Holiday Festivity Drove Web Activity in December, According to Comscore Media Metrix Top 50 Online Property Ranking

RESTON, Va., Jan. 17, 2005 – Comscore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of consumer activity at top online properties and categories. As expected, holiday-related content dominated December traffic, with seasonal sites accounting for 8 of the top 10 gaining properties and 9 of the top 10 gaining categories.

“More than 132 million consumers – an extraordinary four out of every five online consumers in the country – visited retail sites and resources in December,” said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “Whether shopping online, sending e-cards or tracking packages, vast numbers of Americans turned to the Web to help make the holidays a lot more fun and a little less hectic.”

E-Mail-Fueled Rumor Drives Millions to DoNotCall.gov
The month’s top gaining property (see table 1) was actually not specifically related to the holiday season and also served as a reminder of the viral communication power of the Web. In December, millions of Americans received (and frequently forwarded) an e-mail falsely claiming that telemarketers would soon begin calling cell phone numbers that were not added to the federal Do Not Call list. As a result, more than 7 million people visited DoNotCall.gov in December – an increase of more than 300 percent compared to November.

Holiday-Related Visitation Dominates December Web Activity
With Americans shifting more of their shopping time and dollars to the Web, five of the top 10 gaining categories in December were Retail subcategories (see table 2). The fastest growing Retail subcategory, Jewelry, Luxury Goods & Accessories, jumped 30 percent from November to December and 15 percent over the prior year. Coach.com, BlueNile.com and Zales.com were standouts, each growing 70 percent or more over November visitor levels.

Driven upward by traditional “brick and mortar” retailers’ sites, the Department Stores category continued its ascent in December with a 20-percent jump over November. Category leader Walmart.com saw an increase of 37 percent, almost twice that of the category. With 32 million visitors in December, Walmart.com was the third-largest retail property online, behind eBay and Amazon. While every major site in the Department Stores category increased, growth leaders included Kmart (up 49 percent), May Department Stores (42 percent) and Federated Department Stores (35 percent).

An expected pickup in visitation to e-card sites boosted both the e-Cards and Flowers, Gifts & Greetings categories. As the tradition of paper gives way to the convenience of the Web, nearly 48 million Americans visited e-Card sites to send or view virtual holiday cards in December. The Flowers, Gifts & Greetings category shot up 20 percent as sites such as RedEnvelope.com, Proflowers.com and HarryandDavid.com saw substantial growth in December. 1-800-Flowers jumped 44 percent between November and December, enough to be included in this month’s top gaining properties ranking.

Anxious gift givers tracking holiday presents boosted the Shipping category 31 percent in December. Nearly 28 million people visited sites in the category, up from 21 million in November. The two largest Shipping category sites, UPS Sites and USPS.com, both made the top gaining properties ranking this month, with increases of 49 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

Deal-hungry shoppers visited the Coupons category in droves in December. The category, which is comprised primarily of sites such as CouponMountain.com and Dealsdujour.com, drew 22 million visitors in December.

Top 50 Properties
Among sites in both November and December’s Top 50 Properties, AmericanGreetings Property had the largest jump, moving up 9 spots to number 29. Coupled with a 12-spot gain from October to November, AmericanGreetings shot up 21 spots and attracted 61 percent more unique visitors over the last two months, bolstered by the holiday e-card rush. JC Penney Sites and Sprint both posted 9-spot gains to move into the Top 50 at number 45 and 49, respectively (see table 3).

Holiday-induced traffic powered increases at a number of other retail sites; Dell (December’s number 33), Wal-Mart (number 9) and Overstock.com (number 26) gained 8, 6 and 5 spots, respectively. Customers logging in to check credit cards and bank balances drained from holiday spending drove the JPMorgan Chase Property up 7 spots to number 40. Finally, bolstered by the immense popularity of the iPod as a holiday gift and a 28-percent increase in traffic to the iTunes portion of its site, Apple Computer, Inc. gained 5 spots to crack the Top 50 at number 48.

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 TribalFusion. 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.

Advertising.com and Yahoo! claimed the top 2 spots in the Ad Focus ranking, as they have in every month since May 2004 (see table 4). Fastclick debuted at number 3 in December’s Ad Focus ranking, while eBay.com moved 1 spot to claim the final spot in the top 10. Weather.com moved 3 spots to number 22, bolstered in part by visitors seeking information about the devastating tsunami and volatile weather in California.

TABLE 1
 

Top Ten Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors*
December 2004 vs. November 2004
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Property Nov-04 (000) Dec-04 (000) Percentage Change Rank by Unique Visitors
Total Internet Population 159,736 161,142 1% N/A
DONOTCALL.GOV 1,778 7,416 317% 92
KB Toys 3,236 4,969 54% 147
RADIOSHACK.COM 2,052 3,142 53% 245
Limitedbrands 4,566 6,850 50% 104
Deutsche Telekom 4,630 6,920 49% 102
UPS Sites 9,446 14,057 49% 39
Drugstore.Com, Inc. 2,878 4,259 48% 176
GSI Network 8,039 11,836 47% 57
1-800-Flowers 2,287 3,283 44% 234
USPS.COM 8,357 11,640 39% 59

*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in December

TABLE 2
 

Top Ten Gaining Categories by Unique Visitors
December 2004 vs. November 2004
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
  Nov-04 (000) Dec-04 (000) Percentage Change
Total Internet Population 159,736 161,142 1%
Services - Shipping 21,241 27,867 31%
Retail - Jewelry/Luxury Goods/Accessories 13,014 16,983 30%
Retail - Sports/Outdoor 20,159 24,554 22%
Services - e-cards 39,540 47,784 21%
Retail - Department Stores 47,937 57,759 20%
Retail - Flowers/Gifts/Greetings 32,949 39,535 20%
Retail - Toys 21,861 25,949 19%
Business/Financial - Taxes 5,302 6,145 16%
Health - Pharmacy 11,983 13,672 14%
Services - Coupons 19,519 22,217 14%

TABLE 3
 

Top 50 Properties
December 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 161,142        
1 Yahoo! Sites 119,454   26 OVERSTOCK.COM 18,178
2 Time Warner Network 114,930   27 Intermix Media 17,938
3 MSN-Microsoft Sites 113,506   28 Shopzilla.com Sites 17,169
4 Google Sites 71,660   29 AmericanGreetings Property 17,118
5 eBay 66,511   30 Expedia Travel 16,972
6 Amazon Sites 48,216   31 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 16,930
7 Ask Jeeves 41,411   32 Bank of America 16,656
8 About/Primedia 38,374   33 Dell 16,162
9 Wal-Mart 33,951   34 Gannett Sites 15,882
10 Symantec 33,929   35 Sony Online 15,646
11 Viacom Online 33,595   36 Sears Sites 15,484
12 CNET Networks 29,523   37 ORBITZ.COM 15,348
13 Verizon Communications Corporation 29,202   38 ESPN Network 14,813
14 Lycos, Inc. 28,891   39 UPS Sites 14,057
15 Weather Channel, The 28,243   40 JPMorgan Chase Property 13,554
16 Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) 27,875   41 Classmates.com Sites 13,480
17 Monster Worldwide 26,525   42 NFL Internet Group 13,165
18 AT&T Properties 26,242   43 SBC Communications 13,138
19 Shopping.com Sites 25,344   44 Comcast Corporation 13,077
20 Real.com Network 22,337   45 JCPenney Sites 12,818
21 Target Corporation 21,898   46 E.W. Scripps 12,654
22 InfoSpace Network 20,804   47 Macromedia 12,648
23 Gorilla Nation Media 19,875   48 Apple Computer, Inc. 12,611
24 Weatherbug.com Property 19,676   49 Sprint 12,611
25 Best Buy Sites 18,461   50 Cox Enterprises Inc. 12,432

TABLE 4

Ad Focus Ranking
Unique Visitors (000)
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
December 2004
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %
  Total Internet Users 161,142 100%          
1 Advertising.com** 123,956 77%   26 CNN 21,721 13%
2 Yahoo! 117,983 73%   27 MSNBC 21,721 13%
3 Fastclick** 113,929 71%   28 GATOR (App) 21,575 13%
4 MSN 100,031 62%   29 WeatherBug 19,394 12%
5 TrafficMarketplace** 91,189 57%   30 REAL.COM 18,043 11%
6 AOL 87,315 54%   31 Netscape 17,658 11%
7 Casale Media Network** 79,464 49%   32 Expedia Travel 16,972 11%
8 YAHOO.COM Home Page 75,449 47%   33 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 16,930 11%
9 GOOGLE.COM 69,359 43%   34 Disney Online 16,569 10%
10 EBAY.COM 63,667 40%   35 SuperPages Network 16,238 10%
11 Tribal Fusion** 63,446 39%   36 ORBITZ.COM 15,348 10%
12 ValueClick Media** 59,401 37%   37 BIZRATE.COM 15,003 9%
13 MSN.COM Home Page 51,678 32%   38 ESPN Network 14,813 9%
14 24/7 Real Media** 43,310 27%   39 EA Online Syndicated Games 14,278 9%
15 BURST! Media** 41,751 26%   40 CLASSMATES.COM 13,480 8%
16 Ask Jeeves 41,411 26%   41 MONSTER.COM 13,319 8%
17 EBAY.COM Home Page 39,556 25%   42 CareerBuilder Network 12,945 8%
18 Vendare Group Search-New.Net Sites 36,112 22%   43 Travelocity All 12,560 8%
19 MAPQUEST.COM 34,274 21%   44 INFOSPACE.COM 11,705 7%
20 Lycos Network 28,797 18%   45 EA Online Games 11,476 7%
21 ClickAgents Network** 28,775 18%   46 WebMD Medscape Health Network 11,101 7%
22 WEATHER.COM 27,049 17%   47 IMDB.COM 10,889 7%
23 ABOUT.COM 24,369 15%   48 EARTHLINK.NET 10,341 6%
24 CNET 23,768 15%   49 GO.COM 10,112 6%
25 MaxOnline** 23,743 15%   50 LAUNCH.COM Home Page 9,751 6%

**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 AOL, Yahoo!, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Tribune Interactive, ESPN, Nestlé, Bank of America, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, GlaxoSmithKline and Orbitz. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.

Press
Bill Daddi
Daddi Brand Communications
646-370-1341
press@comscore.com

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