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UK surfers hogged web over Christmas
by Richard Powell at 16:00 02/01/03 (IT)
A new national obsession, the death of the board game or a poor Christmas television line-up? Any of these could have been the reason why so many Britons had an 'online Christmas.'
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  • The London Internet Exchange (LINX) reported data transfers of more than 17 Gbit/second on Boxing Day evening and over 15 Gbit/second in the evening of Christmas Day itself.

    One gigabit is roughly equivalent to 60,000 average e-mail messages.

    LINX, which handles up to 96 per cent of the UK’s Internet traffic, said this was almost twice the level of traffic recorded on the same days last year when the Boxing Day peak was around nine Gbit/second and Christmas Day traffic reached eight Gbit/second.

    Vanessa Evans, Sales and Marketing manager for LINX, said: "It is impossible to tell from the traffic figures what exactly people were doing on the Internet. The timing of the traffic may reflect time differences between people in the UK and their relatives overseas if they were sending email. Alternatively, it may just mean that people settled down in front of their screens after their Christmas meals. It is clear the Internet has become an increasingly important part of Christmas, both in communication and entertainment."

    Web researchers, Nielsen/NetRatings, have also just awarded prize titles to 2002’s 'stickiest' sites, both in the UK and abroad.

    "The Internet has become an increasingly important part of Christmas"
    Vanessa Evans, Sales and Marketing manager at LINX
    According to the company: e-commerce Site of the Year was eBay UK (ebay.co.uk) with 2.9 million 'at-home' visitors.

    eBay's online audience share leapt 9.6 points over the course of 2002.

    British Site of the Year was named as BBCi (bbc.co.uk), which attracted 4.1 million at-home visitors. It’s audience share rose 6.8 points.

    "News is still the BBC’s strongest suit, but the way it’s diversified its BBCi portal, with search, digital radio, and programme-based content has been extremely successful," the report said.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, search engine granddaddy, Google (google.com/google.co.uk), was awarded the coveted title of Website of the Year with 4.7 million at-home visitors.

    The plain but powerful search site founded by two Stanford Ph.D. students in 1998 saw its audience share rise 10 points in 2003 to a total of 28 per cent - almost a third of all queries on the web.

    ‘Google’ has even begun to be used in conversation as a verb - to ‘google’ someone means looking up a person on Google to find out about him or her. Young professionals "google" each other before a first date.

    Perhaps more impressive than that, Google remains consistently in profit.

    Tom Ewing, a European Internet Analyst, said: "2002 was an exciting year for the Internet in the UK. We started to see a number of well-known sites reaching break-even or profitability this year, as the market reached maturity. We now have an environment where the best-known brands are well established and trusted, and where good new ideas can rapidly acquire the audience base they need to succeed. Not all the sites we’ve singled out appear in our top domains lists each month but they’ve been 2002’s best performers and show the resilience and creativity of the online sector."

    Richard Powell, © Shout99.com 2003

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