Where have the camels gone?

teveclub.hu used to be one of the most well-known websites among Hungarian teenagers. It is a Neopets clone where you can raise your own camel: feed it, and teach it various tricks day by day. I had the feeling that the site was slowly dying. I used data from archive.org to verify this hypothesis and I found that it was true: the total number of camels in the system has dropped from the ~320 thousand peak in 2006 to less than 26 thousand in 2018.

This pattern does not look promising. I have a camel on this site since January 21, 2003, and I am always a bit scared that the owners may end up shutting down the website for good.

My camel on teveclub.hu — he’s drinking champagne.

The chart is generated fully programmatically; the code and the final data table are available on GitHub. It was a good exercise to practice scraping web data in Python as well as the various options in Matplotlib.

Luckily, the website has a page where they display the count of all camels, so the logic to get the data is simple:

The code in the notebook could be used for any other historical investigation, for example property prices or the number of available used cars in a given location. Of course this assumes that the data is indeed backed up, but this is the case for most large websites.

Note: the analysis was originally conducted in November 2016, however, this article was written in 2018. I also reran the code to include more recent data.

Originally published at hann.io on November 29, 2016.

Transportation Economist by training, currently working as a Data Scientist at Booking.com. Map and geo data enthusiast. Avid hiker. Personal website: hann.io

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store