May 26, 2010 -- How much time do you think you waste online?
When Google posted the classic game Pac-Man on its home page last Friday, the Internet let out a collective cheer. But RescueTime, a company that creates time management and productivity software, did some calculations and delivered the "tragic" news that the game guzzled about 4.8 million hours of work time and $120 million in lost productivity.
RescueTime based its estimate on the average amount of time users of its time-monitoring software played the game and the number of people who visited Google that day. It also assumed that the average Web user makes about $25 an hour.
Those numbers and assumptions may be rough, but RescueTime senior software developer Montana Low told ABCNews.com that the calculations still give an interesting view into how people spend time online.
"It's important for people to be conscientious about how they're spending time, just like it's important for people to be conscientious about how they're spending their money," he said. "We can all ask our bosses for more money. Eventually, we all expect to be making more money, but it's hard to ever get more time in the day."
To help ABCNews.com figure out the top online distractions, Low sliced and diced data collected from tracking the hundreds of thousands of people who use RescueTime's software. He said their customer base is slightly more tech-savvy than the average Internet user, but said it's becoming more mainstream.
Looking at his company's data, he was able to determine the websites people tend to spend the most time on as well as the ones RescueTime software users said were the most distracting.
Click on to the next page to see the list of the top online distractions.
RescueTime Software Monitors Time, Productivity
Facebook – The world's largest social network could also be the Internet's largest time sink, according to RescueTime data.
Average time spent per person per day: 17.94 minutes
Number of daily visitors (according to Wolfram Alpha): 470,766,000
Total hours spent: 140,755,358
Financial cost: $3,518,883,938
YouTube – Whether it's watching Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga or the latest homegrown viral video, this popular video-sharing site is another top Internet temptation.
Average time spent per person per day: 9.58 minutes
Number of daily visitors: 253,040,000
Total hours spent: 40,382,759
Financial cost: $1,009,568,977
Facebook Applications – Forget uploading pictures and messaging friends. In one day, Internet users spend more than 39 million hours just using Farmville, Mafia Wars and other Facebook applications.
Average time spent per person per day: 17.55 minutes
Number of daily visitors: 134,435,000
Total hours spent: 39,317,688
Financial cost: $982,942,198
Twitter – Even though the popular micro-blogging service is listed among the top five online distractions, Low said it could actually be underrepresented because so many Twitter users use third-party services to post and read tweets.
Average time spent per person per day: 5.83 minutes
Number of daily visitors: 100,340,000
Total hours spent: 9,744,388
Financial cost: $243,609,710
Amazon – Unsurprisingly, online mega-retailer Amazon ranks high on the list of Internet diversions.
Average time spent per person per day: 4.28 minutes
Number of daily visitors: 49,042,000
Total hours spent: 3,497,544
Financial cost: $87,438,592
Hulu, Flickr, Blogs Considered Distractions by Some Users
Hulu – Time spent catching missed episodes of "Glee," "Saturday Night Live" and "Dancing With the Stars" adds up.
Average time spent per person per day: 15.66 minutes
Number of daily visitors: 8,255,000
Total hours spent: 2,154,868
Financial cost: $53,871,704
Netflix – RescueTime data indicated that the popular movie and TV episode streaming site is another top online temptation.
Average time spent per person per day: 13.5 minutes
Number of daily visitors: 9,044,000
Total hours spent: 2,034,415
Financial cost: $50,860,383
Flickr – It's the top photo-sharing site, and therefore a top Internet time suck.
Average time spent per person per day: 3.8 minutes
Number of daily visitors: 26,065,000
Total hours spent: 1,652,747
Financial cost: $41,318,680
Blogger – RescueTime numbers show people were pretty quick about posting their blogs on this Google-owned platform, but there were a lot of them.
Average time spent per person per day: 3.65 minutes
Number of daily visitors: 23,620,000
Total hours spent: 1,438,242
Financial cost: $35,956,044
Reddit – The social news website that lets users post and vote for top stories is the 10th top online distraction, according to RescueTime data.
Average time spent per person per day: 17.62 minutes
Number of daily visitors: 4,494,000
Total hours spent: 1,319,409
Financial cost: $32,985,228