Wikipedia becomes web's top news source
Posted on 9 Jul 2007 at 08:11
Online encyclopaedia Wikipedia has added about 20 million unique monthly visitors in the past year, making it the top online news and information destination, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.
In May, Wikipedia had 46.8 million unique visitors, up 72% from June 2006, NetRatings claims. Wikipedia has also finished on top of the news and information category every month this year.
The site, operated by the non-profit group Wikimedia Foundation, is user-run with thousands of editors and administrators constantly making edits, starting new pages and correcting mistakes.
Although this open-access format often is mentioned as a negative because pages are subject to misinformation and online vandalism, it also is its greatest strength, especially when a major news story breaks and the pages can be updated almost in real-time.
"It's the seminal collaborative online resource," says Nielsen BuzzMetrics vice president marketing Max Kalehoff. "It's like a living amoeba. It's constantly growing."
Recently, though, the collaborative nature of the site placed it at the centre of a controversy surrounding the Chris Benoit murder-suicide. The World Wrestling Entertainment star's page was updated with information - originating from a user with an IP address registered in Stamford, Connecticut, the corporate home of the WWE - regarding his wife Nancy's death 14 hours before authorities discovered the bodies in the Benoit's Georgia home June 25.
An anonymous poster, who said he was from Stamford but not affiliated with the WWE, later wrote a Wikinews item where he revealed that he posted the information after "reading rumours and speculation about this matter online." It turned out to be an "incredible coincidence," he wrote.
The site was also a hub of information about April's Virginia Tech shootings, and its page on Apple's much-hyped iPhone was updated regularly. Kalehoff said that the July 7 London bombings and the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami also were traffic drivers to the site.
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