Matt Drudge's rise
as a hot ad domain


Traffic surge pushes site to No. 20 on the charts

By Marty Beard

   Whether you think that Matt Drudge is Walter Winchell reincarnated or just the class gossipmonger of American politics
, DrudgeReport.com has long been a site to be reckoned with.
   Now, after the attacks on the World Trade Center, Drudge’s site has become an ad domain to be reckoned with.
   For the week ending Sept. 16, the Drudge Report was the No. 20 ad domain, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, with 10,759,000 impressions, reaching 0.76 percent of the internet audience. This marks the first time that the popular site has ranked as a top ad domain.
   The sudden surge in impressions appears to relate to the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. In the week ending Sept. 9, according to Nielsen//NetRatings’ data, the site attracted 535,000 unique visitors.
   After the attacks, the number of weekly unique visitors to DrudgeReport.com jumped almost 38 percent, to 734,000 unique visitors in the week ending Sept. 16.
   According to DrudgeReport.com, the site has received 90 million visits in the past 31 days. But high traffic volume is nothing new for the stripped-down site. Following the presidential elections, so many people clogged the site that it was all but inaccessible.
   Drudge earned his reputation by posting unconfirmed reports and rumors of political skullduggery in the Clinton White House, many of which later turned out to be true, including early reports that Clinton was having an affair with a young intern.
   Following last month’s terrorist attacks, people logged on and tuned in to every news site around, apparently including the Drudge Report, looking for the latest information.
   Within hours of the hijackings, crashes and collapses, Drudge posted links to stories suggesting that Osama bin Laden was in house arrest in Afghanistan. Not long after, he posted another link to a story that insisted that the wanted man had fled Afghanistan.
   The site was founded in 1994, and it has been running banners since 1999, when it began working with interactive ad networks such as ValueClick.
   Ad networks, including L90 and 24/7 Media, serve banner ads on DrudgeReport.com these days, and the banners are the same as those one encounters on any mainstream web site, including spots for the Salvation Army and the GetSmart Visa card.
   The same phenomenon that made the Drudge Report a top ad domain extended to the web sites of USA Today and The Washington Post, which followed on Drudgereport.com’s heels as top ad domains, at spots 21 and 22, respectively.
   Traffic to Washingtonpost.com increased 106 percent following the attacks. In the week ending Sept. 9, 877,000 unique visitors stopped by the site, and in the week ending Sept. 16, 1.8 million unique visitors logged on.
   Roughly 852,000 unique visitors came to USAToday.com during the week ending Sept. 9, and 1.2 million visited during the week ending Sept. 16, an increase of 41 percent.


Top 10 Advertisers


Advertiser

Impressions (000)

Unique Audience
(000)

Active Reach
(%)

1. Microsoft Corp.

532,605

23,791

32.63

2. AOL Time Warner

336,950

22,336

30.63

3. Yahoo

295,710

16,885

23.16

4. Providian Financial Corp.

224,811

23,576

32.33

5. EBay

130,464

11,935

16.37

6. Classmates Online

117,858

13,443

18.44

7. Cassava Enterprises

92,404

13,274

18.2

8. Nextcard

92,113

11,748

16.11

9. Debticated Consumer Counseling

89,099

11,150

15.29

10. Citigroup

88,183

13,508

18.52

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

 

Top Ten Banners


Advertiser

Impressions (000)

Unique Audience
(000)

Active Reach
(%)

1. Classmates Online

101,082

9,881

13.55

2. Debticated Consumer Counseling Inc.

44,936

8,670

11.89

3. Debticated Consumer Counseling Inc.

41,368

7,572

10.38

4. Providian Financial Corp.

20,494

6,707

9.2

5. DietSmart

20,392

6,249

8.57

6. Citibank

22,798

6,200

8.5

7. Bonzi.com

42,532

5,717

7.84

8. Nextcard

23,397

5,678

7.79

9. Citibank

15,707

5,397

7.4

10. Providian Financial Corp.

19,763

5,125

7.03

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

 

Top 25 Advertising Domains


Domain Impressions (000) Active Reach (%)
1. yahoo.com

921,152

29.8

2. msn.com

902,090

31.16

3. aol.com

348,672

28.62

4. netscape.com

135,430

7.24

5. ebay.com

141,681

5.49

6. lycos.com

124,368

3.59

7. msnbc.com

56,031

8.36

8. time.com

54,468

5.21

9. att.net

47,354

2.58

10. musiccity.com

90,267

1.79

11. pogo.com

65,259

2.39

12. monster.com

56,144

1.47

13. go.com

57,830

6.67

14. excite.com

45,087

3.52

15. netzero.net

23,073

1.43

16. compuserve.com

22,808

2.78

17. cnet.com

17,060

2.31

18. audiogalaxy.com

37,387

1.15

19. mapquest.com

22,815

2.59

20. drudgereport.com

10,759

0.76

21. usatoday.com

10,152

1.15

22. washingtonpost.com

10,128

1.71

23. fastclick.net

8,826

3.55

24. bellsouth.net

8,603

0.68

25. zdnet.com

8,517

1.16

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

 

October 2, 2001 © 2001 Media Life


-Marty Beard is a staff writer for Media Life.


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