hg-one.com: tools for building better coffee

The influence of online communities

Postby espressoed on Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:20 pm

...split from Experiments with Preground Coffee by moderator...


kahvedelisi wrote:Foodandwine.com has a traffic rank of: 57,908 (at USA FW rank 10,708 / consider they are "professionals" )
Coffeegeek.com has a traffic rank of: 74,957 (at USA CG rank 20,622 )
Home-barista.com has a traffic rank of: 316,298 (at USA HB rank 155,561 / consider HB is only 3 years old but already 1/4 huge as CG)

I can't remember how many times I read about wine and robert parker in various coffee forums.. so lets look at there also --> Erobertparker.com has a traffic rank of: 78,226 (at USA RP rank 23,058 / wow! CG readers beat his! :lol: )

eRobertParker.com requires a paid subscription to access virtually all of its content. A more equitable comparision to it would be to the bulletin board portion of the sites. The only major part of the site accessible to the general public is Mark Squire's Bulletin Board (http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/index.php?).

Parker's/Squire's Bulletin Board has 13,123 members and 1,860,312 posts in 147,493 threads. Coffee Geek Discussions has 34,078 members and 361,018 posts in 46,050 threads. Home-Barista.com Forums has 2801 members and 65,457 posts in 5601 threads.
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Postby kahvedelisi on Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:32 pm

espressoed wrote:eRobertParker.com requires a paid subscription to access virtually all of its content. A more equitable comparision to it would be to the bulletin board portion of the sites. The only major part of the site accessible to the general public is Mark Squire's Bulletin Board (http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/index.php?).

Parker's/Squire's Bulletin Board has 13,123 members and 1,860,312 posts in 147,493 threads. Coffee Geek Discussions has 34,078 members and 361,018 posts in 46,050 threads. Home-Barista.com Forums has 2801 members and 65,457 posts in 5601 threads.


Dear espressoed,

FYI Alexa doesn't work like that and not that simple :lol:

A site's rank is evaluated with reach+traffic+page views and it's re-calculated every day to be summed in 3/6/9/12 months period, as well as years.

ALSO, when a site's traffic rank calculated, all sub domains and folders/sub folders are included, which means dat.erobertparker.com is also a sub domain of erobertparker.com and counted already, if there was a fat.erobertparker.com that would be counted too (you can check this yourself by typing whatever full address you want in alexa site search box)

erobertparker.com --> domain
dat.erobertparker.com --> subdomain
dat.erobertparker.com/bbord --> a folder containing a forum under a sub domain

All actually same site

A site's rank depends on many things but number of members is not the right criteria to begin with. It "technically" proves nothing other than "joy" to site owner. You can build a site with 5000 members and all those members could be just the same person. Yeah you'd rank at first place (probably "bottom" first :D ) Membership shows dedication in a way. But there are curious surfers out there or dedicated but shy people who just follows instead of posting. Alexa counts almost everything. And that's why by professionals Alexa ranking is considered as a criteria when you apply for banner publishing in your site. Also number of posts is not taken into consideration. A site may have 2 zillion posts viewed only 2 zillion times, but on the other hand another site may have 100,000 posts viewed 2 zillion times.

As I previously stated, "the ranks" recalculated and summed in periods cos user behaviour and preferences changes often. You can see how reliable Alexa is just by checking top 500 sites all around the world, I don't think you'll be surprised. It's valuable data to some, and to some it's not. Since I posted that message 3 months traffic ranks changed. Lets look at new ones.. As for last 3 months;

Coffeegeek.com has a traffic rank of: 53,332 (previously 74,957)
Home-barista.com has a traffic rank of: 227,139 (previously 316,298 --huge leap!!--)
Erobertparker.com has a traffic rank of: 62,257 (previously 78,226)

Where people go on Erobertparker.com:
dat.erobertparker.com - 61%
erobertparker.com - 39%

Now about paid content part. I believe if there was paid content section in coffeegeek or home-barista, it wouldn't hurt their rank, versa it could have positive impact on site's rank. It's not like "oh no I'm not going there ever! Because it's showing paid content!!" people get more curious when they can't view freely, so they start wandering around, just in case they get the opportunity to see, it's in human nature :lol:

Anyways.. that's not the main subject of this topic, that was just an example to support my point of view in my previous post, a powerful example showing "actually how wide the audience is" if you care to listen. Mods may feel free to delete this message.

Thanks
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Postby HB on Fri Apr 25, 2008 10:20 pm

kahvedelisi wrote:Anyways.. that's not the main subject of this topic, that was just an example to support my point of view in my previous post, a powerful example showing "actually how wide the audience is" if you care to listen.

I agree that the opinions of contributors to online forums do matter, frequently more than they realize. Who today doesn't search before making a major purchase? Who doesn't search when they have a question? I don't know the actual percentages, but speaking from years of forum watching, the trend is up... way up.

As for Alexa and similar ranking sites... I think they're nearly pure fiction except for the mega mega sites (searching on Alexa rankings are worthless yields lots of opinions and arguments). While we who hold espresso dear like to think our favorite sites command a huge audience, it's all relative. You may be surprised to find out how huge "huge" gets in the Internet. For example, mega forum gaiaonline:

Who is Online? - 95609 users. (73202 visible, 3772 hidden, 18635 guests).
Gaia has 1,319,395,001 articles posted with 12,430,371 registered users.
Most users ever online was 123,381 on Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:44 am

According to Alexa, Gaiaonline.com has a traffic rank of 298.
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Postby cannonfodder on Sat Apr 26, 2008 11:27 pm

We just do more with less fluff posts and flame battles between members. My dad use to have a saying, liars figure and figures lie. There is more to a forum than the number of posts; content and substance are a wonderful thing.
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Postby zin1953 on Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:17 am

OK, I've been using home espresso machines since around 1976. I started out in the wine trade in 1969. However, whereas I am a wine "professional," whatever that means, I still consider myself a newbie in the world of espresso. Among other things, I've learned a good deal more from reading and posting on HB in 2+ years than I ever did from years and years of participating on Mark Squires/eBob . . .

Let's see, personal stats:
This will be my 347th posts on HB, once I hit the "Submit" button, since joining on December 27, 2005.
This compares to 274 posts over on CG, since December 9, 2005.
And this -- I'm embarrassed to say -- is opposed to my 10,535 on Squires' board since (at least) January 1999. :oops:

Anyway, there is no doubt which forum has taught me more . . . or cost me more! :roll: :twisted:

Cheers,
Jason
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Postby ira on Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:03 pm

cannonfodder wrote:We just do more with less fluff posts and flame battles between members. My dad use to have a saying, liars figure and figures lie. There is more to a forum than the number of posts; content and substance are a wonderful thing.


Personally I'm of the opinion that size matters a lot. In a forum like this if you want the quality to stay high you need to keep the membership limited and the focus reasonably tight. I look at coffeegeek occasionally, but there is so much noise, the volume of new message so high and the speed so low that it's hard for me to care. This place is still small and personal. If the owner is in it for the money it's going to have to get really big and likely much less interesting, if he's in it for the coffee then it probably needs to stay about this size.

IMHO of course.

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Postby another_jim on Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:36 pm

The best model of influence is the classic two stage one that has been around, in one form or another, since the early 50s. If somebody makes a purchase or other decision in an area they do not know, they need a source they trust; so they tend to follow the opinion of a local maven they know well. The local maven, knowledgeable enough to judge the information, doesn't need trust, and goes by the opinion of the field's elite, even if she or he doesn't know them.

But trust is a funny thing, and the modern media create and destroy it in odd ways.

Broadcasting created a pseudo familiarity and trust for figures like Murrow or Cronkite; but by now, most local anchors wouldn't be able to sell a used car. This has little to do with the talking heads, and more with people learning to disregard the old face to face clues that created trust in the pre-tv age.

On-line forums allow people, not just mavens, to listen in on the expert conversations and get access to good information. So do they cut out the middle man? Only to the extent to which people trust that they can start with Google and end with the right information. Therefore, the influence of on-line forums and experts depends entirely on how much trust people place on the search process.

I don't know about yours, but my trust in widely accessible internet information has been in a long and steady decline. I anticipate this will continue. The trust people have in search engines makes a high listing worth a lot of money; and attracts commercial investment. Slowly but surely, objective information sources disappear from the top of search lists and are replaced by commercial interests. The same process is at work, almost by necessity, wherever there is information that is widely valued. In other words, a larger and larger mountain of spam awaits anyone looking for information in an area they do not know well.

Eventually, most people will say "%^&* this, who do I know who's good at this" Then it's either back to old fashioned personal trust, or on to some new medium that is still navigable.
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Postby espressoed on Mon Apr 28, 2008 5:20 am

zin1953 wrote:OK, I've been using home espresso machines since around 1976. I started out in the wine trade in 1969. However, whereas I am a wine "professional," whatever that means, I still consider myself a newbie in the world of espresso. Among other things, I've learned a good deal more from reading and posting on HB in 2+ years than I ever did from years and years of participating on Mark Squires/eBob . . .

Let's see, personal stats:
This will be my 347th posts on HB, once I hit the "Submit" button, since joining on December 27, 2005.
This compares to 274 posts over on CG, since December 9, 2005.
And this -- I'm embarrassed to say -- is opposed to my 10,535 on Squires' board since (at least) January 1999. :oops:

Anyway, there is no doubt which forum has taught me more . . . or cost me more! :roll: :twisted:

Cheers,
Jason

If you're a wine professional then it would stand to reason that you'd learn more about coffee on a coffee forum than you would about wine from erobertparker, wouldn't it? And at least some of your 10k+ posts on parker have probably taught others quite a bit. Anyway, that's not really the point.

My original post was not intended to compare erobertparker to any coffee sites, it was a reply to a comparison of erobertparker to coffee sites. Nothing in my post states any personal belief of superiority or better knowledge dissemination on the part of ebob over the coffee sites. I was simply suggesting that comparing a website that is a paid subscription site to a free site was comparing apples to oranges, and that the only direct comparison one could do would be to somehow isolate the fora alone. (Which, of course, is less than ideal as well.) The only forum statistics available to me were those listed on the main page of each forum, thus the data in my post.

High traffic doesn't make a website "good" or informative it makes it popular, which can help to make a site better and increase traffic further. It's also a relative term that depends upon the size of the target audience. I'd call HB a high traffic site within the context of its sharply focused demographic. It's Dan, the moderators and the members who combine their work and contributions to make it good.
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Postby zin1953 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 1:54 pm

Ed, we don't disagree.

Wine, however, is like History or -- for that matter -- coffee: there is always more to learn. So while you are correct that, starting from a limited knowledge base, this site has taught me more than eBob and starting from a position of "advanced" knowledge and experience (whatever that means!). Nonetheless, I would have expected to learn more from eBob than I have over the years . . .

But let me rephrase slightly: the discussion forums generally, and the most knowledgeable people in particular, found on HB are much more helpful and supportive of those who know less (be they newbies or those of moderate experience) than are the forums and knowledgeable individuals who frequent eBob.

That starts with Dan, and his willingness to search and provide links in various discussions when we participants haven't searched for ourselves. It continues with, for example, people like Ken Fox, Jim Schulman, and Dave Stephens (to name but three individuals, and in alphabetical order, out of the dozens of very helpful souls who regularly frequent this site) who have posted the same or similar thing -- I have no doubt -- several times when someone new comes along and raises the same or similar question, and have done so with warmth, information and generosity, when -- on some sites -- it could be met with something like, Jeez, don't you know how a search works? or Why don't you search before you ask? or Stop wasting bandwidth! . . . and so on (as I have seen happen on other sites).

And this spirit of helpfulness and support continues through the rest of the community.

Cheers,
Jason
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