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Is There Life After Wikipedia?

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-10-13

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Pondering where surfers go after Wikipedia is interesting enough, but what was more interesting was the cyclical pattern of behavior among them that begins with Google and ends with Google or Google-related services (just to generalize - you could say search - Wikipedia - search - blog - social networking).

Is There Life After Wikipedia?
Do You Believe In The Wiki Afterlife?

Hitwise's Heather Hopkins notes that there is increasing interest in the concept of Internet flow - where surfers go after visiting specific sites.

Wikipedia, she thought, would be a good place to begin an exploration of the concept, a case study that showed there were only a couple of clear authorities by category.

The rest, in categories like television and travel, are scattershot - so splintered that there is room still to become the dominant resource in those categories.

Hopkins begins by mentioning that Wikipedia receives over half (54%) of its traffic from Google, generated from a set of keywords that includes the standard king of keywords, [sex], and memetic group that indicates most searches stem from whatever current zeitgeist is afoot. These keywords include [richard hammond], [hurricane katrina], [series 3], [france], [high school musical], and [steve irwin].

Writes Hopkins:

In doing this analysis, the thing that really struck me was that there are clearly a handful of sites that are viewed as authorities in particular industries (such as Amazon, IMDB, and BBC News). Whilst visits are fragmented among hundreds of different websites in some categories (such as Lifestyle - Blogs, Entertainment - Television, and Travel) in other categories there is one clear authority.

Most Wikipedia users leave the site and go directly to computer and Internet-centered sites like search engines, social networks and chat. One might assume to either look up more information, post what was found on a profile or blog, or to discuss what they've just learned at Wikipedia. The search engine category is one, says Hopkins, where a clear authority exists: Google.

But it also means that it is somewhat a reciprocal relationship. Google drives traffic to Wikipedia, Wikipedia drives traffic back to Google (or Blogspot, or MySpace, where search services are provided by Google).

Another dominated category is the movie sector of Entertainment. Over two percent left Wikipedia for the Internet Movie Database. The closest competitor was Rotten Tomatoes, which only brought in 0.12 percent of Wikipedians.

The dominance of Google, Amazon, and IMDB is not reflected in other categories. Instead many of the other categories, like television and travel, are splintered to the hundredths of a percent degree (divided among hundreds of websites).


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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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