30 May 2007
Foreigners are not only visiting South Africa by the planeload, they’re also a strong presence in South African cyberspace, significantly boosting the traffic of the country’s news websites.
According to the latest figures from the Online Publisher’s Association (OPA), news24 remained the most visited site in South Africa, registering a monthly average of 1.72-million unique browsers in the first quarter of 2007. The majority of those browsers – almost a million – were from outside the country.
The Independent Online website – South Africa’s second most visited – also attracted large numbers of readers from outside SA in the first three months of the year: just over 800 000 out of a monthly average of 1.28-million unique browsers.
Foreign visitors users also contributed significantly to the traffic on the seventh-place Mail & Guardian website (40% were from outside SA) and to at least one non-news website, that of online auctioneer Bid or Buy (46%).
According to the OPA – which represents the biggest commercial web publishers in South Africa – the number of unique browsers from outside the country increased from 4.2-million in the first quarter of 2006 to 4.4-million in the first quarter of 2007.
At the same time, strong growth in local traffic saw the total number of unique browsers visiting OPA member sites jump from 6.69-million to 7.74-million over the same period, an increase of almost 16% – resulting in a dip in foreign readership in percentage terms, from 63% of total readers to 57%.
Foreign browsers accounted for a smaller percentage of traffic among SA’s non-news websites, Bid or Buy being the exception.
The M-Web site was SA’s third most visited overall, attracting an average 728 319 users a month in the first quarter. Counting only local traffic, however, M-Web climbed to second place with 616 935 readers a month.
In fourth place on both counts was web-based e-mail service Webmail, with over 570 000 users a month – 82% of them local.
SA search engine Ananzi placed fifth on the SA readership only list, but dropped to ninth when foreign users were included. Conversely, climbing from seventh to fifth place on the foreign-inclusive count was news-driven portal iafrica.com.
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