U.K. Porn Traffic Exceeds Social Networking, Shopping

Jul 29, 2013 10:00 AM PST

LONDON — U.K. citizens clicked on a lot of porn last month. In fact, a study conducted by the Guardian revealed traffic to legal pornography sites amounted to 8.5 percent of all web page “clicks” in June, more than those for social networks, shopping, news or business.

The only categories that garnered more clicks were “arts and entertainment,” a sector heavily boosted by YouTube and Google’s video site and “search engines.” 

Comparatively, the U.K. surpassed the porn-click world average of 7.7 percent and the U.S. average of 8.5 percent. Germany proved most porn-inclined, with 12.5 percent of all clicks directed towards adult content. Spain ranked second with 9.6 percent.  

The data was compiled and analyzed by the Tel Aviv-based company SimilarWeb, which tracks clicks rather than volume of traffic to avoid data distortion caused by large video files. The figures do not include traffic from mobile phones.

Daniel Buchuk, SimilarWeb head of brand and strategy, suggests that porn is one of the main reasons people use the Internet.

"Traffic on adult sites represents a huge portion of what people use the internet for, not just in the U.K. but around the world," Buchuk said. "It is astonishing to see that adult sites are more popular in the U.K. than all social networks combined."

"People don't just 'stumble' upon adult content. More than 8 percent of Google U.K. searches led to adult sites in the past three months," he added.

The Guardian study was conducted as ISPs digest David Cameron’s recent ultimatum directing service providers to use “family friendly” filters as the default setting for all online devices. Users wishing to view adult content will need to call their service provider and specifically request access.

Cameron's directive has stirred up debate and controversy in the U.K. and abroad as people consider the value and feasibility of filtering online adult content.

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