On Wednesday, January 18th tens of millions of users (and possibly more) found themselves without access to some of the internet’s most popular websites, and others found themselves witness to very public corporate protests. Most of the media coverage of this event was geared toward these sites, companies and people protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its political fallout. However, we were much more interested in whom this Blackout affected and how it affected them. So we went to putting together the data to understand just what the SOPA Blackout really meant and who it affected.
At first glance it seemed like it might be an easy thing to do, but we quickly realized that gathering this data would be much more difficult with the sites hosting it being blacked out. Therefore, we narrowed our analysis to some of the most popular sites that were blacked out in protest: Wikipedia, Reddit, Craigslist and WordPress.
For demographic data we focused on a number of sources; including ComScore and publically released data from the respective sites listed above. We were most interested in geographic breakdowns of the users of these sites, which proved to be quite difficult to come by. As a proxy for the geographic distribution of users of these sites we leveraged Google Insights’ brand search data. We felt that brand searches should provide a decent proxy for the users of these sites, and while it may not be exact, the variances between Google Insights and what the truth was (which were, for the most part, inaccessible) would be small. Perhaps not surprisingly, for each of these top websites, the geographic distribution skewed highly to the West Coast and secondarily to the East Coast with the Midwest seeming to be least affected.
But geographic distribution of users didn’t seem to tell the whole story, so we also began to comb sources for information on the behavior of users of each of these sites in an attempt to place that information in context. In an effort to convey this information, we thought an Infographic was the most appropriate medium, so below is some of the data we pulled together regarding the Blackout of these four sites – Wikipedia, Reddit, Craigslist and WordPress – and who the Blackout affected.
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Who did the SOPA Blackout really affect?<br/><img src="http://covario.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Sopa-Infographic-Final2.jpg" alt="SOPA Infographic" /> Brought to you by <a href="http://www.covario.com/solutions/seo/seo-agency">Covario's SEO Agency Services</a>