Large Search Engines More Popular Now Than Last Year

Web surfers visited the leading search engines more frequently this year than last, according to new data just released by Hitwise. This year, for the week ending Oct. 30, one out of 14 visits to the Internet by U.S. Web users was to one of the top 10 search engines, which represents an increase of 7 percent from the last week in October 2003. The largest sites include well-known names such as Google, Yahoo! Search, MSN Search, and Ask.com (also known as "Ask Jeeves").

"More and more people are going to search engines to find what they're looking for," said Bill Tancer, Hitwise's vice president of research. The best-known sites, he said, grew in popularity thanks to their brand equity with consumers. "Google's become ubiquitous with the entire Internet population," said Tancer.

The data, compiled by Hitwise from its online panel of 10 million U.S.-based Web users, also showed that time spent at the various search sites varied widely. Visitors to Google spend an average of 12 minutes and 31 seconds at the site, while visitors to Yahoo! Search remain for an average of 11 minutes, 24 seconds. But visitors at MSN Search spend, on average, only 7 minutes and 9 seconds at the site. Length of visit also varied among the newer search sites. For instance, users spent 10 minutes and 31 seconds on average at Vivisimo.com, but only about 4 minutes and 57 seconds at Snap.com.

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