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For radio, we have listeners. For TV, we have viewers. For newspapers, we have readers. For the internet, we become uncouth and regularly refer to our target as eyeballs.

My question is: What is a polite way to refer to those who visit your website? Once they visit, these people not only read, but also listen and view and click and write, etc.

I would like something more specific than the obvious 'visitors,' which is very generic, and doesn't really reflect the activity of the visitors. I'd like something more along the lines of gamblers in a casino, or diners in a restaurant.

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What's wrong with "users" or "customers"? – user16269 Apr 28 '12 at 0:05
What's wrong with the "obvious" visitors? – J.R. Apr 28 '12 at 0:19
@j.r. I didn't say anything wrong with 'visitors'. Where did you see that? I just want something BESIDES the obvious, something perhaps more precise like listener to radio, viewer to TV, etc. – RJIGO Apr 28 '12 at 0:47
I mostly used the expression "what's wrong" to invoke some parallelism with David Wallace's comment. On the other hand, though, you're obviously not happy with the term, or you wouldn't be asking for an alternate, so there must be something "not quite perfect" about it. Explaining that a bit more – like you just did – can help focus the discussion in a way that will be more helpful to you. – J.R. Apr 28 '12 at 0:57
@j.r. I can give an example. I can refer to casino guests as visitors. The word is fine. But if I can accurately use 'gambler' instead of 'visitor', then gambler is a better choice than the generic visitor. I want something more reflective of the activity of the 'visitor'. – RJIGO Apr 28 '12 at 1:07
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Sometimes the word visitor is overly generic, but sometimes that term gets customarily used nonetheless.

What would you call someone who visits a museum, or a zoo? Not everyone who visits a planetarium is an astronomer. You might call them a guest, or a patron, or a customer – or you might decide visitor is about as specific as you can get.

As for websites, I would think browser might be an apt term, except that word is already used to refer to the software that allows the user to visit the website.

The best term I can think of is user. It may be a bland term, but it's the word software developers customarily employ when referring to the individual who is typing at the keyboard, and clicking with the mouse.

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I agree. Not everyone who goes to a casino would be happy to be called a gambler, not everyone who attends a football match is a fan. Besides which, internet users can be listeners, viewers, readers (or any combination thereof) just as much as people accessing radio, tv, and printed matter. Personally I think OP is looking to extend a set of words for people accessing specific types of media - but that set of words doesn't meaningfully exist in the first place. – FumbleFingers Apr 28 '12 at 2:17
I guess 'visitor' will do. Although the clumsy 'web surfer' (comparable to 'museumgoer') is a [less attractive] option. Surfer, suggested by Christi, alone is ambiguous. Thanks. – RJIGO Apr 28 '12 at 2:24

"Surfers" is possible, although perhaps a little archaic now.

In web advertising they talk about "impressions" to mean distinct accesses to a piece of content. That may be the word you're looking for.

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If impressions is used to denote access to a piece of content, would that make the visitors impressionists? ;^) – J.R. Apr 28 '12 at 0:49
They're users. Dadaists would be more appropriate. :) – Christi Apr 28 '12 at 3:38
Welcome to Claude computing. – Kaz Apr 28 '12 at 4:08

The term Targeted Visitor is used in a wikipedia article about revenue models for online advertising. The article also defines terms impressions, loads, views, clicks, actions, acquisitions, leads, sales, and conversions in this context, with each term representing a different website statistic, or in a few cases a different name for the same statistic. Webopedia defines terms click-through, ad clicks, requests, and click rate.

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People who are actively involved to the point that they even create content (you mention write) are indeed not merely visitors. Being active, they are participants. If people must join to fully participate then you can call participants members.

(There is the word subscribers but, with respect to a website, that really should refer to people who subscribe to RSS/Atom feeds, not to people who create accounts, otherwise it is confusing. Feed subscribers are basically trying to minimize interacting with your website by getting it in digested form and will turn into participants sometimes when an item of interest trickles into their reader.)

From participant there are various leads if you look in a thesaurus: http://thesaurus.com/browse/participant

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