Is there really that much diversity on the internet?

The internet is big right? Okay it is massive. With that massiveness one naturally associates extreme diversity. Don’t get me wrong, across the entire internet, there is amazing variation, with billions of people adding their spin to the net.

What I am going to investigate in this post though is how diverse the ‘main’ internet is. What I mean by that is the internet that we use every day. How diverse is the most regularly used/visited content? Is there really as much choice as we think, or is the majority of the internet dominated by a few firms?

In order to go about this research I am going to use Alexa, who gather statistics on websites traffic. For most sites, the data isn’t that accurate, however for really busy sites, the numbers are so great, the reliability of the data is much higher, hence why I can use it.

Alexa's Logo


According to Alexa, is the most visited site on the web. How could it not be? Alexa estimates that 50% of all internet users visited in the last three months. Second on the list for most visited sites is Facebook, which is trailing with just 45% of internet users visiting the site.

Remember however that is just, Google has a massive monopoly over the internet. In the 100 most visited sites on the web, 18 of the sites are owned by Google – 16 localised sites, and (the site you see when there is an error finding/displaying a page).

Google undoubtedly has reduced diversity on the internet, having such a monopoly on the sites we all visit. The thing is, it isn’t just 18 sites. Google also owns YouTube and (the third most visited site on the net) Blogspot which is ranked 10th, Blogger at 47 (Blogger and Blogspot are now one) and (India) ranked 73. That means 21 of the most visited sites on the net belong to Google, meaning it owns more than one fifth of the ‘main’ internet.

Googlite Logo

Google’s dominance on the web suggests that a lot of us are Googlites!

Can you call the internet diverse, when in the top one hundred sites, one firm owns more than a fifth of all sites? Maybe, what does the rest of the field look like?


Unsurprisingly, the company that is arguable Google’s main rival is in second place. Yahoo and Microsoft are currently in a ‘Search Alliance’ therefore restricting competition, so I am going to count them in the list of sites that Microsoft owns/influences. Here is the list of sites that Microsoft owns/influences which are top 100 websites:

  • – Ranked 3rd
  • – Ranked 7th
  • – Ranked 16th
  • – Ranked 17th
  • – Ranked 29th
  • – Ranked 30th – ironic how it is lower many of the other sites it owns!
  • – Ranked 53rd and Yahoo owned

Therefore Microsoft own/influence 7 of the top 100 sites. Add that to Google’s 21, and 28 of the top sites on the net are owned by two firms. More than a quarter.

I am starting to think the ‘main’ internet is not as diverse as one may first assume.


Next on the list of internet giants comes Amazon. is ranked 10th, whilst Amazon Germany ( is ranked 91st and Amazon Japan ( is 95th. Amazon also owns the Internet Movie Database ( which is the 50th most visited site. Amazon owns 4 of the top 100 sites.

Amazon's Logo32 sites gone.

Alibaba Group

The Alibaba Group is a privately owned Chinese business, which owns, Tmall (, Taobao ( and The group therefore account for four of the sites that make up what I am calling the ‘main internet’.

36 sites taken by just 4 companies. How diverse is our internet?


Next we come to which sits 23rd on the list of top 100 sites. eBay International AG ( is in 80th place, followed by eBay UK ( in 86th. eBay also owns PayPal ( which is ranked 46th.

eBay steals another 4 sites, leaving just 60 of our hundred left, and so far only 5 firms are involved.

Time Warner

CNN ( AOL ( and The Huffington Post ( are all sites owned by Time Warner. Time Warner is the sixth business involved now, leaving just 57 sites.


The blogging platform WordPress ( is ranked 19th, and its brother, which allows users to host the content management system on their own site ( is ranked 83rd.

The Official WordPress LogoThere goes another two sites, meaning just 55 left, and only seven players so far.


Ranked number 8 on the list is Twitter, however its URL shortener ( is ranked 31st, meaning Twitter is also one of the big players in the top 100 sites, arguably with some form of domination over the internet.

Twitter's Logo47 sites of the top 100 accounted for and a mere eight organisations involved.

The Rest

Of the final 53 sites, 5 are adult only sites leaving 48 sites – although many of these either are a part of, or are a much bigger group.

Some familiar faces appear in the other 48 sites, Facebook (2nd), Wikipedia (6th), LinkedIn (11th), Apple (34th), Tumblr (37th),  Pinterest (47th), BBC Online (48th), Ask (54th), AVG (62nd),  Adobe Systems Incorporated (67th), (81st), ESPN (82nd),  Go Daddy (85th), Netflix (89th),  The Pirate Bay (92nd) and CNET (97th).

Remove these very well known, well established, and massive brands, and we are left with 32 sites – less than a third. Of the remaining sites, around half are Chinese, showing the growing influence and usage of the internet in China.

My Verdict

In this post I have established that of the sites we visit most regularly, 47 are owned by just eight organisations. Does that really represent the freedom that we all believe the internet offers?

I was surprised by the type of content, and the limited number of different sites that there are in the global top 100. It would seem that the most visited sites consist of search engines, social media sites and news websites. Interesting statistics.

So, what is your verdict on how diverse the internet we use everyday is? I personally am not quite as convinced as I was before writing this article that the internet is quite as free and diverse as we all believe.

Please note these rankings are changing all the time, and all content was correct according to at the time of writing – the 6th of July 2012.

8 thoughts on “Is there really that much diversity on the internet?

  1. Hey Christopher,

    What a really interesting post. Love your research an insight. Whilst we may use mostly the big names there most be a a wider range of niche sites that people surf and use on a daily, monthly basis. I often think about what another person’s experience is when they are online. Is everyone just sat on facebook and google or are they doing something else. Perhaps that is the questions we should be asking. Other than facebook, google, ebay, linkedin, pinterist, twitter, etc etc, what the devil do you do with your time and how much time do you do it!

    Thanks for the insights,

    Beth 🙂

    • Christopher (admin team)

      Other than facebook, google, ebay, linkedin, pinterist, twitter, etc etc, what the devil do you do with your time and how much time do you do it! – well there are loads of things you could be doing, one of which is blogging! Reading, writing and titivating takes up a lot of my time!

      Thanks for the comment Beth, welcome to the blog 🙂
      Christopher – Admin Team

  2. You are right about the internet not being that diverse, people are followers and like to do whatever everyone else does.

    Another thing is, when a site becomes popular it gets bought by the bigger companies thus why you see such domination at the top. Youtube was not part of Google when it first started as an example.

    • Christopher (admin team)

      That is a good point you make. Most sites that work their way up the rankings end up getting bought by big firms, YouTube a classic example of that – as you mention.

      Thanks for the comment, welcome to the blog 🙂
      Christopher – Admin Team

  3. Interesting. Seems like just like real life, big sharks keep eating the smaller ones and integrating them in their combined arsenal. I still hope to see upstarts appear out of nowhere and take on these big groups like the way Google did when it was just starting out of Silicon Valley.


  4. Hi Christopher,

    This really an insightful article. The deep analysis tells of how much time you spent on this. On whether the internet is really diverse as we thought it to be and if this really represent the freedom we all think of the internet, I’ll say yes the internet is diverse and the freedom is still there.

    Of course, only a few big players may be controlling a verse proposition of the internet, but come to think of it, are they really pushing you to a corner that you can not do what you want to do?

    I think the internet is just the right place where everyone of us have the freedom to do our own thing. Oh yes, those big fishes may have known how to corner a big chunk of the pie but it has not in any way reduced my own piece of the pie! The diversity of the internet is sure. The only thing is, take a cue from these giants and see how you too can carve your own space on the net.

    Just want to say that the insight that “the most visited sites consist of search engines, social media sites and news websites” is really interesting to me. You know, I have been thinking of this for sometime now seeing how these news sites are becoming more popular by the day. In fact, I may just have to see how webincomejournal will become a news and web entrepreneurship online magazine! That is a thought that has been in mind and your insight here is confirming that thought for me! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Christopher (admin team)

      “The deep analysis tells of how much time you spent on this.” – I have a terrible habit of only publishing work which I feel is the best I can produce. Often I have scrapped posts because they just won’t fit my high standards! Annoying in a way, but better than publishing any old rubbish! Regarding this particular post, it took a good few hours to research and write – around 5. It was an interesting topic idea though, so I didn’t mind. The results were interesting to me, so hopefully interesting to read!

      “…but come to think of it, are they really pushing you to a corner…” – as I mention in the article, this is just one part of the internet, a part I named ‘the main internet’, yes there are many alternatives, but the issue is, as these alternatives are not as popular, they often don’t have the finance to be as good as their Alexa top 100 rivals. Facebook and Google are two classic examples. They took off, they were lucky, there are many great social networks and search engines, that are limited as they don’t have the finance Facebook and Google have, as most people use Facebook and Google – if you see what I mean. Therefore they cannot spend as much on technology and people to improve their service(s).

      “In fact, I may just have to see how webincomejournal will become a news and web entrepreneurship online magazine!” – maybe Technology Bloggers will go the same way 🙂

      Great to have you over here (that is on Technology Bloggers) Chadrack, you add extreme value with every comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *