Re: Let's talk strategy (was: Re: Web Reliability)

Steve H Rose (
Tue, 1 Aug 1995 18:06:23 +0059 (EDT)

On Mon, 31 Jul 1995, Liam Relihan wrote:

> On Sun, 30 Jul 1995, Mike Meyer wrote:
> > (*) Anneli was absolutely fuming at NetScape, with comments on "making
> > fortunes helping millions of clueless people do the wrong thing." A
> > magazine she likes had recently bragged about their web pages. Turns
> > out they aren't navigable in anything but NetScape because of
> > NetScapes broken attribute parsing. The response from the magazine was
> > that 25% (their estimate) of their market wasn't worth spending a few
> > minutes fixing the problem, or even doing it right next time.
> Aside:
> I have my doubts about this statistic ("75% of all browsers are Netscape").
> Where did this figure come from ? Did it come from Netscape, I wonder ?

IMHO, these types of figures are garbage. There are lots of studies that
are based on determining the number of hits at specific sites.
Consistently, these studies indicate that most of the accesses to those
sites are from Netscape.

But, there is a fundamental flaw here -- the assumption that accesses to
specific sites by Netscape browsers imply something about the percentages of
overall users using Netscape. That assumption does not take into account
the patterns of browsing behavior actually used on the Web.

My guess is that if you did a study based on the number of accesses to the overwhelming majority of Internet users would be
"proved" to be users of Internet in a Box and/or CompuServe. Any pages
directly linked to Spry's homepage (e.g. David Letterman's top 10 list)
would be heavily biased in favor of those browsers, not Netscape.

What I believe is being measured by these studies is the percentage of
access to sites by people who have the navigational fluency on the Web to
go wherever they want to, as many times as they want to -- in other
words, "techies."

Let's take the case of Yahoo. I believe I have seen a study that reports
the number of accesses to Yahoo to be strongly biased in favor of
Netscape, with a substantial number from lynx. But, up until recently,
yahoo (particularly in its previous URL of was known
mostly to a techie and academic population. The MicroSoft Network
provides a very prominent link to Yahoo. My guess is that as soon as MSN
is out, a large percentage of Yahoo users will -- surprise, surprise -- be
using the Microsoft browser!

Does anyone know of any studies which are based on interviews of a
cross-section of computer users? That would seem the best way to get
some valid data on this topic.


Steve Habib Rose
Clear Nets
The HTML CyberClass
HomePage Associates