Monday, October 26, 2015

What you know about popular websites is wrong

Over the last couple of decades, there have been a number of web companies that have appeared and disappeared. Some were extremely popular a couple of decades ago, or even a decade ago, but since that time have faded away to obscurity.

Or have they?

Most of us would not challenge a statement that I read online on Sunday afternoon. When I noted that Yahoo live-streamed an NFL football game, I received the following reply:

Yahoo doesn't even exist.

Yahoo was, a long time ago, one of the web's big success stories. But afterwards it lost its way as new companies emerged and surpassed Yahoo. The company still makes a splash here and there, but it has shriveled away to nothingness, joining AOL and others in the web graveyard.

After I saw that "Yahoo doesn't even exist" statement, I figured I'd check the actual numbers and see exactly how far Yahoo has fallen with respect to its competition. The first thing that I ran across was a comScore ranking report from January 2015, which ranks the top 50 media properties during that month. To no one's surprise, Google was number 1. But I'd like to see if you can guess the next three sites on the list.




None of those sites even made the top 25.

Nope. The number 2 property in January 2015, with over 221 million unique visitors/viewers (right behind Google's 240 million), was...

...well, it was Yahoo, which had more visitors than Facebook (208+ million).

And number 4?

AOL, with over 194 million.

Both Yahoo and AOL have expanded from their original concepts, primarily through acquisition, and have continued to provide pages that people visit, despite the fact that most people ignore them for the latest shiny thing.

Guess which sites have less than 100 million unique visitors per month - or half of what AOL has?

In addition to the aforementioned Pinterest, Netflix, and WordPress, you can count many other sites in that number. Twitter. ESPN. Yelp. BuzzFeed. Gawker.

But one of our assumptions actually is true - MySpace did not make the top 50.
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