[Air-l] Taxonomy of Content on the Internet

John Veitch jsveitch at ate.co.nz
Wed Sep 20 03:59:03 PDT 2006


The stories you've heard the 25% of the internet (or more) is porn are 
urban myth.

Get a list of the top 100 sites. NONE of them are porn sites although 
some like MySpace may have pornographic content.

If you know something about web traffic, a few very popular sites and a 
very very very long tail all the porn sites that exist are part of that 
long tail.  So porn is clearly a tiny part of the internet.  But if you 
want to find porn, that's easy.

"Net Ratings, tracked the number of visitors to porn Web sites. It says 
that in April 2001, there were 22.9 million unique visitors to porn 
sites. This says nothing about how long each visitor stayed or whether 
they spent a dime. In any event, the number of visitors is less than the 
number who visited news sites (41.1 million), finance sites (34.2 
million) or greeting card sites (25.5 million). When was the last time 
you heard anyone talk about how greeting card sites dominate the Net?"

In fact it's impossible to tell exactly where the porn sites are, except 
by looking. Any photograph may or may not be porn, any text may or may 
not describe sex in a pornographic manner, any video may or may not be 
pornographic. So you can't tell by file types what the file contains.

Forester Research tried to make the measurement you asked for. They gave 
up. They said that the margin of error was so great that the numbers 
they were producing were essentially meaningless.


William Bain wrote:
> Bob Rehak wrote: "Taking the question in a slightly different direction, I'm curious as 
> to what percentage of internet "content" is pornographic -- 

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