Web 2.0 sites like Flickr are massively over-hyped out of all proportion to real usage patterns, according to a survey conducted by HitWise this week.
Although Flickr seems to be on the lips of every high-impact blogger, the survey of photo-sharing sites concluded that Flickr ranks only sixth (5.95%) by market share (hits), a long way behind sites like Photobucket (43%) and Yahoo! Photos (18.3%):
Why is this so? Much comment revolves around a perceived social hierarchy among bloggers. The Register, who claims that mainstream media aggravates the situation by only listening to blogging royalty, prints the following opinion:
Photobucket is all over Myspace and LiveJournal, and it gets the hits, but the San Francisco myopia only sees their web 2.0 darlings.
HitWise analyst Leann Prescott suggests that the results reflect the cultural habits of the hoi polloi at LiveJournal and MySpace:
Photobucket, Slide, and Imageshack are all image hosting sites, and MySpace is their primary source of traffic. In fact, MySpace was responsible for 76% of Slide’s traffic in May 2006, 56% of Photobucket’s traffic, and 50% of Imageshack’s traffic. The growth of Photobucket and Slide go hand in hand the growth of consumer generated content and social networking sites…
Demonstrating exactly the elitism (or intelligence, depending on your point of view) under examination, Marshall Kilpatrick at TechCrunch agrees that the aristocrats and bloggerati may be out of touch, but says it’s all in a good cause:
High-authority bloggers appear to write about Flickr about 3 times as often as they (we) write about Photobucket. The blogosphere as a whole uses the word Photobucket 3 or more times as often as we use the word Flickr. (TechCrunch has used the word Flickr 11 times more often than the word Photobucket.) Does that mean high-authority bloggers are out of touch with the bulk of users? It may; it may also mean that being interesting doesnâ€™t equate with mass adoption.
It seems an odd debate to me. First, “hype” is obviously about what’s coming not about what is. If everyone was using Web 2.0 services like flickr, the hype would be about Web 3.0.
Secondly, hits are a very crude measure of importance. They only tell me what people are visiting. They tell me nothing qualitative, nothing about how interesting, useful, stimulating, innovative (or not) the destination is, only how popular it is.
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Tags: blogging, flickr, hitwise, internet culture, not apple mail, survey, web 2.0