Mohammad Al-Ubaydli’s blog

How does Wikipedia manage to have so many contributors?

Posted in People / organisations, Technology by Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli on April 18, 2007

It does not surprise me that very few people contribute content to Web 2.0 websites:

A tiny 0.16 percent of visits to Google’s top video-sharing site, YouTube, are by users seeking to upload video for others to watch, according to a study of online surfing data by Bill Tancer, an analyst with Web audience measurement firm Hitwise.

Similarly, only two-tenths of 1 percent of visits to Flickr, a popular photo-editing site owned by Yahoo, are to upload new photos, the Hitwise study found.

It takes a long time to create content and even if you are not of the “couch potato” category that Hitwise denigrates it just takes a lot of watching to learn what you can create. I am sure that film school students create less than 0.16% of the movies that they watch.

However, I am in awe of what Wikipedia’s numbers:

Wikipedia, the anyone-can-edit online encyclopedia, is the one exception cited in the Hitwise study: 4.6 percent of all visits to Wikipedia pages are to edit entries on the site.

How dothey get such participation? This is another reason that Britannica and Microsoft have no hope of competing with Wikipedia: the five-year trajectory will give Wikipedia an unassailable lead.


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