EXCLUSIVE: Top 30 Web Sites for April — Detroit Gains

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By: Jennifer Saba

For the first time in a long while, monthly uniques at NYTimes.com fell for April, although the paper disputes it. According to data from Nielsen Online, uniques at the site dropped 8% to 16.5 million in April compared to the same month last year.

The NYTimes.com is still the No. 1 newspaper Web site.

New York Times spokesperson Diane McNulty said the company is disputing the decline. “We believe their data is in error,” McNulty wrote in an e-mail to E&P. “We’re reviewing the methodology now as the numbers are inconsistent with three other independent sources and our own internal data.”

As E&P has reported in the past, online metrics vary wildly among sources. Critics contend that panel-based metrics, such as Nielsen and comScore, under-count users since the panels are drawn from a national pool. Analytic software, from companies like Omniture, count the number of users directly from servers. But many argue that site-centric software over-count users.

Meanwhile, the number of uniques at WSJ.com soared 160% year-over-year to 12.3 million.

April marks the first month the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News, operated by the Detroit Media Partnership (DMP), no longer provided home delivery during four days of the week. The number of unique visitors at the Free Press increased 74% year-over-year to 1.5 million. At the Detroit News, which did not make the top 30 list, monthly uniques were up 32% to 1 million in April, according to Nielsen.

Welcome back, Seattlepi.com! After dropping off the top 30 list in March, the site is No. 29 in April. Monthly uniques decreased 17% to 1.4 million for that month. However, Seattlepi.com disputes the Nielsen data. By the site’s internal count, uniques in April were up 1.6% to 4.3 million.

Below is the latest custom list of top 30 newspaper Web sites based on U.S. panels and ranked by unique audience for April. The percent change compares April 2009 to April 2008 data. Please keep in mind there are several reasons why traffic fluctuates, including news events. (Nielsen Online and E&P are owned by the same company.)

Site — April ’09 uniques — YoY % change

NYTimes.com — 16,546,000 — (-8%)
Wall Street Journal Online — 12,398,000 — 160%
USATODAY.com — 11,987,000 — 12%
washingtonpost.com — 10,232,000 — 8%
LA Times — 8,418,000 — 18%

Boston.com — 5,888,000 — 33%
Daily News Online Edition — 5,033,000 — 73%
New York Post — 4,403,000 — 27%
Chicago Tribune — 4,342,000 — 30%
SFGate.com/San Francisco Chronicle — 3,489,000 — (-9%)

Newsday — 3,380,000 — 32%
Politico — 3,208,000 — 83%
The Washington Times — 2,772,000 — 70%
Atlanta Journal-Constitution — 2,677,000 — (-3%)
The Houston Chronicle — 2,659,000 — 9%

NJ.com — 2,658,000 — 106%
Chicago Sun-Times — 2,495,000 — (-7%)
The Seattle Times — 2,318,000 — 39%
MiamiHerald.com — 2,192,000 — 104%
DallasNews.com – The Dallas Morning News — 2,166,000 — (-12%)

Baltimore Sun — 2,030,000 — 23%
Star Tribune — 1,991,000 — 40%
Azcentral.com — 1,779,000 — 9%
Orlando Sentinel — 1,634,000 — 42%
Detroit Free Press — 1,572,000 — 74%

Philly.com — 1,547,000 — (-2%)
Boston Herald — 1,516,000 — 63%
tampabay.com — 1,467,000 — 27%
Seattle Post-Intelligencer — 1,454,000 — (-17%)
MercuryNews.com — 1,438,000 — (-15%)

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