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I looked at traffic statistics of popular 'big data' websites: publishers, media companies. I noticed that most are tanking. Most of these websites were two stars (US traffic rank better than 100,000) a few months ago.
Two of them (AllAnalytics, BigDataRepublic) lost one star and were downgraded to one star, but two other ones were upgraded from one to two stars (DataScienceCentral, AnalyticBridge). The data source is Alexa.com rankings, as of June 22, 2013. Numbers are subject to a 20-30% error rate due to Alexa inaccuracies, but the pattern identified is observed over many large web sites, and shows consistency over time.
Interestingly, the ones that are losing traffic fast are run by journalists, not data scientists. One of the biggest losers, AllAnalytics.com, seem to be a website where four or five people are talking to each other, mostly writing comments such "I agree with you Tom", "Great comment Tim" etc. It is so bad it is actually funny to look at these conversations, who knows, these five guys are maybe just one person. But even someone talking to himself would do a better job and post more diversified or antagonistic comments.
BigDataRepublic has been using very poor statistical methodology when they wrote their landmark article in April: the list of top big data influencers. They were heavily criticized. You can not make this type of mistake when your audience is analytic minds. Even today, their #1 big data guy is an obscure market research guy, and you are wondering if he paid to be listed at the top. Needless to say, their traffic went down after this fiasco.
Yet, two of these websites are growing steadily (they are run by real data scientist and computational marketing experts), VC funding is strong, and a rich ecosystem is developing fast. So what is going on?
I call this the end of the beginning: we have reached a point where you can no longer claim that you are a big data guru or a data scientist, if you don't know what you are talking about or know nothing about data science, or sell fake data science. This era is gone. We are entering the second stage where many new companies are still being created, mergers are likely to increase, but the pure opportunists get weeded out while hype evaporates like ice in Greenland. For many, the question right now is show me the ROI.