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Not that anyone was proposing that sex doesn’t sell, but it is amazing to compare the Alexa ranks of the mainstream news web sites with that oft-ignored side of the web, which we can euphemistically call “adult-related entertainment”.

For those that don’t know Alexa is a convenient web measurement tool that ranks the popularity of sites on the internet. It is by no means 100% accurate, and is skewed by the demographics of those that use the Alexa Toolbar. Irregardless, comparing the Alexa rank of two sites does give a solid idea of which gets more visitors.
So, that all said, do people use the web for porn or news? Let’s spend some time on the most recent Alexa top 500 list and compare the rankings of top news sites versus top porn sites. Warning: you may find the results unsettling!

  • LATimes.com (#1307) gets demolished by RealityKings.com (#315)
  • The venerable NYTimes.com (#202) is edged out by PornoTube.com (#194)
  • USAToday.com? WSJ.com? CBS.com? NBC.com? FoxNews.com? DrudgeReport.com? Not even close. Not even the highest of them (USAtoday.com at #850) comes remotely close to BangBros1.com at #186.
  • Okay, maybe people are getting their news at aggregators such as Digg.com (#105). They are doing well, but not as well as Megarotic.com (#76).
  • All right, we need some sanity here; what is the highest ranked news site in the rankings? Am I just glossing over the big players? Fine. CNN.com is the highest ranked news site at #81. That’s pretty great, but sadly they get edged out by YouPorn.com which pulls an astounding #73.

Just to make sure Alexa is not unnaturally favoring porn here, let’s take a quick look at the estimated monthly visitors at Compete.com (another ranking service, which shows actual traffic numbers and is amazingly accurate when we have compared numbers to our statistics of our internal properties). Compete is only showing visits by the US audience, so we do see interesting differences. However, despite a generally better showing by the news contingent in the US (apparently Youporn, Pornotube and Megarotic skew quite international), we still see:

What cracks me up most about these incredible numbers is how swept under the rug America and the world’s love of porn is in the very mainstream press we are looking at. It seems each week I read about the social phenomenon that is Digg, about the overhaul of USA Today’s web site, about the new blogging forays of the NY Times and new social networks and search engines that nobody is using, all while ignoring any discussion of what is apparently open in your other browser tab. What, did I just hear a “Don’t look at me!”? Fine, no finger pointing here. But don’t be bashful of the facts: for every person that visited the venerable New York Times this week, another was checking out this week’s offerings over at the Bang Bros. And I am willing to bet a pretty penny those are not mutually exclusive groups. Oh, to be the Google Toolbar…

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