On November 14, 2009, the AO3 entered open beta. Two days into the launch, AO3 News shared the following statistics:
"Total invitations issued: 1410
Number of accounts before Open Beta: 347
Number of accounts at present: 1076
Number of works before Open Beta: 6598
Number of works at present: 9506
Number of fandoms represented before Open Beta: 674
Number of fandoms represented at present: 886"
And now, just four years and two months later, AO3 has over 1 million works representing 14,353 fandoms! The site has over 270,000 registered users (with at least 1 million unregistered users visiting each day) and is still growing. AO3 currently issues 750 invitations a day, so if you’re not already registered, now is a great time to join the Archive.
What does this mean?
AO3’s rapid growth shows the ever-increasing number of fans creating and sharing fanworks online. This site is still relatively young, joining a long line of fanwork archives, from those created to host a single fan’s work to the many dedicated to individual fandoms, characters and relationships; particular topics or genres; specific languages or countries; formats and connected fandoms. The sheer number of visitors to AO3 also represents the importance of fanworks to the everyday life of millions of people internationally. Whether fans are creating, commenting, sharing or viewing, they engage in fannish activities every single day. Finally, the Archive is one of a very small number of open-source projects founded and largely staffed by women, another contribution fans have made to the internet as a whole. Many women who were not previously involved in technology have learned new skills in the name of fannish activities, and the AO3 is proud to stand as a shining example of this growth.