The UK's top 50 online brands, but what does it all mean?

22 February 2011

Nielsen and UKOM have produced a list of the country's top 50 online brands. There we are. What does this means, exactly?

Nobody's quite sure, especially the Daily Telegraph. According to its coverage of the story, it's a listing of the most popular online brands in 2011, and it proves conclusively, somehow, that it's traditional offline brands that are most popular into today's digital world.

Bitterwallet - Daily Telegraph

Except it doesn't prove any such thing. Read the story, then look at the results of the research. It's like the Telegraph journalist read the press release on her BlackBerry just before she fell asleep after a little too much Asti Spumante, and proceeded to wrote the story from memory this morning.

Here are the top 10 online brands:

1. Google
2. MSN/Windows Live/Bing
3. Facebook
4. Yahoo!
5. BBC
6. Microsoft
7. Amazon
8. YouTube
9. eBay
10. Wikipedia

An impressively strong turnout for what would be considered primarily online brands. Tesco is 17th place, the same position the supermarket chain was in in 2004 - despite the Telegraph's headline claiming Tesco has 'ousted' other online brands in the poll. The story's byline states:

"Companies which have a presence in the real world, such as Tesco and BT, have become the UK’s most popular brands online."

Yet the actual results don't show anything of the sort; the Telegraph's definition of "most popular" seems to defy English language. And BT Openworld, which was 12th in 2004, is nowhere to be seen in today's top 20. Baffling. In fact the Telegraph's coverage is stuffed with very odd claims that don't fit any of the facts:

"The rest of the top 10 is mostly made up of brands which have a real-world presence, such as Amazon and eBay, whose respective businesses rely upon people buying and sending goods offline."

Well yes, there are physical elements to the service - products, deliveries - but nobody would ever describe Amazon or eBay as anything other than an online brand. A "real-world presence"? Are you sure about that? As opposed to Google, which the paper describes as a "web-only" company? If the fact that Amazon are offline brands because there is a physical product bought or sold, what about the Nexus One and Android OS? Nonsense.


  • The B.
    You have to wonder don't you? MS hold how much of the market share for PC's? They force IE on Windows users and then force Bing on IE users (happens on Mac too) and can still only get 2nd place. I wonder where they'd be if they didn't force it on people?
  • Mark C.
    Much as I dislike MS, it's not quite fair to say they force the dismal Bing on IE users - IE defaults to using Bing as its search engine (unsurprisingly), but it takes about five seconds to change the default to Google.
  • Dick
    She has obviously read "UKOM/Nielsen data shows 35 of the web’s top 50 brands are accounted for by social media and ‘traditional’ businesses, up from 19 in 2004" on Neilsen's site and assumed that social media sites are real world. Quite why they lump them together I cannot understand. Facebook and Twitter have more in common with ebay than John Lewis. Although of course ebay and amazon are real world stores aren't they? They both sell shoes, they must be real world shops. Quite why this dumb bitch is the Digital Media Editor, I don't know. It's just as well they didn't get the Real World Media Editor to do the piece. She is clearly incompetent, and it needs Andy Gray to put her in her place. Women? They don't understand the internet do they.

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