Wikipedia’s Five-Year Growth Figure Almost 8,000 Percent

    May 14, 2008

New stats show that Wikipedia isn’t growing nearly as fast as it used to.  The number of unique U.S. visitors to the site increased by an amazing 7,900 (or so) percent over the last five years, however, and Wikipedia seems to owe search engines for its continuing popularity.

Nielsen Online’s Wikipedia Stats

Let’s look at Nielsen Online‘s history lesson first.  Traffic to Wikipedia shot up by 197 percent between April 2003 and the same month a year later.  From 2004 to 2005, it increased by 224 percent, and in 2006, 285 percent was the key year-over-year figure.  Between 2006 and 2007, growth of only 77 percent took place, and Nielsen tacked on just another 22 percent at the end of last month.

To some extent, this demonstrates the way in which a handful of new users means much less to a large site than a small one.  But the percentage of blog posts referencing Wikipedia has also sunk since a little after Christmas.

On to what Jimmy Wales has to view as good news, then: Nielsen found that the ever-popular Google is a huge fan of his site, sending upwards of 60 percent of Wikipedia’s visitors.  Yahoo plays an important role, too.

It may not be much longer before Wikipedia’s growth essentially tops out.  Still, as long as it’s favored by the dominant search engines, decreases don’t seem likely.