Only 24% of the Most Popular Websites in Ireland are Irish

I wrote a post recently identifying the top websites that Irish people are visiting these days. Now Fergal was wondering which were the top Irish-owned websites and in fairness it’s a very good question. I reviewed the Alexa list again and the following are the Irish websites that appear in the top 100 websites that Irish people visit most regularly.

If you’re into stats then here are the numbers; only 24 of the 1oo most popular websites in Ireland are Irish. They are:

  1. RTÉ.ie (overall 13th in Alexa’s top 100 that Irish people visit)
  2. (16th)
  3. (17th)
  4. (18th)
  5. (25th)
  6. (29th)
  7. (30th)
  8. Bank of Ireland’s (31th)
  9. (32nd)
  10. (38th)
  11. (44th & 49th)
  12. (48th)
  13. (52nd)
  14. (53rd)
  15. (58th)
  16. (65th)
  17. (67th)
  18. (71st)
  19. (72nd)
  20. (74th)
  21. (75th)
  22. (87th)
  23. (90th)
  24. (99th)

The definition of Irish I’ve used is a little loose. We’re including websites here where the company is headquartered in Ireland or primarily serves people in Ireland. Three websites that I decided to omit from the list are the .ie versions of  foreign-headquartered multinationals; (1st), (15th) and (86th). I’m open to sticking them back in if there’s enough of a protest.

Takeaways? Well there are a lot of long-standing Irish websites on the list. The broadcast and print media outlets are very dominant and continue to be amongst the most relied on sources of information for Irish consumers.

However the website sitting in fourth place is actually quite phenomenal. Here is a website that started from very humble beginnings and has grown organically and still doesn’t appear to have a strong commercial aspect. This is in spite of it  now being owned in large part by the brothers-Fallon who are also responsible for sitting in number three spot. The Fallons have some hot property between these two websites. FYI, now has a blog.

The banks, airlines and mobile phone companies are dominating the big-business representation in the list, however gambling also features strongly with PaddyPower and in the top 100. The impact of the recession is perhaps to be found with making its way into the list.

While the most popular social media websites in Ireland are not indigenous it is noteworthy that a quarter of the most popular Irish websites (6 out of the 24) are predominantly peer-to-peer in nature. These sites are,,,, and

While only 24 out of the top 100 being Irish seems like a small number and could be interpreted to suggest a weak Internet business community here, I think it is more a reflection of the outward looking nature of Irish Internet consumers. This is good for us all as we can learn from the best of the best beyond our own shores and thus ensure that we continue to improve what we do locally.

17 thoughts on “Only 24% of the Most Popular Websites in Ireland are Irish

  1. Thanks for the comments lads.

    Alexa might indeed be a waste of time but there is a real difficulty in general in getting your hands on this type of information from an independent source.

    To be fair, I don’t think there is too much gaming going on when it comes to the busier websites. The Google Ad Planner tool is one I was not familiar with, but interestingly there is a fair degree of overlap between it and the sites that Alexa lists.

    At the end of the day all that any of these resources give us are estimates and give us different ways of looking at what’s going on. Put the results of a few of these together and you might get closer to the truth. Alas, if only I had more time…


  2. Brendan

    If you wanted to write about sites that “might” be popular etc, then that would be fine. However, instead, you have written two posts that basically state that the figures Alexa provides are accurate, or at least accurate enough to quote as a reputable source.

    They’re not.

    According to Alexa’s stats the 20th most popular site in Ireland is a Polish site. Considering the number of Polish people currently living in Ireland as a proportion of the internet using population that a Polish site would take the 20th position is laughable

    As for the “gaming” – I know plenty of people who have done it, so while is obviously popular you have no way of backing up your assertions.

    Alexa will ONLY count visits by users with the Alexa plugin installed. Since the user profile of Alexa users seems to overlap a lot with SEO / webmaster / marketing types it was very easy to get onto the top 100 about 18 months or so ago (accidentally I might add ..)

    If you want to see how inane the Alexa stats are do a look up on the site info on a few well established sites (Irish or interntational). If you have access to the actual web stats you’ll obviously be able to compare their estimates with the actual data



  3. Like Michele says, Alexa data is based on those who have the plugin which tend to be more webmaster/marketing folk.

    It’s difficult getting quality data here in Ireland, compare the difference between AdPlanner on Ireland & UK – where you can get access to demographic information just not available here.

    Similar with Hitwise (UK data) etc, Accurate Irish information is just not available.

    Alexa is user centric method of collecting data where the user is required to install software which records usage, while obviously marketers & webmasters have access to their own site centric data. Ideally what’s needed and what would show the most actionable is network centric direct from the ISP’s.

    Until then I’m using a mix of Ad Planner, Insights & others with seperate weightings to gain some market analysis.

    Google source data was within 10%-15% of actuals from site centric information, which was close enough – but not ideal.

    Would be interested in your thoughts Brendan & Michele.


  4. I have to agree with Michele and Barry ,the Alexa stats are only as a rseult of those sites having the Alexa plugin. However, at the same time I would have to say that the websites shown in your stats are probably a fair reflection of the sites that would make the list


  5. I think Barry’s approach of using a mix of sources and applying weightings sounds reasonable. I would be interested in understanding how the weightings would be applied?

    In the absence of accurate information I still think that Alexa offers useful comparison and trend information. There is certainly nothing unreasonable in what Alexa brings back that would cause me to run a mile from it. I also tend to use it for cross site comparisons in a sector. I certainly take the point however that it is open to abuse and reflects a small subset of Irish Internet consumers.

    The Google Ad Planner looks like a decent resource but with its own limitations. To take an example; were recently quoted as saying that they have 1.4 million unique visitors per month (I’ve no reason to doubt them). Google Ad Planner says the number is almost half of that at 750k.

    Another interesting observation about Ad Planner is that it doesn’t include Google in the reports, but gives this message when you try to do a search: “Ad Planner could not locate sufficient data to display for” – hilarious!!

    What other resources are people using – ComScore, JNIR…??


  6. Hi Michele

    That polish website that Alexa has at 27, Google Ad Planner has at 83. Certainly not in the same position but still in the top 100. Is it not inconceivable, given the size of the Polish community in Ireland, the majority of whom are between the ages of 20 and 34 (in 2006 at least according to CSO) that a Polish social networking site would rank highly?

    What resource would you use Michele for this type of information?


  7. Brendan, For something like visitor traffic I use Comscore, Ad Planner, Insights, Compete, Alexa any my own analytics and apply weights based on their sample size & methodology.

    I also use my own data for tolerance rates on each based on site centric data.

    For instance Comscore produce data based on around 2 million users (1 million of which are US), and I’m doubtful any significant amount are Irish. Their UV data is way off my actuals but that’s OK as I can apply a low weighting and assume that if they’re 50% out with me, they’re also 50% out with competitors.

    For some websites on Ad Planner you can see where they’ve shared their Google Analytic data to get actual figures and not estimates (have a search for


  8. Brendan

    That a Polish site might make it into the top 100 is possible, so I’d suspect that the Google stats are lot more accurate and reflect reality, or something pretty close to it

    Alexa’s stats are totally unreliable.



  9. Barry, thanks for that insight. I’ve done the same with Alexa, mapping the data it provides on my websites with what I actually know, and then map to other sites I’m trying to make a guesstimate on. Interesting to see that others are doing the same, but obviously using multiple sources which gives greater reliability.

    Michele, granted that Alexa is not accurate, but just taking the example I mention above I’m not sure I’d rely exclusively on Google either. I think Barry’s approach above makes a lot of sense.


  10. I like Barry’s approach also. You’ve just got to have common sense and if the stats don’t add up they likely aren’t accurate.


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