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Web 2.0 gets results

Web 2.0 sites have often been dismissed as just a passing fad but a recent survey by Comcast shows user-generated content to be a real money spinner.

Web sites using Web 2.0 methods and user-generated content (UGC) are proving to be some of the most successful and fastest growing websites in the UK.

In addition the sites are also proving to be some of the most sticky sites on the web and if the growth continues for the next year the big UGC sites will dominate the UK website market.

Digital media measurement company comScore World Metrix has released an analysis of UK Internet users' activity from July 2005 to July 2006, and many of the leading sites are sites that feature mainly free, user-generated content.

The Top 50 UK Web property rankings in July 2006 includes Wikipedia, ranked as the sixteenth most visited property in July with 6.5 million visitors (up 253 percent versus year ago), at 27 (up 467 percent to 5.2 million visitors), at 43 (up 393 percent to 4 million visitors), at 47 (3.9 million visitors), and at 48 (up 328 percent to 3.9 million visitors).

"Web 2.0 is clearly architected for participation, as it attempts to harness the collective intelligence of Web users," commented Bob Ivins, managing director of comScore Europe.

"Many of the sites experiencing the fastest growth today are the ones that understand their audience's need for expression and have made it easy for them to share pictures, upload music and video, and provide their own commentary, thus stimulating others to do the same. It is the classic network effect at work."

UGC sites are also adept at keeping users engaged. As part of its study, comScore analyzed engagement levels among visitors to the top 5 UGC sites and those visiting the remaining sites that comprise the Top 50 Properties in July.

The results show that, on average, the top 5 UGC sites exhibit higher levels of user engagement than their counterparts across all engagement metrics. Collectively, the leading UGC sites draw more frequent visits than non-UGC sites (4.2 vs. 3.5 average usage days per month), longer periods of engagement (79.9 vs. 33.2 average minutes per visitor), and more pages viewed (217 vs. 52 average pages per visitor).

Visitors to and averaged at least 5 usage days, 2 hours of use, and 300 pages viewed per visitor during July.

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