The profile of traffic on the Web is not as varied as one might think. No surprise to anyone, the United States still predominates, both in terms of surfers and in terms of the top Web sites visited. This week’s StatCenter looks at where the Web surfers are coming from and what constitutes the top 100 Web sites.
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About Web surfers
According to Inteco research , most U.S. Internet users are concentrated in the big cities. San Francisco, Miami, and Houston are the top Internet user markets, followed by Seattle, Washington, San Diego, and Cleveland. Atlanta and Dallas follow close behind. Surfers from these and other cities especially like portals and sites that provide news, stock information, and other content. Of the top 100 sites, portals and content sites together account for an astonishing 46 percent of Web traffic, according to Alexa Research’s Internet Trends Report, 1999 Review. (See pie chart below.)

Of the portals, Yahoo has a predominant lead, generating more than 43 percent of the Web’s search referrals. AltaVista is next at 10.5 percent. (See table below for more details.) Yahoo, Microsoft Network, and eBay made Industry Standard’s top 10 list for three categories: most popular, most addictive (repeat business), and most engaging (time spent on site). (See Industry Standard, Dec. 27,1999 – Jan. 3, 2000.)

Top Web sites
The number of unique Web sites grew from 2.5 million sites in May 1999, to 3.4 million four months later, in September 1999 (see table below). At that rate, Alexa predicts there will be 10 million Web sites by January 2001. Currently, despite the volume of sites, only 77,000 sites account for 93 percent of all Web traffic, according to Alexa. The top 80 percent of traffic goes to .5 percent of all sites, which means 15,000 sites truly dominate Web traffic. The top seven of these most-visited sites on the Web are: Yahoo, Microsoft, Excite, eBay, CMGI (, Disney (, and AOL.

Alexa also identifies that 74 percent of the top 100 Web sites are from the Americas. In the United States, the geographic location of the top sites is distributed with a higher concentration (35 percent) in the West. However, a respectable 27 percent of the top U.S. sites are in the South, 22 percent in the Northeast, and 15 percent in the Midwest.