Category Archives: Ireland

Growth of users / posts / threads continues

I’ve re-run our statistics gathering queries, and produced three new graphs showing‘s growth in terms of users, posts and threads during the period February 1998 to April 2009 (here are the previous set of graphs from August 2007).

User growth


Post growth


Thread growth


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"The Social Semantic Web": now available to pre-order from Springer and Amazon

Our forthcoming book entitled “The Social Semantic Web”, to be published by Springer in Autumn 2009, is now available to pre-order from both Springer and Amazon.


An accompanying website for the book will be at tops BlueMetrix study of 38 Irish websites (via IIA and AMAS State of the Net)

From the latest IIA and AMAS State of the Net Issue 11:

Online Advertising

Online audience measurement in Ireland is dogged by a torrent of data. Some of it is irrelevant (such as hits on a website, which aren’t a true measure of online traffic) and little of it is directly comparable. This makes the job of media planners, the professionals who buy online advertising, a challenging one.

The arrival of a new mechanism to measure traffic on Irish websites is welcome, particularly as it offers a robust methodology and directly comparable data. The Internet Audience Measurement (IAM) is an initiative of Bluemetrix, the Irish company which measures online traffic in distant markets such as Japan and Scandinavia.

Its software was running on 38 Irish websites when the first tranche of data, on which our graph is based, was released in early November. Not all the big sites are signed up and some of those that are (such as and The Irish Times) did not have any stats available for the first monthly release.

But while, the top 10 table is limited in its scope, it enables like-for-like comparisons as the same measurement tool is used. This new measure will gain in importance over coming months, as more sites sign up and more data becomes available.

Source: Bluemetrix study of 38 Irish websites for October 2008 (

Prize winners visualise Irish online life in the SIOC Data Competition

The winners of the SIOC (pronounced “shock”) data competition being run by DERI at the National University of Ireland, Galway have been announced. The competition ran from September to October 2008, and the brief was to produce an interesting creation based on a data set of discussion posts reflecting ten years of Irish online life from, Ireland’s largest community website. The competition had about sixty registrants and there were eight final submissions of very high quality.

First prize

The top winning submission was entitled “SIOC.ME: A Real-Time Interactive Visualisation of Semantic Data within a 3-D Space”. The entry illustrates how 3-D visualisations may be harnessed to not only provide an interactive means of presenting or browsing data but also to create useful data analysis tools, especially for manipulating the “semantic” (meaningful) data from online communities and social networking sites. The entry was submitted by Darren Geraghty, a user interface and interaction designer, and it was praised by the judges for the huge amount of effort that went into creating it. A video of the application may be viewed here and a demonstration of the tool can be seen at

Second prize

In second place was a visualisation application called “boardsview” by Stephen Dolan of Trinity College Dublin. This is an interactive, real-time animation where one can watch the historical content from many discussion forums changing in real or compressed time. In this application, you can zoom into a particular forum to see individual users posting messages or to see threads being created and destroyed.

Third prize

Third prize was awarded to the “Forum Activity Graph” by Drew Perttula from California. This entry was a visualisation showing the popularity of forums on as represented by coloured rivers of information, which were then rendered and displayed using Google Maps.

Other final submissions included:

  • Forum Map Demonstration” by Tristan Webb and Ian Dickinson of HP Labs Bristol, a demonstration of self-organising maps applied to an information navigation problem in a big community site,
  • WebThere: Semantic APML Profiles” by Brian MacKay from Pennsylvania, a service for creating and maintaining profiles of user interests and attention preferences in social websites,
  • Find Something Interesting” by ITT Dublin’s Alexandra Roshchina and Aleksey Kharkov, an application to provide recommendations of the most interesting posts and threads based on interest-matching and graph-mining techniques,
  • ChartBoards” by Martin Harrigan of TCD, a tool for examining community trends via term frequencies, and,
  • Visualising the Community Culture with Charts” by Eoin McLoughlin of TCD, where various graph types were used to simplify the huge amount of available community data to something that could allow someone to easily grasp its size and depth.

The competition was judged by an independent panel of three experts: Ian Davis, Chief Technology Officer with Talis; Harry Halpin, researcher at the University of Edinburgh and chair of the W3C GRDDL working group; and Peter Mika, researcher at Yahoo! Research Barcelona and author of the book “Social Networks and the Semantic Web”. The first prize is an Amazon voucher for $4000; second prize is a voucher for $2000; third prize is a voucher for $1000.

Golden Spider Award Winners 2008

  1. Best Financial Services Website –
  2. Best Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Website –
  3. Best Digital Media Website –
  4. Best Sports and Leisure Website –
  5. Best Community and Charity Website –
  6. Best Education, Research and Training Website –
  7. Best E-Business Website (exclusive to web business) –
  8. Best Property Website (non portal) –
  9. Best Mobile Content or Application –
  10. Best New Indigenous Website 2008 –
  11. Best Use of Film, Digital Animation or Motion Graphics –
  12. Best Blog –
  13. Best E-Government Website –
  14. Best Entertainment and Games-Related Website –
  15. Best FMCG Website (fast-moving consumer goods) –
  16. Best Recruitment Website –
  17. Best Interactive Marketing Campaign –
  18. Best Professional Services Website –
  19. Best Web Design and Development Agency –
  20. Best Retail and Home Shopping Website –
  21. Best Social Networking and Community Website (people’s choice)
  22. Young Designer of the Year – Naoise O Conchubhair
  23. Internet Hero – Aodhan Cullen
  24. Grand Prix –

Irish Times: " scoops Golden Spider award" scoops Golden Spider award


ONLINE FORUM netted the inaugural People’s Choice Award at the Eircom Golden Spiders internet awards, which were presented in Dublin last night by comedian Des Bishop.

The hugely popular discussion forum was the “clear winner”, according to the organisers in the category where members of the public were invited to vote for their favourite social networking and community website.

Aodhan Cullen, founder of the free web-traffic measurement service StatCounter, was selected as 2008 Internet Hero by a panel of judges. Founded by Cullen nine years ago when he was just 16 years old, StatCounter now tracks over three million websites and 10 billion pageloads a month.

Having this month relaunched its website following a major overhaul, which added features such as video “catch-up” of popular shows including the X Factor and the Apprentice, broadcaster TV3 picked up two awards: the Eircom Grand Prix Award and Best Digital Media.

Despite having been a vocal critic of the awards, which are now in their twelfth year, internet commentator Damien Mulley was awarded Best Blog. The Spiders judges also recognised Sentry Wireless’s Kidsafe as best mobile content or application, despite mobile operators recently claiming to Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews that they had found it to be technically deficient.

Other category winners included (Irish Mountain Running Association), (Crumlin childrens hospital) and has the second highest number of unique visitors to an Irish website

According to island of Ireland audited data on Irish websites from ABCe, has the second highest number of unique visitors in Ireland, currently at 1.7 million compared with RTÉ’s 2.1 million visitors. This is more than the combined audited figures for both the Irish Times plus (1.5 million) and for IN&M’s Irish Independent plus (1.2 million).

Unique users

Daft currently tops the page impressions league, with 86 million pages in September 2008. had 22 million, ahead of the Irish Times and the Irish Independent (18 million each).

Page impressions

You can view the September 2008 ABCe certificate for See also the press release from Daft.

My new job in Electronic Engineering! Will still collaborate with DERI…

Next month, I will begin a tenured lectureship position at the Department of Electronic Engineering here in the College of Engineering and Informatics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. However, I will still do joint research with the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, continuing (amongst other things) to work with the Social Software Unit (on SIOC, SCOT, etc.) and with the TripPlanr project. In my new role, I will also be researching with the NCBES Bioelectronics Research Cluster in NUI Galway.

For those of you who have just come across me and my blog as a result of my work with DERI, you may not know that my background was in electronic engineering, having studied it at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and I also lectured for four years full time in the Department of Electronic Engineering before joining DERI in 2004. When I joined DERI initially, I imagined that I would be working on some intersection between electronic engineering and the Semantic Web. In fact, I fell into the world of the Semantic Web and social software, after an interesting discussion about semantic social networks with Stefan Decker, who was a senior researcher in the Institute at the time. I realised that my “hobby” interests in creating community websites could be combined with interesting research challenges around the Semantic Web, and although I (and then director Dieter Fensel) was unsure about how I would fare in a new research area, I’m glad to say that it worked out okay! Now I’m back to thinking about the convergence between electronics and semantics again, with some social software thrown in the mix (e.g. wearable communities).

Below is a collage of some memories from the past four-and-a-half years: including the FOAF Galway workshop, a Semantic Web cluster meeting, ESWC and a DERI offsite meeting, Wikimania, DERI Stanford, BlogTalk, meeting timbl, BarCamp, DERI drinks, the ITAG awards, and our Social Software summer / christmas parties.

I’ve really enjoyed working with all the smart and cool people in DERI, and I shall continue to do so, while strengthening ties between the Institute and NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics through my new job. (It’s my last day before holidays, so if you’re in Galway this evening, we’re going out for a few drinks in the Westwood Hotel after work at 5:30…)

Google Trends for Websites:,,

Via Damien, I tried out Google Trends for in comparison to the two main Irish newspaper sites.

Here are the stats for Ireland only from Google Trends (blue =; red =; yellow =

Here are the stats for all regions from Google Trends:

Here is the worldwide graph from Compete:

And finally, here is the worldwide graph from Alexa:

There are a lot of variations! Although ComScore also do rankings, I am not sure is the service publicly available, and Quantcast’s analysis seems more US-focussed. While some people are not so sure about the figures (1, 2), it is an indicator of sorts – even if it’s just to see if you are in the same league…

Bits and pieces: SMOB 2nd Prize in SFSW / Drupal Ireland on Saturday / Wikipedia on OLPC

Semantic Microblogging wins 2nd prize in the Scripting for the Semantic Web challenge!

Alex tweeted from the SFSW workshop at the European Semantic Web Conference that our SMOB (distributed microblogging with semantics) prototype has won 2nd prize in the SFSW challenge. Congratulations and thanks to Alex, Tuukka and Uldis for all their hard work… Well done to Alex on also winning the best paper award at the SemWiki workshop – wow, what a great day for you!

Drupal Ireland Meetup 2008 on this Saturday in DERI

Stephane is organising the second Drupal Ireland Meetup for this Saturday in the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway (map). There will be presentations on the CCK, Views and ImageCache modules, Joomla2Drupal, theming, security, your first “Hello, World!” Drupal module, easy RDFS vocabulary publishing using Neologism, and maybe vBDrupal if I can manage it! You can sign up and find more details here.

Wikipedia iPhone app being ported to OLPC

Patrick Collison reports that the Wikipedia iPhone application he wrote for offline browsing of the Wikipedia is being ported to the One Laptop Per Child project… Excellent news!