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Small businesses branching out online have helped make 2005 the strongest year ever for internet growth.

According to internet infrastructure monitoring firm Netcraft, there are currently 74,409,971 websites worldwide, 2.68 million more than recorded in September.

Some 17.5 million sites have been added to the web this year, the report said, making 2005 already the strongest year ever for internet growth and surpassing the previous yearly high of 16 million, recorded during the dotcom boom in 2000.

Netcraft attributeds the growth to more small businesses realising the benefits of the net and creating a website. Bogging has also played a part.

On the negative side, however, much of the increase can be blamed on spammers buying up new domains to manipulate search engines or purchasing websites no longer in use but still attracting traffic.

Copyright © 2005, Startups.co.uk

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