Wikipedia hits the top ten

by John Q on November 14, 2006

For the first time in its history, Wikipedia is #10 in Alexa’s daily Traffic Rank though not in the official top 10.

Looking at the top 10 confirms a point Eszter makes about the d danger of assuming that everyone has more or less the same way of using the Internet, with modest lags between early and late adopters of innovation. The list includes some Web 2.0 style entries (Orkut, YouTube and MySpace), a couple of Microsoft sites, three Asian portals and of course Google. Nothing too surprising to me there. But right at the top is Yahoo, a site I used to visit quite a bit in the mid-90s, but haven’t been to for ages.

Going back is a journey into the Cambrian Era of the Internet. There’s the same generic portal, and ancient survivors like Geocities. There’s even reminders of Yahoo’s original goal of manually cataloguing the Internet. What there isn’t, for me, is anything to distinguish this from a thousand other portals offering newsfeeds, email accounts and so on.

But obviously, Yahoo is doing something massively right, even if I can’t see it.



kid bitzer 11.14.06 at 7:45 am

yeah, that is interesting. I never use Yahoo either.

I suspect it’s being used by Pauline Kael’s people who voted for Nixon.

More seriously–I remember when we got our DSL service from SBC, it was all bundled with Yahoo, and configured so that our browser would go straight to Yahoo first.

I shut that off good and quick, but lots of users will keep it as their home page, merely through lack of facility with how to do stuff like that.
(And yes, there are people who use the web but don’t know how to reset their home-page, my aged mother among them. And, no, she did not vote for Nixon.)


Keith 11.14.06 at 8:31 am

You have no idea how insanely popular Yahoo Games is with a certain type of person. Plus, you have the most popular fantasy sports leagues on the net, and a Webmail service that’s still pretty popular.


dave heasman 11.14.06 at 9:25 am

Yahoo “Groups” are still pretty popular with me and a few fanatics. I would say their Spectropop group is the primary resource for anyone interested in pop music of the 60s.


jet 11.14.06 at 9:42 am

Yahoo has also been scoring points with web developers by offering one of the best opensource AJAX/DOM toolkits out there, along with several other development tools. They still dominate the webmail market, and offer serveral API’s into their different webservices, making for easy web mashups. As others mentioned, Yahoo is still doing quite a bit right.


Misha 11.14.06 at 11:00 am

The SBC/Yahoo comment is right on the money — everyone I’ve seen who has their highspeed broadband, except the very technically literate, still has Yahoo has their homepage, even the ones who go directly from there to Google to navigate. (Speaking of user behavior gaps, the Google -> anywhere else path, totally bypassing direct URL navigation except for that “,” is getting surprisingly common in both the US and Europe, according to the research I’ve seen.)

I still use Yahoo e-mail as one of three e-mail addresses — it’s simple, easy to access, and has decent spam controls. Plus I find it makes it a lot simpler to deal with Yahoo Groups, which most of my professional e-mail lists use.


Randolph Fritz 11.14.06 at 11:01 am

Providing free e-mail, especially mailing lists–yahoo groups. E-mail is still the killer app of the internet.


Martin James 11.14.06 at 11:05 am

Well, I’m not old enough to vote for Nixon but I find that yahoo’s sort for routine informational items is almost always spot on.

Even worse I use yahoo to get to wikipedia by typing the search word and wiki.

It is easy.

One exception is that yahoo in my searches doesn’t list crookedtimber.opg in its top 10 for crooked timer as two words even though eszter’s blog is number 7 and the wikipedia entry is number 2.

I guess it knows I don’t belong…


Henry 11.14.06 at 11:12 am

I use Yahoo’s calendar service – unlike competitors (such as Google) it syncs with yer computer and various handheld devices if you jigger it around a bit.


tps12 11.14.06 at 11:16 am

I use Yahoo for weather, TV listings and movie times.

Geocities, though…heh.


bob mcmanus 11.14.06 at 1:06 pm

what 9 says. and fifteen sets of news digests ( one for Cisco, for example), sports scores and schedules, dictionary etc, calculator, 2 min maps…I hadn’t realized I was likeso 20th century.


Eszter 11.14.06 at 1:07 pm

a Webmail service that’s still pretty popular

Isn’t it either the most popular or second to Hotmail?

Another popular property they have is Yahoo! Answers, that site must get tons of visitors.

Flickr must as well, but that likely doesn’t even come under those figures even though it’s owned by Yahoo!.

All that said, I’m not really sure what such site rankings tell us and why there is such an obsession with them. (I am not criticizing you, John, just the general focus on them.)


Thom Brooks 11.14.06 at 1:15 pm

I am horrified to hear that more and more people continue to use Wikipedia. The world must be coming to an end!


Barry Solow 11.14.06 at 1:58 pm

Sorry, my memory is failing me. What sites (other than AOL and MSN) provide the range of offerings that Yahoo! does? Just to make sure, I’ll list a few:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,…

Well, you get the idea. Many of these have existed for years, long enough for Yahoo! to have developed a loyal customer base. I really can’t think of too many other sites so broad in their offerings.


Jonathan Lundell 11.14.06 at 2:23 pm

I figure that Yahoo Mail is a sufficient explanation for Yahoo’s ranking. But what explains Orkut?


John Quiggin 11.14.06 at 3:28 pm

Orkut is incredibly popular in Brazil, apparently.


stuart 11.14.06 at 3:51 pm

The largest UK ISP also sets Yahoo as its homepage when you install for the last year or two at least, I imagine a few partnerships like that help yahoo get a lot of pagehits and exposure. Personally although I still have a yahoo webmail account active (a couple in fact), I almost never visit their site to collect it.


Maynard Handley 11.14.06 at 4:07 pm

I don’t know of an alternative to Yahoo Movies (though I can’t say I’ve looked very hard).

On the other hand, when, in Yahoo Movies, I ask for a map and get some lame-assed POC from 1996 that doesn’t support any of the inline manipulation of Google maps, I have to wonder at a claim like
“Yahoo has also been scoring points with web developers by offering one of the best opensource AJAX/DOM toolkits out there, along with several other development tools. ”

If they have such mad AJAX skills, how come I have never come across a single Yahoo web site that seems to offer the slightest bit of this type of functionality? God knows their map site needs it, and it’s not like they haven’t had about four years now to work on it.


Mary 11.14.06 at 4:14 pm

Eszter: Google says most popular, although Hotmail is only 4 million users (or about 2%) behind Yahoo.


abb1 11.15.06 at 3:55 am

I use ‘My Yahoo’ for the homepage. Custom news, weather, stocks – all on one page. Is there an alternative superior enough to be worth switching?


harry b 11.15.06 at 10:11 am

Children use yahoo in droves. They’e ignorant, but there are lots of them.


harry b 11.15.06 at 10:11 am

They cant typpe, eitherr.


Eszter 11.16.06 at 11:18 am

Thanks, Mary. But you mean according to comScore, no? Those figures were based on their data.


Brad Wright 11.18.06 at 1:24 pm

I work for Yahoo! in London, and I can tell you that no one who professionally deals with the specifics of Internet traffic takes Alexa rankings seriously. The system they use to gather data is extremely flawed and not at all indicative of the actual “Top 10” of the Internet. This is because Alexa gathers data only from those who have the Alexa toolbar installed–which is very unlikely to involve a more technologically familiar audience. Let us not forget that there are (apparently) 1 billion users on the Internet now, and I wouldn’t even care to estimate how many (few) of them would actually have the Alexa toolbar installed.

That said, it _is_ interesting that Wikipedia made it, specifically because Alexa data is more skewed towards the “less techy” end of the market. If Wikipedia is breaking into that end of the market, more power to them.

Comments on this entry are closed.