Just an Online Minute... Government Traffic

If anything can be reliably predicted these days it's that websites that offer information about current events will continue to experience unprecedented boosts in traffic. Interestingly enough, some of the more popular sites are maintained by goverment agencies.

Nielsen//NetRatings reports that traffic to various government websites skyrocketed during the week ending October 14, as surfers turned to the Internet for information on the recent anthrax and terrorist-related cases.

"The need for thorough and reliable information is critical, especially during this time when facts of recent events may be inaccurately reported," said Allen Weiner, VP and principal analyst at NetRatings. "Government websites play a large role in educating surfers, offering guidance on steps to take during these uncertain times."

The website for the Center of Disease Control jumped more than 118% to 515,000 unique surfers. More than 59% of the site's audience accessed pages containing information on the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Anthrax.

Traffic to the official site for the Federal Bureau of Investigation skyrocketed 518% to 908,000 unique visitors, as compared to 147,000 surfers the week before. Sixty-seven percent of the site's audience accessed pages featuring photographs and background information on the most wanted terrorists, with 25% logging onto the page featuring information on Osama bin Laden.

The site for the U.S. Department of Justice posted a 62% gain, rising to 227,000 surfers. More than 39% of the site's audience visited pages featuring photographs and biographical information about the nation's most wanted fugitives.