The Syndicated Web

My iTunes Export application was mentioned in a recent article on PC World (11 Things We Hate About iTunes). iTunes Export receives mentions quite regularly now, so that isn't necessarily interesting on its own. What I did find interesting was what happened next...

The article was first posted on PC World about a week ago (August 11th). Since then, I've received about 800 visits from the link in the article (total for the week). As a comparison, when the application was mentioned on LifeHacker, I received over 2,400 visits in a single day. I was glad for the PC World mention, but it didn't have a significant impact.

I use Google Alerts to track when Google indexes new pages that link to my site. In the days following the PC World article I started seeing several sites re-post the article. Most of these re-postings didn't appear to be officially sanctioned. I also didn't see any real traffic from these sites.

A few more days passed, and then article was picked up by on the front page of tech.msn.com (direct link). This brought nearly 5,000 visits the first day (yesterday), and I expect will drive reasonable traffic for the next few days. The MSN traffic dwarfed that of the PC World and LifeHacker mentions.

I drew several conclusions from all this:

1. The Internet is too big. We are beyond the point that anyone can track a reasonable breadth of sites for interesting content. We must instead depend on aggregators to help us find and filter content. Whether that is Digg, Yahoo Buzz, Boing Boing, or this blog (if so, you need to get out more), these gateway sites have become front pages for the Internet. Just as we used to mock AOL users for viewing AOL as the Internet, we've shifted to Yahoo, MSN, Digg, and others as our gateways.

2. The internet is made up of small potatoes. Whther it is a blog, web page, or YouTube video, most content on the web is created for and viewed by a very small number of people. Only rarely do sites achieve the level of noteriaty to make them household names. And even the big sites (such as LifeHacker) are nothing compared to the gateways (Yahoo, MSN, etc.).

I'm mostly OK with this. Yes, a few sites have a rediculious amount of power, but just as AOL users became more proficcient and began to find the niche sites that interested them, so will today's Yahoo and MSN users. Well, one can hope.

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