SOURCE: The Nielsen Company

May 14, 2008 11:00 ET

Wikipedia U.S. Web Traffic Grows 8,000 Percent in Five Years, Driven by Search, According to Nielsen Online

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 14, 2008) - Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, today announced that four out of the five top referring Web sites to Wikipedia, which has grown nearly 8,000 percent over the last five years, are search engines, led by Google. In April, 61 percent of visitors from home and 66 percent of visitors from work to en.wikipedia.org were referred from Google (see Table 1). Yahoo! Search was the second most common referring site to English-language Wikipedia, referring 19 percent and 16 percent of visitors from home and work, respectively. Other search providers to make the top five referring destinations for Wikipedia were MSN/Windows Live Search and AOL Search.

Table 1: Top Referring Sudomains for en.wikipedia.org for April 2008 (U.S.)

Subdomain             Percent of         Subdomain        Percent of
                      Visitors at Home                    Visitors at Work
www.google.com                      61   www.google.com                 66
search.yahoo.com                    19   search.yahoo.com               16
www.wikipedia.org                   11   www.wikipedia.org               9
search.msn.com                       5   search.msn.com                  6
aolsearch.aol.com                    3   search.live.com                 4

Source: Nielsen Online
Note: Referral traffic is not unduplicated. Visitors can be referred from
more than one Web site during the month.

"Search providers dominate Wikipedia's referring traffic because of its scope and value as an information resource," said Michael Pond, media analyst, Nielsen Online. "The site's rapid ascent, with audience levels comparable to popular brands such as eBay and MySpace, demonstrates the success of its collaborative nature -- readers can edit entries and add information. This consumer involvement has led to an increase in blog mentions of Wikipedia, which builds the site's relevance and credibility."

In the past five years, Web traffic to Wikipedia has skyrocketed, increasing nearly 8,000 percent from April 2003 to April 2008. Year-over-year growth rates indicate surges where Wikipedia gained traction in the online marketplace (see Table 2).

Table 2: Web Traffic Growth at Wikipedia (U.S., Home and Work)

April     Unique Audience (000)   YOY Growth
2003                       700            NA
2004                     2,082           197%
2005                     6,753           224%
2006                    25,970           285%
2007                    45,934            77%
2008                    55,820            22%

Source: Nielsen Online

"Wikipedia content is inherently conversational, driving buzz in the blogosphere," continued Pond. "Bloggers refer to and link to Wikipedia content, potentially driving additional traffic and interest in the site with their readers." (See Figure 1).

About Nielsen Online:

Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, delivers comprehensive, independent measurement and analysis of online audiences, advertising, video, consumer-generated media, word of mouth, commerce and consumer behavior, and includes products previously marketed under the Nielsen//NetRatings and Nielsen BuzzMetrics brands. With high quality, technology-driven products and services, Nielsen Online enables clients to make informed business decisions regarding their Internet, digital and marketing strategies. For more information, please visit www.nielsen-online.com.

About The Nielsen Company:

The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), online intelligence (NetRatings and BuzzMetrics), mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and New York, USA. For more information, please visit, www.nielsen.com.

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