[LINK] Nielsen Hugely Underestimates Australian BitTorrent Traffic

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Mon Jun 1 19:30:28 EST 2009

> -----Original Message-----
> From: link-bounces at mailman1.anu.edu.au 
> [mailto:link-bounces at mailman1.anu.edu.au] On Behalf Of Kim Holburn
> Sent: Monday, 1 June 2009 6:30 PM
> To: Link list
> Subject: [LINK] Nielsen Hugely Underestimates Australian 
> BitTorrent Traffic
> http://torrentfreak.com/nielsen-hugely-underestimates-bittorre
> nt-traffic-090531/
> > 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.

Well it's quite probable that the only way they could get the stats is
by sniffing - at for example PAIX, in which case they would  see mainly
only public Telstra traffic.

Or they may be sniffing closer to home.
If one was sniffing at one of the small local exchanges - then one would
get a similarly skewed low user count of the traffic. 
i.e.: They would  only get new users who didn't know how to mask their

So I believe that it is most likely that the numbers they have are
indicative of the non-hidden/obfuscated/encrypted traffic.

If one then tried to extrapolate that - as Nielsens, Gallup etc are want
to do, then possibly, the traffic results would be way skewed.


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