As previously announced, 2018 marked our inaugural evaluations using the new Best Practices benchmark, which we predicted would create havoc on scoring and rankings. Sure enough, 2018 eBusiness Index results prove these predictions true while also reinforcing the fact that some sites simply perform poorly.  As a result, we’ve decided to shake up the Index roster for 2019 by swapping out some old sites for new ones. Of course, this means that the winners based on the 2019 eBusiness Index evaluation run are anyone’s guess!

It’s Time to Clean House

Now that we’ve finished our 2018 siteIQ eBusiness Index evaluations and published our findings based on Overall Website Performance, Category, and Industry, we’ve been assessing the performance of all 25 websites on the roster. This annual process provides the data necessary to determine which sites perform well enough to merit inclusion on — and those that perform poorly enough to warrant elimination from — the subsequent eBusiness Index listing.

This year, however, the process not only left us with a clear idea of which sites to keep and cut, but it also left us with a gaping hole in the eBusiness Index roster. This, of course, led to the next phase of the process — deciding which leading IT industry sites should be added to bring the 2019 roster total back up to 25.

Join the Ranks and Fall In

The team convened and, after some good-natured debate, came to a consensus on a list of sites that was agreeable to all. List in hand, we set about adding the new sites to the Index roster and then organizing the entire group based on industry segment. This approach allows us to calculate overall, category, and industry-specific scoring by first measuring all sites against each other and then against competitors in the same line of business. 

You Can’t Fit a Square Peg in a Round Hole

It quickly became evident, however, that in addition to leaving a gaping hole, cutting poorly performing sites eradicated two entire industry segments from the eBusiness Index while causing the fusion of two others. This, combined with the addition of previously unevaluated, uncategorized sites whose core competencies blurred the lines of distinction between our eight predefined industry segments, made sorting based on existing parameters difficult.

As a result, we revised our definitions and realigned the specifications for different industry segments based on overarching strategies and behaviors of sites in the same line of business. This reduces the total number of industries we track while better aligning direct competitors for comparison against each other.

From Chaos Comes Order

By the end of this entire process, we eliminated ten sites, added nine sites, reduced eight industry segments to five, and reassigned two sites from one segment to another based on recently redefined industry definitions and parameters. The net result is the 2019 siteIQ eBusiness Index roster:

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to determine the full impact of the new listing and industry designations on eBusiness Index scoring and rankings until the 2019 evaluation cycle is done. Until then, the best we can do is speculate as to how great an impact the updates will have on our results and findings. Given the scope of change, however, that impact is sure to be remarkable.

Gone but Not Forgotten

In the meantime, we’d be remiss if we didn’t have a postmortem for those sites that perform poorly enough to warrant elimination from the eBusiness Index listing — especially since two entire industries are decimated. That said, the sites in both consistently ranked near the bottom of the website, usability, and category performance rosters over time so their removal is an overdue act of mercy. The remaining sites are expunged for a variety of reasons including — but not limited to — poor performance.

Some are, or will be, in the process of integration due to the acquisition of the parent company by another larger enterprise, which means the site will either disappear or become difficult to use. Others have undergone an extreme reduction of content that makes them a shadow of their former selves, so they’re no longer worth evaluating.

In any event, the following sites have outlived their longevity on the eBusiness Index, so it’s time we replace them with other more competitive properties.

We’re Gonna Need a Psychic

Of course, all these changes to the eBusiness Index roster and industry listing make it impossible to predict any of the 2019 winners, so we won’t even try. Suffice to say we’re as curious as anyone to see how the addition of fresh sites will affect scoring and rankings — and to determine whether those sites can hold their own against longtime eBusiness Index competitors.

Fortunately, the team is hard at work on the 2019 run, so we’ll soon have some answers to these questions, and more…

Next Up

Stay tuned for results by Industry segment — and updates regarding Category and Overall Website Performance ratings and rankings.

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