[LINK] Nielsen Hugely Underestimates Australian BitTorrent Traffic

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Mon Jun 1 18:30:10 EST 2009

> Nielsen Hugely Underestimates BitTorrent Traffic
> Written by Ernesto on May 31, 2009
> BitTorrent’s user base is growing month by month and has reached a  
> level where reputable marketing research companies have started to  
> look into the phenomenon. Over the years Nielsen Media has optimized  
> their ratings system for television, radio and films - but on the  
> other hand their BitTorrent traffic estimates are far from accurate.
> mininova traffic to ausNielsen, one of the largest market research  
> companies worldwide is probably best known for their TV-show ratings  
> in the US. However, they’re also looking into less old fashioned  
> media outlets such as BitTorrent. Most recently, they say they have  
> found an interesting trend in Australia.
> “Total visits by Australians to BitTorrent websites including  
> Mininova, The Pirate Bay, isoHunt, TorrentReactor and Torrentz grew  
> from 785,000 in April last year to 1,049,000 in April this year,  
> Nielsen says. This is a year-on-year increase of 33.6 percent,” The  
> Age wrote a few days ago.
> This may sound like a lot of traffic, but since Nielsen reports the  
> number of visits and not the unique visitors we expected it to be  
> much higher. Luckily, Mininova was kind enough to give us some  
> insight into their statistics so we could check how accurate  
> Nielsen’s estimates are. The results are quite a shock.
> When we look at the statistics of Mininova alone, we see that the  
> site had 6,268,969 Aussie visits in April and a massive 33,162,846  
> Aussie page views. Compared to the same month in 2008 (4,144,556  
> visits), this is an increase of more than 50 percent.
> So, the Australian visitors to Mininova alone are already 600%  
> higher than Nielsen’s estimates of the total traffic to Mininova,  
> The Pirate Bay, isoHunt, TorrentReactor and Torrentz. Unfortunately  
> we don’t have any details on the methodology or sample Nielsen used,  
> but it’s certainly not very representative.

> Perhaps even more worrying, The Age attributes the surge in traffic  
> to the economic downturn, without providing any evidence for a  
> causal relationship between the two events. Over the past 5 years  
> most BitTorrent sites have seen huge traffic increases every year,  
> also when the economy was in an upswing.
> Even more so, the money generated by (legal and illegal) use of  
> BitTorrent and other file-sharing networks is greater than the  
> combined revenue of the various entertainment industry bodies who  
> try to stop piracy. One could argue that without piracy the whole  
> economy would collapse.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
Ph: +39 06 855 4294  M: +39 3494957443
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request

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