Where Are The Web 2.0 Audits?
from the just-wondering dept
Want to start a business that is desperately needed? Get into the Web 2.0 auditing business (or perhaps that’s Auditing 2.0). Just as with the last bubble, it’s reached the point that you can’t trust any of the numbers that are being floated concerning today’s popular sites. Of course, we’ve covered repeatedly how questionable the valuations being tossed around are, but to support those bogus numbers, it seems that there are all sorts of other bogus numbers being thrown around as well. Last month there were questions about how much traffic some of these sites were really getting. Yesterday, there was a big discussion about how MySpace’s user numbers were inflated, and today Nicholas quixote writes in to alert us to his own look at how YouTube’s numbers are inflated as well. In fact, it appears he’s got a blog noting plenty of irregularities in YouTube data, that suggests that plenty of people are gaming the system to get their videos to the tops of various lists — grossly inflating the real number of visitors to YouTube (perhaps that explains why Comscore finds YouTube a bit further down the list than other video sites).
Either way, though, it seems like this is yet another page out of the Skype play book. We’ve already noted how some of these sites have tried to play the rumor game in the press to make some big, dumb companies think they’re worth a lot more than they really are. However, remember, that Skype was also a master of making their user numbers look a hell of a lot better than they really were. They talked about the number of downloads, even though plenty of people had downloaded the app more than once. Sometimes they’d talk about the number of registered users, but not active users. It looks like others are now doing the same thing. In order to support crazy valuations, it’s good to have good looking numbers, even if they’re not supported by reality. That’s why MySpace was designed to inflate page views. While all of these sites may not be so interested in an auditing service, it seems like on the “buyer” (and advertiser) side, there should be plenty of demand for a better auditing system of users and traffic on some of these sites.