News Remained Among Top 30 Newspaper Web Sites in May

By Sandeep Kaushik June 18, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, Editor & Publisher issued their rankings of traffic at newspaper web sites in May. It contained some very good news for the Seattle, which, despite the shuttering of their print edition in March, continues to draw substantial web traffic. They ranked 28th on the E&P list, with just under 1.5 million unique visitors for the month, down four percent from a year earlier.

That number remains competitive with the Seattle Times, which finished 25th, with about 1.7 million uniques for the month (down 12 percent from the numbers they posted in May 2008).

These numbers come with a couple of caveats. A lot of newspapers question the way Nielsen Online calculates the rankings, which those papers say does not mesh with the detailed data they have from internal and other outside sources. Also, as several people at the Seattle Times have pointed out to me in the recent past, all clicks are not created equal. A significant portion of the's traffic comes from the web site's photo galleries of chicks in bikinis, rather than from news content (as someone who recommended the P-I try this appraoch way back in 2003, I really can't get too upset about it). That kind of web traffic is much less desirable to advertisers, my Times sources say.

Still, the high E&P ranking is a noteworthy achievement for the P-I, particularly since Hearst has not made much of an effort to market the site since the loss of the print edition. A lot of people expected an online only P-I to fade away quickly, and that does not appear to be happening, at least so far. My P-I sources sound increasingly confident that they will be able to generate high levels of traffic at the site over the long haul, though they concede that it is still an open question whether that traffic will generate sufficent revenue to support an operation with several dozen news, web and sales staffers.  

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