News sites flourish after attacks

Reflecting the public’s insatiable hunger for news following the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S., the most-visited sites on the Web last month were news sites, according to a report released Monday by Jupiter Media Metrix Inc.

News sites experienced a jump in activity last month as the public scrambled to keep abreast of breaking developments after terrorist attacks rocked New York and Washington, D.C. More than 50 million people visited news sites in September, spending significantly more time online than in the previous month, Jupiter reported. was the top news site, with 24.8 million unique visitors last month, up 141 per cent from the previous month. Users spent an average of 33 minutes on in September, 39 per cent more than the average 23.8 minutes they spent in August. was the second most popular news source, with 22.2 million unique visitors in September, up 66 per cent from August. Users spent an average of 32.1 minutes on last month, 46 per cent more than the average 22 minutes they spent on the site in the previous month.

These two news powerhouses were followed by, with 9.5 million unique visitors in September, and ABC News (, with 8.9 million unique visitors.

Although the anthrax scares currently gripping the U.S. were not known in September, the top online newcomer for the month was a pharmaceutical site called, which boasted 10.1 million unique visitors in September, with a majority of traffic spurred by pop-up ads, Jupiter analysts reported.

Other newcomers that were driven by the attacks included, a documentary-style photo essay site, and fundraising sites and had 2.6 million unique visitors in September, while and had 2.1 million and 733,000, respectively.

Overall top-visited sites were the collective properties of the AOL Time Warner Inc. network, with over 81 million unique visitors, followed by the MSN-Microsoft Corp. sites with 70 million unique visitors.

Yahoo Inc. properties, meanwhile, boasted 65.5 million unique users in September.

The sites that experienced the most growth in unique visitors between August and September were the network of sites, which grew 92.7 per cent from 7.3 million to 14.1 million visitors over the period. features real estate and home furnishing products.

Second in visitor growth were the properties of New York Times Digital, which swelled 86.3 per cent from August to 10.3 million unique visitors in September.

Jupiter Media Metrix, in New York, is at