RealTime IT News

ABIS Releases South African Web Traffic Report

The Audit Bureau of Internet Standards (ABIS) has released traffic results on South African sites for the last quarter of 1999.

Africam ranked as the top-rated site with more than 24 million impressions. Africam, which features footage of major game parks throughout South Africa, has been criticized as overinflating its audited traffic because the site frequently refreshes itself during a single site visit, which detractors call an artificial boost.

Vying for second place in the local popularity stakes were two portals, M-Web and Iafrica. Iafrica's 13 million was slightly up on the site's third-quarter figures while the M-Web network, which includes MCafe and Max, showed growth in some sites while falling off in others.

A significantly entrant into the online media market, the Independent, made its debut with 1.7 million page views, which resonated in sharp drops for other online business media.

Interest in business and finance sites waned in the last quarter, as reflected in several site traffic drops. Business Day's visitor stats dropped by over a fifth to 564,176, while Business Times by nearly a quarter (from 561,093 to 400,298) and the Financial Mail lost 38 percent of its traffic (from 425,271 to 265,301).

In contrast, general media sources did well in the last quarter of last year, with News24 nearly doubling its traffic (from 1.07 million to 1.99 million) and the Sunday Times' online version also reported moderate gains (from 303,634 to 356,721 impressions). The newspaper has the country's largest print circulations, and recently moved its online production to a daily service.

The real kudos of the period under review should go to Supersport. In a nation of fanatical sports watchers, the traffic for the Supersport network more than doubled (from 2.2 million to nearly 5.4 million) making the sites amongst the most popular in the country.

Other sites that showed significant growth included JunkMail, CARtoday.com and MoneyMax.

Traffic to the top 27 sites increased by nearly 15 percent, while the increase in popularity of entertainment sites may herald a shift in focus amongst Internet users. As business information-related Web sites lost ground to more comprehensive generalised news portals and leisure sites, it seems that a wider audience is being drawn onto the Web from a South African population with wider interests.

Another significant results of the findings is the increase in advertising expenditure amongst the online population. Ad spending for 1999 amounted to R32.5 million and ABIS Chairman Michael Wright believes this figure is set to more than double for this year.