At Compete we frequently write about monthly traffic volume and site popularity, but the focus is usually on the ten or twenty sites that enjoy monthly visitors in the tens (or even hundreds) of millions. While it’s important to investigate these sites, massively popular domains like Google or Yahoo typically don’t change much in terms of domain-level traffic or rank. Right behind these behemoths, however, a large number of websites battle for the finite resource of consumer attention and the shifting dynamics of this group will ultimately define the future of the web.
With 2008 now more than two weeks old, it’s a great time to look back at last year and see how the web has changed. What sites experienced a surge of traffic in 2007? Has anyone fallen off the map? We compared the top 1000 sites in December 2007 with those in December of the previous year to find out.
The chart above shows the top twenty sites that gained or lost the most amount of traffic from December 2006 to December 2007, as a percentage of visits in December 2006. A few interesting trends are revealed:
- The web has yet to reach its "Social Peak": Among the fastest growing sites, eighteen of the twenty offer a prominent peer-to-peer communication platform. Even in the adult video category, sites that function almost identically to YouTube (redtube.com and youporn.com) represent the fastest growing niche.
- Online daters would much rather be subjected to ads than a checkout form: Two of the fastest growing sites (Iamfreetonight.com and datehookup.com with 31000% and 3050% growth respectively) are relatively new entrants to an already crowded online personals market. Both services succeed by offering free membership and generating revenue through advertising, a business model they share with only a handful of other services.
- New Social Networks still have a chance"¦as long as they find their niche: CafÃ©Mom appeals to a very specific group, and has captured a substantial audience (and grown over 2000% in one year) despite the constant buzz surrounding Facebook last year.
- People place a high value on peer opinion: Both Stumbleupon and Reddit both grew by over 500% in 2007. Digg.com (not listed) also grew by nearly 300% in terms of visits in 2007.
Compete’s Top Site Lists are the best way to get visibility into the web as a whole. Compete offers ranked lists of 1,000 to 500,000 domains with complete Visitor, Pageview, Time, and Attention metrics.