From yesterday’s Google Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter, here’s a report on changes in global web traffic patterns:

Browsers and Operation Systems (OS) are identified by the “referrer” string sent by users’ browsers.

% Visits from OS 11/1/09 – 2/1/10 11/1/10 – 2/1/11 Difference
Windows 89.9% 84.8% -5.1%
Macintosh 4.5% 5.2% +0.7%
Linux 0.6% 0.7% +0.1%
Other 5% 9.3% +4.3%

That’s a huge drop in Windows, almost entirely matched by the rise in “Other.” Want to bet that “Other” has an awful lot of Android and iOS in it?

Internet Explorer.It’s confirmed: For the month of January, hits from Internet Explorer 7 significantly exceeded hits from Internet Explorer 6 — and that’s with IE6 hitting at least one extra file per visit to work around its problems with PNG transparency.


Breakdown of major browsers according to AWStats:

Usage Browser Notes
62.8% IE (all)
34.2% IE7
28.1% IE6
27.2% Firefox
4.7% Safari
1.8% Mozilla (not sure if this is SeaMonkey or some catch-all designation)
1.3% Opera

The gap between IE7 and IE6 is solid, nearly 6 percentage points. That’s Safari and Opera combined. And the gap between Firefox and IE6 is closing, with Firefox climbing and IE6 falling. With any luck, it won’t be long before Firefox overtakes IE6 here.

Of course, stats here always seem to skew higher for alternative browsers than global stats. I think it’s because most of the traffic is for a comic fan site. Visitors are probably a bit geekier than average, and therefore more tech savvy than average, and therefore more likely to have installed something other than the default IE.

If you’re still running IE6, and you aren’t required to for policy or compatibility reasons, it’s time to look into a change. The web is moving on. I highly recommend that you either upgrade to IE 7 or switch to an alternative like Firefox or Opera.

Experimenting with the new Automattic Stats Plugin that uses the statistics infrastructure to track traffic. So far, so good… except for one problem. Titles and links are missing from all the “most visited” posts. They’re just listed as numeric IDs.

Update: Actually, today’s posts seem OK. The plugin seems to just send the blog ID and post ID. I’ve been trying to figure out how the central server is retrieving the permalink and title. It doesn’t look like Bad Behavior is blocking it. And it doesn’t seem to be using the RSS feed, since posts that are still on the front page (and presumably still in the feed) are also showing up as numbers. *grumble*

Update 2: I just noticed that all of the number-only posts show the same placeholder graph showing “Region A” vs. “Region B” for 2003-2005.

Update 3: It’s a problem with WordPress’ XMLRPC interface, and affects other uses (like connecting with Flock). I’ve got a workaround, though (see comments).

Update 4 (May 10): Thanks to the pingback below from dot unplanned, it’s confirmed to be a bug in PHP 5.2.2. With any luck, the workaround will cease to be necessary when the next PHP bugfix is released.

I installed the Popularity Contest plug-in on Monday. It uses a bunch of factors including number of page views, number of comments, number of viewings on home/category/archive pages, number of pingbacks, etc. to determine the most popular posts on the site. At first it tracked the “Most Commented” list fairly closely, because comments, pingbacks, and trackbacks are the most highly-weighted factors. Then all the posts in the Buffy/Angel category started taking over.

Fallen Angel artwork by J.K. WoodwardIt turns out that a lot of people do image searches for things like “dark angels” or “fallen angel”—and right now, the #1 hit on Google for “dark angels” is the thumbnail I posted of the Fallen Angel #1 cover, presumably because I posted about both Angel and Fallen Angel in a post called “Dark Angels”. And because the Buffy/Angel category is full of more comments about Angel and Dark Horse, Google chose that as the page to use instead of the individual post. The default settings give a lot of weight to category views, so everything on that page has shot up to the top.

Speaking of Fallen Angel, I noticed in this week’s shipping list that the latest issue is listed as #2 of 5. This was the first I remembered it being a miniseries, but not to worry—it’s slated to continue.

Don’t you just love it when a publication gets things wrong referring back to their own articles?

On Wednesday, Information Week published a TechWeb article called Firefox Momentum Slows. Citing various sources, they noted that Firefox’s growth is much slower now than it was a year ago. And yes, that’s likely due to using up the early adopters and the anything-but-Microsoft crowd. But at the end of the article, it adds this odd postscript:

WebSideStory isn’t the first Internet measurement vendor to highlight Firefox’s slow down. In fact, rival NetApplications’ August numbers showed a small decline in the Mozilla browser’s share.

There are two problems. First, those numbers aren’t for August, they’re for July. That’s obvious from the first line of the article. Secondly, Information Week itself published an article three weeks ago about NetApplications’ actual August stats: Firefox Regains Market Share Against Internet Explorer. So not only did they cite the wrong month, but the following month’s data—which they had access to—contradicts their conclusion!

Now, the “slowing” article and the July stats article come from TechWeb, and the August stats article comes from InternetWeek. But TechWeb, InformationWeek, and InternetWeek are all different faces of the “TechWeb Business Technology Network” (as shown in the sites’ mastheads)—and the two stats articles were written by the same reporter! Bad enough that they can’t properly research other people’s articles, but they can’t even research their own?

I’ve written a letter to the editor, but based on my past experience, I don’t expect a correction. Just, at best, a published letter several months later with no link from the original article.