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Speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo industry conference in San Francisco this week, Bill Tancer of Hitwise revealed that Web 2.0 sites have lower levels of audience participation than is commonly assumed.

For instance, a mere 0.16% of visits to YouTube are by users who are actually uploading material, with the vast majority being visits by 'lurkers' - people who do not contribute to the site.

In a post back in October, Jakob Nielsen argued that a 90-9-1 rule exists for most online communities - i.e. 90% will merely visit a site and not contribute, 9% will participate occasionally, while 1% will generate the majority of the content.

But it seems, from some of Tancer's figures, that the proportion of contributors to some Web 2.0 sites is much lower than this - only 0.2% of visits to Flickr are to upload photos, he said.

Wikipedia fares slightly better, with 4.2% of all visits to the online encyclopedia being made to edit entries.  

Also, Tancer said this has not affected the popularity and growth of many Web 2.0 sites:

  • Web 2.0 sites now account for 12% of all US internet use, rising from just 2% two years ago.
  • 56% of visits to online photo sites are to Web 2.0 photo sharing sites, with Photobucket alone making up 41% of those visits.

Graham Charlton

Published 20 April, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, Centaur Marketing

I think it's also worth mentioning the Church of the Customer blog here as they were the first to write about 'The 1% Rule'.


I guess the question now is whether it is the 0.16% rule.

over 9 years ago


b2b directory

i don't think the participation is less. Only the no:of persons contributing content compared to the no:of vistors are less. If you check sites like youtube or flickr or wikipedia, the popularity of these sites have increased and the traffic these sites receiving are going up like a rocket.

Anyway i have my own content in Youtube and Wikipedia :)

over 8 years ago

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