We have different verticals where everyone wants to excel, but it is totally unacceptable that we don’t have any centralized or standardized way to capture data to decide a winner in the market.
Let’s look at few examples, in schools we have a ranking system, which gives each student a rank. That rank is based on information about you and the rest of the people who are in your same class. All the information is collected, and students are then ranked taking everyone into consideration.
However, when we try to compare mobile markets, search engine markets and for that matter browser markets everything is a mess, no information is accurate. For example, Statcounter and Hitwise release information based on their own data, however, other analytics service companies don’t. So should we use that information as a industry standard? Statcounter tracks 30 millions websites and billions of views, but is that information enough?
The one standard I have never really come to believe is the public stats company data. For example, Alexa is used as a huge measurement for websites, and it is the most inaccurate tool, I have ever come across in my life. As a live example from my own experience, Alexa ranked a site which gets less than 200K hits in the top 10K and a site which gets a million pageviews, as 14K???
And what is Alexa data based on? Alexa data is based on people who use the Alexa toolbar, so if people visit your website and do not use the Alexa toolbar, you are bound to have a lower ranking.
That aside, what is more baffling is that people take this market share information and use it for real purposes, to rank websites. Who in real knows how many users use a particular browser or how many users visit a website? (other than the website owner) Has anyone really come forward to be counted up? No. The same goes for every other type of company which tries to give out reports on market share.
There is no doubt that what data these individual companies present are accurate, however, I personally am starting to disagree on how it can be used as a tool to give views about the entire market in general. If several companies come together and have more than 50% of tracking in the world, that data would essentially be a real good criteria to base views on. Unless that happens, I would only look at that data and say, "Ok, this is good, but this is according to individual companies and not a market standard."
Somebody should sit up and say that we need market standards to generate the data for market share. I could think of W3C as a likely candidate for tracking browser market share in an anonymous way, at-least that would get rid of everyone jumping up and saying that this is the best browser in the world, according to "us".