Friday, August 23, 2013

Did Yahoo! Really Surpass Google?

All the buzz over Internet news seems to be about the ComScore numbers for July traffic. For those who have not seen them (my own source was Amanda Kooser's background piece for the Friday Poll on CNET), those numbers are that, for the month of July, Yahoo! had 196,564,000 unique visitors, thus surpassing  Google's count of 192,251,000. Kooser observed that one reaction to these numbers has been to question the ComScore methodology. She said nothing about taking any "long view" of ComScore data to determine whether or not the difference is statistically significant. Of course, in a horse race, statistical significance does not matter for the horse that wins by a nose (only the size of the nose)!

As I said, all of this was prelude to the Friday poll, which, of course, invited readers to vote their own preferences. The options were as follows:
  • I strongly prefer Yahoo-run sites
  • I strongly prefer Google-run sites
  • I use both Yahoo and Google properties equally
  • I don't use either
  • Other (expand in comments.)
By casting my own vote, I got to see the current numbers. Since they amount to 599 votes, they hardly compare to the ComScore numbers; but the do show a strong trend. Google outstripped Yahoo! 63% to 11%. This means that Google has a strong lead, even when Yahoo! is enhanced by the 20% for "both properties equally." Those three categories cover all by 7% of the votes.

For my part I have bailed on just about every aspect of Yahoo! except its mail feed. However, that feed is only there to sync with my OS X Mail. I stopped using Yahoo!'s own mail service after it was "improved" last June. One interesting side effect is that OS X Mail tells me every time Yahoo!'s mail server goes into a coma, which means that I am more aware of its defects than I had previously been.

To be fair, however, I have used Gmail a bit and have yet to be convinced that it is any better than the Yahoo! service.

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