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SOPA Protest: Wikipedia Traffic Trend

19
Jan
2012

If you want a quick way of increasing traffic to your website – change or take down portions of your website in protest … at least that is what we have gleaned from today’s Wikipedia protest against SOPA. There will likely be other blog posts and stats released on the results of this and other cyber protests – here is what we have seen from traffic thus far that has passed through one of Zscaler’s clouds.
Today we see a noticeable percentage increase in the unique visits (by client IP address) to Wikipedia comparing yesterday to today:

However, these additional visitors are not incurring that much more bandwidth for Wikipedia – we have noticed only a slight percentage increase in Wikipedia web transactions today. See the chart below to see the slight increase in number of transactions per hour today:
We can combine the two above graphs into a graph of transactions per unique visitor, and we see that this is much smaller today. This suggests that more people are flocking to Wikipedia today, but just to see the protest page and some details on SOPA. This behavior could be described as “online rubber necking”.

While less than half of the day’s hours are complete, we are seeing the top visits to Wikipedia’s main page and SOPA Initiative page far exceed the number of transactions seen to these pages for all of yesterday – further corroborating our above statements:
From the above stats we are able to visually represent the Wikipedia protest and the Internet community’s “rubber necking” behavior in which the number of visitors increase but the transactions per vistor decreases. While not the goal of Wikipedia’s protest, from a media and public relations standpoint these types of Internet events can stand to be beneficial or even lucrative. It is interesting to see this type of increase in traffic, and we will update this post with any additional interesting details that we see throughout the day.

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