Net Applications has retroactively changed all its statistics, and the result is that Opera's market share is listed at around 2%. This is still lower than the more accurate 3% figure reported elsewhere, but at least Opera benefits from the changes for once.
Those who have followed my blog may recall that Net Applications has previously dumped Opera's figures with no explanation what so ever. …
This time, Net Applications took the time to once again admit that their statistics were skewed, and actually explained the changes:
In the past, we reported only on our raw numbers. As of August 1st, we have implemented retroactive country-level weighting in our reports. This means that we adjust our reports proportionally based on how much traffic we record from a country vs. how many internet users that country has. For example, although we have significant data from China, it is relatively small compared to the number of internet users in China. Therefore, we now weight Chinese traffic proportionally higher in our global reports. This change produces a much more accurate view of worldwide usage share statistics.
After consulting with many of the organizations we report data on, we decided to use C.I.A. data as the source of the number of internet users per country.
In addition to providing better share numbers, the reason we made this change was due to growing traffic imbalances in certain countries. Some countries were growing traffic at a much higher pace than the rest of the world and it was creating unacceptable variances in the share numbers. The reason we delayed June numbers was due to these imbalances. From now on, a single high growth country will not be able to affect the global share numbers.
The statistics from Net Applications still seem to be skewed, but neither this admission of flawed stats nor the inherent unreliability of "global" browser statistics are likely to make people think twice before referring to them as an authority in the future. That's how far "research" goes these days 🙂