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Americans apparently went online in record numbers to give to charities in September.
According to an advance copy of their findings, research firm comScore Media Metrix, a division of comScore Networks, will report on Monday that RedCross.org had 9.6 million visitors in September 2005, more than five times the traffic in the prior month, and FEMA.gov, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had 4.9 million visitors, up 369 percent from August.
Beyond major government and relief sites, Americans also visited smaller "grassroots" sites to aid in hurricane relief. The highest-gaining category in terms of growth was religion, rising 10 percent to 14.9 million unique visitors in September. Religion sites became the destination for those looking to help others as well as themselves. Daily commentaries, audio broadcasts and e-greetings were popular site destinations.
While many logged on to give, interest in entertainment and television online sites grew 8 percent to 69.3 million unique visitors as consumers looked for information on the fall television season. The top-gaining network television site was ABC.COM, with 7.6 million unique visitors, up 90 percent from the prior month. "Alias," "Desperate Housewives", and "Lost" boosted online traffic.
AOL Television had 10.6 million unique visitors, up 45 percent. MSN Television saw 10.2 million unique visitors, up 76 percent; and Yahoo! TV earned 8.3 million unique visitors, up 30 percent. That trio held the top three spots in entertainment and television category.
The financial online trading category increased 7 percent to 11.7 million unique visitors. Fidelity Investments with 3.7 million unique visitors, was the category's top site; followed by ShareBuilder.com with 2.5 million, and Ameritrade.com with 1.3 million.
Online pharmacy sites received 15.8 million unique visitors, up six percent from August, continuing a trend of growth sparked by increased marketing and expanded product offerings. Drugstore.com had a 15-percent increase in visitation to 3.7 million, making it the largest pharmacy site online. Walgreens.com enjoyed similar success with 17-percent growth fueled by a digital photo promotion with SnapFish.