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The Internet

Tiny Sites Aren't Small Potatoes 234

xtrucial writes "Jakob Nielsen of usability fame has a new article up about the perhaps-unexpected power of tiny websites: 'Considering that the Web as a whole will have about 4 trillion page views this year, the [low-traffic] sites might seem irrelevant with their pitiful millions of page views. But within their niche they dominate.'" (In particular, Nielsen is talking about weblogs.)
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Tiny Sites Aren't Small Potatoes

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  • It's true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:26PM (#6270339)
    Often when I use Google to search for something obscure, there's one or two people that have written something truly informative/helpful about it. More often than not, it's someone's blog.
  • by cscx ( 541332 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:26PM (#6270346) Homepage
    Till Slashdot links to it.
  • If (Score:3, Funny)

    by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:29PM (#6270354)
    it was so noticable why does the world not Know ??
    • 'Cause (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:29AM (#6271193) Homepage Journal
      Remember back when micro-brews emerged?

      In case you are too young or didn't notice (while guzzling your Bud Lite and thumping your chest at what a totally unique and studly american you were) hundreds of small brewries emerged over the past couple decades in the USA. Many offered true to the spirit, even abiding by the German Purity Law (Reinheitsgebot [hbd.org]), producing quality ales, stouts, lagers, etc. This, as anyone with a lick of sense could see, could lead to serious encroachment of Mega-Brew markets. So they did the american thing and bought a pile of them to hedge their bets and those small brewers who realised they could do fun things with a lot of money sold out.

      I have the hunch the big web content sites are aware of how such a similar loss of page views to tiny, informative sites could be attractive. I know some have already sold out, even years ago. However, I also expect that some of these big sites could, and maybe are, running their own mini-sites, to capture that interest in focused, quality content and service. After all, who wants to wade through all the crap they have on their main pages? Not everyone, so why not be all stealthy and play both ends of the field, thus hedging their own bets.

  • wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by davebarz ( 546161 ) *
    Well, this is certainly a breakthrough: "Sites that are more popular get more hits, but sites that are less popular still get hits." Wow.
    • by yintercept ( 517362 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:23PM (#6270752) Homepage Journal
      The article is actually about the distribution of traffic in different niches and how there is similar patterns in different niches. Although it may be tough for an individual to compete with Yahoo for the position of number 1 in the global portal market, it is still possible to make a splash in a niche market.

      Hmmm, it is even possible for people to make a decent living by figuring out the needs of these different markets and developing sites that serve the markets. Ad values in niche markets are higher than the global market. Gosh, there are places in this great big internet of ours where an individual can have an impact.

      The article suggests that both the niche and the most popular sites still have exponential growth curves--indicating that the media really isn't completely overrun by the three biggest sites as we find news articles hinting at. Instead there appears to be a layering of niche markets. This touches on important political debates about internet regulation.

      Considering that a large number of people who frequent /. are interested in traffic patterns, the growth of the Internet. There was probably a naive /. editor who thought that the article would be a good topic of conversation.

      Of course, neither the /. editor who thought this might be an interesting topic of conversation nor the author of the article is even close to your level of intelligence. So they deserve to be insulted. I mean, the obvious is fodder for weak minds. True genius seeks out the counter intuitive, the obscure and the contradictory.

      The net is filled with these tiny minded people who actually work to build sites on truly mundane issues like corn growing in Iowa. BORING!!!!!

      Let's ignore the fact that it is petty minds working on the obvious that grow the food we eat, and build houses we live in. It may be necessary to have a bunch of petty minds working on the obvious to make the internet work...but please, we don't need to hear any of this in our idle chit chat on slashdot. This forum should be about truly important questions such as the different smells that come from a priori, a posteriori and synthetic farts.
      • Look, I am very interested in traffic patterns and the growth of the internet. I do web design and hosting. And I read the entire article before posting, expecting to find something insightful, an interesting deduction based on what the author was saying, something of the like. But I found that the entire article consisted of obvious observations that anyone who has used the internet for any length of time (most /.ers fall into this category) would have made on their own. So, perhaps this article would indeed appeal to a niche market, but do I not have a right to declare that I am not in that market?
        • by yintercept ( 517362 ) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:08AM (#6271124) Homepage Journal

          I agree, the article wasn't well written. I was disappointed by the lack of depth, and I thought the author was a bit full of himself.

          The topic, however, is extremely interesting. I find the distribution of web traffic to be fascinating topic. While Wall Street concentrates on just the biggest sites, IMHO, the real meat of the net is all the small independent sites, and the interaction between these sites.

          I've actually spent a fair amount of time trying to help to build awareness of independent web sites in small towns [linksalive.com], and trying to help towns build a topology of links that can attract more traffic into their independent niches. Although the article was poorly written, it starts to address the important issue that small sites need to know: They need to know how to identify their niche and to understand the flow of traffic in their niche.

          IMHO, the topology of the independent web is much more interesting that the Media Metrix 50. Figuring out how to define and build these markets is a major challenge. I wish the article went further in that direction.

          I was snippy in my post because the study of traffic begins with the obvious. Webmasters get their biggest jumps in traffic by answering obvious questions like: who is my audience? Who are my competitors? How is the traffic distributed among my competitors? What are the keywords that attract my audience?

          I read the entire article before posting, expecting to find something insightful, an interesting deduction based on what the author was saying, something of the like.

          The fault of the article was that it didn't present its ideas very clearly...not that it dwelt the obvious. Personally, I think the introduction of terms is more important than wrapping up with a conclusion...the net seems to change too fast for conclusions.

          The article made interesting allusions to the patterns of traffic in large markets being similar to small markets. It is an obvious way to state things, but a worthwhile observation.

          • I was disappointed by the lack of depth, and I thought the author was a bit full of himself.

            Full of himself? Jacob Nielsen? Nahhh... nevah. Nuh-uh. Nope.

            At my Uni the toilets have those hand drying machines that blow hot air onto your mitts. I've often entertained the thought of going to the loo in the Usability lab and scribbling next to the dryer activation button, "Press here for a free two-minute speech from Jacob Nielsen."

            'Nuff said.

        • "I found that the entire article consisted of obvious observations that anyone who has used the internet for any length of time (most /.ers fall into this category) would have made on their own."

          You are obviously overlooking the obvious observation ... Nielsen doesn't write for experienced designers whose sites are perfection in pixels, he writes for the clueless and confused who want to make their sites better, and in the process gives designers cluesticks to whack PHBs with. That article is a powerful w

  • oh great (Score:5, Funny)

    by countzer0interrupt ( 628930 ) <countzer0interrupt@yahoo . c om> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:31PM (#6270360) Homepage
    the [low-traffic] sites might seem irrelevant with their pitiful millions of page views
    Great. My counter's currently on 2137, and that's after a year. I'm off to hang myself.
    • hahahah... Now your site has been slashdotted... Nice job...+1 intentional /.'ing
    • Re:oh great (Score:5, Funny)

      by jericho4.0 ( 565125 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:54PM (#6270472)
      lol, I just clicked on the link to your site to see that you've run out of bandwidth. Do us all a favour and report back how many hits whining on slashdot gets you!
    • Re:oh great (Score:5, Funny)

      by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) <slashdot.helix@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:55PM (#6270473) Homepage Journal
      >>the [low-traffic] sites might seem irrelevant with their pitiful millions of page views

      Great. My counter's currently on 2137, and that's after a year. I'm off to hang myself.


      Well that should get some hits. What is the URL for the webcast?
    • Re:oh great (Score:5, Interesting)

      by blincoln ( 592401 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:03PM (#6270497) Homepage Journal
      You have to have a niche to play to.

      Back in the mid-90s, I had a website with a low hitcount too. It stayed low because I didn't have much that people were after. Now I run a niche site for fans of the deleted bits from the Legacy of Kain series, and I'm up to 659906 total page requests (11865510 total requests) and 73435 distinct hosts served since October.

      I don't post the link here because I don't need the excess casual traffic - I'm already close to my bandwidth limit for this month.
      • I don't post the link here because I don't need the excess casual traffic - I'm already close to my bandwidth limit for this month.

        Umm, you might as well have posted the URL straightaway; twenty seconds in google are sufficient with the directions you've provided. Next time try to be a bit less specific; I guess lots of people here will have reacted just like I did: "hmm, let's see if I can find it anyways... Bingo!" ;)

      • Exactly.

        I run... a number of non-commercial, totally free hobby sites, most of them pretty high quality. One of our sites is an online gallery, where users can submit themed photos. Anyway, we launched it a couple of months ago, the reply wasn't too hot... until we got linked on k10k, then as Yahoo's site of the day. Then USA Today, BBC2 Radio and I ended up getting interviewed for a quote in the NY Times. We got shut down (for a bit) after generating 87gb of traffic in 2 weeks.

        The other sites we have gen
    • Re:oh great (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Suppafly ( 179830 ) <slashdot AT suppafly DOT net> on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:04AM (#6271109)
      Great. My counter's currently on 2137, and that's after a year. I'm off to hang myself.

      People tend to avoid free hosts like geocities because the content is generally poor, and there are usually annoying popups and ads.. get better hosting and have some content, you'll get that many hits a month.
    • The web site you are trying to access has exceeded its allocated data transfer.

      Haha, I bet your counter is now sitting on more then 2137 right about now. The power of good ol slashdotting.
    • Hits? I get a ton of hits. One of the pages I host anyway. mka pictures [macphreak.org]. 3000+ pictures of the olsen twins!

  • by slappyjack ( 196918 ) <slappyjack@gmail.com> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:32PM (#6270366) Homepage Journal
    I just wanted to speak up and say:

    That guy bugs the shit out of me.

    Period.
    --
  • "tiny sites"? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SHEENmaster ( 581283 ) <`travis' `at' `utk.edu'> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:32PM (#6270369) Homepage Journal
    The majority of blogs are on Blog sites [bytelog.com] or fourth level entries with a port number tagging along [positron.frob.us].

    The "tiny" weblog won't be prevalent for long as the larget ones get advertising and the smaller ones are drowned out by "free blog" sites.
  • To Mr. Nielsen (Score:4, Insightful)

    by veddermatic ( 143964 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:32PM (#6270370) Homepage
    The day your sites are legible at 1600x1200 I may pay attention to your "usablilty" articles. However, I faind the exceedingly long lines of text your sites produce hard to read, and so I choose to pay attention to those who practice a real, applicable sense of usablilty.

    I'm sure you have many good things to say, I just wish it didn't hurt my eyes to read it.

    OK, Mod me as offtopic / troll now. =P
    • by LiamQ ( 110676 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:41PM (#6270407)
      If you're using a windowing system, you can almost definitely resize your browser window to fit the amount of text that you prefer. If you have a mouse, try clicking it on the left or right window border and then drag it sideways until you have the window width that you want.
    • It's not his problem, it's a problem with your default text size. Go into your browser's configuration and change increase it. Or if you're in IE, hold down the Ctrl key and roll your mouse scrolly thing to increase or decrease your font size.
    • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:15PM (#6270537) Homepage
      Higher resolution diplays are designed so that the fonts are displayed with higher fidelity, not at smaller sizes. Stop thinking in terms of bitmap displays. I run at 1152x864 and have my min font size at 20. When at 1600x1200, I would set it to 24 or 26. The articles are very readable then.

      Or do you prefer a slim column of size 8 fonts in the left 8% of your display? I don't, which is why I enforce things like minimum font sizes, and relative font size adjustments on the web.
    • Re:To Mr. Nielsen (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:57PM (#6270670)
      Wasn't it just a few days ago that people with high resolution screens were complaing that GameSpot or some such enforced a certain line length, thereby reducing the page to a thin column in the browser? And now you're complaining that this site _doesn't_ enforce line lenghts? Make up your minds!
    • Re:To Mr. Nielsen (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FattMattP ( 86246 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:03PM (#6270689) Homepage
      The day your sites are legible at 1600x1200 I may pay attention to your "usablilty" articles. However, I faind the exceedingly long lines of text your sites produce hard to read, and so I choose to pay attention to those who practice a real, applicable sense of usablilty.
      Your own web site [eskimospy.com] isn't even legible at 1600x1200 because you're hard coding your font sizes in your style sheet rather than using a relative size like a percentage. Fixed font sizes will override what font size a user has specified as their default font size in their browsers.
      • Your own web site [eskimospy.com] isn't even legible at 1600x1200 because you're hard coding your font sizes in your style sheet rather than using a relative size like a percentage. Fixed font sizes will override what font size a user has specified as their default font size in their browsers.

        Only in IE, other browsers have no problem scaling fixed font sizes up.. Fixed font sizes are the only reason I ever fire up a mozilla based browser..
        • Only in IE, other browsers have no problem scaling fixed font sizes up..
          Ahh, but it's not automatic. You still have to increase the font size by hand and then decrease it when you go to another site that handles fonts properly. If he used a relative font size then it'd work without user intervention in all browsers.
      • Yeah, but I don't claim to be a usability expert and haven't told anyone else how to code their sites, just that I have a hard time reading a "usability" experts site without having to jump trough hoops.... the same hoops that many have suggested for my site. =)

        I also have no problems reading my site at 1600x1200, and my site is coded for one person.... me.
    • Getting readably long lines of text, for any user choice of font size, is doable. But it took me a couple of days fiddling with CSS to get a single column of text, centred on the page, of comfortable reading width [dannyreviews.com]... most of that was running around finding different versions of IE, NN, etc to test things with.

      And there are still some bugs - try resizing my reviews to a very narrow window in Mozilla, for example.

      Danny.

    • The day your site validates without errors I may pay attention to your opinions about web site design. I ran eskimospy.com through the HTML validator at W3.org ... and it flunked the basics so badly that their validator barfed ....

      "I was not able to extract a character encoding labeling from any of the valid sources for such information. Without encoding information it is impossible to validate the document. The sources I tried are:

      * The HTTP Content-Type field.

      * The XML Declaration.

      *

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:34PM (#6270375)
    I've made about four-trillion websites with about one hit each.
  • I like (Score:4, Funny)

    by tcd004 ( 134130 ) * on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:36PM (#6270382) Homepage
    Justin Timberlake's blog [lostbrain.com]

    And Knotmag [knotmag.com] isn't bad either.

    tcd004
  • by seanthenerd ( 678349 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:36PM (#6270386) Journal
    Slashdot!

    From the article:
    Call it a guilty pleasure. You're not necessarily attracted to it, but you can't resist it's charm. Constantly updated with info from dark corners of the web you wouldn't otherwise visit, Slashdot is still the most recognized and informed science-related blog on the net. Intelligent [Ha! ...just kidding!] musings ramble from general science to space to biotech. Recommended dose: twice a day.

    Three cheers for Slashdot!

    (It's on page 98 of the July edition, if you're looking for it.
    • Whoops, sorry. They were talking about http://science.slashdot.org/. I guess it doesn't get updated quite as often. Nevertheless, go Slashdot!

      For those who don't get PopSci, *gasp*, their next four are, in order
      o scienceblog.com
      o impactlab.com
      o techdirt.com
      o mygeekdom.com, which they refer to as "Slashdot with a potty mouth."

      What about the rest of you slashdotters? What are your favourites?
  • by Ricin ( 236107 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:38PM (#6270392)
    It took longer because it didn't have a win/win label at corporate places but it got there nonetheless.

    Now you can always look down at personal or hobbyists sites or blogs, but they do have the potential to capture certain events in time in a much more intense way (plus feedback) than the conventional and certainly the Big 5 media corps could ever dream of.

    It's like IM or SMS, it's a phenomenon that attracts many people and they build it while engaging, at least at the start. And any corp not smart enough to understand it or to find an obvious toll lock will either leave or loose or sue in that market.

    And you know what, if they can't turn blogging into a corporately controlled thing than its usefullness might perhaps been only understated :-)

    People will google if needed for what they want to read/see/hear.

  • by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:38PM (#6270394) Homepage
    "Small sites speak directly to the specific needs and interests of a committed user community, and thus have much higher value per page view. A site on growing blueberries can be a must-read service for people who farm them, and thus of immense value as a place to promote blueberry-farming equipment. "

    The big boys probably cannot be bothered to put up a site on growing blueberries. Where's the profit in it? Oh sure, if one corner of one portion of one of their consumer outlets of the corporate spigot wants to do a piece on blueberries because their latest polling found a 3.4% increase in interest in a key demographic in a semi-important market for them, they will post some corporate-ugly site on blueberries.

    Meanwhile, the guy or gal who really enjoys growing blueberries will put up a site out of the love of the activity -- and it will show in the way they write about blueberries. Those who are interested will seek that site out rather than the Blueberry, Inc. (R) (all rights reserved) (copy anything from us and feel our lawyer's wrath) site. It only gets 100 or 200 hits a day? The site owner is thrilled.

    People speaking to people directly. That's the Web, that's what it's for, that's what the megacorps would love to curtail or corral. But the Web will always be about people speaking to people. In that context, small works.

    • >>>>The big boys probably cannot be bothered to put up a site on growing blueberries. Where's the profit in it? Oh sure, if one corner of one portion of one of their consumer outlets of the corporate spigot wants to do a piece on blueberries because their latest polling found a 3.4% increase in interest in a key demographic in a semi-important market for them, they will post some corporate-ugly site on blueberries.

      Very true. Most small sites arent as 'professional' looking, but more information
    • by BWJones ( 18351 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:00PM (#6270488) Homepage Journal
      People speaking to people directly. That's the Web, that's what it's for, that's what the megacorps would love to curtail or corral. But the Web will always be about people speaking to people. In that context, small works.

      About the only interest from people interested in money is requests we have received from companies wanting us to pay them to get links. No thanks. Our small site [utah.edu] concerns retinal anatomy and function and gets approximately 35 thousand hits/day. This is not a for profit site and all material is contributed freely for dissemination etc... Of course the site design is about ten years old and when I can spend some time I will redesign it, but it has been run for no essentially no money and is hosted on an old G3 iMac running OS X, but everywhere I have gone for vision conferences, people know about Webvision or have borrowed material from it for their presentations. It's niche specific impact has actually surprised me.

      • being hosted on a .edu tends to lend your site credibility (and probably higher google pagerank) than most niche websites, giving it a leg-up to the competition as well.
      • Actually, that's not really too accurate to say.

        I used to use IRC, AIM, etc. a lot, but then I discovered that most people pretty much suck and chatting is little more than a worthless timesink for bored people.

        I'm only somewhat joking.

        The net is a resource for information. Mind that i'm not making a specific definition of *how* we receive that information; "people speaking to people directly" is a pretty limited context when you take into account the dozens of other ways that we're able to (and do) gat
      • Why redesign it at all? It's more or less perfect as it is. Maybe remove the blinking gifs but that's all. There's nothing more diappointing than seeing a relatively usable site get "redesigned" with bad javascript, pointless flash animations, badly designed tables and frames. All these things do is serve to make the site less navigable and even impossible for some web clients to render correctly.
        • Why redesign it at all? It's more or less perfect as it is. Maybe remove the blinking gifs but that's all. There's nothing more diappointing than seeing a relatively usable site get "redesigned" with bad javascript, pointless flash animations, badly designed tables and frames.

          Thank you for your input, and I want to assure you, we want to explicitly avoid any javascript or flash or frames etc... with the redesign as I would like to make is stricty an html driven site that is clean and fast. What I meant b
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:17PM (#6270548) Journal
      Meanwhile, the guy or gal who really enjoys growing blueberries will put up a site out of the love of the activity

      Fanatics have an advantage over commercial entities in that they spend time on something that may not otherwise be profitable. It is not just being small, it is caring more about subject X than about money.

      Much of the work on open-source is driven by people who hate Microsoft more than they like money, for example. (I am not saying that hatred of MS is the only reason.)
    • A great deal of the web is about community involvement. If you look at towns across the US [e.g. Missoula, Mt [missoula.ws]], you will find hundreds of stores, artists and businesses with sites. Many of these sites get only a few hundred hits per year, but a lead from a local person hitting a local site is extremely valuable, making the small site profitable.
    • Meanwhile, the guy or gal who really enjoys growing blueberries will put up a site out of the love of the activity -- and it will show in the way they write about blueberries. Those who are interested will seek that site out rather than the Blueberry, Inc. (R) (all rights reserved) (copy anything from us and feel our lawyer's wrath) site. It only gets 100 or 200 hits a day? The site owner is thrilled.

      Yes and no. As somebody else said, it's just a matter of defining your niche small enough to be king of it

  • Size (Score:3, Funny)

    by BigDork1001 ( 683341 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:39PM (#6270398) Homepage
    I've been hearing it for years...

    ...size doesn't matter.

  • by ajuda ( 124386 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:40PM (#6270403)
    The article says (yes I RTFA):
    1. Big sites have generic content
    2. Small sites have specific content
    3. Advertisers will advertise on small sites because they have "targeted viewership"
    Ok, anyone ever hear of economies of scale? Let's say I have a site that is super-duper specialized. It only has content relating to red staplers with blue logos on them. It's going to be really hard for companies like swingline to
    • Find my site
    • Negotiate a deal for ad space
    • Get the marketing department to cut me a check for 14 dollars each month
    They'll go with the big stapler fan sites and avoid all the paperwork. You know it, I know it.
    • That's where some entrepreneur steps in and acts as an agent, aggregating like sites under one contact.

      Hi, I'm Bob from stapler-ads.com. You're interested in advertising your new blue on red line, the "Milton"? Well I happen to know of a site that specializes in that very type.

      Bob calls you and the deal is done. He takes a cut, you get some, and the Milton is a smash.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Google just launched AdSense on Tuesday in fact. It's exactly designed to solve the problems you mention.

      You can find Google AdSense here. [google.com]

    • AdSense (Score:3, Interesting)

      by danny ( 2658 )
      Try out Google's new AdSense [google.com] program. They accepted my site, with under 200 000 page views a month, and they target ads specifically for individual pages, selling them to their large AdWords customer base.

      Danny.

  • Heh, well, yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:40PM (#6270404) Homepage
    But within their niche they dominate.

    That's why it's a niche, not mainstream. Macintosh, Red Meat, Amish, et cetera.
  • Hmm.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) * on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:53PM (#6270463) Journal
    "But within their niche they dominate.'"

    And what niche would that be? People whose lives are so devoid of substance that they spend hours each day reading about the life of someone more concerned with documenting their life than living it?

    Weblogs... bleh.

  • Similary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PS-SCUD ( 601089 ) <peternormanscott.yahoo@com> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:53PM (#6270466) Journal
    Just as small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, small websites are the backbone of the internet.
  • They dominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by webword ( 82711 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:53PM (#6270467) Homepage
    ...and make no money. As usual, Jakob Nielsen slants the data in a way that seems so very important. But, almost no small sites make any money. Why isn't that the real story? Bah!!

    As usual, Jakob throws shit against the wall. A little sticks, but a lot of it does not stick. Why do people ignore this? For example, he predicted micropayments [useit.com], which would be great for small web sites. Are micropayments viable now? No! They sucked in 2000 [openp2p.com] and they suck now. (Good idea, but, micropayments suck!)

    Last year I wrote Spanking Jakob Nielsen [webword.com]. I'm just so tired of how he throws around ideas and "important" data and people got nuts. Have you ever noticed that he rarely points to sites outside of useit.com and he often is selling his usability reports? Drives me insane...
    • Yes, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:53PM (#6270852) Homepage Journal
      Is making money the only important thing?

      The nice thing about the web is that you can publish things even when you don't care about making money. Try that with a physical book.
    • Re:They dominate... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Monday June 23, 2003 @12:03AM (#6270899) Journal
      They dominate... and make no money.... almost no small sites make any money....

      Have you ever noticed that he rarely points to sites outside of useit.com and he often is selling his usability reports?

      And you aren't the slightest bit interested in the opinions of a person who is running one of the "small sites" and is in all probability making money with it? Think he might just understand a bit?

      It sounds to me like you wouldn't be happy no matter what.

      Incidentally, figuring out the "blame" for the failure of micropayments is a non-trivial operation; the multi-year stagnation in the browser market (thanks to Netscape's effective disappearence and Microsoft's well-known tendency to not bother with its precious "innovation" unless there's competition) at the same time that the routing market has held a virtual monopoly (ensuring no protocol-level support for micropayments could make any headway), both market conditions and not truly technological conditions, probably had a lot to do with. Despite the fact I'm not holding my breath, they would still solve an awful lot of problems.
    • Haven't you ever realized that people will believe you as long as you sound confident?
  • by Mmm coffee ( 679570 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:22PM (#6270562) Journal
    When I started running I was having some serious pains. I started doing some research and decided that running barefoot might do me some good. It worked wonders and I ended up starting a blog to

    (a) Document my beginnings as a runner, going from out of shape geek to slightly in shape geek over time.
    (b) Allow other people to look at my experiences and learn from them when they start running.
    (c) Allow other people to look at my experiences and learn from them when they start running *gasp* barefoot!

    Will you find that info on about.com or running.com? Hell no, they have entire sections devoted to shoes and you rarely get to read a diary of someone who's just starting out. 95% of the info I find online is either a small site or something of the sort. Why? Because you can have all the professionally written pages on the net, but in the end the experiences of another person is always invaluable.

    BTW, if anyone's interested here's my blog [xanga.com].

    • When I started running I was having some serious pains. I started doing some research and decided that running barefoot might do me some good. It worked wonders and I ended up starting a blog to:

      Now too bad there wasn't someway of getting masses of people to contribute their experiences in a organized, topical manner that would make it easier to index catalog. Oh, wait, thee is - it's called USENET.

      I really don't understand what a blog does, aside from look pretty, that usenet (and a search engine)

  • There are some pages I wrote like 7 years ago and haven't touched for ages, and they hit #1 on Google. For example, a search on my local mall, Christiana Mall [google.com]

    I should do something cool (or devious) with it, considering all the hits I get on it! :)

    • This part of the page might have helped your Google index:

      The Big Box Invasion
      While not literally part of Christiana Mall, big boxes have popped up on the land adjacent to the Mall. These big puppies include Circuit City (pushers of the idiotic DIVX system), Costco, Dick's Sporting Goods, and a few others. Personally, I wish BJ's Wholesale moved in instead of Costco. I think it'd be cool to see the massive Dicks and BJs as you walk into the mall to get screwed...

  • by rifftide ( 679288 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:32PM (#6270592)
    This reminds me of Jack Welch's directive in the 1980's that every division at GE had to be #1 or #2 in its market, or risk being shutdown or sold off. What happened was predictable: GE's managers redefined their markets, so that instead of being in "home appliances" they were in a collection of smaller markets including "space-efficient microwave ovens", etc.

    So Nielson has the #1 usability site by his reckoning. But what advertisers are targeting that niche? Maybe Addison-Wesley and certain trade shows. The size of the market should be something that makes sense to advertisers, customers, and suppliers.

  • by Photar ( 5491 ) <photar@phoLIONtar.net minus cat> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:49PM (#6270646) Homepage
    and I suspect it tells businesses is that if I sell blueberry harvesting equipment which is unique to the field of blueberry farming, I don't need to nesecarily spend big bucks advertising on some big farming website when I can farm on a smaller cheaper more effectively.
  • Dominate... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:50PM (#6270649)
    In particular, Nielsen is talking about teenage girls!!

    After all, they're the busiest bloggers...
  • by mikey573 ( 137933 ) * on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:50PM (#6270650) Homepage
    Are niches really big news? My site, the Videogame Music Archive [vgmusic.com] has dominated its own niche: "game music" [google.com] for years. Its a nice feeling to know that your site can be found at the nexus of two words of the english language on Google. :)

    But on a more serious note, I think people need to get over the "get rich" and "fame" mentality and celebrate the topics they love.

    Signal-to-noise rawoisethasetseoahitsoth
    • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:06PM (#6270705)
      ...you mean, like bragging about their hubrustic niche language google nexus quotient?

      You know, if google goes down, all of whom you claim to be goes with it...how's that for a measure of self-worth.
    • My site [xouba.net] has to be really good, because it appears first if you just search "xouba" on Google ;-)

      Now, the funny thing is that "Xouba" is just a nick I use, which I took from an old cartoon show named "Comic Strip"; in galician (spoken in Galicia, north-west Spain) it means "little sardine" (you know, the fish). And my site is nothing about fishery or anything alike, it's just my music; I suppose that the people that arrive there searching something about the fish get a bit disappointed :-D

  • Sorry guys. (Score:4, Funny)

    by sinserve ( 455889 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:14PM (#6270729)
    > Considering that the Web as a whole will have about 4 trillion page views this year

    Most of which is caused by a single man! Nothing you couldn't do with a DSL line and
    Attention Defecit Disorder ... ooh, nice link .. *click*.

  • It's true! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:59PM (#6270882) Homepage Journal
    Almost since it's inception, my site [ucblockhead.org] has absolutely dominated the "sites about ucblockhead" niche.
  • by mabu ( 178417 ) on Monday June 23, 2003 @03:25AM (#6271420)
    The dinky sites are the future, but only when a search engine can come up with a truly useful relevence engine.

    It has not been developed as of yet. The best Google and others can do as of yet are cross-link relevance formulae, which can be manipulated.

    Ironically, Google has taken a step backwards with the intent to filter blogs. Blogs are generally more relevant to the content they reference than 90% of the crap that comes up in search results.
  • by Tsu Dho Nimh ( 663417 ) <abacaxi.hotmail@com> on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:12AM (#6271998)
    Nielsen (and his associates) give away enough information on their sites to make anyone willing to give their methods a try into a better than average web designer.

    There are two ways to hit the top ranks in the search engines ... one is the way we've all been spammed about, with the hidden words, feeder pages, keyword cramming, etc. to make your web page "EXPLODE!!!!! with TRAFFIC!!!!" That is a desperation move for a me-too site selling the same products as 10,000 other sites who all fell for the same infomercial and became e-tailers.

    And then there is the way Nielsen just revealed: find your niche, be the best in your niche, fill the pages with quality information about your specialized topic and don't worry about the big guys. You might only get 100 visitors a day, but they are exactly the visitors you wanted.

    Something he hints at in other columns, but never states outright, something so obvious as to be ludicrous, but overlooked by herds of web designers ... HTML is a markup language for structure. And my tedious slogging through the research behind the indexing robots' algorithms shows that they use the structure to assign relevance whenever they detect it. If you have a well-structured document with well-chosen text, you can blow your competitors out of the top search engine listings.

  • by mustangdavis ( 583344 ) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:05AM (#6272535) Homepage Journal
    'Considering that the Web as a whole will have about 4 trillion page views this year, the [low-traffic] sites might seem irrelevant with their pitiful millions of page views. But within their niche they dominate.'


    I currently run a couple of free online games, http://www.coldfirestudios.com (*cheap plug*). I currently receive about 300,000,000 page views per year on a total of 3 games. That isn't too bad ..... but it definately isn't a "large" site ....


    I have been told that our Space and WWII game are some of the most detailed games of their genre, yet the games barely support themselves with the banner ads we place on the site ...

    ... which leads me to this question: HOW IS THIS DOMINATING?????

    I suppose this is better than the fate of many other smaller web sites, but give me a break! Over the past 5 years, I have seen my competition come and go .... but no one is "dominating" ... they are surviving!!!


    Who ever came up with this idea that smaller web sites will dominate is on crack! It has been proven over and over that only web sites that utilize economies of scale can survive on the net these days ... because most advertisers want CHEAP advertising that MANY people will see over and over .... you don't get either of those with targeted advertising on small web sites!!!


    Mod this down (or even troll it), but this has been my experience ......


    Advertisers (people that can still afford advertising) want to reach the masses, which means you need thousands (or millions) of unique visitors daily ....

    Just my $0.02 cents ...


    • Well - dominating doesn't necessarily mean you have to make your money via online ad revenue (which is fairly passe in 2003). Obviously we have to adapt to the market.

      Our site, www.goofball.com [goofball.com] (shamless plug too), was doing close to a million pageviews per day in 1999. All the content was free and given that it has always represented the largest database archive of funny/filthy/crazy videos (and anything else funny), people loved coming in and grabbing it for free - much like they probably do your game

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