And does it matter? Well, to Singletrack and Bikemagic it does, and for good reason. Ad revenue.
The busier the site, the more money you can charge for the banners and the under-the-bonnet business-to-consumer marketing campaigns.
For Singletrack’s online editor Mark Alker, a former teacher, it’s just a simple bit of arithmetic:
"Our metric is our forum which is far busier than Bikemagic’s. I’ve been monitoring total posts on both forums for the last two months and we have now overtaken Bikemagic in total forum posts. Singletrack’s forum is getting around 250 extra posts a day compared to BM."
Singletrackworld gets 1200+ forum posts a day.
"Considering BM has been going for three years longer than Singletrack, the fact we have more forum posts than BM is something we are proud of and are going to shout about," said Alker.
A month ago, Bikemagic has 403 487 total forum posts, with Singletrack trailing with 397 975, but with more posts per day, Singletrack overtook Bikemagic last week. A week ago, Bikemagic had 426 570 posts, and Singletrack had 439 426.
"So, Singletrackworld.com is the busiest UK cycling website," claims Alker.
"And that’s a fact that anyone who can add up can prove for themselves."
But Bikemagic’s Adam Laird doesn’t believe forum posting is an accurate indication of users eyeballing a site. He prefers the size validation subscription service offered by Hitwise.co.uk
"According to Hitwise, an independent measurer of overall website trafic, Bikemagic
is bigger than Singletrackworld. I’m surprised that Singletrack say they have more forum posts than Bikemagic, and even more surprised that this should be used to claim that one site is bigger than another, when it’s clearly just one (albeit important) section of our
According to Hitwise – which purchases raw internet traffic log files have from AOL, Freeserve, NTL, BT and other major ISPs and has a methodology auidted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers – BikeMagic is the most popular UK site in the consumer cycle sector.
Online bicycle retailers were in the number 2 and 3 positions in the Hitwise results for Q1 2003.
According to Alexa, an Amazon.com company and another traffic measurer, Bikemagic has a world ranking of 107 000, compared to Singletrack’s 293 000th position.
But Alker doesn’t think much of the Alexa results:
"According to Alexa, there hasn’t been any traffic to our site for three months and our overall trend is down."
Which is odd, said Alker, because "we’ve just had to upgrade our server since our bandwidth and traffic had exceeded our old limits!"
Alker doesn’t believe the traffic measurers do what they say they do:
"It seems to us that since the whole stats thing of comparing sites is so fraught with oddities and problems that lead to lots of subjectivity that the best way is the simplest and most transparent, and we reckon you can measure how busy a consumer site is by counting forum posts. We have more than Bikemagic."