February 21, 2005

Americans Kick Off the Year Online with Taxes, Diets and Vacations on Their Minds

comScore Media Metrix Releases January Web Rankings and Analysis

RESTON, Va., Feb. 21, 2005 - comScore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of consumer activity at top online properties and categories.  With 2005 upon them, Americans turned to tax, diet, careers and travel sites to begin planning the year ahead.

 

"January's annual rituals, including the kickoff of tax season, spring break vacation planning and the search for the perfect diet, translated to substantial gains for category leaders," said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of comScore Media Metrix.  "The beginning of the president's second term provided the material for another JibJab film, which landed the site in the top gaining properties ranking for the third time in the past 12 months."

 

W-2 Forms Hit Mailboxes and Americans Hit the Web

With W-2 forms landing in mailboxes across the country, Americans turned to the Web to prepare and file their tax returns.  The Taxes category drew the top spot on this month's ranking of the top gaining properties, with an increase of 235 percent compared to December (see table 2).  Nearly 21 million Internet users visited tax sites last month, an increase of 12 percent compared to January 2004.

 

The top gaining property in January was HRBlock.com, which drew 4.1 million visitors, an increase of 636 percent compared to December (see table 1).  IRS.gov also saw a triple digit increase (238 percent), attracting 11 million visitors in January.  An 840-percent increase in traffic to TurboTax.com drove Intuit up 68 percent, making it January's ninth largest gaining property.

 

Diet and Careers Sites Help Americans Make Good on New Year's Resolutions

With December's indulgences behind them and warmer weather approaching, millions of Americans turned to diet sites to help them shed unwanted pounds.  Traffic to eDiets more than doubled between December and January.  Nearly 7.9 million people visited the site in January, an increase of 126 percent.  Weight Watchers International was the resource of choice for 4.3 million Americans, an increase of 77 percent from December.

 

While some Americans fulfilled their New Year's resolutions by starting a diet, for others, a career move was in order.   Three Career Services subcategories made this month's ranking of the top gaining categories.  The Job Search subcategory grew 32 percent in January to 16.2 million visitors.  Monster.com Job Search, CareerBuilder.com Job Search and Yahoo! HotJobs Job Search all posted double-digit increases in January. 

 

CareerBuilder traffic increased by 78 percent through seasonality and promotional activity, landing it in the number 6 spot on this month's top gaining properties ranking and contributing to a 29-percent increase in visitors to the Career Resources subcategory.  Double-digit traffic increases at Fastweb, a scholarship search site owned by Monster.com, and EducationDirect, a distance learning site owned by the Thomson Corporation, joined forces to boost the Training and Education subcategory up by 20 percent - enough to secure the last spot on this month's top gaining category ranking.

 

Millions Turn to the Web to Plan and Book Spring and Summer Travel

A wide range of travel merchants and resources saw seasonal increases in January as consumers began the process of planning spring and summer vacations.  Four of January's top ten gaining categories were Travel subcategories.  The Ground/Cruise subcategory led the way, posting a 48 percent increase between December and January.  VacationsToGo.com, a discount cruise merchant and the category's largest site, jumped 99 percent to finish at 3.5 million visitors in January.  Carnival.com, RoyalCaribbean.com and Princess.com posted increases of 105, 79 and 67 percent respectively.

 

The top 20 sites in the Hotels/Resorts category all posted double-digit increases between December and January, boosting category traffic by 22 percent.  Even more impressive, the category is up 32 percent compared to last January, a result of hotel suppliers' continued efforts to become direct booking destinations for consumers.  The Airlines category also saw an impressive pickup in traffic in January, jumping 22 percent.  Traffic at Delta Airlines soared 80 percent, driven by the launch of its new SimpliFares fare structure.  United Airlines posted a 53-percent jump in site traffic, as it faced a blizzard of activity among travelers seeking information and assistance in the face of harsh winter weather.  Both Delta and United qualified for the month's top gaining properties ranking as a result of these sharp increases.

 

Top 50 Properties

CareerBuilder LLC moved 37 spots up the ladder to 25th place in January's Top 50 Properties, through online marketing and promotion, as well as its relationships with AOL and MSN.  A new version of its Adobe Reader product drove a 37-percent increase in visitors to Adobe Sites, which was number 61 in December and finished at number 36 in January.  Among sites in both December and January's Top 50 Properties, Apple Computer Inc. had the largest jump, moving up 21 spots to number 27.  The site benefited from hundreds of thousands of consumers installing the iTunes software packaged with the iPod they received in December as well as 5.5 million visitors to a widely circulated Mac homepage featuring before and after pictures of areas affected by the Asian tsunami.  Finally, various promotions on HGTV.com drove a traffic increase of over 3 million visitors at E.W. Scripps, corresponding to a 12-spot gain to number 34.

 

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking

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).  The rest of the top 10 Ad Focus entities stayed the same in January as in December, except for Tribal Fusion, which moved 1 spot to claim the number 10 ranking.

 

CareerBuilder Network gained 12 spots to move to January's number 28.  Increased news coverage of volatile weather and the mudslides in California boosted MSNBC 3 spots to finish at number 24 in January's ad focus ranking.  Finally, the sale of U2 concert and Major League Baseball tickets buoyed Ticketmaster.com 6 places to the final spot in the top 50.

 

TABLE 1

 

Top Ten Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors*

January 2005 vs. December 2004
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: comScore Media Metrix
Property

Dec-04

(000)

Jan-05

(000)

Percentage

Change

Rank by

 Unique Visitors

Total Internet Population

161,142

162,201

1%

N/A

HRBLOCK.COM

558

4,104

636%

184

IRS.GOV

3,248

10,989

238%

57

eDiets

3,488

7,877

126%

89

VACATIONSTOGO.COM

1,761

3,496

99%

210

Delta Airlines

4,526

8,133

80%

87

CareerBuilder LLC

10,854

19,273

78%

25

Weight Watchers International

2,430

4,299

77%

177

JibJab Media

1,803

3,133

74%

241

Intuit

6,272

10,534

68%

62

United Airlines

2,897

4,439

53%

168

*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in January

 

 

TABLE 2

 


Top Ten Gaining Categories by Unique Visitors

January 2005 vs. December 2004
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users

Source: comScore Media Metrix

 

Dec-04

(000)

Jan-05

(000)

Percentage Change

Total Internet Population

161,142

162,201

1%

Business/Finance - Taxes

6,145

20,556

235%

Travel - Ground/Cruise

7,699

11,396

48%

Career Services - Job Search

12,295

16,172

32%

Career Services - Career Resources

27,479

35,447

29%

Real Estate

25,689

31,636

23%

Travel - Information

28,863

35,424

23%

Travel - Hotels/Resorts

20,892

25,560

22%

Travel - Airlines

23,198

28,323

22%

Classifieds

17,527

21,368

22%

Career Services - Training and Education

6,457

7,744

20%

 

 

TABLE 3

 

Top 50 Properties
January 2005
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

162,201

 

 

 

 

1

Yahoo! Sites

118,194

 

26

iVillage.com: The Womens Network

18,955

2

Time Warner Network

115,011

 

27

Apple Computer, Inc.

18,231

3

MSN-Microsoft Sites

112,774

 

28

Gorilla Nation Media

17,828

4

Google Sites

74,817

 

29

Gannett Sites

17,111

5

eBay

62,427

 

30

ORBITZ.COM

16,991

6

Amazon Sites

41,557

 

31

Trip Network Inc.

15,939

7

Ask Jeeves

41,036

 

32

Bank of America

15,936

8

About/Primedia

37,886

 

33

Target Corporation

15,689

9

Viacom Online

35,111

 

34

E.W. Scripps

15,687

10

Weather Channel, The

33,658

 

35

Shopzilla.com Sites

15,179

11

Symantec

32,531

 

36

Adobe Sites

15,047

12

Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG)

29,454

 

37

OVERSTOCK.COM

14,842

13

CNET Networks

28,466

 

38

JPMorgan Chase Property

14,505

14

Monster Worldwide

28,116

 

39

Dell

14,437

15

Lycos, Inc.

27,746

 

40

ESPN Network

14,194

16

Verizon Communications Corporation

27,507

 

41

News Corp. Online

14,059

17

Shopping.com Sites

22,622

 

42

Travelocity

13,917

18

Expedia Travel

22,054

 

43

Comcast Corporation

13,825

19

Intermix Media

21,553

 

44

SBC Communications

13,502

20

Real.com Network

20,966

 

45

Sony Online

13,063

21

Wal-Mart

20,915

 

46

COOLSAVINGS.COM

13,059

22

AT&T Properties

20,779

 

47

NFL Internet Group

13,023

23

Weatherbug.com Property

20,761

 

48

Classmates.com Sites

12,836

24

InfoSpace Network

20,426

 

49

Cox Enterprises Inc.

12,479

25

CareerBuilder LLC

19,273

 

50

AmericanGreetings Property

12,297

 

 

TABLE 4

 

Ad Focus Ranking

Unique Visitors (000)

Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations

January 2005

Source: comScore Media Metrix

 

Rank

Property

Unique Visitors

(000)

Reach %

 

Rank

Property

Unique Visitors (000)

Reach %

 

Total Internet Users

162,201

100%

 

 

 

 

 

1

Advertising.com**

127,948

79%

 

26

Expedia Travel

22,054

14%

2

Yahoo!

116,787

72%

 

27

CNN

21,913

14%

3

Fastclick**

115,474

71%

 

28

CareerBuilder Network

21,267

13%

4

MSN

97,973

60%

 

29

WeatherBug

20,340

13%

5

TrafficMarketplace**

91,211

56%

 

30

GATOR (App)

20,257

12%

6

AOL

87,061

54%

 

31

MaxOnline**

19,909

12%

7

Casale Media Network**

82,316

51%

 

32

iVillage.com: The Womens Network

18,955

12%

8

YAHOO.COM Home Page

75,007

46%

 

33

Travelocity All

17,517

11%

9

GOOGLE.COM

72,074

44%

 

34

Netscape

17,513

11%

10

Tribal Fusion**

66,491

41%

 

35

Disney Online

17,276

11%

11

EBAY.COM

59,394

37%

 

36

REAL.COM

17,270

11%

12

ValueClick Media**

52,845

33%

 

37

ORBITZ.COM

16,991

10%

13

MSN.COM Home Page

52,488

32%

 

38

MONSTER.COM

16,052

10%

14

BURST! Media**

45,908

28%

 

39

SuperPages Network

14,369

9%

15

24/7 Real Media**

42,913

26%

 

40

ESPN Network

14,194

9%

16

Ask Jeeves

41,036

25%

 

41

EA Online Syndicated Games

13,581

8%

17

Vendare Group Search-New.Net Sites

40,820

25%

 

42

WebMD Health Network

13,093

8%

18

MAPQUEST.COM

35,480

22%

 

43

CLASSMATES.COM

12,836

8%

19

EBAY.COM Home Page

34,804

21%

 

44

BIZRATE.COM

12,577

8%

20

WEATHER.COM

32,365

20%

 

45

CHEAPTICKETS.COM

12,369

8%

21

Lycos Network

27,650

17%

 

46

IMDB.COM

12,028

7%

22

ClickAgents Network**

24,794

15%

 

47

EA Online Games

10,885

7%

23

ABOUT.COM

23,380

14%

 

48

GO.COM

10,766

7%

24

MSNBC

22,338

14%

 

49

INFOSPACE.COM

10,484

6%

25

CNET

22,275

14%

 

50

TICKETMASTER.COM

9,987

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.

 


Contact:
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comScore Networks
(312) 775-6510
press@comscore.com


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