I was listening to the Stack Exchange podcast about Hurricane Sandy, and one of the guest mentioned offhandedly that Square Space hosts around a million and a half websites. That’s backed up by this Business Insider content blurb. For those not familiar with the platform, Square Space offers a custom online CMS for creating and managing websites.
Shopify, for those not familiar, is a similar service, but for online stores. Right now, Shopify’s website brags that they host 40,000 stores.
Two similar services, but the content service counts their sites in the hundreds of thousands (14), and the online retail service counts their customers in the tens of thousands (4).
This is a nice example of the challenges faced by ecommerce technology: There’s simply fewer “users"out there. Fewer users means fewer people looking at any one product and improving the product. It also explains the relative difficulty in finding ecommerce "talent”. Any fool can start a Square Space, Drupal or WordPress site and quickly un-fool themselves. Learning an ecommerce system means working with an actual business doing actual selling, and while it’s easier than ever to start that sort of business, it’s still like moving mountains compared to the ease of starting a cat blog.