News Sites, Search Engines Drive Traffic to Humanitarian Web Sites

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The share of U.S. visits to humanitarian Web sites jumped 180 percent in the week ending Jan. 1 versus the prior week, according to Internet monitoring service Hitwise USA Inc.'s tracking of traffic in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami Dec. 26.

Visits from the United States to humanitarian and relief sites peaked Dec. 30, when they accounted for 0.096 percent of all daily Internet traffic, Hitwise said.

The top two charity sites for the week were American Red Cross at and the United Nations Children's Fund at and Traffic to the Red Cross and UNICEF sites soared 1,285 percent and 2,034 percent, respectively, for the week ending Jan. 1 versus the prior one.

The data underscore the need for humanitarian and charitable groups to have scalable Web sites to handle a massive influx of traffic resulting from unexpected occurrences.

News sites played a key role in guiding online users to where they could donate funds, an analysis of Hitwise clickstream data found. They directly referred 17.1 percent of traffic to humanitarian sites for the week ending Jan. 1 versus 5.5 percent the week before.

The most referrals, however, came from search engines and directories: 29 percent for the week compared with 20 percent for the prior week. Web logs, too, played a part. Hitwise said the blog site Tsunami Help at was the 10th-most-visited site in the humanitarian category. It recorded a 1,926 percent increase in market share of visits between Dec. 27 and Dec. 31.

Top 10 humanitarian sites by market share of Internet visits to the humanitarian category

Period : Week ending Jan. 1, 2005




Market Share of Visits


American Red Cross



United Nations Children's Fund,



The Hunger Site



Network for Good



World Vision,



The Child Health Site



United Nations



Reuters AlertNet



International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent



Tsunami Help


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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