Olympics Take Gold and Silver in August Web Rankings

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

RESTON, Va., Sept. 22, 2004 – Comscore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of consumer Internet behavior. This month’s report revealed that sites related to the summer Olympics took both the first and second spots in the August ranking of the top gaining properties. U.S. Olympic Team Sites and Athens2004.com each drew approximately 3 million visitors in August, while NBC Universal jumped more than 50 percent to claim the number 6 spot on the top gaining properties ranking.

Other highlights of online behavior in August include:

  • With scores of Americans squeezing in end-of-summer vacations, Web usage exhibited an expected slowdown in August, consistent with a seasonal pattern recorded by Comscore research for several years. The average amount of time online in August was 7 percent lower than in July.
  • As students of all ages prepared for the return to school, a number of Web sites saw seasonal bumps, including test preparation sites such as CollegeBoard, PrincetonReview.com and KapTest.com; athletic retailers, such as Foot Locker and TheSportsAuthority.com; and education and university sites, such as GreatSchools.net and UMich.edu.

“While we saw the traditional slowdown in overall Internet usage in August, the Olympics and the kickoff of the academic year still sparked significant spikes across a number of sites and categories,” said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “With the presidential election less than two months away, a number of news publishers benefited from the Republican National Convention in late August.”

Sports Score Big in August
Three of the top ten gaining properties in August saw major increases as a result of the Summer Games. The top two gaining properties, U.S. Olympic Team Sites and Athens2004.com, each drew approximately 3 million visitors in August, up from less than 300,000 visitors in July. NBC Universal, which includes NBCOlympics.com, jumped by more than 50 percent to approximately 12 million unique visitors in August. NBCOlympics.com alone drew 5.8 million visitors, an increase of nearly 2,000 percent versus July.

With the NFL season now in full swing, fans looking to configure fantasy leagues or read about their favorite team’s prospects helped push the Sports category up 11 percent. NFL Internet Group and Sportsline both made the cut for the top gaining properties ranking, surging 86 and 34 percent respectively. Previous Comscore research has found that more than 6.5 million Americans participated in fantasy football activity last year – a number that is sure to increase this season.

Back to School Means Back to the Web
The month’s top gaining category, Careers – Training & Education, jumped by 15 percent as current and prospective students visited test preparation sites in droves. Nearly 1.3 million Americans visited CollegeBoard.com to learn about or prepare for the SAT – an increase of almost 50 percent versus July. PrincetonReview.com jumped 114 percent to 990,000 visitors, while its competitor’s site, KapTest.com, gained 64 percent to end with 470,000 visitors in August.

The Education category, home to both academically and commercially run sites such as AOL Research & Learn and Berkeley.edu, jumped 7 percent from July to August. GreatSchools.net, a non-profit information resource, grew by nearly 60 percent to 2.1 million visitors in August. Nearly every major university site saw substantial increases as students prepared to start or return to college.

A number of retailers also benefited from back-to-school shopping. The Sports/Outdoor category, which includes such retail sites as Foot Locker, TheSportsAuthority and DicksSportingGoods.com, jumped by 8 percent between July and August. Staples.com saw a 9-percent increase in visitors as students and their parents stocked up on supplies for the school year.

Promotional Activity Behind a Number of Significant Increases
Ranking at the number three spot on this month’s top gaining properties list, 3M Corporation surged more than 600 percent as a result of its highly visible “World’s Largest Pink Ribbon” promotion related to Cancer Awareness Month in October. A popular interactive slide show on the best places to live in the U.S. helped draw 3.6 million visitors to Forbes Property in August – an increase of 37 percent versus July. Continued, aggressive promotional activity by United Airlines drew 31 percent more visitors, an increase of well over one million.

Top 50 Properties
The composition of the top 5 properties remained static from July to August, and Viacom Online edged into the final spot in the August top 10 with a 1-percent increase in traffic. Buoyed by coverage of the Republican National Convention, Fox News contributed to an increase in visitation of more than 1 million visitors at News Corp. Online. This visitation increase pushed News Corp. Online up 8 spots to August’s number 38 ranking, the largest jump among properties ranked in July and August’s Top 50. Increased interest in USAToday.com’s coverage of sports and news drove Gannett Sites up 5 spots to August’s number 28 ranking, while coverage of the Summer Olympics and the NFL season paved the way for ESPN to climb 5 spots to number 32.

The increase in visitation to NBCOlympics.com helped NBC Universal climb 36 spots to land at number 41 in August. The eve of the NFL regular season served as a springboard for NFL Internet Group to jump 66 places and claim the final spot in August’s Top 50.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking
Comscore Media Metrix’s ranking of advertising-supported media brands includes media properties, such as Yahoo! and MSN, as well as advertising networks, such as Advertising.com and MaxOnline. Instead of focusing on corporate ownership, this reporting mirrors, as closely as possible, the manner in which advertising is actually packaged and sold. With this ranking, media planners and buyers can more easily evaluate interactive marketing options on an equal footing.

From July to August, the composition and rank order of the top 5 Ad Focus entities remained static, while Ebay.com jumped 2 spots to claim the final place in August’s top 10. The turbulent tropical storm season propelled a 9-percent increase at Weather.com, and a corresponding 10-spot increase in its ranking landed it in August’s Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking at number 43. Olympic and political coverage combined to spark a 14-spot increase at MSNBC to secure the final spot in the Top 50 Ad Focus ranking.

TABLE 1
 

Top Ten Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors*
August 2004 vs. July 2004
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Property  Jul-04
(000)
 Aug-04
(000)
 Percentage Change  Rank by
Unique Visitors
Total Internet Users 156,775 157,769 1% N/A
U.S Olympic Team Sites N/A 2,958 N/A 218
ATHENS2004.COM 248 3,027 1121% 214
3M Corporation 442 3,154 614% 206
NFL Internet Group 5,852 10,907 86% 50
Student Advantage 2,147 3,411 59% 192
NBC Universal 7,925 11,972 51% 41
Forbes Property 2,614 3,573 37% 185
Sportsline.com Sites 3,645 4,881 34% 135
Department of Commerce 6,515 8,691 33% 68
Foot Locker Sites 2,165 2,846 31% 227

*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in August

TABLE 2

Top Ten Gaining Categories by Unique Visitors
August 2004 vs. July 2004 
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
  Jul-04 (000) Aug-04(000) Percentage Change
Total Internet Users 156,775 157,769 1%
Careers - Training & Education 5,932 6,812 15%
Business/Financial - Online Trading 9,170 10,190 11%
Sports 51,675 57,252 11%
Retail - Sports/Outdoor 29,723 32,091 8%
Education 67,292 71,786 7%
Retail - Food 10,489 11,160 6%
Retail - Home 28,311 29,586 5%
Religion 9,753 10,175 4%
Shipping 19,706 20,540 4%
Retail - Consumer Goods 17,800 18,349 3%

TABLE 3

Top 50 Properties
Unique Visitors (000)
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
August 2004
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors (000)   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000)
  Total Internet Users 157,769        
1 Yahoo! Sites 113,112   26 Wal-Mart 16,244
2 Time Warner Network 112,068   27 AT&T Properties 15,851
3 MSN-Microsoft Sites 110,991   28 Gannett Sites 15,776
4 Google Sites 61,880   29 Bank of America 15,355
5 eBay 58,890   30 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 15,354
6 Ask Jeeves 38,867   31 Classmates.com Sites 15,233
7 Amazon Sites 33,146   32 ESPN 13,753
8 About/Primedia 33,003   33 CareerBuilder LLC 13,745
9 Terra Lycos 30,876   34 Comcast Corporation 13,712
10 Viacom Online 28,408   35 Trip Network Inc. 13,387
11 Monster Worldwide 26,718   36 ORBITZ.COM 13,283
12 Weather Channel, The 26,376   37 United Online, Inc 12,835
13 Real.com Network 25,346   38 News Corp. Online 12,811
14 Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) 24,972   39 JPMorgan Chase Property 12,449
15 Verizon Communications Corporation 24,840   40 Macromedia 12,059
16 CNET Networks 21,389   41 NBC Universal 11,972
17 Symantec 20,181   42 Cox Enterprises Inc. 11,949
18 Expedia Travel 19,724   43 Travelocity 11,909
19 InfoSpace Network 19,578   44 Sony Online 11,747
20 Weatherbug.com Property 19,110   45 Target Corporation 11,702
21 Shopping.com Sites 19,025   46 Bizrate Sites 11,519
22 SBC Communications 18,107   47 Dell 11,085
23 Gorilla Nation Media 18,043   48 OVERSTOCK.COM 10,972
24 EA Online 17,380   49 Adobe Sites 10,950
25 Intermix Media 16,303   50 NFL Internet Group 10,907

TABLE 4

Ad Focus Ranking
Unique Visitors (000)
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
August 2004
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %
  Total Internet Users 157,769 100%          
1 Advertising.com** 120,815 77%   26 AOL Search 35,055 22%
2 Yahoo! 111,265 71%   27 BURST! Media** 35,036 22%
3 MSN 96,205 61%   28 EBAY.COM Home Page 33,316 21%
4 AOL 85,649 54%   29 AOL Prop Search 32,426 21%
5 YAHOO.COM Home Page 73,499 47%   30 AIM.COM/AIM App 29,750 19%
6 Yahoo! Search 60,287 38%   31 Lycos 29,025 18%
7 GOOGLE.COM 59,859 38%   32 My Yahoo! 28,477 18%
8 Yahoo! Mail 59,147 37%   33 ClickAgents Network** 27,825 18%
9 Yahoo! Web Search 59,028 37%   34 Claria 27,577 17%
10 EBAY.COM 55,603 35%   35 WindowsMedia 26,902 17%
11 MSN Homepages 55,168 35%   36 Monster Worldwide 26,718 17%
12 Google Web Search 55,122 35%   37 AOL Screenname 26,387 17%
13 Tribal Fusion** 53,640 34%   38 AOL Entertainment 25,834 16%
14 MaxOnline** 49,380 31%   39 Yahoo! Messenger 25,484 16%
15 MSN.COM Home Page 49,279 31%   40 Yahoo! Geocities 25,411 16%
16 AOL Email 48,288 31%   41 AIMTODAY.COM 25,380 16%
17 AOL (APP) 47,789 30%   42 GATOR (App) 25,189 16%
18 MSN Search 45,965 29%   43 WEATHER.COM 24,843 16%
19 24/7 Real Media** 44,541 28%   44 Real.com Media Sites 24,637 16%
20 MSN Hotmail 44,376 28%   45 MSN Messenger Service 24,591 16%
21 ValueClick Media** 44,310 28%   46 WINDOWSMEDIA.COM 24,496 16%
22 MaxOnline Network** 43,528 28%   47 AOL Instant Message 23,160 15%
23 AOL Prop Email 42,411 27%   48 Yahoo! News 22,060 14%
24 Ask Jeeves 38,867 25%   49 Yahoo! Get Local 21,758 14%
25 MAPQUEST.COM 35,254 22%   50 MSNBC 21,702 14%

**Indicates that the 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 and attitudes. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 2 million consumers who have given Comscore explicit permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. Comscore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions. Through its patent-pending technology, Comscore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes. Comscore consultants apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. Comscore services are used by global leaders such as Microsoft, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Knight Ridder Digital, 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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