Measuring Web Pleasure

In real life, one can make a rough estimate of how much pleasure you give. A kiss on the cheek versus a punch in the nose gives two extreme messages back. But on the internet, things are different. How do we measure satisfaction?

It is important because advertisers want to place their content on highly satisfying web pages. Places that convey something tremendous, rather than the alternative. And advertising money, of course, makes the web world go round. The odd thing is that we have no good measure for web satisfaction.  We measure instead, how many visits a site gets per unit of time and how long the average viewer stays on the page. These tell us something, but not much about satisfaction. That is more elusive.

So will we figure this out?  One would like to think that indirect measures such as how often I visit a site) would say something. But the truth is that measuring my satisfaction requires insight into my preferences. In other words, information that I do not give as I consume content. Just because I read the New York Times does not mean that I like the New York Times. There may be, sadly, no good alternative – yet. And when I am presented with it, I abandon what everyone thought was a highly satisfying web community.

This is the odd thing about the web. It is a secondary experience. I use it for reasons, not just for the pleasure of sitting on my butt and staring into a screen. And other than for gaming addicts and web entrepreneurs, it is not likely to morph into a primary experience. Even with a 3d headset.

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