Tuesday, September 1, 2009

UGC Tops 50% -Part I

The Media Revolution may have reached a new level.

By our estimates, a majority of U.S. internet visits, about 51%, are now generated from UGC (user generated content). If you exclude searches, the metric rises to about 56%. On a page view basis, higher still.

While most web pages now include UGC features (such as comments), our definition includes only pages that are created by users. On a visitation basis, the UGC world is roughly composed as follows:

61% Social Networks
11% Forums
11% UG Content Sites (like Urban Dictionary)
10% UG Marketplaces (like Craigslist)
3% Blogs
1% UG Reviews (like ApartmentRatings)
1% Wikis
2% Other

The distinctions between these types of sites are rapidly blurring. But there's no doubt that UGC domination is growing. If you consider the top 25 English language sites, seven of them did not make the list only five years ago: facebook, youtube, wikipedia, myspace, blogspot, wordpress, and twitter.

UGC domination changes everything. For the first time since Guttenberg, the primary medium of mass information is controlled by...the masses.

In the very early years (pre-web), the internet was also dominated by UGC of a different type: communication amongst scientists, academics, and enthusiasts. But that was before the internet was a mass medium, before almost 2 billion people were connected.

Now the most powerful medium in the history of the world (as measured by ubiquity, utility, and influence) is controlled by the people. Increasingly, the winners are successful UGC sites-- social networks, forums, blogs, niche publishers, and the like. The winners also include some UGC "infrastructure" providers, such as ad platforms (Google), marketplace platforms (Amazon), payment platforms (PayPal), and social platforms (Facebook).

I will explore more about how to capitalize on the revolution in future posts and during my keynote at PubCon.

See more stats like these: UGC Revolution Part 2.


  1. It's also interesting that the 'consumers' are also becoming the 'producers'. Do you think this is our next frontier for jobs and self made millionaires/billionaires or are these sites and communities too specific?

  2. Hi Carl, we have compiled a lot of data on that issue which we will share either before or after PubCon. The short answer is "yes" it can be lucrative, but "yes" most niches are too small; and success is an extraordinary longshot (an overwhleming percentage of failure-- way over 99%).