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.
October 2, 2001 © 2001 Media Life
-Marty Beard is a staff writer for Media Life.