Technology

XBRL Traffic Picks Up Speed

The number of visitors to the SEC's new site for viewing XBRL-tagged financial data is growing. And some of those visitors are coming from surprisi...
Alan RappeportApril 13, 2007

Traffic is picking up on the Security and Exchange Commission’s pilot interactive data program. Since its foray into XBRL (extensible business reporting language) four months ago, the SEC has had more than 10,000 visits to its Website’s trial viewer and users have reviewed more than 500,000 financial pages using the new software, according to data from Rivet Software, the creator of the Web-based viewer.

Surprisingly, the most visits from outside the United States have come from people in China, who have visited the site 234 times since March 5. That accounted for 5.66 percent of the visits.

“Their stock exchange has started to get rocking and rolling,” says Christy Rohrs, an accountant and senior consultant at Rivet, with regard to Chinese interest. During the same period, visitors in this country used the XBRL viewing program 2,690 times, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the visits. Visitors from Canada, which is exploring its own interactive data program, followed China, making up 3.78 percent of the visits.

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According to Rohrs, there was a significant jump in the number of visitors after the SEC roundtable for interactive data on March 19. At the roundtable, SEC chairman Christopher Cox continued to champion the importance of XBRL as a way of making corporate data more transparent and useful. He also set companies at ease when he said there would be no need for an additional audit during the creation of tags — the strings of computer code assigned to every line item in a financial statement prepared using XBRL.

“The numbers spiked right around the roundtable,” says Rohrs. “Before then it was mostly word of mouth.”

The first 6,000 visitors used the Interactive Financial Report Viewer, which can be found at sec.gov or secviewer.com, between December 1 and March 1. Since then 4,131 visitors have used the program. Rivet is unable to determine how many of those visits are “uniques,” meaning different users, and how many represent the same user visiting multiple times.

The viewer, which will eventually be moved into an open-source phase, allows for tabbed viewing of financial statements from multiple companies; permits reports to be exported into spreadsheets; and can provide automatic notifications of new filings, among other features.

So far 36 companies are participating in the SEC’s voluntary filing program. The commission announced last September that it would invest $54 million to transform its 20-year-old EDGAR system into an interactive, XBRL-enabled database.

The SEC’s New XBRL Data: Who’s Looking?
Country Hits Visitors % of
Total Visitors
Bandwidth (KB)
1. United States 231,316 2,690 65.12% 1,594,836
2. China 6,617 234 5.66% 43,819
3. Canada 10,790 156 3.78% 89,462
4. Japan 10,326 153 3.70% 66,685
5. Taiwan 3,309 106 2.57% 26,542
6. United Kingdom 4,276 101 2.44% 40,564
7. Unknown 34,816 94 2.28% 2,271,808
8. Mexico 95 75 1.82% 74
9. Brazil 1,874 66 1.60% 15,294
10. Germany 3,882 56 1.36% 29,432
11. India 10,133 54 1.31% 59,953
From March 5 to April 12. Source: Rivet Software

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