Is AJAX The Page View Killer?

Blogger Steve Rubel says the page view as a metric will die in 3 years. But there are still ways for marketers to make money.
NEW YORK -- AJAX (define), the technology that is driving the Web 2.0, will lead to the demise of the page view as a metric for Web site success, said Edelman public relations professional and celebrated blogger Steve Rubel.

Though Rubel admitted at the AJAXWorld conference here that he doesn't have the magic sauce for accurately predicting what will replace the page view, he's got a few ideas.

Rubel, calling the evolution of the Web the "me2revolution," pointed to statistics from Edelman showing that even though there are increasing numbers of Web users, the number of unique visitors to the top news sites has leveled off.

This is because there are now more avenues than ever before, including blogs, for people to get content. Accordingly, Rubel said, the metrics that have carried Internet marketers to this point may no longer have the same relevance.

"We're in an era where the page view is going to die," Rubel told the audience. "It's an outdated metric, a 1.0 metric in a world where you can do so much in the page, a world where you can watch live streamed video, get content from anywhere and put it anywhere."

"As this happens en masse, the page view as a model will cease to exist," Rubel declared. "I'm giving it three years."

Rubel explained that content providers are now on the same bus, even though there may be some individual content sites and holders that may be driving it. The key for content providers, he argued, is to create a window to let other people use their content and to include other content on their site.

The "window," as Rubel referred to it, is really all about widgetized code. A widget is a small element that can include content that is easily repurposed to be included on another site or even a user's desktop. The best widgets often employ AJAX.

"Widgets in media represent a fundamental shift and a massive shift," Rubel said. "People now measure success not by how many people are on the site but by how many people interact with the content no matter where it lives."

That's what Rubel's me2revolution is all about: the massive expansion, not just of participation, but of content that is redistributed and repurposed at will across the Internet.

"AJAX is enabling the business case but how do you actually work with your audience to do things that they want to do?" Rubel asked.

According to Rubel, what bloggers and others in the me2revolution typically want can be narrowed down to three items: money, fame and traffic.

So then how can content providers make money from the new era in which page views are no longer valid? It's a difficult question to answer.

Rubel argued that there will always be a place for ad-supported content but it will live in many places. As an example, he cited a content widget produced by Reuters that currently only drives traffic to Reuters.

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