Tag Archives: wider web

Twitter tops BBC for monthly traffic, while BBC Online click-throughs exceed 10m

More than 50 million people used Twitter last month – an increase of more than 7 million from June, according to new data.

The website, which attracted 51.6 million unique users in July, now outranks the BBC and Craigslist in terms of monthly visitors. It has also become one of the top 50 most popular websites in the world, according to the research by comscore.com.

Meanwhile BBC Online’s controller Seetha Kumar reported in a BBC blog post that the number of click-throughs experienced by the site stands at 10-12 million each month.  The blog, posted as a response to the BBC’s first online ‘open meeting’ on August 14, revealed that users were dissatisfied with BBC Online’s use of external links.

Kumar said: “We want to establish new and richer connections to the wider web where they are editorially relevant and meet our public purposes. We know that our users want us to do this and it’s a process that we take very seriously”

BBC Trust: bbc.co.uk internal search and external linking need ‘major improvements’

The BBC‘s internal website search is ‘not seen as very effective’ by users, according to a review of the site released by the BBC Trust today.

The number of visits to bbc.co.uk pages that were the result of referrals from the site’s internal search engine dropped from 24% during the last three months of 2006 to 19% over the same period in 2007.

In contrast, 70% of search engine referrals came from Google.

“The search just throws everything at you, you would have to spend ages just looking through the pages to find what you need,” one respondent to the Trust’s research said.

The Trust was also ‘disappointed’ with the number of click-throughs generated by external links on bbc.co.uk and criticised the Beeb’s relationship with other content-sharing websites:

“We are also not convinced that BBC management’s ambition to be ‘part of’ the web rather than ‘on it’ by embedding BBC content in other sites (such as Youtube) plays any role in acting as a ‘trusted guide’ to the wider web.  Rather, this is mainly a way of marketing BBC content to those who might not otherwise access it.”

The links to other sites form part of the BBC’s role as a ‘trusted guide’ online.

According to the review, there were 6.7 million click-throughs to external sites from bbc.co.uk in July 2007 – 4.7 million of which originated in the UK.

However, the number of click-throughs from sport and news – the most visited areas of the site – have decreased year-on-year since 2006.

BBC management suggested this decline is a result of the BBC site being seen as a ‘destination’ rather than a way to navigate the web. The Trust argued that issues of accessibility and effectiveness were the problem.

The risk of the BBC becoming a ‘dominant gateway service’ is ‘very much alive’ and requires effective external linking to avoid this, the review stated.

As such the Trust has asked BBC management to submit plans on improving linking and other ways to help users navigate beyond the BBC.

Spot.us: the ‘crowdfunded’ journalism site

How to find the funds to keep your site running is the needle in the haystack for most citizen journalism start-ups.

Speaking after the closure of his own citizen journalism project, Scribblesheet, founder John Ndege wrote on Journalism.co.uk:

“Here lies a major problem for citizen journalism start-ups. It’s difficult to add value on top of news unless you have an attractive website that really connects with the wider web. However, as time passes even that is not going to save your site.”

Not wanting to be all doom and gloom, Ndege said the idea of networked journalism could forge a brighter future for citizen news with a collaboration between the amateur and the professional.

Enter: Spot.us – a community news site financed by ‘crowdfunding’.

The site, which is the brainchild of David Cohn, proposes to keep the finances on a even keel using this model.

But how will it work? The site explains:

  1. An individual or journalist creates a pitch that outlines an untold story in a local community.
  2. Members of your community vote, with their money, on what stories are most important to them.
  3. A journalist researches the facts and puts together an article. Editors provide check-and-balance on the story.
  4. Spot.us publishes the story in its news feeds and works with local media outlets to have the articles published more widely.

The site is yet to go live and the model yet to prove itself, but it was enough to convince judges at the Knight News Challenge to award the project a grant for $340,000 in its latest round of funding.

“It’s unknown whether people will be willing to put 10-25$ down for journalism. I think they will if the pitch is right. So – in the beginning I’m just going to focus on getting a few good stories funded and published,” says Cohn in an interview with Innovation in College Media (ICM).

Cohn, who will initially focus the site on the San Francisco area, hopes Spot.us will also provide a platform for freelance journalists looking for projects.

In a blog post, Rick Burnes, says building a ‘critical mass of funders’ is the main challenge facing the site and suggests that putting an upper limit on donations, as successful projects will then require wider backing from the audience and says there should be no upper limit to contributions.

“Why put limits on how much one person can contribute? By doing so, you raise the bar for success. It means you have to get a lot more active funders on the site before you start paying journalists.”

To my mind an upper limit would also prevent projects being skewed by contributors, who could potentially stand to gain from a pitch being pursued.

However, as Cohn says in his comments on Burnes’ post, Spot.us should not become a tool for ‘axe grinding’ between journalists and subjects:

“I want to make the site such that – it will be empowering for an individual who otherwise wouldn’t be able to hire a journalist – but would be a hassle for somebody who has a spare 5k to spend on a journalist. Spot.Us works better and achieves more of its mission – if the person with 5k is only able to donate $400 and to make up for it – has to send an email to 10 of his/her rich friends. It’s to ensure that there really is an interest in this story from a group of people – so journalists don’t turn into errand boys writing press releases.”

I’ll be following Spot.us’ progress, in particular to see what type of content receives funding and how many contributors get behind the project.

Will residents of the San Francisco bay area feel compelled to ’employ’ journalists to report on local issues? To me it depends what value they place on the role of the journalist and whether they will see more value in that investigation than any which they could conduct for free by themselves.

The value I suppose will be that this is not a private detective-style of journalism, but is intended to enable those who don’t have the time or funds to pursue local things that matter to them to invest in the newsgathering process.

Hellomagazine.com launches first blog

stilettos at dawn new blog

Hellomagazine.com has launched its first blog – a celebrity-focused effort called Stilettos At Dawn.

Launched quietly at the tail end of March, the daily blog – penned by Sapphire Carter-Brown – reflects on such necessary and weighty issues as Jude Law’s new crop and Victoria Beckham’s birthday celebrations.

The development of a blogging element – with its ability to leave comments and trackbacks – is a slight improvement on the remainder of the magazine site, which – despite a limited range of bookmarking features – remains steadfastly entrenched in a Web 1.0 world and mostly oblivious to the terms – interactivity, usability, and social media.

Despite this, Hellomagazine.com reports healthy, even hearty, traffic figures. An ABCe audit of the site in January confirmed that it was attracting over a million-and-a-half unique users per month.

Traffic to the site is expected to increase rapidly in the coming months, however.

Sources have told Journalism.co.uk that it will undergo a major revamp later in the year to introduce a host of new social media, interactivity features to connect it better with the wider web.