Comscore Media Metrix Announces Top 50 U.S. Internet Property Rankings for March 2004

Travel, Real Estate, Automotive and Apparel See Spring Growth

RESTON, Va. April 22, 2004 – Comscore Media Metrix today announced the Top 50 U.S. Internet Properties for the month of March 2004. In March, the active online population across U.S. home, work and university PCs totaled 154.1 million people. Spring break and Easter travel planning fueled increases across virtually all major sites in the Hotels & Resorts category, making it the top gaining category in March. With the mid-March airing of Wrestlemania XX, World Wrestling Entertainment grew by more than 50 percent versus February to become the top gaining online property this month.

“Many of this month’s traffic shifts were tied to the beginning of spring season and all that it brings,” said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “Spring break, continued interest in auto- and home- buying, the onset of allergy season and the search for warm-weather apparel were key contributors to gains across a wide array of categories.”

Top 50 Properties
Three properties entered the Top 50 Properties in March (see table 1). Traffic to the online version of Target’s weekly promotional circular boosted Target Corporation 8 spots to number 47, while MyFamily Network moved 7 spots to number 49. Finally, Hewlett Packard moved up 1 spot to round out the Top 50 Properties.

Among the properties in both the February and March Top 50 rankings, iVillage.com and Travelocity posted the biggest moves. Seasonal holiday travel planning, boosted by a widely publicized site redesign, pushed Travelocity 7 spots higher to number 39. iVillage.com moved up 9 spots to number 26, largely as a result of the addition of Agora Media to its property.

Travel, Real Estate, Automotive and Apparel See Spring Growth
Internet users scouring the Web for spring break and Easter holiday hotel deals drove the Hotels & Resorts category up 15 percent versus February, the largest increase of any category in March (see table 2). Eight of the top 10 properties in the category saw double-digit increases in March.

Hotel suppliers have been fostering more direct consumer interaction with their brands, and those efforts may indeed have accelerated category growth, with the Hotels & Resorts category growing an impressive 31 percent versus year-ago. A number of hotel supplier properties, such as Intercontinental Hotels, ChoiceHotels.com, Harrahs.com, Radisson Hotels and Ramada.com, increased by approximately 50 percent or more versus March 2003. Marriott and Intercontinental Hotels both ranked among the top ten gaining properties from February to March, posting increases of 44 and 25 percent, respectively.

Spring break travel was also a likely contributor to a 7-percent increase in visitors to the Maps category. In total, more than 45 million people, or about one in three Internet users, visited the category in March. More than half of all visitors to the Hotels & Resorts category also visited the Maps category, underscoring the importance of the Web as a pre-trip planning resource for millions of travelers – and the value of interactive marketing to advertisers in markets visited by those travelers.

A number of entertainment events contributed to substantial gains at several properties and categories in March. With the March 14 airing of Wrestlemania XX – the Super Bowl of professional wrestling – World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) had all other top gaining properties up against the ropes. WWE packed in 2.8 million unique visitors in March, representing an increase of nearly one million unique visitors or more than 50 percent versus February, and making WWE the champion among top gaining Web properties for the month (see table 3).

Coverage of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, buildup to the Major League Baseball season (and related fantasy league activity) and early coverage and analysis of the NFL draft helped Sportsline.com Sites and Fox Interactive Media post increases of 48 and 30 percent, respectively.

“Bush Shootout,” a spoof game featuring President Bush and Condoleezza Rice, helped MiniClip.com shoot up 44 percent versus February. The game, which was widely circulated by e-mail in March, drew an impressive 1.4 million visitors in the month.

The approach of warmer weather along with the looming threat of rising interest rates drove the Automotive-Resources and Real Estate categories up by 13 and 9 percent, respectively. Auto-Resources growth leaders in March included AOL Proprietary Auto, Automotive.com and Autobytel, which each saw increases of 15 percent or more.

The search for spring and summer clothes, along with prior season closeouts, propelled most major properties in the Retail-Apparel category up in March. Among the top 20 Apparel category properties, ColdwaterCreek.com, BananaRepublic.com, LLBean.com, Alloy and OldNavy.com posted the largest month-over-month increases. Comscore online sales data have shown apparel to be one of the largest and strongest growth categories in the past year, and the arrival of warm weather to major U.S. cities offers online retailers opportunities to continue that trend.

Finally, with the onset of allergy season, the Health-Information category jumped 11 percent from February to March, with nearly every major site in the category showing month-over-month increases.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking
Introduced in October 2003, Comscore Media Metrix Ad Focus reporting provides a unique ranking of top Web entities that are supported in whole or in part by online advertising (see table 4).

The composition and order of the top five Ad Focus entities remained constant from February to March, while MSN.COM Homepage and AOL Proprietary cracked the top ten by taking the final two spots. In addition, ClickAgents Network and Yahoo! Get Local jumped 13 and 8 spots to claim the number 25 and 40 rankings, respectively.

TABLE 1
 

Top 50 Properties
March 2004
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
Unique Visitors (000)
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors
(000)
  Rank Property Unique Visitors (000)
  Total Internet Users 154,051        
1 Yahoo! Sites 110,754   26 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 15,392
2 Time Warner Network 110,618   27 Gannett Sites 15,117
3 MSN-Microsoft Sites 109,660   28 Cox Enterprises Inc. 14,815
4 eBay 69,701   29 CareerBuilder, Inc. 14,380
5 Google Sites 65,029   30 Classmates.com Sites 14,080
6 About/Primedia 38,961   31 Weatherbug.com Property 13,926
7 Terra Lycos 37,339   32 Sony Online 13,714
8 Amazon Sites 35,526   33 Wal-Mart 13,474
9 Viacom Online 26,906   34 ORBITZ.COM 13,342
10 Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) 25,236   35 Adobe Sites 13,269
11 CNET Networks 23,923   36 eUniverse Network 13,218
12 Excite Network 23,616   37 News Corp. Online 12,496
13 Verizon Communications Corporation 23,484   38 AmericanGreetings Property 12,380
14 Weather Channel, The 22,882   39 Travelocity 12,206
15 Real.com Network 22,407   40 Trip Network Inc. 11,760
16 Symantec 21,550   41 Vivendi-Universal Sites 11,713
17 Monster 18,355   42 United Online, Inc 11,468
18 Shopping.com Sites 18,004   43 Comcast Corporation 11,426
19 Expedia Travel 17,570   44 Earthlink 11,426
20 Ask Jeeves 17,524   45 IRS.GOV 11,220
21 Gorilla Nation Media 16,808   46 Bank of America 10,985
22 InfoSpace Network 16,614   47 Target Corporation 10,850
23 AT&T Properties 16,086   48 Apple Computer, Inc. 10,371
24 SBC Communications 15,996   49 MyFamily Network 10,289
25 EA Online 15,749   50 Hewlett Packard 10,181

TABLE 2

Top Ten Gaining Categories by Unique Visitors
March 2004 vs. February 2004
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
  Feb-04(000) Mar-04(000) Percentage Change
Total Internet Users 152,056 154,051 1%
Travel-Hotels/Resorts 19,779 22,640 15%
Business/Finance-Online Trading 10,179 11,641 14%
Automotive-Resources 39,637 44,611 13%
Retail-Movies 12,824 14,324 12%
Community-Teens 21,500 23,937 11%
Health-Information 36,177 40,057 11%
Automotive 47,233 52,128 10%
Retail-Apparel 32,955 36,040 9%
Real Estate 29,043 31,501 9%
Maps 42,478 45,457 7%

TABLE 3
 

Top Ten Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors*
March 2004 vs. February 2004
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Property Feb-04
(000)
Mar-04
(000)
Percentage
Change
Rank by
Unique Visitors
Total Internet Users 152,056 154,051 1% N/A
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) 1,846 2,808 52% 244
Sportsline.com Sites 4,591 6,774 48% 91
MINICLIP.COM 2,730 3,928 44% 173
Marriott 2,207 3,170 44% 210
HOMEGAIN.COM 2,190 3,143 44% 213
Mars, Inc. 2,280 3,090 36% 219
Fox Sports Interactive Media 2,233 2,907 30% 240
Fidelity Investments 3,024 3,776 25% 177
Intercontinental Hotels Group 2,492 3,103 25% 216
HOMEDEPOT.COM 4,756 5,845 23% 110

*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in March

TABLE 4

Ad Focus Ranking
Unique Visitors (000)
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
March 2004
Rank Property Unique Visitors
(000)
Reach %   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %
  Total Internet Users 154,051 100%          
1 Yahoo! 108,111 70%   26 AOL Prop Instant Message 25,663 17%
2 Advertising.com** 107,883 70%   27 WindowsMedia 25,604 17%
3 MSN 98,287 64%   28 My Yahoo! 24,203 16%
4 YAHOO.COM Home Page 71,807 47%   29 MSN Messenger Service 24,001 16%
5 GOOGLE.COM* 63,057 41%   30 Excite Network 23,616 15%
6 Yahoo! Search 59,755 39%   31 WINDOWSMEDIA.COM* 23,276 15%
7 Google Web Search 58,494 38%   32 AOL Prop News 23,206 15%
8 Yahoo! Mail 53,171 35%   33 ABOUT.COM 22,478 15%
9 MSN.COM Home Page 52,021 34%   34 Yahoo! News 22,258 14%
10 AOL Proprietary 49,673 32%   35 CNN 22,137 14%
11 MSN Search 48,912 32%   36 WEATHER.COM 21,856 14%
12 ValueClick Network** 48,480 32%   37 AOL.COM Home Page 21,744 14%
13 MaxOnline** 48,071 31%   38 Real.com Media Sites 20,960 14%
14 MSN Hotmail 46,340 30%   39 Yahoo! Messenger 20,690 13%
15 MaxOnline Network** 42,995 28%   40 Yahoo! Get Local 20,423 13%
16 24/7 Real Media** 41,639 27%   41 BURST! Media Youths and Students** 20,360 13%
17 AOL Prop Email 40,458 26%   42 GATOR.COM 20,255 13%
18 BURST! Media** 39,199 25%   43 Gator Sites 20,255 13%
19 AOL Prop Search 34,629 23%   44 REAL.COM* 19,551 13%
20 Yahoo! Geocities 34,331 22%   45 Yahoo! Messenger (App) 19,130 12%
21 Lycos 34,143 22%   46 AOL Prop People Connection 18,764 12%
22 Claria 33,160 22%   47 MSNBC 18,557 12%
23 MAPQUEST.COM* 30,944 20%   48 MSNBC.COM 18,511 12%
24 GATOR (App) 29,604 19%   49 Monster Network 18,355 12%
25 ClickAgents Network** 28,774 19%   50 24/7 Real Media RON** 18,242 12%

**Indicates that this entity is an advertising network.

About Comscore Media Metrix
Comscore Media Metrix, a division of Comscore Networks, provides industry-leading Internet audience measurement services that report – with unmatched accuracy - details of online media usage, visitor demographics and online buying power for the home, work and university audiences across local U.S. markets and across the globe. Comscore Media Metrix continues the tradition of quality and innovation established by its Media Metrix syndicated Internet ratings - long recognized as the currency in online media measurement among financial analysts, advertising agencies, publishers and marketers - while drawing upon Comscore's advanced technologies to address important new industry requirements. All Comscore Media Metrix syndicated ratings are based on industry-sanctioned sampling methodologies.

About Comscore Networks
Comscore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior. This capability is based on a representative cross-section of more than 1.5 million global Internet users who have given Comscore explicit permission to confidentially capture their Web-wide browsing, buying and other transaction behavior, including offline purchasing. Through its patent-pending technology, Comscore measures what matters across the entire spectrum of surfing and buying behavior. This deep knowledge of customers and competitors helps clients design more powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. Comscore services are used by global leaders such as Microsoft, The Newspaper Association of America, Knight Ridder Digital, Best Buy, Verizon, Nestlé, Wells Fargo & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Orbitz. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.

Contact:
Andrew Lipsman
Comscore, Inc.
+1 312 775 6510
press@comscore.com



 

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