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Spring Fever Drives Web Traffic as Americans Explore Travel, Educational Testing and Classifieds Sites

comScore Media Metrix Releases March Top 50 Web Rankings and Analysis

RESTON, VA, 2006 - comScore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of consumer activity at top online properties and categories.

Consistent with previous years, the majority of March's Web activity was seasonal, revealing spikes in the travel, genealogy, training/ education, religious, sports/ outdoor retail, classifieds, and auto categories.

"Spring was in the air and it showed online during the month of March," said Peter Daboll, CEO of comScore Media Metrix. "Spikes in these categories are a clear indication that consumers are preparing to enjoy warmer weather and beginning to plan for holiday, spring and summer vacations. Additionally, this month shows undeniable growth within the online classifieds category, which grew an impressive 35 percent from last year, and 13 percent versus last month.

Notably, properties such as have exploded since last year (up 155 percent since March 2005), an indication that online classifieds continue
to draw attention from their print counterparts."

Consumers Log On For Destination Deals and Information

With three of the top ten gaining categories this month falling under the travel umbrella, it is clear that March continued to be a time for making last minute travel, holiday, spring break, and/or summer plans. Car rental properties saw the greatest growth this month - up 22 percent over last month with more than 6.8 million visitors. Not far behind, the Ground Transportation/Cruise Category grew 17 percent over February with 9.8 million visitors, while visitation to Hotel and Resort sites increased 13 percent during the same period, with 32.9 million visitors. Of those, led the category in traffic (up 9 percent to 5.6 million visitors), followed by Marriott (up 11 percent to 4.7 million visitors).

Matriculation March: Students Prep for College Entrance Exams

With the SAT looming in early April, the popularity of online training and education sites soared during March. Overall, the Training and Education category rose 22 percent over February. Visits to the College Board Property, the official SAT Web property, rose 14 percent to 2.8 million visitors, while saw traffic increase 39 percent to 693,000 visitors. Additionally,, a site offering college scholarships, maintained a strong position in the category with 1.7 million visitors and growth of 35 percent versus the previous month.

Growth in Online Classifieds Shows No Signs of Slowing

March was a strong month for online classifieds, as the entire category grew 13 percent over February. More significant, however, was the year-over-year category gain of 35 percent versus March 2005, confirming the allure of online classifieds for advertisers. Notably, continued to be the category leader with 9.5 million visitors, up 12 percent since last month, and up an impressive 155 percent since March 2005. Additionally, Trader Publishing Company, publisher of Auto Trader Magazines, rose 10 percent over February to 8.3 million visitors, followed by (up 28 percent to 4.2 million visitors) and (up 9 percent to 5.2 million visitors).

Movie Consumers Continue to Move Online

The Retail - Movies category also achieved gains in March, increasing 12 percent from the previous month to 25 million visitors. The gains were driven largely by Blockbuster's 49 percent growth (to 6.9 million visitors), second only to Netflix in the category (9.6 million visitors). By launching an online rental service similar to Netflix, Blockbuster has become more competitive in this online arena. Up-and-comer Peerflix, a network that enables peer-to-peer DVD trading, continued to build momentum as it crossed the one million visitor threshold for the month, marking a 69 percent jump over February.

Top 50 Properties

In March, Yahoo! Sites continued to hold the top ranking with 123.8 million visitors, while the Time Warner Network claimed the number two position for the first time since October by attracting 116.6 million visitors. Wikipedia Sites continued its ascent in March, moving up 10 spots to number 18. CBS Corporation jumped nine spots, drawing more than 25 million visitors. Finally,, NBC Universal, and all entered the Top 50 at numbers 48, 49, and 50, respectively.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking

March's Ad Focus Ranking saw the ad network retain its number one position for the 23rd consecutive month. AOL re-entered the Top 10 by reaching 50 percent of all Americans online, while jumped 16 spots to number 20. DrivePM had a strong debut in the Ad Focus Ranking,
entering at number 14, reaching more than 48 million Americans online.

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 proprietary 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, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Tribune Interactive, ESPN, Fox Sports, Nestlé, MBNA, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, Merck and Expedia. For more information, please visit


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