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Wikipedia's Popularity and Traffic Soar

  |  May 10, 2005   |  Comments

Wikipedia is now the Web's most-trafficked encyclopedia, the #2 reference site, even a source for news.

Open source Wikipedia has become the second-most visited reference site on the Web. That's according to data compiled by Hitwise.

Research conducted in mid-April finds Wikipedia hitting traffic rates of 3.84 percent, trailing closely behind the top traffic earner, Dictionary.com, with 4.46 percent market share. Wordsmith Merriam-Webster Online maintains a steady 1.35 percent and Free Translation hovers at just below one percent.

Reference Sites Visits January - April 2005
Click to view reference site visits chart
Wikipedia edged out About.com to claim the highest market share among encyclopedia sites. Answers.com came in at 1.9 percent; Encarta wavered to 1.81 percent.

Hitwise watched Wikipedia's market share climb an astonishing 618 percent over the past year. Hitwise now also identifies the site as a news resource. Wikipedia can be freely updated by readers by means of a wiki (define).

"We have been keeping an eye on Wikipedia because it looks like a way for consumers to get news and reference on the Web," Bill Tancer, vice president of research for Hitwise, told ClickZ Stats. "Wikipedia [traffic] was up there with big news organizations during the tsunami."

Wikipedia contains 536,246 ongoing articles spanning 1,540,695 pages, all maintained by the site's users. Hitwise found Wikipedia's audience evenly split between male and females. Young adults age 18 to 24 are 50 percent more likely to visit the site.

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