Wikipedia Now Among Top 10 Most Popular Sites

Dennis Faas's picture

The online encyclopedia is currently a source of major controversy at universities everywhere. Some professors rave about Wikipedia's usefulness, while others have outright banned their students from using it.

But love it or hate it, Wikipedia's popularity cannot be discounted.

It was already among the top ten most popular websites in the world. However, surprisingly enough, there was one country where Wikipedia didn't hold that same distinction -- the United States.

In January, that finally changed, with Wikipedia cracking the U.S. top ten in popularity for the first time ever.

It has been a slow but steady climb for the free online encyclopedia, according to comScore Networks, Inc. In January 2006, Wikipedia was the 33rd most popular site in the U.S., with 18.3 million unique visitors. By July, it soared up to number 18, with 28.1 million unique visitors. And a few months ago, this past November, it was in the top 12 with 39.1 million unique visitors.

It should be noted that Wikipedia's entire network of sites are included in comScore's data -- Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks and Wikinews -- but the Wikipedia encyclopedia gobbled up most of the visitors. (Source:

Ironically, in an unlikely twist, another media giant may have played a large part in Wikipedia's rise.

If you guessed Google, you're right.

According to Hitwise, 70 percent of Wikipedia's U.S. traffic comes from search engines -- with a whopping 50 percent of that directly attributable to Google. (Source:

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