Ah, the tragedy of the commons. With pop-ups.
    • I don't know about everyone else, but some of these animated ads make it difficult to read articles. For instance, I love certain articles at Salon, but I have to print them out in order to focus...especially when the ad contains blood and large breasted women.

      Try driving down the road with one of those things flashing in your windshield.
      • Easy solution:
        1. Install . []
        2. Go to Edit->Preferences...
        3. Choose Privacy & Security->Images
        4. Animated images should loop: Once or Never

        Personally, I leave mine set on "Once" because sometimes I hit pages with animated images I want to see move (once). This won't stop Flash ads (but you can just kill the Flash plugin to get those).
  • Its on yahoo as well (Score:3, Informative)

    by betis70 ( 525817 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:26PM (#3242014) Homepage
    In case you don't want to register.

    Yahoo link []
  • The average online session decreased from 90 (March 2000) to 83 minutes in March of 2001

    And the hidden variable is...broadband. Faster access = less surf time. Lets see a comparison of bytes downloaded to avoid a flawed conclusion, like the RIAA's conclusion that Napster caused the drop in CD sales during the middle of a recession that ate up a lot of disposable income...

    • Re:Broadband? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@[ ] ['yah' in gap]> on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:36PM (#3242118) Homepage Journal
      not nearly enough people have broadband to impact the figure that large.
      Plus, its a prett specious(sp) argument ayways.
      How many people sit down and go "I'm going to surf until I download X amount of data, then quit?
      I had broadband, I surfed more. There are all kinds of things I won't even attempt with dial-up. Its too damn slow, and advertising kills my speed. I won't even go to /. from my dial up connection any more.
      Well for years I was saying need faster connect, from 2400, to 9600, to14.4m to 28, then 56. well the universe gets a little laugh now that I have 56K, but web site take even longer to download do to bad programing and advertisment. mostly bad programing.
      • I screwed up by naming Broadband as "the" hidden variable. There are many others pointed out by other posters: the general climb up the learning curve, better search engines [], content attrition/duplication, and--probably most significant--the newness is wearing off. Our love affair with the web is waning. Even slashdot is losing its appeal to me. Perhaps I shall become...gasp...a dreaded troll.

  • Time spent online (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bribecka ( 176328 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:27PM (#3242031) Homepage
    I'm not sure a decrease from 90 to 83 minutes per session means that people don't find the internet as compelling. First off, I wonder how that relates to the average TV watching session?

    Second, people using the internet are more aware of how to find what they're looking for. Think just a few years back, comparing researching using AltaVista & Yahoo to using Google these days. Finding things faster lets you spend less time online.

    Finally, isn't it also possible that more people have faster connections now? In March 2000, probably 40% of the population was still on 33.6 modems, and only 5-10% had broadband. Just about everyone has 56K at least now, and a lot more have broadband than ever before. Faster connections mean you need less time to get the same amount done.
    • by Zach978 ( 98911 )
      I'd be surprised if that decrease in time per session means that people spend less time. How many sessions per week have we increased? I'm sure that a lot of people are signing on more to talk to their friends, and doing it for shorter periods of time more often. The figure would be meaningless if the number of sessions per week has increased. In fact, if the number of sessions per week has increased, that would be a good reason to have shorter sessions. If you just go to the same sites all the time, and you log on a few times a day to go there you'll spend less time there each time you log on.
  • First, I'd like to say that the little fucking remark about "trolling" was tits. _Trolling_ is just as fun, but _browsing_ or, as fucktard journalists and OfficeMax associates like to call it _surfing_, is banal and extremely fucking base.

    I've seen all the fucking snatch and tits I care to see, have more fucking music that I can even listen to in my life, posess in excess of 100 fucking thousand dollars of commercial apps and games, and chewed my motherfucking wrists to shit playing Quake and MOHAA online.I was so fucking burned out on the web that I, get this cocksucking shit, I bought a shitfucking load of books. Some damn fine books too.

    It took countless sessions of late night porn, orgiastic download sessions of mp3s and obscene amounts of time reading banal and entirely fucking base blogger bullshit before I got bored. I have the attention span of a 7 month old embryo. That's no fucking joke. But I managed to find joy in the web for at least 7 years. But, this fucker is tired hack now. All that's left for me is the random search on google for "fucking profanity, motherfucker" to find neat and exciting cuss words, and slashdot to use them.
  • by laeraun2 ( 472996 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:28PM (#3242037) Homepage
    I know when I was first on the web there was a plethora (I have always wanted to use that word) of information to be discovered. Now days I sometimes find myself struggling to find good information to read. I read Slashdot, and then go to [H]ardOCP and Gameguru - I get almost identical stories. In the past I would stay on the 'net to chat to people, until one day when I realized that the people you chatted to online weren't real people, they were just the identities they projected on the web. BBSing and MUDing are becoming more irrelevent. Also, today people have maybe finished looking for what really happened on Babylon 5/Neo Genesis and only use the web for roles (messaging/email)

    Goodbye 14 hour telnet bbs/mud sessions, I won't miss you.

  • by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:29PM (#3242047) Homepage Journal

    There's no point in surfing for surfing's sake anymore, not for me at least. I reached the End of the Internet a couple months ago.

  • Just Decades Ago (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:29PM (#3242053) Homepage Journal

    When people went to their mailboxes expecting things like personal correspondence and the most annoying thing were the bills sent by creditors.

    Now, I spend almost 10 minutes a week culling spam from my post office box.

    The medium isn't fun any more.

    Likewise, while the total amount of content has gone up on the web, the ratio of spam to content has increased.

    One of the many without broadband at home, I can testify that waiting for advertising images to download over a 56k line has made web browsing a less frequent part of my life.

  • by ari{Dal} ( 68669 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:31PM (#3242066)
    Now, I wasn't there for this, but I do recall a few stories of how, when TV first became a household item, people would watch constantly, even taking it into the dining room to watch during dinner.

    The novelty soon wore off, with the parental units now demanding that the tv be off during mealtimes (at least in my home), and that tv was for after homework.

    The same goes for the Net as an entertainment medium. While the use of the net for work (email, conferencing, etc) has increased steadily, the stats have been showing for quite some time that pure 'silly' surfing has declined. And after using a computer all day, every day for years during my work life, the LAST thing i want to do when I get home is sit in front of another computer screen.

    For me, I just got bored with the whole thing. Other than a few staples (like uffie and /.), unless something's relevent to me personally (local news for example), I'm just not interested in surfing the net for nonsense anymore. The sheer glut of porn and badly designed, useless sites has increased to an insane degree; the new sites i find that actually hold my interest for more than two clicks of a mouse are few and far between. Sure, it was fun when the net was new, but nowadays I'd sooner read a book.

    At one point I'd probably have qualified as an internet 'compulsive', chatting constantly, losing out on sleep and socializing cause I HAD to be on the net, surfing with one hand while typing frantically in chat rooms with the other... now I chat rarely (in 5 to 10 minute bursts every few days), and my morning surf lasts about 30 minutes tops as I check news and information sites for my fix. Things change, people evolve... personally, I see this as A Good Thing (tm). If i ever started slipping back into my old habits, i'd toss my computer straight onto the garbage heap.
  • by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:32PM (#3242077) Homepage Journal
    9:00 - Start with hotmail and yahoo checking email and deciding that I dont want to view webcams/ dont want to increase my penis size and deciding against making 20,000 under an hour. Increasingly, of the 20 emails on my hotmail folder over night, only one is of relevance a whopping 19:1 ratio, where as my yahoo folder has very less spam (3-4 per week).

    9:15 - Trolling on Slashdot. Usually refrain from commenting on articles.

    9:30 - Manager comes by, hides slashdot under IDE.

    9:35 - Back on Slashdot. hitting F5 every one minute.

    9:45 - TheRegister,,, and Finally gave in and registered at Not much spam from them anyway.

    10:00 - Meeting to decide whether DTDs or Schemas make sense. Must stay awake till lunchtime..

    11:30 - Register,Cnet,Wired,NyTimes and Slashdot. Have to check for new stories.

    And the saga continuess...
  • Intelligence. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hiro Antagonist ( 310179 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:32PM (#3242080) Journal
    Web-browsing used to being up a plethora of intelligent, well-written, interesting pages back in the days of the Internet being a largely academic arena. Now that everybody and their pet dingo are online, the quality of content has gone down dramatically; especially on unmoderated forums. Proper spelling and grammar have all but disappeared from the 'net, and only us "old timers" bother with things like netiquette.

    Sure, it's cute that Grandma can email her grandkids whenever she feels the need, but with that comes a thousand hastily-designed pages on Geocities, all alike, proclaiming between BLINK tags how different and special each one of them is.

    I've retreated almost totally into USENET, mailing lists, and a few IRC channels that still offer a modicum of intelligent conversation and interesting information. I don't accept HTML email, and although I still browse slashdot and K5, I don't post as regularly as I used to.
    • Absolutely. Agree totally. I'm only 26 years old, but I remember the old days. I've been online since 1993* and I have always been active on USENET and IRC. That's what the Internet is really about anyway. Give me a console, and an Internet connection, and I have just as much fun as if I was running Windows anyway. I can still browse, email, etc.

      Webpages are just handy things to put stuff like manuals and download support sites. FTP is for real downloads, and anything else is just eye candy marketing claptrap.

      Hear hear to you sir.

      * it helps that I have had a PC at home since I can remember, with configs like an 8086 based Ericsson PC with 128Kb Ram (yes, Kb) and one 5 1/4" disk storing 320Kb.
    • me too.


      Just couldn't resist.
    • Web-browsing used to being up a plethora of intelligent, well-written, interesting pages back in the days of the Internet being a largely academic arena. Now that everybody and their pet dingo are online, the quality of content has gone down dramatically; especially on unmoderated forums. Proper spelling and grammar have all but disappeared from the 'net, and only us "old timers" bother with things like netiquette.

      Yeah. Why bother. We should erect separate walls to keep out the less intelligent and "us". An application of citizenship should ask for your slashdot username.

      Your post is a direct contradiction of the ideas the Internet was founded on; open protocols, communication, and indiscriminate access. This affords with it a lot of junk, in fact the very definition of indiscriminate is haphazard. But that same feature also lets us make available that rare gem once in awhile.

      Sure, everyone and their Grandma can create a web site with FrontPage, but shouldn't that be something celebrated? Would you rather force people to submit to intelligence tests before being able to publish on and over an open, universal medium? People will always follow a bell curve, and the Internet will do (has done) the same.

      The fact web usage is on the decline is not news. When a new trend emerges, a lot of people flock to it, if only to try it at first. Naturally, human activities don't follow Moore's law. This report is like saying "Going to the park is down 10%.". That doesn't mean we can inference parks in jeopardy of being destroyed or city funding will decrease. It simply means people aren't robots and are doing something else for a change.

      It's just a natural trend in human activity: people are dynamic and don't like doing the same thing all the time. There are new trends, new fads which initially attract a lot of attention and interest, and then gradually level out to fit in usage.

      As an example, movies were a big hit in the early 1930's and 40's, with most people spending large amounts of time at first. Then, they leveled off as cinemascope was being introduced. Today, they have secured their own position next to other activities like TV, reading, etc.

      The Internet will do the same. I think a lot of people are surprised at how it is entering the commodity stage rather quickly (however as history shows things that enter the commodity stage quickly have the longest history).

      I would reexamine your policies on The Internet in general. Just because there are people out there that are not as smart as you (or so you think, HTML IMO should not be used as a method to determine intelligence) you shouldn't scoff at them with disregard for their right of access.
      • Wow, you pulled all that from a small post reminiscing how Nice It Was(tm) living in the pre-AOL era? Is it nice living in that small, smelly hole known as Youworld?

        I never made any statments about requiring intelligence tests to access the Internet, yet you seem to have read somewhere that I had; and that, furthermore, you make the assertion that I scoff at people possessing limited HTML skills, which is also false.

        I *do* scoff at high-school graduates that are incapable of even the most basic tasks, who write like third-graders, and who interpret every bit of positive criticism that they get as a grave insult. But I digress.

        Erm, "the ideas the Internet was founded upon"? I don't suppose you've ever heard of ARPANET at all? If we were all online for the original purpose that the Internet was founded for, than we'd have names beginning with 'Colonel' and 'Lieutenant'.

        If you look at the underpinnings of the 'modern' Internet, you'd see that it was created and used largely for- and by- academic institutions (after the split with the military). Freedom of information was one of the ideals of this emerging Internet, but it came with the understanding that the information one distributed should be, for the most part, relevant, interesting to others, or important.

        This quasi-utopian state continuted up until AOL released its moron horde onto the Internet, which promptly swamped the long-term net users (who were, for the most part, both polite and literate) in a massive river of digital sewage. Instead of the Internet acting to help enrich the minds of its users, it began serving as a type of mental bog -- much like television is today. The "intent" of the internet wasn't to provide a voice for every immature, uneducated, ignorant individual on the planet; it was a means of communication for the people who cared about using their minds.

        It's obvious that we can't turn back the clock; Pandora has opened the proverbial box, and the once-pristine world of the Internet was in an instant infested with a type of informational disease. But we can think back to the "old days", and try to build Internet communites with higher standards in the future; ones like ASR, K5, and (formerly) Slashdot. Places where people can go, not just to be entertained, but to expand their minds.
    • Remeber how great gopher used to be? It was the shit for those of us on terminal connections back in the day. Forget Lynx, with gopher you had everything right there in a logically organized menu system. Find what you need & the read the text file or save the gif to your server to be transmitted to you via xmodem, zmodem, kermit, etc. And chatting? Who could beat the old-school Unix chat client or command-line IRC... damn, now I feel old (and I'm still 2 weeks from 24 *sigh*).
  • I'm finding that the good useless information is dying out slowly. I keep getting page not found errors when I try finding good garbage. It seems like half the time I try to get something (like a new MUGEN character) the file/page is nowhere to be found. Of course I look for some obscure things now and then, but that's what I love(d) about the internet.

  • by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:35PM (#3242112) Homepage
    How do they measure "online sessions"? Is this for dial-up connections? Those people who stay on for hours at a time will be the most likely to have upgraded to an always-on DSL or cable line, and would've skewed the measurements.
  • that the comparison to TV and other outlets for entertainment will continue to be more popular, not just because they have been around much longer, but because they are not there mainly to feed the brain with information, but to entertain... It is just like the Playstation/XBox -vs- GameCube argument: the latter are both _entertainment_ systems and are advertised as such, whereas the former is a _gaming_ platform. The internet is an information platform and communications media. Not the best place to have entertainment, unless you really like watching public television(which most here do, I'm sure lol)
  • Internet/Web != TV (Score:4, Interesting)

    by UsonianAutomatic ( 236235 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:39PM (#3242138) Homepage
    How many people actually sit down at the computer, open a browser, and think to themselves "Let's see what's on the Internet tonight" ?

    While there are some very entertaining threads on message boards like /., the reason I come here is to find out what's going on in the sci/tech/geek world.

    I do searches for programming reference, I look up maps and driving directions, I occaisionally buy stuff. I know that some people like to stream/download lots of music/video clips, but your average AOL dialup user? It doesn't seem likely.

    I use the internet all the damn time, but it would never occur to me to draw some kind of correlation between how much TV I watch per week and how much time I spend on the internet, and come up with some kind of conclusion re: the internet as entertainment medium.

    Here's my half-serious theory - given how many dot coms went under between 3/2000 and 3/2001, maybe we can attribute some of that decline in web surfing to the those thousands of dot com employees who were suddenly wrenched from the teat of the company T1.
    • Mmm... yes and no.

      I totally see your point, and I do much of the same with my own net connection, but I still think my online time directly impacts the time I'd otherwise spend watching TV.

      Maybe that's because when I watch TV, I expect some of the same things I get from web surfing/research. Channels like TLC, TechTV, or Discovery catch my interest when they have something interesting to say... something that teaches me something new.

      I never watch garbage like sitcoms. I don't find them all that funny. (If I want comedy, I'd rather watch stand-up and get a more pure form.)

      Whether I sit down and watch some TV or I sit down at the PC to web-surf, I have the same goals; entertain me with some useful information about topics I'm interested in.
  • I get the Times and every Thursday I cringe when I turn to the "Circuits" section, which is really nothing more than fluffy non-news packaged like a section so they can sell computer industry ads. This would be funny if it weren't so mind-numbingly awful every single week. I take it about as seriously as the Automotive section on Sunday - i.e. it gets thrown on the floor, and stays there until I get around to taking out the recycling.

    Hey NYT, if you're reading: stick a fork in it.

  • It's not just ads (Score:2, Insightful)

    by penguindung ( 562216 )
    I believe there are a number of reasons why the whole surfing thing is beginning to fade. First, the true jems of the Web are no longer free or easy to access. I used to be able to point people to quite a number of free encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc. While they still exist, many of these resources now pop banners and make it quite difficult to find anything enjoyable about using the service. Also, so much of the content is now out of date. Those businesses who jumped into the fray a few years ago seemingly did not reap any benefits from their actions so they allowed their sites to collect dust bunnies. Maintaining a large Web site, while not technically difficult, is somewhat time consuming and offers little in terms of physical gratification. If the money's not pouring in from such a venture, I highly suspect most small to medium businesses are going to give it much of a thought. Finally, every time we turn around we hear of another really neat application of this thing we call the Net being beaten down into the ground because it infringes on some thing's right to exist, or make money, or, you get the point. Why in the world would I want to develop something new and fresh with the knowledge that my efforts will land me in jail. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have better things to do with my time than join the prison boxing team because I allowed somebody halfway around the world to download a file from my machine. I'm a Webmaster and developer and to be honest with you the whole thing makes me sick at times. If it's not crappy, useless, out-of-date content, then it's time to bone up the money. Let's see, 20 bucks for Web access (piss-poor performance at 37K or so), 40 bucks for a cell phone, 15 bucks for a pager, 60 bucks for a satellite, blah, blah, tivo, blah, satellite radio, blah, a couple of pay-for-access sites, blah, blah. Where will it end. I personally cannot afford to continue to allow content providers to suck every last lincoln out of my pocket, even if the content was enough to make me do so. If somebody wants any more of the pie, they better damn well be offering something that a) I cannot get anywhere else, b) is better than any of its competitors, c) etc. Time to step down, ooooo -- PenguinDung
  • Trolling the web? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Havokmon ( 89874 ) <rick&havokmon,com> on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:43PM (#3242177) Homepage Journal
    In other news, window shopping is down, party due to people actually visiting the stores in the mall..

    P2P, IM, online gaming... Instead of 'Trolling the web' looking for something to do, people have actually FOUND something to do..

  • It's true that time on the Internet is decreasing. One study showed the average amount of time spent online decreased from eight hours and one minute per week in January 2000 to seven hours and 49 minutes in July of 2000, and to seven hours and eight minutes in January 2001.

    But also the number of sites being visited is decreasing. Patterns are showing that surfers are visiting the same sites over and over and not visiting new sites. Just like television viewing habits, where a family gets a set schedule of watching the same shows over and over, the same is happening to the web. I find myself with the same set of bookmarks and using those to find the information I need. For instance, the average British user visits only 12 sites a week. I feel like I'm stuck in a rut sometimes when I'm surfing.

  • I can't be compelled anymore usually to surf beyond the usual dynamic sites i check(livejournal, slashdot, fark, and any forum I'm a regular on), but it seems to me the web is just getting slower and slower. Nope, it's not my connection it seems. I get the same random DNS errors and such at work, or even at a friend's house. It gets to the point where if the page I'm looking for on a list of search engine results doesn't come up within x seconds, screwit.

    Another thing is that the pop-up ads have got to go. Remember when it was just ONE pop-up ad from ONE website, that being Geocities? Now it's on practically every website out there, minus Slashdot, thank you. I don't believe everyone's website is so dang popular they can't afford the bandwidth charges, forcing them to get pop-up ads. Yes, I know you can stop them, but think of how much pop-up ad banner traffic is taking up on a global scale.

    And yes, the search engine results are getting slopper and sloppier. Any search on google will get you 50% 404 errors, or horribly-done web pages usually on angelfire or geoshitties.

    Livejournal? Great concept, if you don't mind taking a crap shoot trying to load up a page. it's down about half the time now, if not totally overrun by drama queens. :)

    Oh where have the days of the creative web pages gone done by university students on their spare time?

    I've found myself watching TV more nowadays, and I don't even have cable.
  • Porn.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @01:50PM (#3242222) Homepage Journal
    It takes about 7 minutes for me to kill popups after looking at Porn. I switched to Opera in the last year and don't have that problem now.

    Sorry guys, didn't mean to throw the curve.
  • The decreasing time people spend online could be the result of:

    • More sophisticated search engines, like Google, that get you to where you want to go faster.
    • Higher bandwidth from cable or DSL that gets pages loaded up faster.
    • More focus on communications like email, now that everyone else is online.
    • Dilution of users due to low-attention-span masses being averaged in to the figure.
  • "Today, Mr. Davis has not only kicked his Web habit but also almost completely given up the medium." *Sigh* I remember some news articles suggesting that people were spending too much time on the web. They made it out like the web was addictive and that kids would trade social lives for it. I hated this assumption. I knew people that spent lots of time on IRC, heck I was one of them. It wasnt an addiction so much as just hanging out. Most of the time I was on IRC I was also reading about stuff on the net, trying out new apps, etc. Nowadays, I've achieved some skills that I'm really interested in sharpening. So now a lot of my 'net time' is being spent developing new artwork. I found a place to show off my art, get some critique, and measure myself against the other people out there. I've really integrated the net into my life. I know use both email and instant messaging to keep tabs on my friends, I use tools like Mapquest to get directions to where I'm going, I even get movie reviews and showtimes! I'm not just hunting around the web anymore, I've figured out where I need to go. It's still a very important part of my life. Am I spending less time on it? Yes, I think so. That time's being spent to contribute to the net, though. For example, I post here waaaay too much. Heh. I'm sick of surfing the web being called 'an addiction' like it needs to be treated. That'd be like saying Nasa scientists are addicted to surfing the universe for interesting things.
    • It's funny in a way, because last week my (crappy Verizon POS lousy customer service unreliable) DSL connection was down for a day and a half. My wife suggested that I call an alternative provider, and my answer was, "I was going to, but I can't find the number because the 'net connection is down." It was only when she looked at me as if I'd suddenly sprouted a dead weasel on my forehead that I realized that phone books still exist.
  • You mean people don't like pop-ups anymore?
    What is this? Have the New York Times checked their facts?? Oh, forget it, people don't know have to have fun anymore.... back in the days, my friends and I would spend endless hours closing pop-ups, seeing who could close the most! What was GREAT was when closing one opened up another twenty! oh the laughs we had....
  • Blogs. People can spend less time randomly browsing, and go to their favorite, trusted, reliably interesting link-centric Blogs (as opposed to content-manufacturing, often more journal-y blogs) and see a plethora of interesting stuff: a much higher cool stuff / filler ratio than if you start with, say, a typical search engine.

    I think one effect of this is even the Blog compilers do less random surfing, and in fact depend a bit on other blogs. So there's a bit of a circle jerk effect, though enough incidental stuff gets added in from the occassional surfer or tangent to a websearch (for instance, my own [] gets an infusion from outside sources like Usenet) that over all things don't get too stale.
  • This is a natural economic process. When it was complicated and expensive to use web, only people that were heavy consumers used it (read: long sessions). As time goes on and it becomes easier and cheaper less intense consumers will get it. Therefore, we should expect the average user surf time to go down. What would be interesting to see is a statistic that breaks down average surfing time by how many years consumer has had internet access (e.g., avg for newbie users, avg for 1 year users, 2 years, etc).
  • by erat ( 2665 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @02:02PM (#3242295)
    I remember when it was exciting to pop by and see the short list of sites they added the day before. That was in the early '90s, I believe. I can't imagine experiencing the web the same way now. It's just too big...

    Since web browsing lost its lustre for me, I've found that the sites that hold my interest most are (gasp!) membership sites that bring together folks with similar tastes. My current favorite is David Lynch's web site []. I don't want to sound like an advertisement, but there's frequently updated content, things you won't get anywhere else like a few different "series" David's putting on just for the site, and there's a very, VERY strong member following centered around two chat areas (which David himself as well as some of the folks behind David's movies frequent). Yes, I pay to be there. But in my opinion, it's worth it. I get no advertisements, I get to filter out all but a segment of our planet that has similar interests to mine, and I get to chat with my favorite movie director (and some actors, and writers, and other directors, and... well, you know).

    That, in my opinion, is what the "new" web will be about. There's a lot of free stuff out there, and occasionally some of it is good, but more often than not I find myself "turning it off" like I do with my TV nowadays. More now than ever, on the web you get what you pay for. If I have to pay for quality content, I'm going to.

  • Internet--TV (Score:2, Insightful)

    by svferris ( 519966 )
    It'll be interesting to see where the Net fits in relative to TV and movies for pure entertainment.

    When the internet goes the way of the TV, I'm sure we'll end up with a device like TiVo which will do my internet surfing for me. I'll tell it what I like and it'll do searches daily for any content relating to that subject. Oh, and it'll eliminate pop-up ads for me.

    Of course, by then there will probably be a __AA which will complain that I'm depriving them of precious revenues that they might be getting from pop-up ads. Then they'll tell me I'm breaking the law by saving the content for later viewing.

    Ahhh, things to look forward to.
  • All things in moderation. Get out there and exercise. Get a date. Paint your house. Its just text on a screen.
  • by aquarian ( 134728 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @02:08PM (#3242336)
    ...or the content has gotten stupid. Ads and spam don't bother me at all. The problem is the content- there isn't any. For awhile, the best and timliest content was on the web. Now it's been displaced by meaningless advertorial drivel. It's looking more and more like network television- a breadcrumb trail of blurbs and teasers, leading to nothing but more blurbs and teasers.
    • ...or the content has gotten stupid. Ads and spam don't bother me at all. The problem is the content- there isn't any. For awhile, the best and timliest content was on the web. Now it's been displaced by meaningless advertorial drivel.

      blah, blah, blah. There is a ton of interesting content, and more being produced all the time. Enough to support an entire web genre of link-centric blogs like this one [] and that one [].
  • Don't you remember how much better Slashdot was in March 2000? I could read it for hours. Nowadays, I only go into comments for karma.

  • i can vouch for the fact that i don't surf as much because i can't stand that just about every useful site has way too much advertising. i don't see why it's completely necessary for all this advertising. i realize it costs money to run a large website but to companies really dislike the normal non-nitrusive banner ads? i don't even mind the ads that i've seen on slashdot as much as some of the other forms of ads i've seen. the big ads that popup and cover the window that i'm trying to look at are really annoying ( is a good example of this). luckily they still have a close option so you can stop it before it finishes. i pray that the day doesn't come when there's a full screen ad that doesn't allow you to do anything until it's completely over. that'll be the day i stop using the internet. i don't even mind popups as much as those stupid ads that cover the window. at least you can close popups. the only thing about popups is that they're fine until they start getting intrusive and one page opens up like 15-20 popup ads (i've seen this and it wasn't a porn site). that's obnoxious and unnecessary. the way i look at things is if a company has to go through very intrusive means of advertising, then i will stop buying from them. they lose at least one customer from that. so that's the reason i have cutback on surfing. it's just too annoying and takes too much time to load the ads and close the popups.

    i will admit that another reason i don't surf as much is because good content is harder to find, but i have found that it's harder to find because of all the stupid ads, and everyone wants you to click click click to get something, or register to use the website for free or something. free registration is a pain in teh ass too. if i want to read something, i don't want to have to take the time to register. it's a pain in the ass.
  • "Lee deBoer, former chief executive of Automatic Media, believes that the downturn in the Web is temporary. In the summer of 2000, his company bought Feed and Suck, two popular online magazines, and started, a Web site that allows users to filter interesting Web content for one another. After just a year, Mr. deBoer's company was forced to close its doors, killing both magazines and relinquishing to a group of investors. (The site still exists, run almost entirely by volunteers.)

    Even after the bruising taken by his company, Mr. deBoer is not prepared to declare the Web dead. "We've taken a pause," he said, citing a tough advertising climate, a lagging economy and a seriousness that has infused society since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "But I don't think it's much more than a pause."

    yeah, someone pull this guys head out of his ass. It's gonna be a long pause, as everyone I know is sick of the ads. Here's a newsflash Mr DeBoer: If you have good content, people will still hit your site. (Slashdot anyone?) If you have 17 pop-unders, flashing links (click now, you just won $500.00), etc., then you WILL FAIL. How and why are these people still trying so hard to use this out-dated crap model? You wanna know why the web is not being surfed as much?

    PEOPLE ARE SICK OF THE BULLSHIT that goes along with trying to get info.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday March 28, 2002 @02:21PM (#3242418) Homepage Journal

    Okay, we all hate ads. Animated banner ads are a shameless attempt to burn a little ad-shaped hole in your brain, dumping their talentless, artless ad copy right down your optic nerve and into your delicate brain. But let's face it, a lot of websites which could not ordinarily afford to exist are paid for in this manner.

    Also, for those who remember the web before search engines, you know, in that supposed golden age, you couldn't FIND anything. I mean, it usually looked like there wasn't that much content out there, but I doubt that was ever true, at least once the universities started taking it seriously, well ahead of everyone else. You could have a good time browsing around, but if you wanted information on a specific topic you had to get lucky, or follow an awful lot of links.

    Let's especially not forget the fact that google caches things, so as long as people put their information in ordinary HTML (A trend which is becoming less and less common these days) google will hang onto the data for some time, making the web more persistent.

    Sure, commercialization hurts, but someone has to pay for all this bandwidth, all these sites, the hosting... Suck it up. Enjoy the fact that all you have to pay for is your connection. It's worth remembering that access outside of a university or corporation used to be hellishly expensive. Compu$erve charged by the minute, and didn't even have internet access for the longest time, though there was internet mail.

    So it's cheaper and faster today than it's ever been. There's more content, useful and not, and more search engines (though google is the only one I use any more, since they're least offensive and most useful) to find information inside of it. Sure, the fact that any asshole can put together a webpage means there's more useless crap, but it also means you have access to data you wouldn't otherwise see.

    And for those who cannot find anything to read on the web: Become involved in a community site. Slashdot is just one example, and perhaps not the best, because it's (ostensibly) news-driven. That, plus a blip on the radar every time Katz squats and squeezes out another pearl. But there are sites like Everything2 [] which can keep you busy for many hours if you're possessed of the necessary pedanticism. Hell, even livejournal [] can hold your interest.

    In general, whiners need to spend their time developing content. I like E2 because it's a resource which can help people well into the future, and which helps me now. I also develop my own content; I run one of the larger drinking game sites on the internet ( []) which I should really spend more time on, but I'm too busy putting work into E2 :)

    More pages, more search engines, more content, faster connections. When I started using webpages, modems were the standard, and MANY MANY sites were on nothing faster than a 28.8k modem, including The Circus [] where I lived - And we had a Class C from [] at the time. :)

  • What I used to do: get online, troll the web for about 90 minutes, get bored, get offline.

    What I do now: log on to FTP, download a pile of Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar, troll the web for about 45 minutes, get bored, get offline and watch the episodes I downloaded.

    Though I spend less time browsing the web now, the Internet enables much more of my entertainment than it did in the past. Though I spent only 45 minutes online, If I downloaded three episodes of TSFS in that 45 minutes my total entertainment time is 45+60 or 105 minutes, a longer time than what I have spent in the past.

  • by Yet Another Smith ( 42377 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @02:26PM (#3242464)
    The folks who have been saying "Broadband" are on the right track. I can think of two more factors which have cut my home web surfing time.

    Work Connections
    At work, I've got a lot of time for web surfing while waiting for processes to finish (they won't buy me a second processor :( ) which means when I get home, I'm in the mood for something else. I only surf from home when I'm looking for something specific, which brings me to my second point.

    Google has cut the time it takes me to find the exact info I'm looking for. I don't spend so much time dealing with extraneous crap, and find exactly what I want.

    Of course, I don't create web pages any more either, so I'm not out there looking for ideas.
  • 1) a few people in a few places know about it - it's useful or fun or whatever
    2) more people find out about it - it becomes broadly interesting
    3) everyone knows about it, but only a few people can get it - it's cool
    4) everyone can get it - it becomes passe

    We're now entering step 4.
  • I recall when I first came online in (I think) '96 or '97 for the first time. Not only was the Internet new to me, but computers as well were new to me - my family got our first computer in mid-96, which was a 66Mhz Pentium with 8M of RAM, 14.4kbps modem, and Windows 95.

    At the time, it took ages for things to load, download, and such. I was inexperienced with computers, as well as the Internet, so I was quite innept with what I was doing. All these things combined to create a longer period of time spent online. (I recall spending 5 hours at a time spent -just- surfing - I recall this, because that's how long I could stay connected to my ISP at a time :) )

    Another factor, I think, is that there were a lot more things that I found interesting back then. For instance, my younger brother and I spent a lot of time trying to find cool programs to theme win95 in a more asthetic manner (higher quality icons, for instance, backgrounds,etc), as well as the actual media. These things simply aren't that interesting any more, and my overall online time is spent checking a dozen to two dozen sites a day, quickly (including online comics), and browsing several sites similar to slashdot, occasionally posting, and IM/IRC. I'll occassionally see something interesting on a site I'm looking at, follow the link, and have my mental process trail off and direct me to search for other things for the next hour or two.

    I think that the majority of the people now online have already established their browsing habits, and aren't interested in the other information out there. Most people I know don't spend 80 minutes 'surfing' - most of their time online is spent chatting and occasionally looking at a web site, etc.

  • Is it possible that this significant change in time has come about because people have started getting broadband connections?

    The time I spend looking for things at home on my 24.4kbps dialup connection is signficantly more than the time I spend at work on the T-1. I would be willing to bet there is at least a ten minute difference. And if I got broadband at home next year (I wish), then the change would be noted in my internet habits too.
  • I remember years ago hearing about the "talk to my cat" site. You could go ONLINE, find this guy's WEB PAGE, and type a sentence, and his voice-synthesizer would say it in the room in which his CAT was kept! I could TALK TO HIS CAT! That was such a hilarious thing!

    And I could go to this other WEB PAGE, and find out the temperature of the can of Coke in this one graduate student's REFRIGERATOR! Can you believe it?

    Now? I'm sure there is lots of fun stuff like that out there, but it isn't as interesting to me anymore. I still think its cool that people CAN do stuff like that, but I don't feel a need to go to the actual site and witness the effect.

    ...and Radiskull hasn't been updated in months.

  • Maybe wouldn't have anything to do with the failure of broadband, the fact that pretty much anything worth looking at on the net is going pay-per-page when it used to be free, the fact that ISPs are starting to charge much more for hosting, and are limiting standard accounts so that if you want to host from your own machine you have to pay much more, or the fact that armies of hungry lawyers are scouring the net looking for anything that might be construed as copyrighted.
  • I knew it.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nullhero ( 2983 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @02:44PM (#3242651) Journal
    A while ago (3 years in fact) I wrote a small column for a different forum (now defunct). That basically stated that the web should be stay free and that the web should be used for informational not transactional operations. IE: A company should post all information about a product but the purchase by that product should be handled by a different protocol not http. https should be used to create virtual communities and http for a public web page.

    And also that advertising on the web should be banned. The reasons was that I was sure that if the web became to much of a commerical it would lose it's usefulness and become stale and boring. It's an excellent medium for many to many communications (and that's why the goverment has had a hard time of passing the CDA I & II theres not a one to many medium like public television so it's protected.) but not I great idea for high commercialization because if you want commercials watch TV! People are now getting tired of entering search requests for information but instead are getting companies websites selling the product.

    Also, because of commercialization it becomes easier for the goverment to say it's less of a many to many medium and predomiately a one to many medium. Once that happens watch how fast the CDA's will come back and censor the web. It's bad enough when the ISP's have censored things just think how it will be when the goverment starts...I'll see if I can find that article for reposting here at /.

  • Troll doll (Score:4, Funny)

    by 3ryon ( 415000 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @02:47PM (#3242681)
    "The New York Times has an article about how trolling the web is not nearly as much fun as it used to be.

    Sure, but trolling Slashdot is still a well-respected pastime.
  • I've found that instead of surfing the web, I get my web needs filled by building new pages. Trying to create something that can contribute to the web, not just trying to find something out there. But then again, I now have a son [], so maybe that's why I'm online less.
  • Am I the only one who considers a drop in usage from two years ago to one year ago to be somewhat useless today?

    First off, forgetting even that the trend is a year old, and that that amounts to a whopping 10% of the internet's life (and something like half its life in the popular vein), the internet of 2000 was vastly different from the internet of 2001. Search engines and "best of breed" info sites had gotten smarter. If you don't have to search as hard, you don't spend as much time. Natch.

    Second: since the internet has continued to evolve into 2002, we find that these numbers probably have less bearing than ever before. There is no longer as big of a problem with getting online, in part thanks to broadband and the prevalence of huge modem arrays at the biggest ISPs, but also because machines are generally left logged in. If you don't need to set aside all your internet time at once. Furthermore, the sites visited now are different sites than a year ago; many of the old big'uns are gone, and there are new big'uns in their place. Not to mention that a lot of browser time is being eaten up deleting spam and searching kazaa.

    In the end, a metric from a year ago is the most useless thing the internet can have -- so useless that the Times should be embarrassed that they wasted newsprint that could have held a hawt Donna Karran ad with this piece of trash article. The internet, which has become like language and culture in that it is a tremulous, uncertain entity that can only be defined in snapshots, craves instant data. It needs the archive.orgs and Jupiter mm's of the world to tell us what's really going on at the moment...not what was going on at this moment last year.

    Might as well tell us what heiroglyphic porn sites the Pharoahs visited, or Judas Iscariot's favorite message board on Freenet.

    Maybe I shouldn't have had all those lunchbeers...
    • Actually it would be significant. It's an indicator of people's behavior. A relatively constant session time would indicate people are most likely browsing, following links and wandering around in the on-line equivalent of window-shopping at the mall. A steadily decreasing session time would indicate that people are instead using search engines, bookmarks or some other method of locating what they need/want, going there, doing what they need done and then leaving. The first would be indicative of entertainment or casual use, the second is more indicative of purposeful, goal-directed use, with all the implications for things like advertising the different entails.

  • by Yo Grark ( 465041 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @03:05PM (#3242837)
    A long, long time ago... I can still remember how The net used to make me smile. And I knew if I had my chance, That I could make Web Sites that danced, And maybe they'd stay up for a while. But February made me shiver, With every 404 I'd was delivered, Bad news on the net Napster's death was eminent. I can't remember if I cried When I read about Metalica's pride But something touched me deep inside, The day the RIAA cried... Bye, bye Mr. Pirate type guy we shut Down Napster, and their partners cause our pockets were dry... Sued those good ol' boys with our lawyers paid high, Singing this will be the day the net dies, this will be the day net dies... Did you steal the book of love? And do you have faith in the laws above If their lawyer tells you so Do you believe in rock n roll Then pay too much for the CD and save your soul So you can pay and pay the artist real slow Well they knew we were in love with the net 'Cause they watched us downloading kilobits We didn't think they'd sue off napster's shoes No more downloading those rhythm and blues! They were a corporation scared to lose a buck To students downloading music by the truck they made sure our searches were out of luck The day that napster died They started singin'... Bye, bye Mr. Pirate type guy we shut Down Napster, and their partners cause our pockets were dry... Sued those good ol' boys with our lawyers paid high, Singing this will be the day the net dies, this will be the day net dies... Now for 2 years we've been on our own using DC, Kazaa and GNUtella and others unknown But that's not how it used to be When the 56k was the fastest speed there were no ebay bids for a coat from James Dean Just a free net-voice that came from you and me And while the company profits weren't looking down commercialization stole the net's true crown The courtroom was adjourned New verdicts were returned While companies registered their trade marks We used screen names like YoGrark And kept downloading in the dark The day that napster died But they kept singin' Bye, bye Mr. Pirate type guy we shut Down Napster, and their partners cause our pockets were dry... Sued those good ol' boys with our lawyers paid high, Singing this will be the day the net dies, this will be the day net dies... Helter Skelter in a summer swelter We surfed free services in AC'd shelters Broadband Eighty bucks/month and falling fast IPO's coming out our ass The dot-com's CEO's held a silent mass With the accountant's on the sidelines in a cast Now the Millenium air was sweet perfume While free-ISP's played a marching tune We all got up to dance Oh, but we never got the chance 'Cause the bankrupt players tried to take the field, And 404's refused to yield. Do you recall what was revealed, The day that napster died? We heard them singing Bye, bye Mr.. Pirate type guy we shut Down Napster, and their partners cause our pockets were dry... Sued those good ol' boys with our lawyers paid high, Singing this will be the day the net dies, this will be the day net dies... There we were all in one place A generation lost in space With no time left to start our download again So come on Metalica be nimble, Metalica be quick variations would soon stick 'Cause free is the pirater's only friend. As we watched them on the Legal stage My hands were clenched in fists of rage No angel born in hell Could take our right to miss-spel And as lawyers fees climbed high into the night To light the digital millenium's rite I saw satan laughing with delight the day that napster's died. I met a girl who downloaded all the blues And I asked her for some downloads too But she just cried and turned away I went back to my bookmark stored Where I'd downloaded MP3's years before But the injunction there said the music wouldn't play And in the chatrooms the users screamed The l33t survived and newbies dreamed But not a word was spoken The MP3 links all were broken And the Program we admired most was shut down, now Napster's toast We heard courts decision from coast The day that napster died The lawyers were singin' Bye, bye Mr. Pirate type guy we shut Down Napster, and their partners cause our pockets were dry... Sued those good ol' boys with our lawyers paid high, Singing this will be the day the net dies, this will be the day net dies. - That's the version Madonna should have sang. -YoGrark
  • Its the *ds (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SomeOtherGuy ( 179082 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @04:14PM (#3243428) Journal
    I loved this topic so I thought I would bring it up with my wife....Who although a technophobe, discovered the web and email a few years back -- and learned to use search engines and email clients. I noticed that her use is down a bunch in the last year, so I asked her why --- and it boiled down to the constant bombardment from companies splattering flashy ads and countless popups in her face.....And her amount of Spam easily hides any legitimate emails that might creep through. She says she is tired digging through 40 junk emails to find the 1 email from her sister. I myself have countered the effect fairly well by using procmail filters and the new features of decent browsers that let you turn off popups. But you can't expect your casual, non tech user to take all of these steps. (Yet these people still get annoyed with spam, in your face flashing ads, and popups flying all over their desktops...)
  • There's a lot of interesting points being made here, but the thing I expected to see is almost totally missing: why isn't everyone pointing at cool, fun stuff that still exists on the web?

    I never paid a lot of attention to "The Cool Site of the Day", but if I wanted a substitute I might go over here: Infinite Matrix [], where you'll find people like Bruce Sterling writing web log entries pointing at neat stuff they've come across: Schism Matrix [].

    So there are fewer stupid novelty sites on the web. Is that supposed to be something to be upset about?

    ... many users say they would rather chat with their friends than spend their time surfing the Web
    Well, duh.

    There are other signs that all is not well in Webville. For the first time, the number of expiring domain names outnumbers those being registered or renewed
    That's supposed to be a *bad* sign? It's a great sign that (a) some totally mindless companies best thought of as venture capital backed stock scams and (b) some scuzzy domain name speculators have faded from the scene.

    Other users say they are less inclined to hunt for innovative sites because many of them require plug-ins or browser updates that force users into bothersome downloading.
    Well, duh. Memo to web designers: put away your toys and do your job.

    Memo to NYT authors: when stuck for a story idea, you can always go for the "Is _____ Dead?" formula. Run a bunch of random comments slanted to make it sound like something's going wrong, then you can "provide balance" by running a bunch of quotes saying that it isn't really going wrong.

The IBM 2250 is impressive ... if you compare it with a system selling for a tenth its price. -- D. Cohen