Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mozilla The Internet Internet Explorer

Browser Stats For The BBC Homepage 260

Posted by Zonk
from the edification-early-and-often dept.
Lord_Scrumptious writes "An interesting article titled 'The software used to access the BBC homepage' has recently been published on a blog by a BBC employee. It's all about the different browsers and operating systems accessing the BBC's homepage. The analysis is from a week of page requests in September 2005. Not surprisingly, Internet Explorer accounted for 85% of site visits, but Firefox had a very respectable 9.7% share. Even requests from Sony's handheld PSP device were recorded, but interestingly there's no mention of mobile phone devices."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Browser Stats For The BBC Homepage

Comments Filter:
  • Finally.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by odaen (766778) on Monday October 24, 2005 @06:49AM (#13862513)
    Finally some reliable website records which arn't off some obscure coding page. :)
    • Re:Finally.... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Bogtha (906264)

      No, it's still unreliable. You simply can't correlate traffic to visitors. That's not the way HTTP works. httpd log analysis can tell you many interesting things, but mainly concerning the load on the server. Any attempt to read more into it is based on assumptions that are not only wrong, but wrong by an unknowable amount.

      This is true every time somebody posts some bullshit story about how Firefox has a growing portion of the market, and every time somebody posts some bullshit story about how Firef

      • And such a survey, assuming it is voluntarily, would be reliable?

        I dare bet that FireFox users are MUCH more willing to fill in a survey about webbrowser usage than MSIE users.

        I would honestly trust traffic logs a lot more than a survey on this matter. Say 10% of people use FireFox, then log stats might show anything from 5 to 20%, in a survey, it might easily show as 50% simply because FireFox users typically care more about their browser, afterall, they took the time and effort to install a different brow
        • Say 10% of people use FireFox, then log stats might show anything from 5 to 20%, in a survey, it might easily show as 50%

          Where did you get these figures from? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you just made them up.

          I dare bet that FireFox users are MUCH more willing to fill in a survey about webbrowser usage than MSIE users.

          And if surveys were typically presenting in such a way, then you might have a point. But they are usually one question amongst dozens, and people usually comple

          • Where did you get these figures from? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you just made them up.
            The first word in the sentence, "say" should have made it clear that it was an example only. Logical, since nobody has any true figures.

            And if surveys were typically presenting in such a way, then you might have a point. But they are usually one question amongst dozens, and people usually complete surveys because there's a prize or payment of some kind, not because they want to evangelise whichever browse
      • Re:Finally.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by searlea (95882) on Monday October 24, 2005 @08:05AM (#13862761)
        You make a good point, that cache config can affect the amount of traffic directly hitting your website, and therefore affects your logs.

        However, given the headers returned by the BBC site, caches should NOT cache the HTML, as the headers say the content expires immediately:

        Expires: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 11:57:59 GMT
        Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 11:57:59 GMT
        Content-Type: text/html
        Server: Zeus/4.2
        Cache-Control: max-age=0

        So, the BBC figures may be more accurate than you think.

        • Re:Finally.... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Bogtha (906264)

          However, given the headers returned by the BBC site, caches should NOT cache the HTML, as the headers say the content expires immediately

          Actually, it doesn't say that caches should not cache the resource, it says that caches should revalidate the resource before serving it again, IIRC.

          Which BBC site are we talking about anyway? I'm getting completely different headers for www.bbc.co.uk:

          HTTP/1.1 200 OK
          Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 12:10:13 GMT
          Server: Apache/2.0.54 (Unix)
          Set-Cookie: [snip]
          Set-Cookie: [s

          • Yeah, IE also rechecks cached pages every time instead of caching them until the site says they should expire.. That causes a lot more hits.. Mozilla and Opera don`t do that.. But i`m not sure if mozilla reloads a page from the server if you press back or not.
            • Re:Finally.... (Score:2, Informative)

              by searlea (95882)
              That's a solved problem, to get IE to use it's cache without checking the server, the webserver needs to be configured to set pre-check and post-check extensions to the Cache-Control header.
              • And how is this done?
                Also, why should I (as a webserver admin) need to modify my server config to cater to buggy browser behaviour? Surely this is a browser bug that needs fixing rather than a hassle for every webserver admin in the world.
            • But i`m not sure if mozilla reloads a page from the server if you press back or not.

              No it doesn't. Even if you've seen a more recent version of the same page, with the same URL, it will show the page you originally got if it is still in its cache (i.e. most of the time, unless the server requests otherwise).
      • The relevant information is not the raw number, but the trend. If you see Firefox gaining 1% every month of so, then is is reasonable to conclude that Firefox is gaining marketshare--in fact, it is even reasonable to assume that that gain is about 1% per month, since statistical anomalies and distortions caused by "AOL tweaking their cache configs" averages out to noise in a long-term trend.

        While you are right that an accurate snapshot is impossible, snapshots only matter to magazine writers facing a deadli
    • Hmm yes some reliable numbers from a website that every single firefox install by default hits every 5 minutes to update it's latest news live bookmark.
    • Anyone have a mirror available? Mirrodot is rather useless as iy only caches the first page. Boy, this site got Slashdotted quickly.
    • Wrong. It is an obscure coding page. It is a page you hit only if you miss a link on a navigation menu after an overdose of ethanol solutions on a Friday night. Now the stats for http://news.bbc.co.uk/ [bbc.co.uk] and http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather [bbc.co.uk] that will be interesting. Especially the latter as it has cookies (if you set your hometown) so it can filter out down to unique visitors.
  • Mobile devices (Score:5, Informative)

    by griffinn (240043) on Monday October 24, 2005 @06:51AM (#13862519)
    There are specific editions [bbc.co.uk] for mobile devices. It's no wonder that they don't access the the front page directly.

    Many people go to BBC, CNN and other major sites through their mobile service provider's front pages. These would naturally point to the dedicated mobile editions too.
    • Re:Mobile devices (Score:2, Insightful)

      by corbs (878524)
      Also those web savvy enough to be using firefox would go directly to the section of the bbc webby they need (like news.bbc.co.uk). I find nothing particularly useful about the bbc homepage.

      • Ditto. Thats exactly what I do. He may mention something about this on the other pages in his blog, but I can't tell cos of the /. effect.

      • I use Firefox's Live Bookmarks to visit pages on the BBC site at least once a day. But I never use their homepage, so I guess those won't be counted.


    • Yep. That WAP site is the home page on my mobile, and I probably use their traffic info page more than the others. I use it almost daily when walking to the car to check for reports of problems on the M4 before going to/from work.

  • errr (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scenestar (828656) on Monday October 24, 2005 @06:52AM (#13862523) Homepage Journal

    Linux (various distributions) 0.41%

    Windows Vista 0.15%

      MSFT's unreleased os has nearly the same market share as linux?

    We've got a long way to go.
    • by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:14AM (#13862594)
      So it's probably about right for UK business desktop stats.

       
    • Re:errr (Score:3, Funny)

      MSFT's unreleased os has nearly the same market share as linux?

      By that logic, Windows 98 has nearly the same market share as Windows 2000.

      Windows 2000 16.5%
      Windows 98 6.6%
  • by nmoog (701216) on Monday October 24, 2005 @06:52AM (#13862525) Homepage Journal
    ...with a shiny firefox user agent string - we could easy get that figure up to 30%!
  • by Mad Man (166674) on Monday October 24, 2005 @06:52AM (#13862526)
    As of September 2005 [e-janco.com], Internet Explorer has an 85% market share, while Firefox has a 9.5% market share.

    The BBC's numbers are simply representative of this, as any large web site would be.
    • The summary you link to is crap. Where's Safari? Surely greater than 0.15% (Netscape's supposed share)? It seems they've lumped it in with either Firefox or IE; either way, like I said, it's crap.
    • slashdot is a largue website and it's not representative
    • "The BBC's numbers are simply representative of this, as any large web site would be."

      Well, they'll at least be representative of the overall British marketshare. (And yes, I know not just Brits visit the BBC, but still...)

      I imagine for a large German or Finnish media site, you'd see a much higher portion of Firefox users. Many countries in continental Europe seem to have much higher Firefox adoption rates.
    • > Firefox has a 9.5% market share.

      That's a load of crap, I don't know *anywhere* to buy firefox, Firefox has a 0% market share. It has a 9.5% consumer webbrowsing share though - if that is important.
  • mobile devices (Score:4, Informative)

    by nother_nix_hacker (596961) on Monday October 24, 2005 @06:53AM (#13862529)
    The BBC provide specific pages for mobile devices. The front page is way too big/rich for a limited handset.
  • Opera (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 24, 2005 @06:53AM (#13862530)
    My install of Opera is set to identify itself as IE to websites as I am sure many others set theirs the same way on install. So in that light, are those figures trustworthy?
    • Re:Opera (Score:2, Informative)

      by Sockatume (732728)
      There's certainly room for error. If we had figures for how many Firefox and Opera users have their browsers masquerading as IE, we could put together a cludge factor to correct it.
    • Re:Opera (Score:5, Informative)

      by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:13AM (#13862590) Journal
      My install of Opera is set to identify itself as IE... are those figures trustworthy?

      Yes, they are.
      Old versions of Opera that identify themselves as IE by default use a user agent string like this:

      Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; X11; Linux i686; en) Opera 8.02

      So the "Opera" string is here and easily identifiable.

      New versions should simply use the proper Opera UA string by default [slashdot.org].

      If you use Opera I suggest to check that it sends the "correct" Opera UA string: the sky will (mostly) not fall down.

    • Re:Opera (Score:5, Insightful)

      by peterpi (585134) on Monday October 24, 2005 @08:02AM (#13862749)
      To the nearest few percent they are trustworthy, even with your Opera install skewing the figures.

      We need to remember that people who do unusual things with unusual browsers are an incredibly small fraction of all internet users. The message of the article is that there's very rougly a 8/1/1 split between IE, firefox and 'other'. That message is not affected in the slightest by Opera, lynx or any other niche browser.

    • IMHO Opera stats can be skewed in a different way.

      It is plausible that some IE users have BCC homepage set as browser's start page and create large number of hits.

      but other browsers have alternative mechanisms, that allow user to visit homepage even less often than usual. For example Opera on each start reopens previously open tabs, from cache, so rarely anyone uses start page feature. Opera and FF have RSS that leads users directly to articles, etc.

    • This shows you that, while you may change your browser string to access certain sites, in the long run it actually works against you when trying to prove how often Opera accesses the site.

      We need to see Opera identify itself properly and give a big middle finger to broken web sites, at least after giving the webmaster a chance to fix their issue. Remember there are some stupid webmasters, but there are many that will fix the issue if the get told about it. If you have to go through a help-desk to sort th is
  • by danfreak (876571) on Monday October 24, 2005 @06:54AM (#13862532) Homepage
    Interesting. I wonder how much variation there is of browser use by other sites... I imagine BBC is higher than most in the Mozilla-bred catagory, as the BBC News site has posted lots of articles about Firefox over the years. I wonder how different it would be for msn.com, foxnews.com etc.

    On a related note, I hosted some pictures on my website last week that were posted into a fark.com forum, 47.6% of fark readers seem to use Firefox (from some 14,000 hits in two days) - I bet slashdot beats this though!

    • The IE / FF split is actually pretty representative of the world as a whole. Other recent data points show about 85:10 split for IE / FF.

      Of /. users who have visited my site from my sig, the split is almost exactly the opposite, 8:75 IE / FF. That's a somewhat higher percentage of FF users than non-slashdot traffic, but IE is in the minority month after month.
    • by peterpi (585134) on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:34AM (#13862658)
      I imagine BBC is higher than most in the Mozilla-bred catagory, as the BBC News site has posted lots of articles about Firefox over the years.

      I doubt it makes much difference. The BBC news site is read by a lot of Normal People who either couldn't care less about what browser they're using, or have no power to change it because it's a work computer.

      I'm really surprised that firefox has such a high share. Of course there have been similar stats released by sites like i-am-a-1337-linux-doodz.com and windoxxors-is-teh-suxxors.com, but to get them from a mainstream site like the BBC must be very encouraging for the developers

    • Ah...doubt it. My small personal site gets most of its visitors from slashdot in times when I link to it.

      Take a look at my stats. [freeshell.org]

      Then again, maybe I don't get enough visitors for any kind of accuracy. I keep getting somebody from "cups.cs.cmu.edu," and I've got no idea who that is. They're visiting enough to be statistically significant, though.
  • Fatally Flawed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:00AM (#13862554)
    I visit the BBC web site multiple times a day, but I haven't been to the "main" page in months. I expect most regular Firefox visitors will have bookmarks or just type a URL that goes past the main page.

    The author does point this out:
    And I must stress again, these figures don't represent the breakdown of visitors to the BBC site as a whole, they are based on requests to the homepage alone, over the course of one week in September. Nevertheless I think they provide an interesting snapshot of web activity.

    but it should have been avoided

    • And why would Firefox users be any different in this respect to users of other browsers? If Firefox users are bypassing the main page in this way, why wouldn't IE users?
  • Slashdot stats?` (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zerojoker (812874) on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:03AM (#13862561)
    Would be interesting too. Browser stats, OS stats ...
    • by mr_tommy (619972) *
      You miss the point of interest with the BBC; it is the number one website in the UK and thus has a reasonably representative audience. Slashdot, however much we love it, does not. I'm thinking male, 14-30, pretty high tech outlook - implying a skew towards Linux / Firefox / etc etc.

      Bottom line - the beeb gives us a good painting; it's not a picture, true, but it is a good picture. Mozilla folk should be pleased with themselves; their strategy has worked rather well.
  • Mirror (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:04AM (#13862566) Journal
    Well, I for one couldn't access that blog. Here's a mirror [mirrordot.org]...

    How about Slashdot generating a mirror link via a neat little "mirror" icon next to the links?
  • by MacGod (320762) on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:06AM (#13862575)
    Hmmmmm.... Slashdotted already.

    I have a hunch this guy's web stats are going to show a MASSIVE influx of FireFox users, then a long period of downtime...
  • First here is mirrordot link [mirrordot.org], if you cannot open page (slashdoteffect).

    My site and blog mostly related to Linux and Open source stuff, and here is my exprince so far:
    OS
    Most of the corporate users, uses Windows XP/2000 desktop
    Individual user uses Linux/BSD/Mac OS desktop


    Browser
    Firefox rules
    IE (6.x/5.x)

    So it depend upon your site content, if you wanna see this stats they are here [cyberciti.biz]
  • by ph1l0r (900728) on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:14AM (#13862595)
    at companies that run Windows clients. I wouldn't bother to install Firefox more of less by hand on hundreds of desktops myself. The Firefox guys should really get a MSI build ready for easy deployment _and_ update. Firefox is just not 100% enterprise ready like IE is with it's managabilty by group policies. I wonder how many people check bbc.co.uk from their workplace. They might even have Firefox installed on their home computer.
    • i'm pretty sure there are ready made scripts out there to build a msi from the latest firefox release if thats your preffered method of deployment.

      here at uni they deploy firefox on demand through zenworks like pretty much every other app they have avilible. I think they build thier own packages for that though.
      • i'm pretty sure there are ready made scripts out there to build a msi from the latest firefox release if thats your preffered method of deployment.

        My guess is that this is the preferred method at most companies of > 50 people. I've worked at a number of companies over the past 3 years. This is by far the primary reason given for not deploying Mozilla/Firefox. MS gives tools to easily customize IE and push it out to everyone on the network very quickly. I'm working with a company now that realizes the
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:58AM (#13862736)
      There you go..
      http://www.frontmotion.com/Firefox/ [frontmotion.com]
      MSI installers for Mozilla Firefox! Useful for installing Firefox on a single computer for the home user or deploy across thousands of computers automatically with Microsoft's Active Directory. Use Firefox on your corporate computers to decrease virus incidents and increase overall security. Save time and frustration with our installer that is targeted toward the corporate IT administrator with manageability and upgradeability in mind. This is not just a wrapper around the exe installer nor is it another half baked 'captured' install.
    • The Firefox guys should really get a MSI build ready for easy deployment _and_ update. Firefox is just not 100% enterprise ready like IE is with it's managabilty by group policies

      Stop blaming software makers for that. Microsoft pushed for a _long_ time the _crazy_ idea that "programs must have their own .exe installer", which lead to companies to create (crappy) installer products (!!), which leads to thousands of different installers not being able to update your system as they should, which leads to the D
      • What the hell are you talking about?

        What's the installer got to do with DLL hell? That's a problem of the application packager. To be honest, I haven't seen DLL hell for years.

        It makes complete sense to use MSI for Firefox. Leverage both the deployment infrastructure that exists and the installer functionality that doesn't need to be reinvented.

        As for your point about some installers requiring admin rights - wtf? Apt on my Debian system won't even run unless I'm root, so how is this any different?

        Most o
    • I have been using http://www.frontmotion.com/Firefox/ [frontmotion.com] for about 7 months for a network of ~50 systems. I use this with FirefoxADM for some basic browser configuration. There will be the "ADM XPI for Firefox 1.5" which from my brief understanding will integrate Firefox config w/registry and allow for tighter group policy management.

      It would definitely be nice to have an official MSI package (as it would attract many more admins) coupled with something like ADM XPI .. *hopefully* that will happen.. I thought
  • Super Respectable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mulletproof (513805) on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:18AM (#13862610) Homepage Journal
    "but Firefox had a very respectable 9.7% share."

    I use firefox and even I can't keep a strait face reading that line. I mean have some self-worth, man. There's nothing respectable about that. Can't we aim just a tad higher here? Especially if we're gonna tag on the word "very"?
  • by The Hobo (783784) on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:21AM (#13862615)
    Remember, with every English-US installation of Firefox comes a preloaded RSS feed on the bookmark toolbar that points to the BBC for news (I say this as an avid Firefox user)
  • One thing I noticed when I installed Firefox, is that it comes with just one live bookmark. It is called: "Latest Headlines", and pulls the feed from http://fxfeeds.mozilla.org/rss20.xml/ [mozilla.org] But, this feed is the same as the main stories feed at BBC. I would figure people would click on these and get some more exposure to the BBC site, more than usual. This has actually made myself more aware of those stories, and made me more likely to visit again.
  • I run a website, a webmagazine in Sweden. It started out as a music/lifestyle webmag, and is now more of a collection of blogs, mostly about music and related things (sports, debate, feminism, lifestyle, TV). In other words, the visitors are not at all tech type guys, but it's definately an inner city, trendy type of crowd. I would not hesitate to call them early adopters. Nonetheless, I was amazed when I checked the browser stats for October after reading this article. WE HAVE 20% FIREFOX VISITORS! Please
  • by LaughingCoder (914424) on Monday October 24, 2005 @07:41AM (#13862675)
    The obvious solution is to make the BBC homepage the default homepage for Firefox!
  • I'm the webdesigner for a small AuPair company in the UK, our demographic is entirely UK Families and young foreign nationals.

    For this month, this is the breakdown of browser access

    5250 Views this month:
    * 77.5% Internet Explorer (inc. Maxthon & AOL) = 4070 Views
    v5 (57 views) v5.5 (27 views) v6 (3703 views)
    * 10.9% Mozilla Firefox (inc. Netscape & SeaMonkey) = 574 Views
    * 02.3% Apple Safari (inc. Linux Konqueror) = 122 Views
    * 00.4% Opera Browser = 22 Views
    * 08.8% Other (Unknown, bots
  • The market share of Win98 is bigger then Apple + Linux. That is a ten year old OS pretending to be a seven year old OS. And they say Windows is not stable?
  • I've read the bbc news website is the most visited website in the UK, so it's probably the best indication of what UK people use to browse the web. I wonder how many of the IE stats are Opera however.
  • Default? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zaguar (881743) on Monday October 24, 2005 @08:21AM (#13862847)
    Remember when you first install firefox, there was this shing RSS bookmark with 'Latest Headlines' and pointing to the BBC news pages?

    Anyone considered that, maybe, that might have influenced the results? Having a default bookmark as the page of the study? You wouldnt take browser results from MSN.com or whatever IE's default home page is.

    Nevermind me though, I just suggested that a pro-Firefox poll might be biased. Karma be dammed!

  • by oztiks (921504)
    I run a web hosting business and here is the breakdown for webstats last month, and yes its linux hosting btw:

    Windows 16400 70 %
    Linux 5497 23.4 %

    MS Internet Explorer No 14012 59.8 %
    Firefox No 7579 32.3 %

    Though windows is the dominator in this respect but it goes to show the website content does really depend on who visits the site and therefore produces the stats.

    Lets face it BBC is a news network business people and general interest users are reading these articals; ofcourse n
  • older stats (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheRealDamion (209415)
    I used to be about 60% Netscape 35% IE 5% misc like lynx etc, when I started in 1998.
    Then it got to about 95% IE, so 85% is quick a marked drop in IE support.

    Do remember that the BBC is hardly a generic site for your average Internet user, it attracts a significant quantity of beginners and is dull for anyone technical (there are a higher proportion of technical users on the Internet than you'd meet on a street). So these stats are quite good.

    I know the way they are worked out should be quite fair.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

Working...