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Clocking Government Internet Traffic: Let the Races Begin

Feb 10, 2009


In the battle of Internet websites to attract the most user traffic, the one site has emerged as the most popular in the entire world. At the other end of the spectrum, of course, is the inevitable loser, with the dubious honor of being ranked one millionth in website popularity. It could have been worse, as there are almost 110 million active websites, but only the top one-million are ranked in order of their daily traffic by

Bulging with stats, there is something for everyone in these website popularity rankings, open for interpretation as one may wish. Imagine what fun a detractor of Radio Sawa could have by noting that the Arabic radio service of the U.S. government ranks number 27,863. Radio Sawa ranks about the same as the highly touted English-language news website of al Jazeera, at 25,727. Radio Sawa adds that it had 22,949,724 page views in January 2009.

Ranked higher yet is the news site of the Voice of America, 1,598, better than al Jazeera English, but not as well as al Jazeera’s Arabic-language website,, ranked at 723. During the month of January, among the most popular pages on the VOA’s site were Learning English; the home pages of services in Vietnamese, Persian, Chinese, and English; and the News and Features podcast page. As might be expected, “Barack Obama” are keywords leading many to VOA’s site, but not enough to lift it in popularity nearer to al Jazeera’s Arabic website.

America’s website for its Arabic-language broadcasting channel, Al Hurra, which also has English-language translation, is ranked down at 146,501, with more than 1.5 million page views in January 2009- well ahead of Al-Arabiya’s website’s ranking of 531,656. It was Al-Arabiya TV that conducted Barack Obama’s first formal TV interview as U.S. President.

The U.S. State Department’s public diplomacy website,, whose homepage states that it is “telling America’s story”, had as one of its topics the day we looked in: “Diversity: The strength of the U.S. lies in its people, drawn from many lands and cultural backgrounds”. Alexa ranked the site at number 219,981., owned by Amazon, uses its toolbar to track Internet traffic, which it also categorizes by subject and language.

So, may I have the envelopes, please?

The most popular websites in the world are:


The loser, at rank 1,000,000: (A Brazilian shopping portal. It has to be someone.)

So far as government-financed media are concerned, especially those targeting Middle East audiences, the global race to claim Internet peaks has just begun, and no one wants to inch closer to the Brazilian shopping channel in popularity ranking.


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