The other shoe

Computerworld reported yesterday that the Mac’s share of U.S. computers surfing the web doubled in the last 8 months.

Computerworld talks about what this means for web developers, but it also has implications for content providers and advertisers. Mac users want to read about Macs and they want to buy Mac products.

And people are seeing dollar signs in their eyes.

The Macalope’s hairy ears have picked up interesting portents of late. When Jason O’Grady was hired to blog by ZDNet, it seemed to be mostly just a publications that doesn’t really care for Apple taking an obnoxious shot at the company by hiring one of the targets of its famous “Asteroid” lawsuit.

It also fit in with ZDNet’s blog strategy which seems to be “we don’t care if it’s good, just get us some hits.”

But O’Grady’s not the only one. The Macalope has watched as large media outlets have been trying to increase their presence in the online Mac community, sometimes through acquisition of online talent or partnerships (see: Fake Steve and Wired). Finally, we apparently count for something.

Trackbacks Comments
  • John Muir:

    I like that Wired have managed to achieve nothing whatsoever in the way of kowtowing or being anything less than insightfully obnoxious from the great Fake Steve!

  • Se7en:

    A FakeSteve aside…when did they change writers? The guy writing now is definitely not the same guy who started the blog. Not sure if it was before or after the Wired sponsorship.

  • Bergamot:

    Of course I’m loathe to ask this when the numbers seem to be heading our way, but is there any reason at all to assume that ‘WebSideStory’ or ‘Net Applications’ have sources more substantial than the usual rectal estimates?

    If I have a PC and a Mac behind a router, can they reliably see that? If, instead, I have 30 Macs, can they tell them apart? What size samples are they using? What about non-http traffic?

  • “The Macalope hairy ears” is missing an apostrophe. And an s. And a razor.

  • Peter:

    As I understand it–and I may be wrong–it’s mostly done via http traffic. They get their statistics from various websites, so non-http traffic, etc. wouldn’t count.

  • william:

    Bergamot: I am not expert at this, but http requests identify the web browser so that a website could send content tailored for it. Some browsers have a feature that allows them to fake it and identify themselves as another browser or another platform, but that cannot make a meaningful percentage of the stats. Bottom line is that they really should be able to determine with reasonable accuracy which platforms are responsible for web traffic to websites they either monitor or get stats from.

  • Bergamot:

    So this could just be the same number of Mac users generating more pageviews than before, or maybe stats from a different set of sites.

  • I know in my own experience, the interest in Mac writers is increasing. I haven’t been this busy since the halcyon days just before the .Com bubble burst around 2000

  • DDA:

    If they are really talking about “surfing the web,” then they are talking about HTTP(S) (and perhaps FTP) traffic from browsers and, for that, they can use the browser -reported OS info which is pretty accurate, I’d think.

  • John Muir:

    Oh no, since the dotcom boom of 2000? Omens, omens! 😉

  • Gloatware:

    Tee-hee, this is just a Windows worm making the rounds, that changes the OS identifier in the browser requests. I wrote it and forwarded it around last summer. Kinda surprised it took this long to be noticed. It was a prank to see if we could fool some webmasters into thinking they were losing a lot of potential customers who were “Mac users”.

    Or I could be lying. BUt how would you know?

  • monkyhead:

    “Computerworld reported yesterday that the Mac’s share of U.S. computers surfing the web doubled in the last 8 months.”

    Ooh… sorry… That was me. Bad habit.

  • monkyhead:

    “Computerworld reported yesterday that the Mac’s share of U.S. computers surfing the web doubled in the last 8 months.”

    Ooh… sorry… That was me. Bad habit.

    Bit of a nervous clicky finger.

  • Dez:

    For us Mac users, it’s pretty commonplace to change the ‘user agent’ (via the ‘Debug’ menu that has to be specifically enabled in the Terminal) so that Safari registers as IE for Win. This alows us to use websites that otherwise lock us out, claiming not to be compatible with Safari (very often they are, despite the warning). As this is mostly done by Mac users (and maybe Linux users too? I’d be interested to hear) the measured Mac percentages are always lower than the reality. I don’t think Windows users ever do this (can they?), even Windows power-users that I know are surprised to hear that this can be done.

  • Has anyone noticed that – on a percentage basis – pro-Mac posts tend to seem somewhat more literate than anti-Mac posts?

    Not that I think Mac users are any smarter, just more careful to present themselves well – more likely, I think, to ensure good spelling and correct punctuation in their emails and blog posts.

    Try looking around objectively and see if that isn’t so. If it is true it also helps explain the uptick in Apple’s influence. Even among themselves the anti-Mac folks notice that pro-Mac arguments make more sense, even when they disagree. If you live in the deep south, notice that TV news anchors and top-dollar DJs don’t have southern accents. It’s for the same reason. Even people with southern accents accord more intelligence to those without.

    There is a Windows web dialect that becomes easier to spot hanging out on Mac sites. Read the comments on anti-Mac sites. It’s real.

  • Quix:

    “Has anyone noticed that – on a percentage basis – pro-Mac posts tend to seem somewhat more literate than anti-Mac posts?”

    It’s been this way since I can remember. Most of the anti-Mac rhetoric I see is based on sheer ignorance and lack of experience – from Microsoft-beholden drones who have probably never even used a Mac. Most Mac users I know have used both Mac and Windows extensively, and have a solid position from which to judge.

    Ignorant posters = illiterate posters. And that describes most Apple haters I’ve read.

  • Peter Cohen:

    “For us Mac users, it’s pretty commonplace to change the ‘user agent’”

    No it isn’t. For us geeks who spend our lives checking sites like this, it might be commonplace to do so, but for the vast majority of Mac users, this doesn’t happen.

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