After 17 straight months of gains in market share, Google’s Chrome web browser dropped 0.17 percent in January, and the company that tracks browser market share suggests that it’s because Google penalized Chrome after a botched sponsored blog post campaign.
The figures come from Net Applications, which says it tracks about 160 million unique visits per month to a worldwide network of more than 40,000 sites.
According to Net Applications, Firefox and Safari also saw market share losses in January. While they were declining, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer gained 1.09%, its biggest monthly gain in at least two years.
One possible explanation is that a lot of people bought new PC computers over the holidays, and Internet Explorer’s market share grew in January because it’s the default browser there. But that didn’t happen a year ago; in January 2011, Explorer’s market share declined nearly a full percent. (IE did gain in February, 2011, as shown above.)
Net Applications ties Explorer’s gain and Chrome’s decline to the Google penalty which removed Chrome from search results for a number of browser-related search terms. Google penalized Chrome in early January after the company’s own botched sponsored blog post campaign ran afoul of Google’s search/webmaster guidelines.
In my searches this morning, the main Chrome page doesn’t appear on page one for “browser,” “web browser,” “download web browser,” “chrome,” “google chrome” nor “chrome browser.” I’m not sure that’s why Chrome’s market share dropped in January, but it’s an interesting theory to consider at minimum.
(tip via Computerworld)