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May 4 , 2010

15 most visited Canadian web sites

Social media use is on the rise, Suite101.com

Suite101.com, a global content site that provides trusted and reliable information to consumers has released its second annual readership index of Canadian-owned Web sites, entitled "Where The Online Readers Are." The second annual index reveals that the top sites remain largely content sites, and social media activity by the top-trafficked sites has increased substantially.

In 2009 the Index revealed that content was definitely king, with ten of the top 15 sites being publishers of news and information. In 2010, content is still dominant but beginning to lose ground as social media companies have entered the Index. Four Canadian-owned sites were new to the list this year. The 2010 results show that two thirds of the Index gained global traffic over last year while one third saw their global traffic ranking decline.

"It's not surprising to see content sites remain highly trafficked in Canada for the second year in a row," said Peter Berger, CEO, Suite101.com. "What is new this year is seeing the arrival of social-media related sites in the Index. It's also interesting to see how the two intersect: content sites are using social media tools to promote their articles, news and content. Consumers continue to have an appetite for high quality, informative content. Facebook, Twitter and related Canadian-owned tools like HootSuite are fantastic vehicles to increase readership."

Rank Company/ URL Global Alexa Type of Website Rank* Site (last year rank in brackets)


1 Plenty of Fish www.plentyoffish.com 344 (459) Dating/ community


2 Ow.ly http://ow.ly/url/shorten-url 468 new URL shortener


3 Government of Canada www.gc.ca 540 (597) Government


4 Metro Lyrics www.metrolyrics.com 587 (419) Song lyrics


5 Suite 101.com www.suite101.com 660 (1641) Content


6 Whos Amung Us http://whos.amung.us 843 new Social media


7 HootSuite www.hootsuite.com 877 new Marketing


8 Sympatico www.sympatico.ca 1206 new Content/ services


9 CBC www.cbc.ca 1195 (1352) Content


10 The Weather Network www.theweathernetwork.com 1703 (1650) Content


11 TD Canada Trust www.tdcanadatrust.com 1795 (1749) Commerce


12 The Globe and Mail www.theglobeandmail.com 1801 (2720) Content


13 Canoe.ca www.canoe.ca 1951 (1642) Content


14 Toronto Star www.thestar.com 2400 (2631) Content


15 Rogers Communication www.rogers.com 2409 (1943) Content/ services


*as of 4/28/10

"One of the challenges in ranking Web site popularity is knowing which metrics to measure," said Todd Maffin, social media expert. "One site might have a high volume of visits, but might be low in influence. It is interesting to see that the majority of these sites are using social media to increase exposure and build an audience. Social media can help these organizations - especially content-driven sites - develop a stronger Web presence in order to boost influence, which is quickly becoming a more important metric than hits."

Index Findings:

- The Index revealed interesting patterns in how the top Canadian sites are using social media tools. All but one of the sites use Twitter to increase awareness and marketshare; the one that does not, Ow.ly is a tool widely used on the social media platform to shorten URLs.

- Social media is gaining ground quickly in Canada: three of the top ten sites are used within social media and all are newcomers to the Index.

- All of the top 15 sites use Facebook to create fan communities and influence. Telecom giant Rogers Communications has also seen that Facebook can be a way for disgruntled customers to air discontent, as the company has a handful of online groups boycotting the business.

- Content is losing ground in Canada but remains popular: over half of the top 15 sites focus on content:

- Newspaper outlets are not dying; The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star gained online traffic in the last year.

- Suite101 had the biggest traffic increase in the last year, jumping 981 points in Alexa rankings.

- Only three content sites in the top 15 are truly Web-based without a print or broadcast outlet: Suite101.com, Sympatico.ca and Canoe.ca.

- The majority of the top Canadian content sites publish material that has been overseen by editorial staff: none are blog or public opinion sites, though they may include these elements.

Index Criteria

Companies must be Canadian-owned. Sites with a US parent company such as Google.ca or Amazon.ca are not eligible. The report is based on Alexa.com global rankings for website traffic. Alexa is an accepted system that analyzes web traffic using online toolbars and data sources. (The world's most visited site gets an Alexa rank of 1.) Categories are based on those used by the Online Publishers Association. The Index was inspired by the Canadian tech community Index of start-up companies. Suite101.com publishes this Index annually to track the popularity of Canadian-owned sites.

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