Bennett: Where the clicks are

Bennett: Where the clicks are

The last two years have seen a notable shift in our online readers’ interests. We know this because regular reports tell us how often each story is read and which links ChannelBeat email newsletter readers are clicking.

Although we don’t know for certain, we can reasonably assume our print readers’ tastes are changing in similar ways.

Perhaps the most noticeable, and to some extent the most unexpected, change is in the relative interest readers show in leading companies. In particular, interest in Microsoft has nosedived.

This should be of concern to the company and to its public relations team.

Two years ago there was a huge interest in Microsoft. With a few exceptions mentioned below, we could more or less guarantee any story involving the giant software company would top each week’s lists. Nowadays, the company’s forthcoming Windows Vista and Office releases are hot buttons, but just about everything else gets a big thumbs-down.

Likewise Apple. If there were competing stories about Microsoft and Apple, the software company would normally take pole-position. Otherwise, readers could be relied to click on anything involving Apple.

Two other sure-fire attention-grabbers in 2004 were Intel and Dell. Neither came close to Microsoft and Apple, but they would always generate plenty of clicks. Interest in them has tailed off, but Apple remains an A-lister. While Microsoft has slipped down to the also-ran category, Intel and Dell now barely register a flicker of interest unless the story is negative.

AMD, on the other hand, is currently very hot. Not quite A-list material, but close. Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Acer and Toshiba have joined Apple as the new vendor elite. Less obvious brands — like, say, Viewsonic, Asus and Gigabyte — generate a lot of heat and are, as radio DJs once said, bubbling-under.

Distributors have always lived on the A-list, especially Ingram (formerly Tech Pacific) and Renaissance but, these days, stories involving distributors usually beat vendor news by a country mile.

As you might expect, local stories trump international stories just about every time (although, as you will shortly see, there are important exceptions to this rule). And, readers seem to be far more interested in personalities than the companies they work for — stories about local individuals rate highly.

The big exception is when a New Zealand Reseller News story gets picked up by an overseas news service. For example, the various Linux sites often point to one of our stories. When that happens, web traffic spikes.

In the normal run of things, roughly three quarters of traffic comes from New Zealand and somewhere between 10 and 15 percent comes from Australia. International traffic is around 10 percent of the total. When overseas sites pick up a story, the regional proportions change — but NZ traffic rarely falls below 55 percent.

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