Some of Google’s product launches distinctly remind me of this one South Park episode where Eric Cartman boosted visitor numbers at his theme park by artificially barring people from entering. While that's not entirely the case here, an invite-only system decidedly helps pique user interest by inducing a feeling of exclusivity and it seems to have worked quite well for Google in the past with services like Gmail.

Google+ launched on June 29th as private invite-only beta with much fanfare as Google tried to take yet another stab at social networking. Users were impressed with the clean, intuitive UI and features like Circles and Hangouts. Some have even gone as far as to abandon Facebook completely and migrate over.

However all is not rosy as Experian Hitwise reports total visits to the website fell to about 1.79 million in the week ending July 23rd, a 3% drop from the 1.86 million in the previous week. Average time spent on the website also dropped from 5 minutes, 50 seconds to about 5 minutes, 15 seconds. However, the stats don't account for people using the Google+ app, so take these numbers with a pinch of salt.

I’ve personally been using Google+ since launch day, and have found myself spending less time on the website of late. What about you guys? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Mashable

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  • welshy992 - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    They're currently banning people forming organization/company accounts on the service. If you were advertising services, even if free. That puts you into that demographic at the moment.
  • Conficio - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    "They're currently banning people forming organization/company accounts on the service. If you were advertising services, even if free. That puts you into that demographic at the moment."

    What sense does that make? They are censoring the speech as for it does not fit their desired pattern?

    As far as I know there are no "company" pages so far. So people are experimenting with how they can use it and it is always up to the subsriber to follow or not.

    I have no glue about "bendrix" case, but for Google to censor any content other than what they are required by law (and which law should apply here anyway in a soacial network that transcends national boundaries). That would be really a deal breaker move for me.
  • welshy992 - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    They've explicitly stated that this is temporary. Organizations aren't allowed. Perhaps if you take a step back from the entire "censoring" argument and look at the fact that company/organization pages on facebook get millions upon millions of hits. This is obviously a scaling problem they are trying to get working correctly before enabling. What the fuck is up with this whole:


    No you can't. You aren't paying for their servers or their development team so if they decide to not allow corporate entities to play for the time being while they ramp everything to HANDLE the load I think that makes a lot of sense, don't you?
  • GuinnessKMF - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    Time spent on the site will decline as people get used to the interface and are able to navigate the site quicker. They also will spend less time as they catch up to the content, as I imagine the first time you join you might spend a bit of time checking out what your friends have been using it for or just simply finding all of your friends.

    Naturally time spent will be at a peak when people first join, and as they get used to it they will simply just check in every now and then to see updates. I don't think that's an indication of a failing just yet.
  • Kelemvor - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    I have FB and G+. However I only have like 20 people who I've found on G+ of my 300+ FB friends. That means it's somewhat useless as there's not much there.

    But to be fair, I have really stopped using FB lately as well. It's just too time consuming to weed through everything. Even with an awesome extension like BetterFaceBook, there's still pages upon pages of posts to go through and I just don't really care about most of them.

    Honestly, it'd probably about the same with G+ as well if I had the same 300 friends on there. If I had unlimited free time at work and things, I'm sure I'd check it more often. But my time is limited so I only check each now and then.
  • darenbrantley - Saturday, July 30, 2011 - link

    You can weed out the 'friends' you're not all that interested in.. click the X on one of their posts in your feed, and select "hide all posts by xxx".
  • DrApop - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    I think Google needs to "do a Facebook".

    What do I mean by that? They need to contact all their Gmail users (via email) and actively promote Google + through US universities starts in just a few scant weeks. Then they need to say that anyone with a college/university email account gets a free invite to Google + (sort of like how facebook started building their user base).

    They could then offer up 5-10 invites per university user to invite friends/family members outside of their university networks.

    I believe college students are the major players in the social network arena followed by HS students.

    Perhaps I am wrong but that is just the way I see it.
  • dlochinski - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    I actually use it more now than when I first started. It feels different than facebook, which I'm fine using both. I think of google + as a way to filter some people I don't want to see onfacebook
  • tombetz - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    ... is that the drop in user visits and time spent corresponds with the release of the Google+ IOS app. App traffic, IOS or Android, is not included in this report's measurements.

    Anyway, what will really matter is traffic after the beta period ends.
  • SUPERich6 - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    I like G+ and have been an early adopter of everything Google. My account is still active and I have had no issues (to date) with it. However, I think G+ will last and I like that I can share info with certain people and not others. There's some stuff I only want my "real" friends to see. Not everyone I've ever encountered in my life who've friended me. Sure it's great to see what they're up to and laugh at some of their funny comments. But I don't want FB to decide what my "Top News" is, no matter how accurate the AI in it is. I want to share my info with who I decide, and I want to see what's going on with certain people. Google allows that. FB isn't there yet. As far as people are concerned, well, everyone is on FB today. But that's the same that was said on MySpace. I'm not saying one should replace the other, but competition certainly allows for consumers to have the best of everything. Especially when it's free.

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