Firefox growth statistics misleading

I recently commented on an article by WebSideStory (via business2blog) which indicated that while interest in Firefox is growing, that growth is beginning to slow.  It turns out that these statistics are somewhat misleading and don’t take into account a whole segment of the market and factors such as Linux distributions coming pre-loaded with FirefoxHTML Fix It.com has reported that WebSideStory’s stats are derived from incomplete data:

The problem is is that both of these methods miss a crucial (vast)

and growing Internet population, namely the power users. In the case of

Onestat with their online counter systems, the problem is that

generally only two types of clients use this type of service, newbies

and occasionally businesses. In the case of Websidestory, the big sites

they monitor are not those likely to be those visited by power Internet

users, if you are one yourself, do you remember the last time you

visited Disney or Liz Clairborne?

That skips a vast portion of

the Internet’s users, namely the techies and power users. These guys

know what they want online, they know where to go, and a vastly higher

number of them use the Firefox web browser. The Internet’s users are

slowly becoming more knowledgeable then they once were, and this group

of power users are growing all the time. Experienced Web developers are

likely to be using their own log file analysers for statistics and for

those without log file access, counters like our own statistical counter

that serve the same purpose. The only places I really see remote hit

counters is on newbie web pages and free blog services (the exact

places where one expects people to be using the default browser that

came with their computer.)

To get a real idea of the number of people using Firefox and other

alternative browsers, companies like Websidestory and Onestat need to

do deals with sites like Groklaw, Slashdot, TheRegister, Wired,

W3schools and other such sites and combine their results with their

existing figures. Then perhaps we’d get a real picture of the browser

landscape.

<p>I suspect there is probably more to it than even this.&nbsp; <a href="http://htmlfixit.com/?p=479#comment-91">One comment</a> on this article points out that WebSideStory's stats are based in actual web browser usage whereas the stats in the HTML Fix It article also take into consideration the fact that many people don't download <a href="http://www.spreadfirefox.com/?q=affiliates&amp;amp;id=44329&amp;amp;t=1">Firefox</a> because it is given to them through a distribution of Linux or friends who have it on disc.&nbsp; I think those stats should also be taken into account although regardless of where the browser was obtained from, you do need to look at the web stats.&nbsp; Here I agree with HTML Fix It in that you need to look at as broad a cross section of websites as is possible.&nbsp; Alternatively, look at sites almost everyone uses like <a href="http://www.google.com">Google</a>, <a href="http://www.yahoo.com">Yahoo!</a> and <a href="http://www.msn.com">MSN</a>.

Get Firefox!

Paul
Enthusiast, marketing strategist, writer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad. Allergic to stupid

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