Technical communication on the Web (long)

Subject: Technical communication on the Web (long)
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 18 Nov 1995 12:20:01 -0700

This discussion started from what I think is a quote from "Dr.
Dobb's Source book".

"When it comes to measuring traffic on the Internet, the
numbers are sometimes mind boggling. Last year, traffic
on the World Wide Web reportedly increased 1800 percent.
By 1998, some forecasters are predicting 11.8 million Web
users, while others estimate the Internet market will grow
tenfold between 1994 and 1998. Clearly, the Internet can't
be ignored."

To which Matthew Hicks responded...

>Do numbers in the millions really "boggle" anyone's mind anymore?

Well, they certainly boggled Dr. Dobb's. ;) But what's `boggling'
isn't the number of users ("millions") but rather the rate of
growth. If you don't like Dr. Dobb's numbers, try looking at
the Internet Domain Survey (

Glancing at this as I type along, I can say that the total number
of servers on the Internet almost quadrapuled in the 2 years from
7/93 (1,776,000) to 7/95 (6,642,000). Nice graph. [This is also
about how long it took for me to access this information].

>Can you say something "will" happen during a time period, when
>half of that time period has *already* elapsed?

Assuming the trend continues, yes. You can say this. Personnally,
I don't think the trend will continue that long - because if
the trend _does_ continue, everyone in the world will have Internet
access in the year 2003.

>Is comparing growth in "Web users" and growth in the "Internet market"

No. However, they're correlated. The Web is by far the fastest
growing segment of the Internet. Again, the _percentage of growth_
is what's interesting. My reaction when I saw that _Web_ traffic
increased 1800% in 1994 was "What? It's slowing down already?" ;)

>Is tenfold growth a useful measure when no starting value is

But a starting point _was_ provided. Dr. Dobb started from Internet
traffic in 1994. Or to steal 3 columns from the table so nicely
provided by Net Genesis at

Results summary

Month # of Web Sites % .com (Commercial) sites

06/93 130 1.5

12/93 623 4.6

06/94 2738 13.5

12/94 10022 18.3

06/95 23500 31.3

Again, Net Genesis is measuring the number of Web _sites_. Dr.
Dobb (I'm looking at the location of the apostraphe in "Dr Dobb's
Source book :) ) is measuring Web _users_.

>How many more problems can you find in the above paragraph?

IMHO, the thrust of the paragraph is accurate. Traffic on the Web
is increasing at a drastic rate The question we really need to ask
is "what are Technical Communicators going to do about it?"

David (The Man) Blyth
Technical Writer

The usual disclaimers apply - I don't speak for QUALCOMM, they don't speak
for me....

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