SnapShot Is Coming

When you have tools that help you analyze patterns of Internet usage, you can learn some amazing things about human behavior. Those of us who work at Compete have access to these tools all the time, and it’s a pretty cool part of our jobs. Within the next 30 days we’ll be unveiling SnapShot, which will give you the chance to view the same data that we use to monitor trends that are of interest to you.

Usually when we discover trends or anomalies in traffic patterns there is an "a-ha" moment, and usually it’s a happy moment. We might discover a trend that will help one of our clients with a business issue, or notice an increase in traffic to a new site that our community members would be interested in. But recently that moment was bittersweet.

The Top Movers list for Week 36 was dominated by non-US websites — something that we’ve never seen since we started monitoring the top movers in 2004. Five of the top ten sites were based in Australia. At first this left us scratching our heads, but we soon realized the reason: US internet users wanted to go to the source to find out more about the tragic death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin.

US traffic to Australian news sites saw a dramatic increase after the death of Croc Hunter Steve Irwin, with news.com.au seeing a 447% increase over the previous week.

As sad as the subject matter may be, it still underscores the remarkable nature of the Internet. People can access information in ways that were nearly inconceivable just a decade ago. We can find out what’s happening anywhere at anytime, regardless of time zones or borders. It’s hard to believe that once we had to wait for the 11 o’clock news to hear a newscaster give us a recap of the day’s events, or wait for the morning paper to find out what happened yesterday. Sure, CNN gave us the 24-hour news cycle, but now we can find out the story for ourselves, seeking out the news directly from the source, without editorial filters or the time constraints of commercial television. We’ve come so far"¦

But we have so far to go. Soon you’ll have a new tool to help you find out more about the world around you. Keep your eyes open, because SnapShot might change the way you look at things.

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