Passive Users On Participatory Sites

Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise, published a piece on particiaption levels on Web 2.0 sites in Time earlier this week.

The latest data on Internet participation reveals that only a very small percentage of Internet activity is related to users creating and publishing content. The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, states that 80% of all consequences stem from 20% of the causes. If true, the rule would then suggest that 80% of this new form of content is created by 20% of the users. The rule, subject of countless business books, has no application when it comes to consumer-generated content. Far less than 1% of visits to most sites that thrive on user-created materials are attributable as participatory, the remaining 99% are passive visits.
According to Hitwise, only 0.2% of visits to YouTube are users uploading a video, 0.05% visits to Google Video include uploaded videos and 0.16% of Flickr visits are people posting photos. Only the social encyclopedia Wikipedia shows a significant amount of participation, with 4.56% of visits to the site resulting in content editing.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.