Real world business brands now dominate the web

Darren Allan

February 24, 2011

A list of the top 50 most popular web brands shows that traditional offline businesses are becoming more dominant in the online world.

This is according to a UKOM/Nielsen study which examined how the make-up of the web’s most visited sites has changed since 2004.

Gone are names such as Freeserve, Kelkoo, Lycos and Demon which had no offline presence, and were once bastions of the web’s elite top 50 sites.

They’ve been replaced by the big social networks, Facebook and Twitter, but also by major offline brands such as John Lewis and Sky.

Seven years ago, 18 of the sites in the top 50 had an established offline presence. This has now increased to 25, exactly half of the top sites. Add rapidly expanding social media sites to that number and 35 of the web’s top brands in 2011 are accounted for.

Although “social media” is a fairly broad umbrella which includes the likes of YouTube and Wikipedia along with Facebook.

UKOM General Manager James Smythe explains: “Over the last seven years, we see two broad developments: first, huge growth in the use of sites built on social content, where we mostly find contributions from people we trust; and second, websites with a high-street or ‘real-world’ presence translating the strength of their offline brands into online audiences.”

The top ranked site was, of course, Google. Not in 2004, however, when it was MSN – which is now at number two. Google was actually third in 2004.

In 2011, after Google and MSN comes Facebook, Yahoo, the BBC, Microsoft, Amazon, YouTube, eBay and then Wikipedia.


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