Speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo industry conference in San Francisco this week, Bill Tancer of Hitwise revealed that Web 2.0 sites have lower levels of audience participation than is commonly assumed.
For instance, a mere 0.16% of visits to YouTube are by users who are actually uploading material, with the vast majority being visits by 'lurkers' - people who do not contribute to the site.
In a post back in October, Jakob Nielsen argued that a 90-9-1 rule exists for most online communities - i.e. 90% will merely visit a site and not contribute, 9% will participate occasionally, while 1% will generate the majority of the content.
But it seems, from some of Tancer's figures, that the proportion of contributors to some Web 2.0 sites is much lower than this - only 0.2% of visits to Flickr are to upload photos, he said.
Wikipedia fares slightly better, with 4.2% of all visits to the online encyclopedia being made to edit entries.
Also, Tancer said this has not affected the popularity and growth of many Web 2.0 sites:
*Web 2.0 sites now account for 12% of all US internet use, rising from just 2% two years ago.
*56% of visits to online photo sites are to Web 2.0 photo sharing sites, with Photobucket alone making up 41% of those visits.