Goldmining in a River of Internet Content Traffic
With the advent of Over-The-Top content providers (OTTs), Internet Service Providers (ISPs) saw their portfolio of services shrink to the low margin role of data transporters. In order to counter this effect, some ISPs started to follow big OTTs like Facebook and Google in trying to turn their data into a valuable asset. In this paper, we explore the questions of what meaningful information can be extracted from network data, and what interesting insights it can provide. To this end, we tackle the first challenge of detecting ``user-URLs'', i.e., those that were clicked by users as opposed to those automatically generated by browsers and applications. We devise algorithms to pinpoint such URLs, and validate them on manually collected ground truth traces. We then apply them on a three-day long traffic trace spanning more than 19,000 residential users that requested around 190 million web objects. We find that only 1.6% of these observed URLs were actually clicked by users. As a first application for our methods, we answer the question of which platforms participate most in promoting the Internet content. Surprisingly, we find that, despite its notoriety, only 10% of the user URL visits are coming from Google search.