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The Internet Trap$
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Matthew Hindman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159263

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159263.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 26 February 2020

The Dynamics of Web Traffic

The Dynamics of Web Traffic

(p.82) 5 The Dynamics of Web Traffic
The Internet Trap

Bruce Rogers

Princeton University Press

This chapter aims to build better models of web traffic. It shows how web traffic is roughly power law distributed, in which a highly concentrated “head” of the Web is coupled with a long, diffuse “tail” of tiny sites. These power law-like patterns have provoked vigorous debate about whether the Web is dominated by new or old elites. To address these issues, this chapter builds new models that scale seamlessly from the largest websites down to hundreds of smaller ones. It builds and tests these models with a rich dataset from Hitwise, a web measurement firm. As this chapter shows, digital audience growth follows predictable patterns. These patterns look much like the growth of cities over time, or the fluctuations of stocks on an equity market (more on that shortly), or even the growth and decline of biological species. This chapter borrows mathematical models and techniques from other disciplines to demonstrate these patterns, focus with a focus on understanding the principles and intuition behind the models.

Keywords:   web traffic, power law, Hitwise, web measurement, digital audience growth, mathematical models

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