The Top 100 Sites on the Internet (BBC)

What It Shows

This infographic shows rectangles of relative size to indicate the popularity of websites based on unique users, according to Nielsen statistics. For each block, the total unique users are indicated, and the relative percentage of the total graphic. One layout shows the breakdown of the top 100 web sites, color-coded by type of site (search engines, retail, social networks, etc). Some additional graphics magnify the results in the first graphic, such as those for search engines.

Why It’s Good

If you’ve read some of my previous reviews, you know how much it bothers me when infographics don’t visually represent data to scale, once they’re bothering at all. Such a representation is the main point of this infographic, and they’ve done it right. It’s also a nice way to represent the relative proportions. While a bar graph would indicate the relative sizes between the sites within the list, it wouldn’t capture the size of the site relative to the whole list.

That said, to be honest, I’m not really sure how useful it is to know what percentage of the top 100 sites’ unique visits a single site represents (as opposed to, say, the percentage of an estimate of the web’s total unique visitors). The infographic is focusing on the top 100 sites, so it’s fine, and still somewhat interesting to see, but a bit strange.

What It’s Missing

The infographic does what it sets out to do, but I do have a complaint.

The sites are broken down into different shades of the color their industry represents, for example the different yellows on the retail sites. These shades don’t actually mean anything, as refreshing the page and seeing a new shading mapping indicates. I was excited hoping there was new information, but the shading really does nothing but make the graphic prettier. Expecting the information, I consider this a downside. This is probably just something the software they use does automatically, but still. The shading could have actually been used to add more to the infographic. For example, the shading could have indicated a relative net worth of the company, or the relative ages of the sites. Obviously you don’t want to make things too heavy, but given that most people have high speed Internet by now, you might as well go big.

I’m curious about those search engine figures. According to these other Nielsen statistics, here are the percentages of all searches between the three major engines, which I believe is meant to typically represent search engine market share:

Google: 64%
Yahoo: 16.3%
Bing: 9.9%

Here are the total unique users and percentages of the top 100 sites for the three engines according to this infographic:

Google: 349,758,716 (7.35%)
Yahoo: 233,479,611 (4.9%)
Bing: 271,929,865 (5.71%)

If all this information is true and I’m reading it correctly, it shows some interesting differences between unique users and actual searches.

This infographic was made by the BBC and is found here.

Thanks for the link to this one Rob!