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Vol 1, #1, March 17, 2009
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In Canada, content is king when it comes to attracting traffic

Top 15 most-visited websites revealed

The most visited Canadian-owned site is MetroLyrics

Canadian sites that publish original news and articles enjoy the highest traffic according to the first index designed to look at visitor traffic for Canadian-owned websites.

Vancouver-based online magazine www.Suite101.com has released Where the Online Readers Are, the first readership index of Canadian-owned websites which was created to show which Canadian-owned websites get the most traffic and to highlight the most popular website "types." The January index shows that content sites dominate, with ten of the fifteen highest traffic, Canadian-owned sites publish news and information.

"There has been a lack of research on Canadian-owned websites and how much traffic they get. Yet the results are surprising," said Peter Berger, CEO of Suite101.com Media. "The top Canadian owned sites aren't shopping or search sites-they're content sites."

Here are the top 15 sites according to the index:

  1. Metro Lyrics, www.metrolyrics.com
  2. Plenty of Fish, www.plentyoffish.com
  3. Government of Canada, www.gc.ca
  4. CBC, www.cbc.ca
  5. Suite101.com, www.suite101.com
  6. Canoe.ca, www.canoe.ca
  7. Canada.com, www.canada.com
  8. The Weather Network, www.theweathernetwork.com
  9. TD Canada Trust, www.tdcanadatrust.com
  10. Rogers Communications, www.rogers.com
  11. Spintop Games, www.spintop-games.com
  12. The Toronto Star, www.thestar.com
  13. The Globe and Mail, www.theglobeandmail.com
  14. CTV, www.ctv.ca
  15. TSN - The Sports Network, www.tsn.ca

"This is consistent with what we find in the US through our Internet Activity Index, where we track where people spend time online,” said Pam Foran, President of the New York based Online Publishers Association. In January the majority of consumers spent time with Content (44%) followed next by Communications (26%). We see this trend continuing, as it has for the five years we have been tracking time spent online."

This finding also points to the appetite for professionally created content, rather than for opinion sites that may not be professionally edited.

"Consumers ascribe different value to different types of content," Foran notes. "Professionally created content commands significant trust which is reflected in the increased traffic to many of the newspaper online sites which continue to grow significantly. Consumers need quality content to stay informed on news events and to help make buying decisions."

Findings at-a-glance:

  • Only two content sites in the top fifteen are true "online only" publications without a print or broadcast outlet: Suite101.com and Canoe.ca.
  • The top Canadian content sites publish material that has been overseen by editorial staff; they are not blog or public opinion sites (though may include these elements).
  • Most Canadian content sites are general interest sites for a range of visitors; only two focus on specific topics or content areas (sports, weather).
  • Eight of the ten content sites are secondary outlets: the site publishes information that was first designed for release by newspaper, broadcast, or other outlet.
  • There are no Canadian-owned search engines ranked in the top fifteen.
  • There are no Canadian-owned shopping sites and only two commerce sites in the top fifteen.
  • The most visited Canadian-owned site is MetroLyrics, a searchable database of song lyrics. The second most visited Canadian-owned site is dating site Plenty of Fish.
  • The top two sites are located in Vancouver, are free for users, and receive significant visitor traffic from the US.

Index criteria

Companies must be Canadian-owned. Sites with a US parent company, such as Google.ca or Amazon.ca, would not be eligible. Site categories are based on those provided by the Online Publishers Association:

  1. Content: sites that provide original news, information and entertainment.
  2. Commerce: sites that are designed for shopping online.
  3. Communication: sites that facilitate the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information directly between individuals or groups of individuals.
  4. Community: sites that combine user-generated content with communications to foster relationships between members and groups of members. (eg. Facebook)
  5. Search: sites that scan the Web to provide results based on specific criteria from user-generated requests. (eg. Google)

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