Some Bright Spots Among Online Traffic Decline

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While nearly 70 percent of pure-play Internet companies saw their online traffic decrease last month, online travel, jobs and entertainment were among several categories that managed to attract more visitors, according to PC Data's Top 100 list.

The jump in traffic, however, may not be much of a boost for sites in those categories.

"Many investors and capitalists are realizing that it takes more than unique users and more than a large visitor base to generate a successful online company," said John Megahed, director of research and analysis at PC Data, Reston, VA. "Things like loyalty measures, stickiness and return visitation are key at this point ... and profitability, which means not only bringing a lot of users, but converting the lookers to bookers.

"The fast, free, fun stuff of the Web doesn't make a lot of money for many companies," he added.

But offline companies could benefit from increased traffic even if it does not result in sales, Megahed said, provided those companies use the Web as a promotional outlet, to offer customer service or as an opportunity to extend their brands.

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