Top 50 US Web Rankings for September: Economy and Elections Drive Traffic

October 20, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Financial Services

As in previous months, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL topped rankings of US web properties for September 2008, while the economy and politics drove internet traffic, according to the comScore Media Metrix monthly analysis of US consumer activity at online properties.

The tumultuous financial markets and the upcoming US presidential election were the main forces behind internet activity during the month, resulting in strong gains at financial and political sites, comScore said.

Training and education sites also gained ground as preparation for the college application process began and the gloomy economic outlet prompted some Americans to consider going back to school.

Below, the findings issued by comScore:

Top 50 Properties (Unique Visitors)

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  • Google Sites continued to lead as the most visited property in September with more than 144 million visitors, followed by Yahoo Sites with 142 million visitors and Microsoft Sites with 122.3 million visitors.
  • Wikimedia Foundation Sites, parent property of Wikipedia.org, climbed one place to capture the eighth position with 60.2 million visitors.
  • Glam Media moved up four spots to #10 with 52.3 million visitors.
  • Strong interest in sports during the month of September – with Major League Baseball pennant races and the beginning of the NFL season – helped push ESPN up four spots to #32 with nearly 24 million visitors.
  • NFL Internet Group entered the ranking this month at #48 with nearly 18 million visitors.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking (Advertising Reach)

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  • Platform-A led the September Ad Focus ranking reaching 91% of the 189.5 million Americans online.
  • Yahoo Network reached 86% of the population, followed by Google Ad Network with a reach of 83%.
  • Traffic Marketplace entered the top 10 this month, capturing the ninth position and reaching 131.5 million visitors.
  • 24/7 Real Media also experienced an increase, gaining three spots to #11 and reaching nearly 129 million visitors.

Top-Gainining Sites and Categories

Top-gaining web properties:

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Top-gaining site categories:

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Financial Crisis Causes Spike in Traffic to Online Trading and Financial News Sites

As several major banks crumbled in September and Congress raced to pass a $700 billion bailout plan to stabilize the financial markets, visitation to business/finance – news/research and online trading sites soared with Americans keeping a watchful eye on the latest developments, as well as their personal finances.

Business/finance – news/research web sites saw a substantial increase in visitation, gaining 9% to more than 64 million visitors, while also increasing 16% in pages viewed and 29% in total time spent. These increases suggest that not only were more people visiting the sites in the category, but that they viewed more articles and content for longer periods of time on average, comScore said.

Yahoo Finance led the category with nearly 20 million visitors, a 30% jump from August. Several other sites experienced particularly strong growth, including Russian financial site RBC.RU (up 155% to 1.2 million visitors), FoxBusiness.com (up 127% to 1.2 million visitors), and Google Finance (up 67% to 1.4 million visitors).

Online trading sites surged 10% to 12.6 million visitors in September, as investors kept watchful eyes on their portfolios and 401Ks. Fidelity Investments led the category with 3.5 million visitors, followed by ShareBuilder.com with 2 million visitors and Scottrade Sites with 1.7 million visitors. E-Trade Financial Network (up 26% to 1.6 million visitors), TD Ameritrade.com (up 30% to 1.4 million visitors) and Schwab.com (up 36% to 1.1 million visitors) each experienced double-digit growth.

“As the financial crisis deepens, Americans have been anxiously following the latest news on the markets and carefully watching their personal financial accounts online,” said Jack Flanagan, EVP of comScore Media Metrix. “The ability to track the market on a minute-by-minute basis and access banking and trading accounts quickly enables Americans to make financial decisions in real-time.”

Election Fever Drives Traffic to Politics Category

Politics reigned as the top-gaining category for the second consecutive month, experiencing a 43% increase to more than 20 million visitors, as interest rose in the Republican National Convention in early September and the first presidential debate later in the month.

As the election draws closer, visits to BarackObama.com and JohnMcCain.com have surged. BarackObama.com, one of the fastest-gaining properties of the month, led the category with 5.4 million visitors (up 37% versus August).

JohnMcCain.com ranked second in the category with 3 million visitors, a 109% gain from August, with the Republican National Convention and interest in vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin helping drive visitors to the site.

College Application Season Prompts Growth at Training and Education Sites

The college search and admission process began in September as many high-school students prepared their applications and a slumping economy left some professionals considering further education.

Careers services and development?- training and education sites experienced a 21% increase to nearly 12 million visitors during the month. College Board Property, which provides resources for college entrance exams, led the category with 2.6 million visitors (up 31%), followed by scholarship search provider Fastweb.com with 2.6 million visitors (up 44%), and EduPlace.com with 810,000 visitors (up 49%).

Education – information sites also gained during the month with September marking the first full month that most students were back in school across the country. The category grew 11% to more than 73 million visitors, led by Dictionary.com with 15 million visitors (up 39%), Pearson Education with 13.3 million visitors (up 34%), and Answers.com with nearly 11 million visitors (up 29%).

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