QL User Count
   By Timothy Swenson

Writing an article and giving a speech are both ways to get
information to group of people.  The advantage to writing is that
you don't have to worry about stage fright.  The advantage of
speaking is that you can see how large your audience is.

When writing articles for QL Today, I never really know exactly
how many people are reading it.  Most publications are not
forthcoming on how large the readership is.  I've also wondered
how many QL users there are out there.  The US have never been a
hotbed of QL use and the most QLers I've seen at a show is about
35-40.  Given the size of the US,  a number of QLers can not
attend the yearly QL show.  Since I've been on the West Coast, I
have not had a chance to get to the QL show on the East Coast.

Since I've wondered about how many QLers there are, I thought I
would ask a few vendors and user groups to do some tabulation of
their customers or members.  When I approached Roy Wood of
QBranch he mentioned that Tony Firshman keeps of database of
QLers and that he passed his lists to Tony.

So, I was off to query Tony.  In reply to my query Tony sent me
an Archive Export file that listed the number of QLers per
country.  Since Tony keeps track of when the QLer last made
contact with someone (change of address, placed an order, etc.),
the Export file had each country broken down by year of last
contact.  This database includes the QL Today mailing list and
Tony informs me that it would be difficult to pull out just those
that subscribe.  

Now came the question of what consitutes an active QLer.  Would
one consider someone that has not made contact since 1988 to be
an active user?  For the purposes of my quest, I made an
arbitrary decision that I would count up all QLers that have made
contact since 1994 (5 years).  Below is a table with the top 14
countries.  It shows the number of users by contact year and the
total number of users.

What I find surprizing is that the US is the 4th largest location
of QL users, yet there are more shows and vendors in other
countries like Belgium and Italy.  But if you look at the size of
all of Europe and the size of the US, the density of QL users is
far higher in Europe.

In no way is this survey an entirely accurate counting of current
QL users.  I'm sure there are users out there that have not
contacted a vendor in over 5 years, as well as users that have
purchased something in the last 5 years and have then moved on to
other pastures.  In fact I know one Freeware writer that no
longer uses the QL.

             '94   '95   '96   '97  '98   Total
UK           202   204   451   137   62   1056
Germany       12    13   260     5    3    293
Netherlands    4     5    70    11    1     91
US             6    10    35    15    4     70
Belgium        9     7    15    10    0     41
Italy          7     7    11    10    1     36
France         8     3    10    11    2     34
Sweden         7     2    10     8    0     27
Switzerland    3     2     6     2    1     12
Norway         2     3     3     1    1     10
Australia      3     1     1     2    1      8
Denmark        1     0     4     3    0      8
New Zealand    1     1     4     2    0      8
Ireland        2     0     3     2    0      7

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