Sites: Net figures
By Cary Griffith

How many people use the Internet? That depends. Are you talking about worldwide users or just in the United States? And do you count anyone with Internet access as a user? Or are your rating requirements more stringentand if so, how stringent? To be considered a user do you have to access the Internet once, twice, 20 times a month? Or daily?

These are just some of the Internet statistics about which interested users are curious.

Not surprisingly, statistics on the Internet abound. Many can be found on the Internet. Consider some of the following examples.

Headcount (http://www.headcount.com) Headcount provides Internet marketers with a number of invaluable statistics. It bills itself as a company that “summarizes market research reports giving you quick, easy access to the size of Internet markets worldwide.” With a couple of clicks, you can review the latest Internet statistics by country, language or region. The site also provides users with a variety of current awareness news items regarding Internet markets and use. And if you cant find what you want from any of the sites existing information, you may want to submit a question to the Expert of the Month or review any of the questions past experts have answered.

By the way, if youre curious about how some of those analysts concoct future statistics about the Web, check out The Irresponsible Internet Statistics Generator (http://www.anamorph.com/docs/stats/stats.html ). Based on growth statistics quoted in 1995, users can enter a date (e.g., May 1, 1998) and have this site give you the number of Web sites potentially available. In this case the numbers were “113,246,208,000 sites on the World Wide Web,” or “18.87 Web sites per person.”

Although many statistical sites provide basic information about the numbers and ages of Internet users, they dont explore in detail the demographics of those users. One institutional site leverages the power of the Web as an easy-to-use survey tool to acquire a sense of the nature of Web users.

The World Wide Web Study (http://www.gvu.gatech.edu/ user_surveys) is produced twice a year by Georgia Techs Graphics, Visualization and Usability Center. To date, this study has been conducted eight times, with the most recent statistics (October 1997) showing a significant increase in the number of female Internet users, as well as a variety of other statistics.

Another excellent source for current Internet statistics is Nua Internet Surveys (http://www.nua.net/surveys). This site is updated daily, full-text searchable and contains a large variety of Internet trends and surveys.

Curious about just how simple the Internet makes surveying? Survey.net (http://www.wisdom.com/sv/sv-inet1.htm) will give you a good idea. After completing the survey, you can review the latest results, including your own. For example, out of 10,752 surveyed users, 10 percent have tried to date someone they met online, 71.1 percent were male and 57.9 percent considered themselves professionals.

If statistics regarding Internet marketing, business or esoterica dont interest you, how about nuts and bolts? For example, if youre curious about Internet performancehow fast, how often, routing problems and the likeconsider the Internet Performance Measurement and Analysis site (http://nic.merit.edu/ipma). This site will provide you with performance trends, routing instability, traffic statistics and similar kinds of Internet technical information.

The Internet Valley (http://www.internetvalley.com/intval.html) provides users with a number of interesting historical and statistical Internet facts. This site was the only location giving 30 years of Internet statistics. For example, in 1969, the Internet boasted four hosts. As of January 1998, the number was 29,670,000.

So if youre interested in Internet statistics, you have plenty of Web resources. If you cant find what you want on these sites, query any of the search engines with the phrase “Internet statistics” and youll have many more possible sites from which to choose.

By the way, as of May 1998, there were 44 million adult Internet users in the United States. Forty-nine percent were between the ages of 35 and 54. And 43 percent were between the ages 18 and 34. Thank you, Headcount.com.

(Contributing Editor Cary Griffith is president of the Electronic Books Co., a St. Paul, Minn., new media business.)