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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Beliefnet.com: Web Analytics Series no.1

This post is updated, July 9, 2007

Whats making news now:
  • NY Times Lauds Beliefnet and Mazal Tov Becky
    NB. See also Beliefnet's Mr. Steven Waldman in our Multifaith Hall of Fame
    Abstract: Evaluating the Web resources is important for many reasons. Evaluation as a process leads to the following, viz., a) finding facts; b) enables visualizing text and context; and c) in bringing out the true colors.
    What follows is a textual-cum-graphical visualization of the Web portal, BeliefNet.com (see the thumbshot). This visualization aims at presenting samples of data both from a quantitive and qualitative point of view. Here, I have tried to catalog significant facts, features, as well as, tools that facilitate this activity. The tools used are Netmechanic, Visual Page Rank, and Alexa.
    Herein, the Website's features included are, first, illustration (see the image of Netmechanic's thumbshot), second, statistics from Amazon.com and religioustolerance.org, and third popular voices about BeliefNet.com coming from the Netizens.
    Why would we analyse a Website?

    One would say analyzing is for the sake of visualization of this worldview. Then, visualizing (a world of what you see is what you get, or what you get is not what you see), calls for going beyond the frames, tables, cables, design, content, context, etc.

    Another answer to this question is, we need evaluation of the content as well, because the Web has the good, bad and ugly. However, because what we are dealing with is an attempt to look at a third dimension, call it for convenience, analytics, we will not go on with these diversions to see if the Internet is bane or boone.***

    Here, Web analytics Series begins with questions that relate to What, Where, When, Which, why and How of the Website, i.e., Beliefnet.com




    Click to Visit

    Visualized by thumbshots.org


    Beliefnet.com is a leading Multifaith portal

    About this Website
    : We are a multi-faith e-community designed to help you meet your own religious and spiritual needs -- in an interesting, captivating and engaging way.
    "a multi-faith e-community...We try to achieve our mission by providing information and inspiration. Our site has an extraordinary collection of experts and scholars. We give you spiritual tools such as prayer circles, kits to help you celebrate births, weddings, and other life milestones, as well as commemorate deaths. Most important, we help you to learn from each other through a breathtaking array of discussions and dialogue groups." source

    Analytics of the Website:
    Let us start with Traffic:


    I will be using Netmechanic.com to view possible answers to the Ws and Hs.

    Note: The results given below deal with, Load Time, HTML Check & Repair, Browser Compatibility, Spell Check (most of these are not errors, rather not found in English language dictionaries), Link Check, etc. See the image below for a sample result (Pages Tested: 1).


    A sample article from the Beliefnet Website:
    Barger, Lilian Calles. "The Trivialization of Death." Beliefnet. c2000. Beliefnet, Inc. 17 May 2000

    The above is just a sample of the whole picture. In short, not all the Ws and Hs are answered. I have detailed analytics and interpretation of Web content. In case you are interested let me know [my email: mt2222 @ yahoo . com]


    Voice Populi, or What do others say about this Website:


    McAfee SiteAdvisor:
    overall: We tested this site and didn't find any significant problems.
    Beliefnet.com Website Design Review, By Peter A. Schaible: Beliefnet.com Is Not Your Typical Ecommerce Website—or Is It? The Business Model is Based on the Internet's Holy Trinity: Content, Community and Commerce and its Website Design is Perfectly Suitable

    Website Review - Beliefnet.com - Associated Content, by Lindsey Russell


    Review of Beliefnet.com, by www.thegoodwebguide.co.uk: Five stars for Beliefnet's imaginative and innovative content, although the advertising may alienate some readers.

    MeetingGod@beliefnet.com, by Winner, Lauren F.: Presents an article on being a practicing Christian working for a Web site devoted to religion and morality. Efforts to hide her Christian beliefs; Changes in her attitude towards prayer; Experiences in working as a book-review editor for the Web site; Benefits of religious Web sites.[Source: Christianity Today; 11/12/2001, Vol. 45 Issue 14, p70, 5p ]

    A word about Beliefnet discussion forum at BuzzMetrics' Data Mining page, by Tim Boucher
    I posted something related in the Beliefnet thread, about how it wouldn’t surprise me if they were using similar metrics on their site. They could easily establish profiles based on age, gender, race, income level (all without even asking their users these questions apparently - nevermind if they just straight out asked them). Then they could track typical responses and styles of thinking about religion and spirituality for people in each group. Then, they can simply clothe products in exactly these styles to appeal to all the segments in their target market.

    Sites That Have Faith in BusniessWeek: I’ve written or edited reviews of hundreds of Web sites, and Beliefnet may be my favorite. It’s smart and entertaining, deftly mixing articles with games and an active community that posts running chat alongside articles. How many Web sites can ask for send-ups of CS Lewis’ religious novel The Screwtape Letters and get 250 entries? That’s Beliefnet.

    SURFING BELIEFNET.COM, By: Wren, Celia: On a more practical level, the site will clue you in to your local church alternatives, if you select your denomination and plug in your address--and if you happen to be a Wiccan, not a Christian, you can discover your nearest coven (the witchvox.net server was down for maintenance when sheer curiosity tempted me to that option). The "Find a House of Worship" feature goes at least a short way in demonstrating Beliefnet's effective emphasis on interactivity. A Web site that doesn't prod visitors out of passivity isn't living up to the medium's possibilities--this is not a fault one can attribute to Beliefnet, which encourages members (signing up takes just a minute) to build cyber memorials to loved ones, join online prayer circles and study groups, consider online matchmaking services (www.catholicsingles.com is free for seniors over sixty, it turns out), post responses to articles, and generally speak back when spoken to. [source: Commonweal, 4/5/2002, Vol. 129, Issue 7]

    Beliefnet.com, By Catherine Ritchie: For those seeking to ascertain their particular "spiritual type," or for those wanting current religion-oriented news, or even bits of "daily wisdom" from different faiths. [source: Library Journal, 10/1/2003, Vol. 128, Issue 16]

    Beliefnet keeps faith, survives bankruptcy, Religion Web site makes comeback, by Karen Thomas: Beliefnet has defied much skepticism beyond Internet business models. Many thought that a multi-faith site couldn't survive, arguing that most people look to the Internet to confirm their own religious beliefs, not explore others. [source: USA Today; 10/30/2002]

    Website of the Week/Beliefnet, Focuses on the Beliefnet: A Web site about religion, spirituality and morality, developed by Steve Waldman and Robert Nylen. Description of the Web site; Information to be found in the site; Remarks from Waldman; Potential of the site in the Web market.[source: Wall Street Journal - Eastern Edition; 01/06/2000, Vol. 235 Issue 5, pB9, 0p, 1bw]
  • How Bad Advertising Ruins Good Web Design by Stuart Bowness


  • WEB PICKS,
    By Laverne Simoneaux, Coordinator of User Education

    This is a web site which I visit daily to get my dose of spirituality in a non-preachy manner. Here is one of my favorite articles, "Summery Ways to Spiritually Expand."

    Interesting content is hidden in the deep Web. See Recent articles indexed by Google Scholar Also, browse Yahoo! Answers to see what people are upto!

    Don't miss this: BeliefNet has launched Blog Heaven, which provides coverage of religion and spirtuality blogs. Read a review of Blog Heaven. See also What's up on Beliefnet in others Blogs

    PS. More analytics of this page will be presented as the research progresses. Stay tuned, please. Salam, Shalom, Peace, Welcome, Namaste, and Greeting to all the Multifaith communities.

    DISCLAIMER: All of the above is the effort of an individual. No institution or agency supports this project. The information is collected, it is hoped, to build bridges in the society.
  • ***(note: In case you wish to pursue the critical path you can get a glimpse of the ways to navigate amidst the Web's productive-cum-disruptive mode in my presentation [see: The Six A’s for Evaluating Web Content]. See also my review of the following book:Automated Web Site Evaluation : Researchers' and Practitioners' Perspectives (Human-Computer Interaction Series), by M.Y. Ivory)

    PUNCHLINE"
    Beliefnet.com Website Design Review
    By Peter A. Schaible

    Beliefnet.com Is Not Your Typical Ecommerce Website—or Is It? The Business Model is Based on the Internet's Holy Trinity: Content, Community and Commerce and its Website Design is Perfectly Suitable
    Indeed, the site excels a providing all these. Beliefnet.com's business model is based on the Internet's holy trinity: content, community and commerce. Let's run it through the 14 Mequoda Website Design Criteria to see how faithful it is to these principles.
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