With the macro and micro economic situation we are in, it shouldn’t be a surprise for all of us that e-commerce sites like Amazon, Ebay, Dell.com traffic is down this year. According to a recent article by ClickZ, the Online Publishers Association (OPA) reports time spent on e-commerce sites dropped from 16.1 percent in January to 12.8 percent in October. OPA estimates a 20.4 percent dip too for the category in that period. I was surprised by this degree of dip.

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Meanwhile, community, search and content oriented sites have seen increases in users spending time online. Community sites saw the biggest increase. While the OPA credits this mostly to Facebook, I think their are more sites that deserve credit for this. Twitter, in particular. Now that Twitter has grown to 6 million users, it deserves credit for the impact it is having in the online world. (MP Link)

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The complete breakdown of time on site increases/decreases:

  • Content: 6.1%
  • Communications: -2.4%
  • Commerce: -20.4%
  • Community: 16%
  • Search: 4%
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Infact, to look at it holistically, the Internet Activity Index (IAI) provides a unique way of looking at consumer engagement online, dividing Internet usage into five distinct activities: Content, Communications, Commerce, Community and Search, defined as follows:

  • Content – Web sites and Internet applications that are designed primarily to provide news, information and entertainment. Examples of those included in this segment are CNN.com, ESPN.com, Windows Media Player and MapQuest.
  • Communications – Web sites and Internet applications that are designed to facilitate the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information directly between individuals or groups of individuals. Examples of those included in this segment are Yahoo! Mail, AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Groups.
  • Commerce – Web sites and Internet applications that are designed for shopping online. Examples of those included in this segment are Amazon, eBay, Shopping.com and Dell.com.
  • Community – Web sites and Internet applications that combine user-generated content with communications in order to foster relationships between individual members and groups of members.  Examples of those included in this segment are Facebook and MySpace.
  • Search – Web sites and Internet applications that scan the Web to provide prioritized results based on specific criteria from user-generated requests. Examples of those included in this segment are Google Search, MSN Search and Yahoo! Search.
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But out of these 5 classifications, only 2 i.e. Community sites like Facebook and Content have increase while other 3 are down.

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So are you still buying stuff online?

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