In a waiting room last week, I read the following staggering statistic from “The Web is Dead” article in September’s Wired.

According to Compete, the top 10 Web sites accounted for 31 percent of US pageviews in 2001, 40 percent in 2006, and about 75 percent in 2010.

Corollaries & Ramifications

The rate of change is dramatic and the implications for new web services or content sites are significant:

Social networks and large portals are driving page view concentration to large, content sites because users can find most of the services they need (email, search, chat, sharing) on these sites. For newer services to break out into the mainstream, they must offer completely new and differentiated service offerings coupled to viral distribution mechanisms that either leverage the existing distribution mechanisms of the top 10 sites or subjugate them at scale.

For small sites, regular visitors will be increasingly difficult and expensive to obtain as advertising costs increase. Many new services may look to leverage the potentially lower cost of mobile distribution than pursue traffic building on the web given the relatively open nature of these market places and high degree of fragmentation.

With concentration of page views in top sites there is concentration of ad dollars and increasing RPMs for these pages. Content and services which drive engagement are increasingly valuable but only as part of a broader network that can drive traffic particularly with cross-promotion. Therefore, expect significant patterns of content acquisition enabling large portals to expand reach and increase inventory.

NB: Here is the list of the top ten sites:

  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. Yahoo
  4. YouTube
  5. MSN
  6. Live
  7. Amazon
  8. Wikipedia
  9. Microsoft
  10. eBay