With the release of ratings from two independent companies, local new-media producers just got the most recent picture as to their Web sites’ standing in the local market.
Management for some of the sites say ratings will be a way to better illustrate their markets for advertisers.
According to New York City-based Media Metrix, Inc.’s quarterly report, San Diego Sidewalk (www.sandiego.sidewalk.com), which closed Oct. 31, was the top-ranked locally produced site, with a 14.3 percent reach. In January, Media Metrix installed software on 300 San Diego homes and tracks which sites the users click on.
One ranking looks at local sites and a second one includes national options. Among San Diego users, for instance, Sidewalk’s overall rank was 19th, behind national sites such as America Online, Yahoo and Excite.
After Sidewalk, other top-ranked local sites were, in order: SanDiegoInsider, at (www.sandiegoinsider.com) with a 13.8 percent reach; SignOnSanDiego (www.signonsandiego.com) with 11.9 percent; Digital City (www.digitalcity.com/sandiego) with 11.5 percent; and (www.histar.com) with 6.6 percent.
There’s also the Media Audit survey, for which Houston-based International Demographics, Inc. conducts telephone surveys about online usage.
Series Of Questions
In the most recent one, which was completed Oct. 5, 1,081 people were called with a series of questions, including “Which local Web sites did you use last month?”
SanDiegoInsider ranked first with a 27.7 percent reach. The next highest-ranked sites were San Diego Sidewalk (16.9 percent), SignOnSanDiego (16.5 percent), TV station KNSD’s site (www.nbc739.com) (14.8 percent) and the San Diego Union-Tribune’s site (www.uniontrib.com) (13.1 percent).
For San Diego, the rankings are a fairly recent development, according to Mark Forster, general manager for SanDiegoInsider. The bi-annual Media Audit surveys began January and the second one took place in October. The Media Metrix rankings began this year.
When coupled, the Audit and Metrix rankings can be an accurate portrayal of the local market, Forster said.
“It’s part of the evolution of the Internet,” he said. “Three to four years ago, you didn’t really have this sort of independent auditing of Web site tracking.”
Before that, it was left up to the sites themselves to report its visitor traffic, he said.
Ratings add credibility to the idea of businesses advertising on the ‘Net, said Tracy Johnson, vice president and general manager of KFMB-FM. Johnson oversees its Hi.Star.com Web site, which was ranked 4th in Media Metrix.
The site’s advertising revenue has grown, Johnson said, but he didn’t talk specifics.
Sidewalk, launched locally in November 1997, shut down San Diego operations last month, because Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch bought it from Microsoft. City Search already had an exclusivity agreement with SignOnSanDiego. SignOn has since incorporated many of the local Sidewalk’s features onto its own site.
Now, when the local Sidewalk address is pulled up, there’s a listing of CitySearch guides. Selecting “San Diego” brings the visitor to SignOnSanDiego.
The closing of San Diego Sidewalk leaves potential traffic to be divided among the other sites, Forster said. This current quarter’s Media Metrix ranking could be important, he said.