It was not that long ago a weekly magazine was considered the perfect compilation of all that was buzz worthy, trend spotting and worth noting … and then came 24 hours news and sports – man, how were we ever going to keep up with that info overload … and now, you can track trends, buzz, blog-worthy and news as it sweeps across the globe to the minute … much like the Star Trek Genesis device, worlds and ideas can be terra-formed, created or destroyed in just about 65 seconds.
Of course, you want to start at Alexa.com and drill down as they like to say to find where all the people are on this internet thing …
Who’s Hot or Not? The Top 10 Sites moving up or moving down in the traffic rankings, as measured by the change in the number of users visiting the site are at Movers & Shakers
The main kahuna list – the ALEXA GLOBAL 500. Unlike the Fortune 500 or the Forbes 400 where you can work all year to make the list, this list, you gotta earn your 750,452 page views EVERY HOUR of EVERYDAY.
On Alexa’s front page is also a fun (or sad or heartbreaking) feature allowing you a very detailed look at your competition and how you stack up in terms of traffic in and out … here is Apple.com’s page. Just type yours or any url to get a closer look in. And of course, why not buy a t-shirt with your web stats – that should be the perfect shirt to wear on a speed date 🙂 You also get a glimpse of “Sites Linking in” and who your visitors also visit.
Or from PINGDOM, how often are the Top 20 websites down/offline – pretty impressive YAHOO – ZERO downtime. Also from PINGDOM, for the truly geeky, what kind of servers are your favorite websites running? (PDF version).
Bloglines Most Popular Feeds/Blogs.
Technorati, of course has been re-designed to encompass more than just blog rankings but now videos, movies etc are on their “POP” page – and of course, still keeping the list of Top 100 blogs and the list of user-decided “Top 100 Favorites.”
A great feature from popuri.us lets you “check at-a-glance the link popularity of any site based on its ranking (Google PageRank, Alexa Rank, Technorati etc.), social bookmarks (del.icio.us, etc), subscribers (Bloglines, etc) and more!” Just type in an url, any url and see where they rank – very interesting …
Adobe Labs also tracks the Top 100 feeds.
For the best free research, hard to beat the Pew Internet & American Life.
TRACKING THE BUZZ
Google Zeitgeist has become Google Trends/Hot Trends but you can still access 2006 data or the archives. Though they are still tracking Zeitgeist by country. You can also drill down each HOT TRENDS search for detailed info. Note, the trends tracks the hottest new searches – not necessarily the most popular searches in sheer numbers that day/minute.
Or get a live look. If you go to Google HQ’s, there is a second by second monitor* showing you search queries (with ‘adult’ words stripped out) but no live feature of that on the internet. The next best thing is MetaCrawler’s METASPY … every 15 seconds, you get an insightful or puzzled glimpse into the queries straight from the minds of fellow netizens. Or NOT SAFE FOR WORK, their EXPOSED queries.
(* WIRED story from 2003)
Not only is Lycos still around, they are still in the Top 1000 – here is their weekly Top 50 searches.
I’ve heard that MSN/Live also offers a trends list but I couldn’t find it … it also doesn’t help matters when the first contact they have with anyone is this request:
“Would you like to set Live Search as your default search provider?”
I guess it’s progress in some small way, the NO isn’t grayed out … but still, when will MS learn to stop annoying people in the guise of being “helpful.” Why not just be straightforward and sell me some Viagra and offer me a 59% home loan in fell swoop?
Ask.com’s Top searches by week.
AOL’s searches are via a blog form as in AOL Hot Searches. And while some of us are quick to sneer at AOL, they still have some 17 million customers/users and they are a glimpse into the solid “middle-class” of the internet. They can afford to upgrade to DSL, they just figure – why futz with something that’s working. Or of course, you can still troll around for the 30-minutes AOL thought it was a good idea to release a giant compilation of their search data … recap at TechCrunch with link to giant file.
And one of the oldest and most reliable – Yahoo’s Buzz. They also offer a blog (on main page) along with more specific categories.
WordSpy tracks keywords searches (some NSFW).
HypeTracker doesn’t offer you any real inputs but their charts might be useful … if you don’t mind that it looks like Circus Circus graphics of 1973.
Title-Z is free during beta testing to track book sales trends at Amazon.
In addition to searches, it’s always good to see what people are reading, watching and interacting with on the internet … obviously there’s no way to put together a complete list but popurl.com is a great place to start as it sweeps up the Top 10 from a couple dozen most popular social & news sites (from Digg to furl to YouTube) so you get it all in one sweep plus a nice looking interface that cuts to the core.
Or a newcomer – a college version of Digg … SchoolFizz.
Most viewed on YouTube.
Or Original Signal – the best of blogs …
Google News is interesting because it does an auto sweep of all news sites and going by the theory that the more posts in turn signifies the story is worthy of more attention … You can also switch between 25 languages to get a feel of what’s news elsewhere and sadly, our celebs are the same celebs searches & news worldwide. I like THE REZ for slightly different news feeds than the same old.
Most every site that contains a lot of data will offer a “best of” or “most popular” so there’s plenty of data out there … have fun!