Online Traffic Surges In Katrina's Wake

Hurricane Katrina fueled traffic to news and weather sites as well as blogs this week, with millions flocking to such sites to learn more about the category five storm.

MSNBC.com reported a record 9 million individual streams of video footage of the hurricane. The previous single-day record was set by the space shuttle landing earlier this month, which was streamed 5.3 million times. Weather.com also reported high traffic numbers--according to their internal reporting, on Monday, the site saw 7 million unique users, the second-highest day in the history of the site. The highest traffic numbers in the site's history--7.15 million--came during hurricane Ivan in September of last year.

Both MSNBC.com and Weather.com ran their regularly scheduled ads on the sites. An MSNBC.com spokeswoman added that no marketers voiced objections to having their ads run next to coverage of the devastation.

Research company Keynote reported Tuesday that Weather.com saw a slight reduction of availability--some missing graphic content pushed the site's full content availability down to 62 percent for 35 minutes at around 7:00 a.m. on Monday. Availability of the base page remained between 98 and 100 for the duration of the readership surge. Keynote's Tuesday report corrected one issued the day before stating that Weather.com was largely unavailable for several hours on Sunday.

The blogosphere also covered Katrina extensively. According to Intelliseek's BlogPulse tool, Hurricane Katrina was discussed in roughly 2.5 percent of all blog posts on Monday, and four out of the five most-linked posts and three of the five most-linked news stories on Monday were about Katrina.

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