For the last couple of years I've been keeping a weather eye on how PBase's activity has been tracking. By getting the ID numbers of the approximate first and last photos of the year you can get a pretty accurate estimate of how many shots were posted during the year, and consequently how the membership numbers are going.
For those who have seen my past posts on this you'll know that the stats have been pretty grim. There had been an accelerating rate of decline for pretty much the whole of this decade, with 2016 showing an awful 28.4% drop.
Those of us who pay even cursory attention to our stats and comments already know this of course. The views on a new photo are (a) rarely above 2 digits, if that, (b) almost always sourced from PBase rather than from outside (though the inexplicable prominence given by Google Search to the woeful, rarely attributed and often incorrectly captioned wasteland that is Pinterest is part of the problem there) and (c) usually from someone who you already know. I've come to expect little else from the site and am mostly posting for myself and my circle these days.
Still, it's hard to keep a business going if you're losing over 1/5th of your customers every year.
The bad news is... the drop was over 20% again in 2017.
The good news is... it's only JUST over 20% and that is a very appreciable slowing of the rate of decline compared to last year. The even better news is that when I did an interim check of the numbers back in May, the decline was continuing at about 27%. The fact that the year ended at just over 20% suggests that during the second half of the year it not merely slowed, but reversed the rate of decline.
This is consistent with the Alexa stats, though these need to be taken with a grain of salt since they are estimated; they are not sourced from PBase itself. You can see a slide in the first half of the year that is consistent with the 27 to 28% decline that the number of postings was showing. But then around July to August the decline flattened out. There appeared to be a kick up in December followed by a slide back to where it was at the start of the uptick, but to be honest that's the kind of movement that is not uncommon with estimated numbers. It's the trend that matters, and that was clearly stabilising.
It might be premature to be talking of "green shoots" or a renaissance for the site, but at least the moderation and stabilisation of the numbers suggests that there may be some life in it yet. We shall see what the new year brings.