ADOTAS – Yesterday, some of the most popular websites out there went black, shutting out users trying to access them, in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill viewed as draconian and potentially detrimental by many of the largest internet companies in the U.S. While the blacked-out sites themselves and the people responsible for them were in the spotlight, the folks at SEO and SEM software provider Covario wondered who was actually being affected. How many people regularly access these sites? How many users publish or post on them? Where in the country are they located? What other demographics do these people fall into? How much revenue might be lost? They quickly yet exhaustively conducted a study, looking specifically at Wikipedia, Craigslist, WordPress and Reddit — four of the largest blacked-out sites — and created an infographic, which vice president for earned media and SEO Jeff MacGurn shared in a blog post today.
On the surface, choosing to participate in a blackout might seem like a huge financial risk — and it is, but, in a phone conversation, MacGurn said that for sites like the four Covario looked at here, blacking out made a statement that could have a substantial payoff in the form of loyalty from anti-SOPA internet users. “They’ve been able to mobilize their target demographic,” MacGurn said. “The message Reddit’s sending is, ‘Reddit believes in what’s good for the community.'” Even though the study estimated Craigslist stood to lose $825,000 over the course of the blackout, MacGurn said, “$800,000 is probably a drop in the bucket when you think of that kind of publicity.” And according to Covario’s research, the audience getting this message has some money. The study looked at income, MacGurn said, though his team decided not to include those results in the infographic. But, he said, just with Reddit alone, “30 percent of users had income above $100,000. These are not people of low means.”
Here’s the infographic (click to enlarge):