According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, more than a third of Americans have used Wikipedia, and on a typical day 8 percent used the site. To put it in perspective:
All told, the use of Wikipedia is more popular on a typical day than some of the more prominent activities tracked by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, including online purchasing, visiting dating websites, making travel reservations, using chat rooms, and participating in online auctions.
The study says 70 percent of Wikipedia’s traffic comes from search engines, and it’s not hard to see why. While watching Pardon the Interruption on ESPN, I did Google searches on every name mentioned, from Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser (and the names of their network and their show) to George Karl to Torii Hunter to David Halberstam to Kobe Bryant to the Denver Nuggets, and then I tried some medical and academic institutions like Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins and the University of Minnesota. In no case did Wikipedia not show up on the first page of Google results.
It’s amazing how much organizations pay for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to get on that first page of Google, and how Wikipedia is there for any topic you might imagine (with its 1.7 million entries in English).
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