Why Netvibes Unique Users are decreasing since the Ginger release ?

Why the Netvibes' number of Unique Visitors, as measured by Compete.com, has decreased since January 2008 ? Netvibes remains by far the best of the independent homepages with more than 4 times users than its competitors pageflakes.com and protopage.com . But the new Ginger release update has not produced any increase in users numbers.

That is strange as Ginger, the "social twist" version of Netvibes, opened to all Netvibes users beginning of March, and I would have expected that this could increase the users' base not the contrary : a huge loss of 22% in just a month !

For sure the problems related to the implementation of the new Ginger have caused some flection in the numbers but ... let's check figures with an other "troubled" service as Twitter and a new star as Friendfeed.

Twitter is not stopping its tendency to increase users' base (+30%) and remember that only Twitter web users are counted here (no mobiles or other web applications). Just FriendFeed had also a little drop for April figures.

Of course, Compete.com stats are based on US users, so Netvibes that has an international base is not fully represented by those figures. For that reason, I checked also the numbers for Wikio.com (the US version of Wikio, the European based blogs and news feed aggregator).

And you can see, that Wikio is still far from Netvibes numbers but its trend is always positive.

But, although unique visitors and page views are critical pieces of the puzzle - these metrics often fail to accurately measure engagement on sites using technologies such as AJAX (as Netvibes) and online video.

(comments from Compete.com :

Attention is a powerful way to plan and measure the web because it is a finite resource that we manage selfishly. We grant our attention to people, activities and websites that merit receiving our most precious resource - time. If a site can garner more of an individual's time it should generally be considered a good thing. With that said, there are exceptions (Search Engines for example), which is why we don't present Attention as the king of all metrics. We see Attention as an additional piece of the puzzle.

Attention is graphed using a stacked area chart, which shows how the Attention for each individual site contributes to the total Attention for all sites in the chart. Note that the area for each individual site uses the site below it as a baseline - thus the order of the sites will affect the appearance of the graph. )

So here is the Graph of Attention for Netvibes:

Even on Attention, there is a decrease for Netvibes on the contrary of Twitter.

For sure, Netvibes has not become a viral social application.

So, what Netvibes shall do next ? I think that we need to wait for the May stats before making any judgement.

If you have ideas or insight on the subject do not hesitate to let me know...

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