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BizReport : Social Marketing : April 18, 2007

Fraction of Web 2.0 website visitors participate

New research appears to show that Web 2.0 sites, where users can upload their own content, are full of lurkers, not participators.

by Helen Leggatt

Speaking at the recent Web 2.0 Expo, Hitwise analyst Bill Tancer announced, “Web 2.0 and participatory sites are really gaining traction." Over the last 12 months or so visits to Web 2.0 sites have grown 668 percent, rising from 2 percent of all Internet traffic in 2005, to 12 percent of all traffic as of last week.

Note the word “visits”, not participation. Tancer’s figures showed a remarkably low level of participation amongst visitors. In fact, “visits to media upload” ratios showed that just 0.16 percent of visitors to YouTube actively participated, 0.2 percent at Flickr. These figures are a far cry from the ratio of participators to lurkers that some believe should be in line with Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 rule, where 20 percent of the site users are generating content and the remainder watching.

The site that bucks the participation trend is Wikipedia, where nearly 5 percent of visitors contribute. Wikipedia’s users are older (35 – 55) and more likely to participate on that site than younger visitors, says Tancer. On YouTube it’s the 25 – 54 year olds that upload videos. Hitwise’s data didn’t track those under the age of 18.

Tancer revealed what he believed to be the six Web 2.0 sites that would see success as per YouTube, those sites being Yelp, StumbleUpon, Veoh, WeeWorld, Imeem and Piczo.

Tags: Hitwise, user-generated, Web 2.0, Wikipedia

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