The Reach, Rank and PageViews charts for http://www.ancestry.com/, http://www.rootsweb.com/, http://www.genealogy.com/ and http://www.myfamily.com/ are shown below.
Aren't those interesting? They show a steady decrease in the Reach (unique visitors per million Internet users), Rank (among all Internet web sites) and Page Views (per million Internet users) of these web sites.
The graphs surely reflect the increased use of the Internet by more people. The statistics are "per million" users of the Internet - not the number of unique visitors or page views on the web sites.
Ancestry's Rank (among all web sites) has decreased from about #300 in 2003 to about #3,000 in 2007. That's a big drop - surely it reflects the increase in the number of web sites, but I have little doubt that the number of visitors and page views of Ancestry has steadily decreased over the last five years.
It appears that Ancestry's traffic has leveled off in the past six months or so, and is trending slightly upward. This is seen also in the Quantcast chart for the last six months at http://www.quantcast.com/ancestry.com/traffic. This seeming correlation between the Alexa and Quantcast charts reinforces my belief that Ancestry has been steadily losing Reach and Page Views over the last five years.
Is the bloom off the genealogy rose? If you check other genealogy web site traffic, you see the same trend downward over the past five years, with the exception of startups like www.WorldVitalRecords.com, www.Footnote.com, www.Geni.com, www.MyHeritage.com, etc. Has the genealogy research community "found everything there is to find" on Ancestry and the other large genealogy sites?
I can't tell exactly how many unique visitors or page views that Ancestry has had over the years because those statistics aren't available on these web sites in those terms.
The other intriguing point about the 5 year charts are the peaks and valleys. The peaks in Ancestry's traffic are probably the release of large new databases - for instance, the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census, the passenger list databases, the military databases, etc.
I wonder what caused the significant Rootsweb traffic increase in late 2005. It can't be just new Christmas computers because the jump doesn't appear in other years.