Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Community sites drive Internet boom

By Robin Langford
23-01-2006 02:58 PM

Community site Piczo was the most successful brand in the UK in 2005 in terms of audience growth, ahead of other fast growing brands Skype, Blogger and Wikipedia, according to research firm Nielsen//Netratings.

Piczo lets users create their own personal website, including photos, text, guest-books, chat boxes and music, without requiring html code.

The site saw a huge 9669% growth during 2005, growing from just 12,500 visitors in December 2004 to over 1.2 million in December 2005, according to Nielsen//Netratings data.

Piczo’s growth was largely driven by women under 18-years-old, accounting for almost half (45%) of its audience, making it the most likely website in the UK to be visited by that demographic.

Alex Burmaster, European Internet analyst said: “The future, it seems, is user-generated content centred around community sites that ride the rise of the Internet as a tool to communicate, exchange ideas and pictures.”

Other community sites feature in the top ten, including LimeWire, which provides file sharing software, Wikipedia, the ‘free communal encyclopaedia that anyone can edit’, Skype, Internet telephony, and Blogger, one of the original blogging guides and services, now owned by Google.

Meanwhile, the Nickelodeon site provides discussion and chat facilities for children and has seen its audience grow over 250% in the last year and is now visited by almost one million surfers each month – over half of them under 18.

Burmaster adds, “The inclusion of other brands such as AmericanGreetings, whose staple is e-greetings cards, Shopzilla, the shopping directory, and OD2, the digital music distributor co-founded by musician Peter Gabriel are further proof of how online continues to provide a more effective means for meeting the needs and interests of our daily personal or business lives.”

In terms of the most popular brands overall, Google overtook Microsoft and MSN to hold the top spot and Apple entered at the expense of ISP Wanadoo. Apple experienced the biggest audience growth of the Top 10 with 56%. AOL fell two places and was the only incumbent to experience a drop in audience.

To view the top 10 fastest growing brands online, click here.

To view the most popular brands overall, click here.

Source here

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