We all know that everyone uses the Internet but which sites people are visiting is another story. We have some idea as to where Lao people and residents are surfing but may be slightly surprised by some of the ones that made this list. While there are a number of lists out there claiming to be accurate, the Laotian Times has decided to use none other than Amazon’s Alexa Traffic Rankings.
How are Alexa Rankings calculated?
According to its site, Alexa’s traffic estimates and ranks are based on the browsing behavior of people in the global data panel, which is a sample of all internet users.
Alexa’s Traffic Ranks are based on the traffic data provided by users in Alexa’s global data panel over a rolling 3 month period. Traffic Ranks are updated daily. A site’s ranking is based on a combined measure of Unique Visitors and Pageviews. Unique Visitors are determined by the number of unique Alexa users who visit a site on a given day. Pageviews are the total number of Alexa user URL requests for a site. However, multiple requests for the same URL on the same day by the same user are counted as a single Pageview. The site with the highest combination of unique visitors and pageviews is ranked #1. Additionally, Alexa employs data normalization to correct for biases that may occur in the data.
Without further ado, here are the Top 10 most visited sites in Laos.
It should not be a surprise to anyone that this would be the number one most visited site in Laos (and for many parts of the world, for that matter). YouTube represents an imaginary television with unlimited channels on demand for free (you have to pay for that monthly pseudo-unlimited Unitel not quite 4G Internet package, though). Who watches YouTube videos? Neglected children of busy parents enjoying Ben 10 and Disney’s Elsa-from-Frozen videos, complacent employees watching that Thai soap opera episode from the night before, bored university students entranced by Korean & American music videos, and the odd person looking for how-to videos.
Many of our readers might have thought that any of these domains should have been on the top of the list but it seems that Elsa videos on YouTube were too hard to ignore. For many, Google is the default home page of their browser. Occupying three spots (Numbers 2, 3 and 4) on the Top 10 says much about this site’s popularity. Whether you’re using a Lao, English or Thai keyboard, Google will help you find what you’re looking for.
Apparently, people in Laos are still using Yahoo! This may perhaps be the case because it provides more than simple search queries. Yahoo does provide useful news like how a woman died because she tried to save a tortoise, the weather, and of course the immortal Yahoo Mail.
People are sharing the most random things on this site. It is anyone’s guess that a person who has access to the Internet, will have a Facebook account. Unless you’re meditating at a Buddhist temple. Oh wait, even that won’t stop you these days. Mark Zuckerberg has done such a fantastic job in getting people addicted to his product that people of all walks of life are turning to Facebook to digitally voice their opinions and listen to others.
Many locals use Blogger to build their own websites as an alternative to WordPress.
Surprisingly, a number of Lao civil servants and private sector employees are using the @hotmail.com address as their official work email, a habit that is often hard to break for many (as Hotmail was one of the pioneers of email – owned by Microsoft) as they have been using the email address for a long time. This would be comparable to the plight of one who had to change his/her phone number: the hassle of informing everyone in your social network of the change, the fear of losing out on potential business opportunity, and the pain of re-printing business cards! So, please don’t be startled if your employee sends you an email from her personal address, firstname.lastname@example.org. While this behavior persists, live.com will remain on the list.
While Laos is in the midst of a Lao-language digital content boom, driven by private ventures such as LaoPost, Mahason, Tholakhong, Una Studio, Kidork, Muan and other content providers, Lao readers consume news and entertainment content from our neighbors in Thailand, especially from kapook.com. The general understanding is that if the news is popular in Thailand, Lao people are sure to find out about it. Ranked as the 11th most visited site in Thailand according to Alexa Rankings, it is no wonder why it made it to the list for Laos.
We’re just as puzzled as you are for this one. Perhaps, it was initially easier to type Ask than Google?
It is important to note that this Top 10 List does not include any Laos-based websites. The sheer volume and quality of the content and functionality generated by the aforementioned global websites will be very hard for Lao websites to compete with for the foreseeable future. However, Lao tech entrepreneurs and businesses are not too far behind as local IT professionals become more internet savvy and rising incomes and education are promoting the generation of local content. We’ll be back next year with the Top 10 Laos-based Websites. Stay tuned!