No wonder Murdoch’s sh-tting bricks. Fairfax too. Everyone in the news business, actually. It’s not just the death of newspapers and broadcast media we’re looking at. Even the audience for online news is plummeting.

Nicholas Moerman, a planning intern with Proximity in London, has spotted a steady but solid decline in traffic to major global websites starting about September 2008. Check his presentation. News sites, video sites, blogs, shopping — even p-rn. Wherever you look it’s the same.

Except for social networking sites.

Sceptical? Here’s the chart for some key Australian mastheads.




Every site has a spike for the 2007 federal election, seasonal slumps across December-January, a spike for (presumably) the Black Saturday bushfires — and a year-long relentless slide down and to the right. has been plotted rather than or here because most of the pages on those sites are served out of sub-directories such as

Here’s some more key sites, this time filtered to show only traffic from Australia.


NineMSN, eBay, Microsoft and poor Mr Murdoch’s MySpace — all down and to the right.

Even Crikey and The Punch show the same decline, though perhaps it’s less clear. Down and to the right. Down. And to the right.




Alas, you can’t chart Google’s own sites, including leading video site YouTube. At many social networking sites — and especially Facebook — things are very different.



Facebook continues to grow. MySpace continues to collapse. Yes, well. No wonder, Murdoch is keen to renew Google’s advertising contract.

Twitter has grown to what appears to be a plateau. However, most serious Twitter users migrate to third-party client software rather than use the website itself.

However, advertisers are interested in eyeballs multiplied by time. Fewer visits means less advertising revenue. And certainly fewer click-throughs.

So why the traffic drop?

Could it be an artifact of Google’s methodology, a change in technique perhaps? Google couldn’t answer that, but it seems unlikely. A change in methods would surely show as a sudden change in numbers, not a steady decline.

No, I reckon this is what those annoying social media experts have been predicting all along. People are passing news directly among themselves. They’re bypassing the traditional news outlets — whether online or on sliced tree.

They’re more interested in news from their friends and family than manufactured celebrities, too. There’s only so many minutes in the day. They’re spending more of them on Facebook, fewer on news media.

If people see the headline and lead paragraph passed along via Facebook, or exchange a few snarky comments on Twitter, perhaps that’s enough to satisfy their curiosity. Who needs to click through to the whole story anyway?

Let the discussions continue!

[thanks, Stilherrigan for charts etc]


One Response to “Is Social Media killing the Web as we know it?”

  1. hot penny stocks on December 29th, 2010 3:50 pm

    Mate. This site is awesome! How do you make it look this good .

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