New statistics compiled last week give a clue as to why German is the second-largest Wikipedia language, while traffic measurements show that Wikipedia continues to pass other websites in popularity.
On Tuesday, developer Kate announced that webalizer statistics were available again for all Wikimedia Foundation projects. Also provided was information about how many page accesses were made from each country, as determined by IP address.
By adding population data for the busiest countries, Jimmy Wales created a table of page views per capita. He said the results confirmed his observations that Wikipedia is most popular in German-speaking countries, as Switzerland, Germany, and Austria occupied the top three spots in the list. Among English-speaking countries, Canada ranked sixth and the United States eighth; Australia and the United Kingdom were numbers 14 and 15 respectively out of 31 countries on the list overall.
The statistics may not be completely reliable, as Kate noted the sample size involved was small enough that problems with log collection might have introduced errors. Developer Mark Bergsma also pointed out that the databases linking IP addresses with countries could be inaccurate, particularly for African countries.
Also on Tuesday, Wikipedia inched into the top 50 websites in terms of visitor traffic for the first time, according to Alexa's daily rankings. Wikipedia fell back again slightly in subsequent days, but the overall trend for site traffic continues to move upward.
Daily rankings tend to fluctuate, although given Wikipedia's size these fluctuations now have less dramatic effects on the ranking. The impact of web traffic related to the London bombings, which set records on British news sites, didn't even register significantly for Wikipedia, in spite of the heavy editing on that article and many people linking to it from outside. In the main Alexa ranking, which is calculated for a three-month period, Wikipedia has just passed About.com and currently stands at #65 worldwide.
The smaller Wikinews project, however, did experience a major spike in traffic from the London bombings, with its number of visitors more than doubling. At the present, Wikinews traffic is roughly in a similar position to that of Wikipedia during its second year of existence.