User generated content sites growth speed still unbroken

August 12, 2006

User generated content sites, such as platforms for photo sharing, video sharing and blogging, comprised five out of the top 10 fastest growing web brands in July, according to research from Nielsen//NetRatings.

While brands such as HSBC and Associated Press topped the charts, image hosting site ImageShack ranked number four among July’s fastest growing web brands, increasing 233 per cent, from a unique audience of 2.3 million to 7.7 million. Heavy.com, a video sharing site, took the number five spot, increasing 213 per cent, from 965,000 to 3 million unique visitors. Photo sharing site Flickr followed at number six, growing 201 per cent from 2.1 million to 6.3 million unique visitors.

Other user-generated content sites that made it into the top 10 fastest growing web brands were MySpace, with a 183 per cent year-over-year increase, and Wikipedia, with a 181 per cent year-over-year increase.

“User-generated content sites have seen significant growth over the past year, owing in large part to their reliance on viral marketing,” said Jon Gibs, director of media analytics, Nielsen//NetRatings.

“They also benefit from their cost-effectiveness – the content is practically free.”

Gibs added: “Notably, the Associated Press also stands out, as a more traditional outlet innovating to keep pace with technology. The launch of its video offering earlier this year has driven significant growth as consumers seek streaming content to complement online and print news. In addition, benefiting from massive online and offline advertising, incentive pricing and reduced security concerns, HSBC has been attracting an increasing number of existing and new customers to online banking.”

Among the top 10 web brands overall, MySpace was the number one fastest growing, increasing 183 per cent, from 16.2 million unique visitors in July 2005 to 46 million in July 2006. Google ranked second, growing 23 per cent, from a unique audience of 76.2 million to 94 million and eBay rounded out the top three, increasing 13 per cent, from 51.1 million to 57.8 million unique visitors.

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