HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

November 27, 2006, Herald Journal

100 million websites and counting

By MARK OLLIG

You know, this Internet thing seems to be catching on.

The latest numbers come from Netcraft, which is an Internet security and researching firm that has been keeping track of the number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), web servers, and websites on the Internet. They also track the technologies used for content creation and the methods that content is presented to us when we view a website.

Netcraft, http://www.netcraft.com, is well respected as one of the best sources for all things related to what is happening on the Internet. They have a very impressive list of clients, which include Google, IBM, Microsoft, PayPal, Dell, Visa, British Telecom, and others.

The “official” number of websites that Netcraft released in their estimated November survey is 101,435,253 websites that are online.

It is interesting to note that in August of 1995, there were just 18,000 websites. The millionth website appeared in 1997, and the 10 millionth website was recorded as being online in 2000.

As I looked back on some of the data that Netcraft had from previous counts they said since May of 2004 there were 50 million websites recorded, so in a little over two years the number of websites has doubled. Another interesting statistic was found to be of those 50 million, 27.4 million were registered just in the last year.

Netcraft reported that the tremendous swell in the numbers was primarily due to the increasing amount of new small business websites and also the popularity of folks having their own blogs, or web-logs.

A short description of a blog would be those public websites where a person can start their own online journals, newsletters, or discussions that others can read and comment (blog) on. These blogs are frequently updated to keep the topic current; the blog reflects the author’s position.

Anyone can start their own blog on the Internet. My blog is at http://telechoices.blogspot.com. You can obtain your own blog-space for free from Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo. Blogging is fun, informative, and can be quite addicting.

It is nice to see the online virtual community in action.

The US still reigns supreme in the number one position when it comes to the number of websites, which is at around 55 million. Germany has 15 million websites; the United Kingdom reportedly has six million; and our neighbors to the north, in Canada, ranks fourth with three million. The other 21 million websites are sprinkled over other parts of the planet.

Netcraft confirms how many websites there are by checking domain names and provides monthly reports with other details such as which operating systems they are using. The recent results by Netcraft suggest the US, Germany, China, South Korea, and Japan are places where there have been key increases in the number of websites.

Another research and consumer marketing company called ComScore, http://comscore.com, which is based out of Reston, Va., said it has estimated that there are more than 649 million people (age 15 and up) that are actively using the Internet worldwide.

ComScore also released its October results of web users’ choices for search-engines. Google was number one with 45.4 percent, followed by Yahoo with 28.2 percent, Microsoft was at 11.7 percent, Ask.com had 5.7 percent, and Time-Warner Network searches amounted to 5.5 percent.

The first actual website was created in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva. Berners-Lee created this website so that high-energy particle physicists could better share experimental data.

The “publicly recognized” birth of what we today now know as the World Wide Web was in 1991 and its inventor Tim Berners-Lee recently told the BBC news organization that if the way it (the Internet) is being used is left to develop unchecked, it could be consumed by “misinformation and undemocratic forces.”

The early days of Web development required a person to understand how to use hypertext markup language, commonly known as HTML, and other computer-based tools.

Today it is no longer necessary to have a deep understanding of the technology to have your own website, or blog for that matter, whatever your level of technical expertise. But, I feel it can be beneficial to know some of the HTML or even JAVA (an object-oriented programming language) for those of you out there that not only just want it to work, but like knowing how it works.

So, it has taken us really only 15 years to reach over the 100 million websites mark. I wonder if in a few years the numbers will have the same meaning. Remember when every time we passed a McDonald’s we would check the sign to see how many “billions of hamburgers” had been served?

I think they stopped updating it when it reached 99 billion.