In the tangled world of user-generated media, all roads seem to lead to Wikipedia. The gargantuan online encyclopedia, which in most cases can be edited by anyone, has become one of the most trafficked and most controversial websites as the debate rages over whether its plebeian structure can be trusted.
A company called Compete.com, which monitors Internet traffic and behavior to produce metrics on a site’s popularity, recently issued an evaluation of each 2008 presidential candidate’s Wikipedia page, tallying the number of visitors in July 2007, the average time they spent on the page, and their likelihood of also visiting the candidate’s official homepage. The full results of that study are available here on Compete.com’s blog.
Not surprisingly, Web phenom Ron Paul, the libertarian Texas representative who polls in single digits for the GOP nomination but enjoys tremendous backing online, came out on top.
At the request of U.S.News & World Report, Compete.com also generated a list of the total number of edits to each entry.
Paul and fellow Republican Fred Thompson, who at the time was an undeclared candidate, had a stratospherically higher number of visitors than the rest of the pack, while the number of readers fell more in line with one’s general expectations for the results, with Barack Obama garnering the highest number of page views. In all cases, the share of readers who edited the page amounted to 1 percent or less of the total readership. (Note: Many readers made more than one edit.)
Readership and Editing Stats for Candidates' Wikipedia Articles
|Candidate||Edits*||Readers**||% of readers who edited|
**Source: Compete Inc.