Several federal sites rank among the most popular on the Web

Several federal sites rank among the most popular on the Web

By Shawn P. McCarthy

Special to GCN

FEB. 28—A dozen government Web sites rank among the 600 most popular on the Internet, according to a new survey by Media Metrix of New York, a company that measures Internet and digital media use.

The government's showing in the January ratings of 2,200 top news, entertainment and shopping sites indicates that agencies are doing a good job of presenting information on the Web.

The data came from a large, representative sample of 50,000 individuals who agreed to let Media Metrix track their Web surfing habits at home and at work. Data was extrapolated to represent the habits of tens of millions of other Web users.

The No. 1 federal site last month was the IRS home page, at www.irs.gov. It usually makes the government top 10 and jumped to first place as people began thinking about their taxes. The rank of the Treasury Department's site, at www.ustreas.gov, might have risen for the same reason.

The government top 10 also included consistent federal favorites such as NASA's site, which has numerous subdomains. Other federal favorites were the Postal Service site and the FedWorld gateway maintained by the Commerce Department.

Although the total number of users measured by the survey is 50,000, some users might be inactive in any given month. The Media Metrix "reach" figure for a particular domain is the percentage of the total sample that visited it. The Internet's top four sites, the Web portals of Yahoo.com, America Online Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Lycos Inc., each have millions of page views each day. Their reach numbers ran 45 to 65.

Government sites fell well below that. IRS' reach, for example, was 3.6. All government sites combined had a Web reach of 35 for January, up from just below 30 in December. That means 35 percent of the people in the study visited a government site at least once in January.


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