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RealTime IT News

Yahoo! Trails Ninemsn in Australian Web Publisher Stakes

Analyst firm IMR Worldwide has added further fuel to the fiery debate about Web audience metrics in Australia with the release overnight of figures which challenge the claims of Yahoo! Australia & NZ to be on a par with the country's leading publisher, Ninemsn.

According to figures from IMR released to australia.internet.com overnight, Yahoo!'s reach to the Australian Internet-using public was only 54.2 per cent during January, compared to 60.8 per cent for the extensive ninemsn network of sites. IMR calculated Ninemsn's audience of unique visitors to be 2,187,000, compared to Yahoo!'s 1,950,000. Both site's visitor numbers had risen by around nine per cent over IMR's December figures.

However, Ninemsn's figures have been inflated over summer due to one seasonal factor: cricket. The Ninemsn site baggy green was promoted extensively on the official television coverage of the cricket season on the Nine Network. This lead to baggy green appearing at number 14 on IMR's list of Australian sites accessed by Australians, with an 11.4 per cent audience reach.

Perhaps the most telling statistic in the IMR survey is the difference between the reach of Yahoo!'s Australian content as opposed to when the Australian and global sites are combined. Yahoo! Australia & NZ drew only 689,000 unique visitors in January, which is around a third of the combined figure of almost two million.

The top ten Australian Web publishers viewed by Australians, according to IMR, were: Ninemsn, Pacific Access, F2 (Fairfax), News Interactive, OzEmail, Yahoo Australia & NZ, LookSmart (Australian site), Commonwealth Bank, Telstra Big Pond, and Telstra. Of this group, F2 had shown the most growth since December with a jump of 39.4 per cent, followed by News and the Commonwealth Bank which had risen by a third.

IMR's figures for individual site rankings, which were released on Monday, showed Ninemsn's central site was the most popular Australian site, and only trailed Microsoft when international sites were included. Yahoo!'s Australian site (11) trailed the US parent site (4) and the company's GeoCities property (5) in the global ranking list.