Traffic, alone, is really just one brute-force measure of how much power, influence, traction, revenue, potential and any other positive can be assigned or attributed to a company or digital property. (For example, you can hardly say that Twitter's influence is measured by its traffic, alone, as so much of what happens through Twitter is not registered at Twitter.com, but rather passes through third-party applications via its APIs and such. Companies that serve billions of ad impressions -- like a DoubleClick -- may not show up on any list of top Web sites, but they certainly have huge influence and sway.
Still, traffic, the number of visitors a site gets in a month, says something about a site and its influence. Appearance in the top 50 means you're a "player."
And while looking at Compete.com's list of the top 50 for March, I found myself wondering who, among the players, had the most unique visitors, by company. Yes, Google's on top, Facebook is #2, etc. But I started noticing that Microsoft had a number of properties in the list, as did Yahoo, and wanted to aggregate all of them to see how much Web traffic fell under their umbrellas. I quickly did this spreadsheet and found:
That while Compete puts the order of the top 10 as
that when you group the sites by owner, you get a bit of a different picture:
It's a way of looking at how much real estate a company controls on the Web, not separating their URLs out separately. I might liken it to a consumer products goods company's power as being an amalgamation of its powerful brands. Now, again, this is not a true measure. Someone can come along and give me a bunch of URLs below the top 50 that would put one or more of these companies higher up. I also confess that, because I did this quickly and somewhat from memory I might have made a mistake here or there -- and I would be grateful for your help in correcting the list.
But it's a little bit of fun, and education.