Page Views 2.0

moving.broken.cupPage views are broken. But that’s been pretty obvious for ages. Just take a look at the number of page views being generated by sites like MySpace (some speculate they even hold back on technology updates in order to keep those page hits ticking over).

So what replaces page views in the future as a representation of the overall impact of a web site on the world. In the end companies are measured by profit, but that doesn’t always work when you’re dealing with indirect business models (or non-revenue companies).

What we want is a simple, direct, near real-time, non-accounting (SOX) biased, factually accurate, sexy number that lets everyone independently judge the relative performance of web sites and determine how popular they are (note I said popular, not useful — that’s an entirely different debate). My suggestion is to use a uniform measurement of user attention in terms of the total time spent on a web site. MySpace for example could generate 32,988,878 minutes of attention per month (I just made that number up).

Total User Attention as a web stat is something we could gather from existing web log stats now, so we don’t need to come up with anything new. Just take the session times (from first click to last) and add them all up.

Anybody got a better single number?

The other complementary stats would be:

  • Total unique visitors
  • Total average attention time
  • Total interactions (number of times the user interacted with the service)

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