Archive for category Yahoo!Groups

Online Activity in the Wake of the Melbourne Storm Controversy Revisited (incomplete)

Posted by Laura on Monday, 1 November, 2010

This isn’t actually fully revisited. I started writing this about a week ago and then have had extremely limited internet access. Given that, I thought I would post what I have so far and finish the rest later.

Online Activity in the Wake of the  Melbourne Storm Controversy Revisited (incomplete)

On April 22, 2010, the news of salary cap violations on the part of the Melbourne Storm broke online in such publications as the Fox Sports, on television including ABC news and on multiple social networks including Facebook and Twitter. By April 23, the news was available in various print publications including The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. During the news coverage, NRL fans learned that the team had been fined $1.8 million, stripped of two premiereships and were not eligible to earn points towards 2010’s premiership. (“Melbourne storm stripped,” 2010) The team was being punished for salary cap violations over the past five years, where the total cap violation in that period was $1.7 million with $400,000 of that total cap violation occurring in 2009. (“Melbourne storm stripped,” 2010)

The consensus at the time in the media was that this would hurt the team in terms of maintaining a fan base. In the three-week period after the news broke, this did not appear to be the case: The team maintained or grew its online fan community. In addition, there was more fan interactions in the Melbourne Storm fan community than there had been prior to the controversy. This defied conventional wisdom. The numbers deserve a followup to determine if the Melbourne Storm managed to capture short-term interest and translate it into long-term, season long, interest in the club.

This article will revisit numbers from May to determine how successful the club was. Specifically, interest patterns as expressed on networks like 43things, bebo, Facebook, LiveJournal and its clones, Twitter, Wikia, Wikiedia, Yahoo!Groups and YouTube. The article will prove that as the season progressed, interest in the Melbourne Storm declined relative to other teams in the National Rugby League.


In the May analysis, a goal setting site called 43things was looked at. The site has a small group of Australians on it who have set professional sport related goals.

On April 1, 2010, the site was searched for any goals that connected to the Melbourne Storm. Only one goal related to the Melbourne Storm was found. It is “Go to a Melbourne Storm Game.” (1) Two people, erynne and mmcpharlane, had listed this as a goal they were working towards completing. When checked again on May 10 and October 24, no one had added any additional goals related to the Melbourne Storm. The two individuals who had listed “Go to a Melbourne Storm Game” remained the same.

Mailing lists

During much of the 1990s, mailing lists were one of the most popular tools for fans to use in order to communicate with each other. The creation of mailing lists became much easier when sites like egroups, coollists, topica, Yahoo!Groups and Google groups were created. In some corners of Australian sport fandom, mailing lists have played an important role in helping fans support their interest in clubs.

At one point, there was a semi-active community for the Melbourne Storm community on Yahoo!Groups. (2) When Melbourne Storm Yahoo!Groups were looked at in May, the controversy had no effect on the groups: No new content was posted on these lists. Only one (3) had new content posted between May and October; this new content was a generic newsletter that is sent out to several other NRL related lists and was not published specifically for this list. (4) There is no long tail effect of the club’s fan community on Yahoo!Groups as the community has long since moved on and the controversy didn’t activate a community that has largely been inactive since 2001.


YouTube is the largest video site online. It is also the second biggest search engine online. (Hill, 2008) It is a popular site for sport fans; several teams around the world for different sports capitalize on this by having their own official accounts including the Chicago Red Stars (5), Real Madrid (6), and Perth Glory (7). Beyond the presence of official team accounts, fans upload many videos. Fan videos can be music videos, news clips, and video blogs. The frequency of uploads is one way to determine interest in a club.

When the original analysis was completed in May, it did not include YouTube data. Data was only gathered in June and October, several months after the controversy went down. In addition, the total upload data gathered only included a few teams: Brisbane Broncos, Canberra Raiders, Gold Coast Titans, Melbourne Storm, Parramatta Eels, and Wests Tigers. Despite the lack of pre-controversy data, interesting post controversy numbers were discovered.

Table 1
YouTube Video Search Results by Date and Keyword
Team Keyword 16-Jun-10 21-Jun-10 24-Oct-10 Difference: 16-Jun to 24-Oct Difference: 21-Jun to 24-Oct
Brisbane Broncos “Brisbane Broncos” 509


525 16 5
Melbourne Storm “Melbourne Storm” 910 925 889 -21 -36

Parramatta Eels

“Parramatta Eels” 479 485 527 48 42
Parramatta Eels “Timana Tahu” 36 36


-5 -5
Wests Tigers “Wests Tigers” 390 404 464 74 60
Canberra Raiders

“Canberra Raiders”

274 403 129
Gold Coast Titans “Gold Coast Titans” 260 302 42
Brisbane Broncos “Darren Lockyer” 198 187 187 -11

When compared to all other teams, the Melbourne Storm were the only team where the number of videos mentioning them decreased. The two players looked at both faced losses in the total number of videos that mentioned them. Like the Storm, both of these players were involved in a major controversy during the season.

There are likely three reasons that could be attributed to the decline in videos. The first is that YouTube removed the videos because of copyright issues. This is plausible and if it is the case, it may not be the fault of the Storm as many of the copyright disputes on YouTube involve the background music. Given the lack of discussion in the NRL community about YouTube crackdowns in terms of NRL content or music, this reason just seems unlikely. The second reason is the creators may have deleted their content and their videos. This feels more plausible. Many people delete their online content when they are job hunting, because they are embarrassed by it or because of privacy concerns. The third reason is that the uploader no longer likes the team: They do not want to be associated with them or embarrassed by their previous support of them. This reason seems the most plausible. In the context of the Melbourne Storm, it fits given the patterns with the individual rugby league players who endured major controversies. In actuality, the reduction in videos is probably a combination of the second and third reasons. If true, it suggests that controversies lead to a reduction in user-uploaded content and the deletion of existing material: The YouTube audience for the team contracts.


Hill, J. (2008, October 16). YouTube surpasses Yahoo as world’s #2 search engine. TG Daily. Retrieved October 24, 2010, from

Melbourne storm stripped of two premierships for salary cap breach. (2010, April 22). Fox Sports, Retrieved from,8659,27022196-5018866,00.html


1. The page for the goal can be found at .
2.Yahoo!Groups is the most popular mailing list host.  Archives are also available for these lists.
The list was .
3.While these e-mails were generic to the National Rugby League and might be considered spam if they were posted on a list with a more active administrator, a few did mention the Melbourne Storm.  A few even referenced the controversy.  Because of the nature of the posts, these few posts were not counted.
4.The Chicago Red Stars official YouTube can be found at .
5.Real Madrid’s official YouTube account can be found at .
6.Perth Glory’s official YouTube account can be found at .

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Distribution of Australian sports fans by league and location

Posted by Laura on Tuesday, 23 March, 2010

Distribution of Australian sports fans by league and location map

I’m trying to make a map of Australian sports fandom across various social networks.  This is going to take a long time and require a long explanation to understand exactly what you’re seeing.  This map isn’t intended to be all comprehensive.  I’m still collecting data and will likely continue to collecting data for a long time.    That’s why a long explanation is needed.

Country League Rugby: Group 21 is represented exclusively by the Facebook group SCONE THOROUGHBREDS RUGBY LEAGUE CLUB. Location was identified the location of the school network members listed themselves as belonging to.

For the NWBL, amongst the social networks I’ve checked so far, only You!Tube had people who listed the league.  And that was one person.  There were several people on Facebook who belonged the Wollongong Roller Hawks group and listed a network which I could affiliate with a city.

The AHL is represented by a Facebook group for the Tassie Tigers and three people on bebo. There were no fans on LiveJournal’s clones or blogger.

The AFL includes full data from 43things, bebo, blogger, eacademy, Daniel Jackson – TIGER TUFF!, Law Hawks and No matter how bad they are, I will still barrack for the Richmond Tigers! groups on Facebook, Gaia Online (but no one was an AFL fan who listed a city), LiveJournal and its clones, only Collingwood from MySpace profile search, only Brisbane Lions, Collingwood Magpies and Carlton Blues from orkut, only the scrapheap_afl mailing list on Yahoo!groups, and only the Geelong Cats on YouTube.

For the NRL, the following Facebook groups were included: Matt Johns to coach the Newcastle Knights in 2010! , Wests Tigers NYC and Melbourne-based Wests Tigers Fanatics. Only the Brisbane Broncos were looked at on 43things. Every team was searched for on bebo, blogger, Gaia Online, LiveJournal and its clones. The sample is much smaller than the AFL. (Though the community on bebo is much larger than AFL community on bebo. It might sort of make up for that.)

WNBL totals came from YouTube, MySpace, eacademy, bebo and LiveJournal clones.

For the NBL, only the Brisbane Bullets were looked at on 43 things. On Facebook for the NBL, unlike for most leagues looked at, an attempt was made to find every group connected to the team. Thus, the following groups and fanpages are represented: Townsville McDonald’s Crocodiles, Adelaide 36ers, Adelaide 36ers are the greatest team of ANY kind EVER!!, Adelaide 36ers Fan Zone, Bring Allen Iverson to the Adelaide 36ers!, Bring Dusty Rychart back to the Adelaide 36ers ~ beg, plead, grovel ;p, Cairns Taipans , Croc Nation, Early 90′s Perth Wildcats appreciation group, Gold Coast Blaze, Melbourne Tigers, melbourne tigers are the best team, Melbourne Tigers Basketball Club, Melbourne Tigers cheer squeda east and south ends , Melbourne Tigers NBL HUMMER CHAMPIONS 2007/08, Melbourne Tigers NBL supporters, New Zealand Breakers, Official Perth Wildcats, Perth Wildcats, Perth Wildcats, Perth Wildcats (Catties Fans), SAVE OUR MELBOURNE TIGERS NBL TEAM , THIS SEASON., Save Our South Dragons:www., South Dragons 2008/09 Nbl Champions, South Melbourne Dragons, The Melbourne Tigers Fan Group, The Official Adelaide 36ers Page, Townsville McDonald’s Crocodiles and Wollongong Hawks. If this was done with other clubs and leagues, the representation for the AFL and NRL would probably be much, much bigger. Every team was looked at on bebo, blogger, LiveJournal and its clones. It also includes members of melbournetigers on Yahoo!Groups.

For the VFL, only the Geelong Cats and Coburg Tigers were checked. On MySpace, Frankston Dolphins , Sandringham Zebras , Werribee Tigers , Collingwood Magpies and Geelong Cats were checked. All teams were checked on LiveJournal and its clones, blogger and bebo.

A-League is represented by a search of all teams on bebo, blogger, LiveJournal and its clones. Orkut was searched for Melbourne Victory fans. It might not show up on the first version of this map because after about seven layers, the mapping software gets slow.

Distribution of Australian sports fans by league and location map

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WNBL on Yahoo!Groups

Posted by Laura on Thursday, 11 March, 2010

I badly hadn’t looked at the WNBL until I found a few accounts for teams and players on Twitter. The teams weren’t on my list and I had no data for them. There are no fans listing teams as an interest on LiveJournal clones or on blogger. There are a few people who list teams as interests on LiveJournal and bebo. I’ll eventually get around to posting that data. First, I wanted to look at Yahoo!Groups.

There are no mailing lists dedicated to any specific team. There are two dedicated to the WNBL. They are wnbl and pastandpresentwnblplayers. Both have three members.  The second has never had a post made to it.  The first has only had one post.

While there are no lists dedicated to specific teams in the WNBL, there are several mailing lists dedicated to Australian female basketball players.  One such list is tullybevilaqua. Another is laurenjacksonrules.  Neither of these lists are currently active.  (Both are being over run by spam and have been for years.)  The lists don’t highlight the player’s career in the WNBL but rather seem to focus on the athlete playing in US’s WNBA.  Given that, it is hard to slot these player based lists by team.

I’m not entirely certain what it says about Australian women’s basketball that there is an absence of lists for teams but not for players.  Did mailing lists predate a greater emergence of the WNBL?  Are people more interested in star athletes than in any sort of team allegiance?  Is the focus on Australian players who made it into the WNBA more of an issue of Australian pride in players who made it on a big stage? It could be all of those.

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Gridiron Australia community size

Posted by Laura on Monday, 8 March, 2010

I’m still working on completing my various social media totals. Today, I was poking around Twitter and I’m still surprised at the number of teams that don’t have a presence. One league I looked at was Gridiron Australia.  It isn’t a major league but it involves an American sport and it peaked my curiosity.  Unsurprisingly, the size of the community on social media sites is tiny.

Interest WA Raiders SA Fire Queensland Sundevils Victorian Eagles ACT Monarchs NSW Wolfpack
Dreamwidth Studios 0 0 0 0 0 0
DeadJournal 0 0 0 0 0 0
JournalFen 0 0 0 0 0 0
InsaneJournal 0 0 0 0 0 0
Blurty 0 0 0 0 0 0
Inksome 0 0 0 0 0 0
CrazyLife 0 0 0 0 0 0
scribbld 0 0 0 0 0 0
LiveJournal 0 0 0 0 0 0
Blogger 0 0 0 0 0 0
bebo 0 2 1 1 0 0
Facebook 0 0 0 0 0 0
Yahoo!Groups 61 0 0 0 0 0
Twitter 65 0 0 0 0 0
BlackPlanet 0 0 0 0 0 0
orkut 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 126 2 1 1 0 0

No teams have an official Twitter presence.  The extent to which a team is on Twitter involves a player being there and Tweeting about the team.   The player is @fatloaf.  He plays for the WA Raiders.  There other largest place to find the league is on Yahoo!Groups, where there are two lists dedicated to the WA Raiders:  waraiders and raidersd.  Outside of these scattered networks, there are a few fans on bebo.  It seems likely there are probably a few other fans dedicated to the league and these teams.  If they are, they are probably on more Australian specific networks or communities dedicated to the sport.

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Australian Hockey League on everything

Posted by Laura on Thursday, 11 February, 2010

This is mostly a follow up to Australian Hockey League on blogger, LiveJournal, and LiveJournal clones and Another problem team is problem: Tasmanian Tigers.  I finished looking at the other networks that I’ve been looking at so far: Bebo, Twitter, Facebook, and Yahoo!Groups.  Given the size of this league and some of the name issues (two teams sharing names with other, bigger teams), I wasn’t surprised that the size was so tiny on these networks.  There isn’t enough data to provide any sort of meaningful analysis so I’m just providing a table of the size of the communities on the aforementioned networks based on the methodology discussed in other posts.

Australian Hockey League

Interest Canberra Labor Club Lakers New South Wales Waratahs NT Stingers Queensland Blades Southern Hotshots Tassie Tigers Victoria Vikings WA Thundersticks
Dreamwidth 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
DeadJournal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
JournalFen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
InsaneJournal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Blurty 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Inksome 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CrazyLife 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
scribbld 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
LiveJournal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Blogger 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
bebo 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0
Facebook 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Yahoo!Groups 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Twitter 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0

The AHL has zero presence that I can find on Twitter, which is a bit surprising.  No one appears to even be reporting on them.  They also appear to not have a presence on Facebook.  Developing these two would probably help increase their overall visibility.

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AFL Canberra on Facebook, Yahoo!Groups and bebo

Posted by Laura on Thursday, 11 February, 2010

Somewhat surprisingly, no one lists Ainslie Football Club, Belconnen Magpies, Eastlake Football Club, Queanbeyan Tigers, Sydney Swans Reserves or Tuggeranong Hawks as an interest on Facebook.  On Yahoo!Groups, there are no mailing lists dedicated to AFL Canberra or its teams.

What is surprising is the comparatively large size of the AFL Canberra fan community on bebo where, when combined, includes thirteen people.  That’s twelve more than the next nearest network looked at.

Of the six teams, the Tuggeranong Hawks have the most fans at six. Ainslie Football Club, Eastlake Football Club and Queanbeyan Tigers come in second with two fans each.  Belconnen Magpies is fifth with one fan.  The Sydney Swans Reserves are last with zero fans.

The Tuggeranong Hawks fans are the oldest, averaging 21 years of age. Eastlake Football Club is in a close second at 20.5.  Ainslie Football Club and Queanbeyan Tigers have the youngest fans, with their fans being 18.  When people listed their city or state of residence, everyone listed Canberra or a suburb in the ACT.  In  at least two cases for Tuggeranong fans, they listed Canberra and another city.  The other cities included Perth and Batesman Bay.  All the fans of the Queanbeyan Tigers and the Tuggeranong Hawks were male.  This contrasts with Ainslie Football Club and Eastlake Football Club where their two fans were split equally amongst the two gender: One male and one female fan.

The composition of the AFL Canberra fan community is not particularly surprising, except for its youth.  Fans of teams in the league are local.  The population of the community is still small, especially when compared to the AFL on bebo. The gender split feels logical though I can’t clearly articulate why.  Given that it exists, the data fits with other data collected.

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Perth Wildcats on Yahoo!Groups

Posted by Laura on Tuesday, 9 February, 2010

There appears to be no New Zealand Breakers, Townsville Crocodiles, Wollongong Hawks  communities on Yahoo!Groups.  Thus, they do not get their own posts.

There are two groups on Yahoo dedicated to the Perth Wildcats: thewildcatsden and  perthwildcatssupportersclub.  Both were created in late 2000.  The first has 56 but has had exclusively spam content since late April 2001.  The second has three members, no real spam content and has had no new posts since April 10, 2001.  Between the two, there were 26 legitimate total posts.  I’m not graphing it because there really isn’t much variation and anything to suggest that for this small community ever really had a presence on the service; a one year pattern is unlikely to correlate with team performance.

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Melbourne Tigers on Yahoo!Groups

Posted by Laura on Tuesday, 9 February, 2010

I haven’t and won’t be doing a separate post for the Cairns Taipans and the Gold Coast Blaze.  There are no communities dedicated to them on Yahoo!Groups.

There are two groups dedicated to the NBL team Melbourne Tigers: melbournetigers and Melb_Tigers.  The first has ten members and was founded on July 4, 2001.  The second has one member and was founded on July 25, 2006.  Melb_Tigers has never had any activity.  melbournetigers in contrast has had a total of six posts, with all posting having stopped by October 18, 2002.  There really isn’t enough activity to speak to any posting trends.

melbournetigers has never had any spam posting and when you look at the membership, it looks like it has been free of spam posters joining.   Only three posters have joined since that activity ended.  Of those three, one is from Victoria, Australia.

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Brisbane Bullets on Yahoo!Groups

Posted by Laura on Tuesday, 9 February, 2010

Like the Adelaide 36ers, there is one group on Yahoo!Groups dedicated to the Brisbane Bullets: BrisbaneBullets.  It was created on March 2, 2007 and has three members. It can be found in the Australia category. Unlike the 36ers list, this group has some posting, the first of which was made on November 4, 2008.  Sadly, all this activity is spam related from two people.  It looks like the founder never posted.

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Adelaide 36ers on Yahoo!Groups

Posted by Laura on Tuesday, 9 February, 2010

I’ve not been updating here much of late because of some real life issues.  Fun fun. If anyone wants a copy of the data I have so far, please let me know.

That said, I searched for the Adelaide 36ers on Yahoo!Groups.  There is one list dedicated to the team: 36ers. It was created on March 19, 2003.  It has one member and there have never been any posts to the list.  The list appears in the general basketball category.

Even with one member, the community size on Yahoo!Groups is bigger than that of the LiveJournal clones.

It will be interesting to see how the size of the community here compares to the other NBL teams.

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