Wasting Time: Top 10 Online Distractions

Time management company ranks top online distractions, calculates amount of time wasted.

ByKi Mae Heussner
May 26, 2010, 10:11 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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