Friday, January 21, 2011

Usage share of newsreaders, update

A few months ago, I logged the usage share of various newsreaders for roughly the month of August. Since then, I ran updated tests, alternating monthly between logging by users and messages, which gives me statistics for September through November. Later months are not available because the newsserver I used has now gone away (without notifying users!), and I did not want to switch this script to the new one, since comparability is lost.

One of the uses I had for original statistics collection was to argue why NNTP support for Thunderbird still matters. During an IRC discussion, it was brought up that August is a poor month for logging since there is a tradition of using that month for vacation. Pulling up the data for the month of October, the last one for which I have this data, indicates that approximately 720,000 messages were posted that month, indicating that August is indeed a poor month for indicating volume.

Have the statistics changed much? Google Groups and Thunderbird are both within .2% absolute difference of the scores I calculated last time (44.02% and 12.3%, respectively). Down the line, things change: Outlook Express had 8.98%, followed by Forte Agent at 8.86%. Live Mail had 2.83% and MT-NewsWatcher had 2.51%. Indeed, the tail is longer, with 20.52% as compared to before.

As my new server has a longer retention time, I no longer wish to use the same script as before. My next goal is to log every header of every message posted this year, so that I may collect more information without having to list everything I need, particularly information useful in determining the user of mail-to-news gateways and information to help identify spamminess of messages. I have lots of ideas for possible analysis of data, but first I want usable data.


Chris Ilias said...

Does the Google Groups number include the mass amount of spam that gets posted to Usenet via GG?

Joshua Cranmer said...

Yes. Except with the removal of unknown user agent strings and a certain post-happy bot, these numbers are merely the raw counts of servers.