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Financial crisis, election alter web traffic patterns


What were people looking at online last month? It's not sexy, but it's true: political and economic news.

As always, search engines topped the list (Google, Yahoo, etc.), but in September 2008 the economy and politics drove internet traffic to news and wiki sites, according to the comScore Media Metrix monthly analysis of US consumer activity at online properties.

As the election draws closer, visits to and have surged., one of the fastest-gaining properties of the month, led the category with 5.4 million visitors (up 37% versus August). ranked behind, with only 3 million visitors, but that number indicates a 109% increase from August. The left-leaning, which has covered the election intensively in the past few weeks, was also among the the top-gaining sites, with 4.5 million visitors (up 38% over August).

As several major banks crumbled in September and Congress raced to pass a $700 billion bailout plan to stabilize the financial markets, visits to business/finance - news/research and online trading sites soared, says the Comcast report.

Yahoo Finance led the category with nearly 20 million visitors, a 30% jump from August. Several other sites experienced particularly strong growth, including Russian financial site RBC.RU (up 155% to 1.2 million visitors), (up 127% to 1.2 million visitors), and Google Finance (up 67% to 1.4 million visitors).

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