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Firefox Site Visits Up 237% 379

Posted by samzenpus
from the still-growing dept.
prostoalex writes "Nielsen//NetRatings, a top Web reporting and metrics agency, started tracking the Firefox Web site in June 2004 and has announced 237% growth since then. Nielsen tracks Firefox Web site visits, not downloads or usage patterns, but it notes that "Men accounted for 71% or nearly 1.9 mln site visitors, compared to the women who comprised 29% or the minority population who visited in March 2005.""
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Firefox Site Visits Up 237%

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:09PM (#12229591)
    But that's just me clicking reload a lot.
  • by fembots (753724) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:09PM (#12229596) Homepage
    Does this take into account of the auto software update checks?

    And how does NetRatings know the gender of the visitors? Maybe if a visitor is quick and direct, it's a male; If a visitor is browsing around few sections back and forward, it's a female?
  • Heh. (Score:2, Interesting)

    Keep those figures going for a couple of years and then I'll be impressed.
  • Oddly enough... (Score:3, Informative)

    by kwoo (641864) <kjwcode@noSpAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:11PM (#12229607) Homepage Journal

    The most popular browser/OS combination to my sites (which are Unix-oriented) is Firefox/WinXP.

    Firefox/Linux is actually in second place. IE of various flavours on Win32 is third.

    Certainly not what I expected to see before starting the sites, that's for sure -- but it's roughly the same mix on each one.

    • Re:Oddly enough... (Score:2, Informative)

      by kai.chan (795863)
      From the statistics of my personal website, I am getting 30% non-IE hits consistently. Because my site have a wide range of materials that doesn't really cater to a specific crowd, I have drawn the conclusion that although a large portion of businesses still use IE, Firefox usage percentages looks to be over 20% for home users, which is a significant gain over a year ago when it was at ~5% for my site. Does anyone have any statistics that separates the percentage of corporate machines running Firefox versus
    • I'd like to see the stats for Slashdot.
      • You could always email "pater" at the site and ask him to post a reply to your comment.

        I think I remember another site posting an interview with him saying that he wouldn't give the information out, but I have had a few beers, so don't take this as gospel.

        In fact don't take it at all, just email him and get your own information, mine is worthless. I can't even remember his name at the moment (hands in geek membership badge and commits hari-kari).
    • Well, when/if your Unix machine is down and you can't remember how to partition the new drive anymore you take what you can get, even if it means using Windows.

      • Well, when/if your Unix machine is down and you can't remember how to partition the new drive anymore you take what you can get, even if it means using Windows.

        Actually, I really do have to thank you for your reply. I'm always on the lookout for article ideas, and that's a good one. Thank you, kind sir!

    • I really only work on Windows machines, so this isn't totally valid, but I never surf the web from a server. I don't let my co-workers do so either....
      Linux on the server and windows on the desktop makes those stats a whole lot more reasonable.
      • Linux on the server and windows on the desktop makes those stats a whole lot more reasonable.

        Agreed. I personally use Unix for both server and workstation duties, so it's easy to forget that not everyone does.

    • Re:Oddly enough... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by trawg (308495)
      The most popular browser/OS combination to my sites is FireFox/WinXP too - but I'm the only one that uses them, so that information doesn't mean anything :)

      Parent would be worthy of its Informative mod if there was some scope to its claim (I could mod as overrated but I'd rather actually find out what sort of number of people we're talking about here, because its pretty impressive if Firefox is the #1 browser on a decent-sized site!)
      • Re:Oddly enough... (Score:3, Informative)

        by kwoo (641864)
        The most popular browser/OS combination to my sites is FireFox/WinXP too - but I'm the only one that uses them, so that information doesn't mean anything :)

        For most of that time, I've used Mozilla on Solaris/x86 to access the sites.

        Parent would be worthy of its Informative mod if there was some scope to its claim (I could mod as overrated but I'd rather actually find out what sort of number of people we're talking about here, because its pretty impressive if Firefox is the #1 browser on a decent-sized s

    • I could very well be one of those Firefox/WinXP statistics. That matches my "main" platform (I have 6 computers in eyesight, right now, and more in the house that I can't see.)

      I program professionally, and so, I do what the paying customers want. Often that involves Windows. Don't worry, I am actively doing both x86 and ppc Linux stuff too.

      I book revenues programming whatever "they" want, and you know what? All computers suck.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:12PM (#12229613)
    In one year's time, 1 million growing to 2 million (100% increase), or 1 growing to 10 (1000% increase)?
  • Downscale (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:14PM (#12229636) Homepage Journal
    In the nine months during which Firefox has "taken the Web by storm", they haven't even tripled their visitors? Is everyone installing it by apt-get/rpm? Starting from such a small base, that tiny multiple would really disappoint me if I were hoping for a real scale-up. Is anyone impressed by these numbers?
    • Re:Downscale (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stevyn (691306) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:18PM (#12229670)
      Good point. I'm sure most linux users use some means other than mozilla.org to get firefox. However, Linux users don't represent a large population.

      I don't trust metrics based on use by number of downloads. I think there is too much room for error on both sides.
    • If you compare it to the 6 billion some members of earth not impressive.

      If you compare it to the few hundred million internet connected computers it is very impressive.
      • How do you compare "237% growth" to "300,000,000"? That kind of novel mathematics really would be impressive, if it weren't really innumeracy.
    • Re:Downscale (Score:5, Informative)

      by digidave (259925) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:28PM (#12229762)
      Each person does not need to go to the site more than once, then just use the browser's built-in update mechanism to update to new versions.

      Looking at it like that, it means that most of these visitors are brand new to the site rather than returning visitors, thus meaning that they have increased their reach several times more than 300%.

      Nielson/Netratings has Java/Javascript code that runs on their customers' web sites to report traffic back to them (RedSheriff). If Firefox put that on their site they would be able to tell just how many of these visitors were returning from previous months.
      • Re:Downscale (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Doc Ruby (173196)
        That's a good point: it's the "area under the curve" (integrating the rate of first-installing visitors across the last 9 months). But still, even 3-fold growth of "new installers", from a tiny base of an unknown browser, isn't so great. I'd expect to hear about several thousand first-time installers growing several hundred-fold, if they're really a threat to IE's market saturation. Maybe Firefox is a paper tiger, exaggerated by Microsoft to take the edge off their continuing market control.
    • 100% increase is a doubling. 200% is a tripling.
    • Re:Downscale (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      A couple thoughts:

      1. Statistical lag. It is only the recent surveys that have caught those newer users. The older data and surveys, many of which are linked to 3rd party cookies and web bugs which FF usually blocks, were probably under-representing FF usage.

      2. Statistical method. Every "survey" has its ups and downs. You'll get a definitive answer when the top 5000 or so websites give up all their access log files. This, of course, will never happen. So tomorrow you may read a study about how FF usage
    • Re:Downscale (Score:4, Informative)

      by asa (33102) <asa@mozilla.com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:14AM (#12230938) Homepage
      More people download Firefox from the www.mozilla.org homepage than from the slightly less visible www.mozilla.org/products/firefox page that Nielson was apparently measuring.

      - A
  • Just be happy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nate53085 (782588) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:15PM (#12229647)
    I don't understand why everyone is so angry. I think we should all be happy that there is a strong alternative to IE and that its gaining ground. Competition for IE means inovation, and regardless of how pissed off you are about whatever, thats a good thing.
    • Re:Just be happy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @10:50PM (#12230261) Homepage
      Who are you saying is angry?

      I'm quite pleased that a GNU GPL-covered web browser is making so many inroads on so many desktops around the world. The FLOSS OS distributors are all doing fantastic work helping to promote its use, and of course the Firefox website is quite popular after every mention in the New York Times. I hope that people will use Firefox as a means to moving to a free software system someday.
  • As a consultant/techie, every machine that passes through my domain is converted to FireFox.

    For the slower win32 boxes I use k-Meleon.
    http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/start/
  • by Future Man 3000 (706329) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:17PM (#12229659) Homepage
    To see if spyware/virii infestations of Firefox has kept pace with its acceptance both as a way to see how much of Internet Explorer problems are nescient to the application as well as to get an idea of what the future holds for Linux security as the operating system gains traction on desktops (i.e., are these things attacked because they're vulnerable or because they're popular?)
  • Aha! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I knew it! Sometimes when I (a man) am "surfing the internet" for my "internet photograph hobby", I often end up opening and closing lots of windows. I prefer to not use the tab feature for this because it's easier to find the X in the upper right without breaking my concentratio..

    Well anyway, I often miss the X an hit the firefox logo, which takes me to the Firefox home page. Aha! So lots of MEN have been going to the Firefox page, huh? I wonder why! We're missing the X in the upper right corner whi

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by proteonic (688830) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:19PM (#12229677)
    "Men accounted for 71% or nearly 1.9 mln site visitors, compared to the women who comprised 29% or the minority population who visited in March 2005."

    I didn't realize my browser reported whether I was male or female as part of the browser Id string!

  • Bad Statistics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff (120817)
    How can they say that they've been monitoring for 9 months, and then state that it has 278% year over year growth?

    Besides, my web site had 1000% growth, I went from me viewing it to a few relatives looking at a picture I put up from them (40% female, 60% male), so, obviously, my website is faster growing that firefoxes!

    • How can they say that they've been monitoring for 9 months, and then state that it has 278% year over year growth?

      You can't. Maybe that's why they dont! So now you can just make stuff up, refute it, and get modded insightful?

      Besides, my web site had 1000% growth, I went from me viewing it to a few relatives looking at a picture I put up from them (40% female, 60% male), so, obviously, my website is faster growing that firefoxes!

      Yes, that's true. What's your point?
  • by venomkid (624425) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:22PM (#12229713)
    That little "close" X is mere pixels away from a "visit firefox" button... :)

    Seriously I hit it by accident all the time.
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:34PM (#12229789) Homepage Journal
    At Network Mirror [networkmirror.com] I'm showing 79.4% Mozilla, 18.9% IE. Since all traffic is Slashdot derived, it's probably a pretty good representative sample of the Slashdot population as a whole.
    • by mjtg (173905) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @11:21PM (#12230449)
      As luck would have it, I went through my organization's web logs just the other day for info on browsers. Here's a summary of what I found, for anyone who's interested.

      12 months ago, IE accounted for a steady 94% of hits. Gecko-based browsers (Netscape 6+, Mozilla, Firefox) accounted for 3%. Netscape 4 had around 1.5% of the hits, Safari just under 1%, Opera about 0.5%, and Konqueror 0.1%.

      Firefox started registering in my logs around July, when the Gecko share jumped to 4.3%, rising steadily to 5.7% in October. In December Gecko jumped up to 7%, and is currently around 8.2% (March-April). Firefox now represents about 80% of Gecko-based browsers. The number of non-Firefox Gecko hits (ie. Netscape 6+, etc) has remained more-or-less steady.

      IE's decline matches Firefox's rise - by October, it was down to 92%. IE now rates around 87% of hits on our site.

      Safari has increased to about 2.5%. Netscape 4 has (finally) declined to virtual insignificance. Sadly, Konqueror has also declined steadily, maybe 0.03% in a good month (looks like a lot of Konqueror users have switched to Firefox too).

      These stats come from an Australian state government website that receives about 3 million hits per month. The site is not technology-oriented, and about half of the hits come from overseas, so I believe that this is a reasonably good sample of browser use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:36PM (#12229799)
    "Men accounted for 71% or nearly 1.9 mln site visitors, compared to the women who comprised 29% or the minority population who visited in March 2005."

    The study also reported that nearly 71% of the men were visiting sites promising 100% women.
  • by loqi (754476) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:39PM (#12229817)
    If you use Konqueror and you're bothered by servers tracking your gender, it's quick and painless to disable this reporting. Just click on:
    Settings -> Configure Konqueror -> Browser Identification
    ...and in the "Default Identification" panel, uncheck the box labeled "Add gender information".
  • Gender? (Score:5, Funny)

    by LittleBigScript (618162) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:40PM (#12229823) Homepage Journal
    Why is the sex of a computer user important? Is the next firefox update give a choice of pink or blue coloring?
  • men and women (Score:2, Interesting)

    by potpie (706881)
    That's an interesting statistic. In my Cisco Networking class, there are no female students at all, though our teacher is a woman. The situation is similar in the other computer classes at my school. Does anybody know why this distribution happens?

    ...And I feel the compulsive need to point out TFA's incorrect use of "comprise."
    • could be biased Politically Correct hiring practices led to management deperately searching for more women to fill teaching positions, would strike me as odd in a situation like that but not unheard of.
  • One more time! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:43PM (#12229857) Homepage Journal
    Please, please, please. No more "Firefox is gaining ground" stories until we have some solid numbers, not some contorted gee-whiz stats.
    • Hi, it's gaining ground. It's installed on the classroom computers at my University right next to Internet Explorer and I see the people sitting in front of me using it every day.

      The Firefox website visits are through the roof. Do you think they're all just readers or are some of them downloaders?

      Learn to draw a conclusion.
    • Re:One more time! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nickco3 (220146)
      There's no such thing as geniunely solid numbers, all web-traffic figures are contorted gee-whiz stats.
  • Things are changing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ari{Dal} (68669) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @09:47PM (#12229876)
    The website I work for, a very large, very traditional 'user-facing customer portal' for a telco, now officially supports IE6 and Firefox 1.0. The announcement came last week. A year ago, we couldn't even get them to acknowledge that firefox EXISTED, much less provide full support for it.

    And why did it happen? Tons of customer feedback directly on the site, and metrics showing that firefox use was climbing. Rapidly. And here i thought those 'feedback forms' wouldn't actually lead to any change.
  • ...isn't it? Firefox 1.0 was accompanied by a big download push, where techies actively encouraged mom, dad, sis, gramps, dog, and everyone else they could think of to get and install Firefox.

    Thing is, Firefox defaults to the Firefox website! So you had a huge push to download and install firefox, and people being what they are (lazy), a whole bunch of firefox installs all pointing at the firefox website everytime they fire up. Let's see how this trend continues for another year or so before we get uber
    • Thing is, Firefox defaults to the Firefox website!

      Not only that, but the default page on the Firefox site has a Google search field right in the middle. Most of the people I know (including IE users) have set Google as their start page. With Firefox, there's no reason to change. Smart.
    • by asa (33102)
      "Thing is, Firefox defaults to the Firefox website!"

      Have you used Firefox? It defautls to http://google.com/firefox.

      - A
  • Impact of Firefox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shirai (42309) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @10:04PM (#12229971) Homepage
    The biggest impact Firefox will have on web development is it will increase the cost of entry into run-almost-anywhere scripted websites.

    Note that I'm not saying this is bad or that there aren't good effects Firefox has (in fact, I believe it is a great browser). Just that the biggest impact on *development* is it will increase the cost of entry on scripted sites.

    This may be a good or bad thing. When the web first started, it was possible to be an "HTML Expert" by doing layouts with tables. I kid you not. This was advanced at one time and people had to figure out how to do it.

    With browsers having pretty much settled down (meaning that Microsoft stopped releasing new browsers and 90% market share belonged to Microsoft), the wealth of knowledge on HTML coding has grown considerably. It was hard to be an *expert* at HTML or Scripting because everyone had done it before. That said, there are some truly brilliant people at sites like QuirksMode [quirksmode.org].

    Now I feel that the new direction that uber-coders are going for is *useful* DHTML scripting (also known as JavaScript, Cascading Style Sheets and the Document Object Model to manipulate HTML live). By useful, I don't mean a cursor with a trail of stars. I mean things like popup calendars for date selectors, rich text editors, GMail and WYSIWYG page editors with live previews.

    DHTML is still hard and mostly poorly documented. Anybody who has made a rich text editor for MSIE knows that it isn't too bad anymore. There is more documentation on how to do it. Definitely not *a lot* but enough that you can find your way through it.

    Try this though: Make an iframe window that simulates a regular window. Okay. Now do it so that is supports MSIE, FireFox and Safari. If you want to (eventually) support more than 75% of the market, you have to support FireFox now and I'd throw Safari on the list as it is the default browser (I think) on the Mac.

    Some of the toughies are the event handlers for these browsers which are quite different. I've written code to make them both work with one code base but there is virtually no documentation on this. There are dozens of quirks not listed and the only way you can figure 'em out is through trial and error.

    Okay, I know I haven't covered all my bases in making this argument, but I think the smarts you will need to be an uber-coder for DHTML just got harder. This is good because there is room for new experts. If you are a great coder, there is a chance to be a brilliant cross-browser DHTML coder. If you are strictly average (nothing wrong with that), your job may have got harder.

    Ironically, code re-use on JavaScript seems to be very low.

    By the way, if you need evidence that cross-browser DHTML is hard, it even took Google a while to get Firefox compatible with GMail. Think how much cash they've got.

    Signing out...
    • Seems you weren't around in the late nineties when we had to support 2 different codebases when writing Javascript/Jscript. It was more trouble because in those days the 2 models were mostly incompatible.

      Now as Safari/MSIE/FF are DOM-based, its a lot easier - sure there are quirks, but it only means "Build it so it works in FF, then tweak for others" instead of "do a 'if (MSIE)' first and then rewrite everything in the 'else' for NN4".

      Feel ready to own one or many Tux Stickers [ptaff.ca]?
    • Re:Impact of Firefox (Score:5, Interesting)

      by timealterer (772638) <slashdot@@@alteringtime...com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @03:49AM (#12231448) Homepage

      The plan is that it will actually drive the cost of web development down by forcing IE to get better.

      Right now a lot of web developers' time is spent working around IE bugs. A random one of thousands of examples is making a dotted border - a simple, common request. The CSS is "border: 1px dotted blue". Non-IE browsers happily obey. To do this in IE you actually need to make/upload 2px GIFs, and set them to tile in such a way that they look like dotted borders.

      If the popularity of standard browsers forces Microsoft to improve IE's standards support, and IE gets things like alpha transparency in graphics and a sane box model, the time/cost saved will outweigh that of having to deal with different event registering models.

      In summary, now that there's competition again, web development can actually start to improve once more - it could end up being cheaper even.

      • Re:Impact of Firefox (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Phroggy (441) *
        On a site I'm developing for a client, I have a box at the left with username/password fields and a "Log In" button. Above the actual form fields, they're labeled "Username:" and "Password:". Nothing tricky here. Works fine in Firefox and Safari. Works mostly fine in MSIE/Mac*.

        But then there's IE/Win.

        The "Username:" and "Password:" labels don't show up. Actually, if I change the colors so I can see what's going on, they're actually getting drawn, then they immediately disappear, as if they're being d
  • by Neopoleon (874543) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @10:06PM (#12229978) Homepage
    It looks like there's a lot of confusion about the gender data gathered, mostly along the lines of "How'd they do that?"

    I know it sounds crazy, but I went ahead and visited the the Nielsen site and read up on their strategy. I realize this goes against the techie tradition of never RTFM, but that's a risk I was willing to take.

    Turns out they use a "holistic" approach to their data gathering. Everything from "server side blabbity-blah blah blah" to conducting surveys, hiring people to browse, and tracking ad clicks.

    I'm guessing that the gender comes from the surveys, but I don't want to upset anybody who might be really excited about a new gender-aware version of HTTP.

    If you want to read up on this stuff yourself, you can check out some info here:

    http://www.nielsennetratings.com/mktg.jsp?sectio n= ps

    Click on a few products to see the range of apps/services offered. You'll see where all this data comes from.
  • Damn straight. I was one of the doubters several years ago believing no open source project would ever have the resources needed to produce a product that could reach market acceptance. Not anymore. It's a full-on full-featured product. The university I attend has installed it next to IE on their classroom stations. To sum it up in several words, it kicks ass.
    The RSS integration is the biggest draw for me right now, Safari doesn't have it. (Mac user).
  • I wonder if this has to do with Google pre-fetching from Mozilla and Firefox [google.com] that begins to get the top search results before you click on it. I think that could easily significantly skew the results, especially because this isn't done with other browsers [google.com].
  • by Gothic_Walrus (692125) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @10:36PM (#12230155) Journal
    "Men accounted for 71% or nearly 1.9 mln site visitors, compared to the women who comprised 29% or the minority population who visited in March 2005."

    What other populations exist, exactly? Transvestites? Monkeys? Martians?

  • How many early technology adopters are women? I'd bet it's below 20 or even 10%. What percentage do you know are running a *Nix box at home?

    Just another indication that FF is going mainstream. Yay!
  • by MonkeyBoyo (630427) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @12:23AM (#12230762)
    Maybe if Mozilla had better documentation I wouldn't visit it so often, hoping to find documentation to explain things. Firefox does provide local (F1) help but that often sends you to the web - which ups Moz's page hits.

    Also, Firefox has all sorts of neat hacking potential which dovetails with increasingly exposed hooks into Google things like Google maps [google.com].

    Sadly, some basic browser commands and options are poorly documented and advanced information (on hacking) is largely non-existant. Which kinda sucks because some people find it easy to extend Firefox with bookmarklets, extensions, and GreaseMonkey scripts.

    For example, a full Firefox contains a DOM (Document Object Model) Inspector which can help in traking down say how a page hid something in a style sheet. However there is no official documentation for this DOMi. Some outside web pages have helped by explaining what some of the buttons mean, but I have yet to see any discussion of "evalute javascript" and I can't seem to get it to work.

    I am someone well versed in programming in many languages, but professionally never learned javascript. Yet I have written a few bookmarklets by example (e.g. find some js code examples that do things similar to what you want and imitate them).

    I wish I could find a good discussion of javascript "namespaces" and Firefox hacking. My guess is that there is some contium. Bookmarklets only give you access to DOM stuff, GreaseMonkey [mozdev.org] exposes certain hooks into Firefox, Extensions expose more Firefox hooks, and hacking Firefox lets you do anything.
  • security (Score:3, Funny)

    by gumbi west (610122) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:28AM (#12230993) Journal
    My favorite reason for not switching (a short story):

    My wife downloaded the fox at her work and then the security person found out. Well, she was told that this new browser was 'a security threat.' And she has to use IE for 'security reasons.'

    That was supposed to be ironic, I hope you understand.

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

Working...