Hitwise, August 10, 2003
Comparison Shopping Engines Gain Traction

Shopping.com Network Leads the Category in Customer Referrals to Online Retailers

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 10/08/2003 -- Hitwise, the world's leading online competitive intelligence service, reports that U.S. traffic to Shopping & Classifieds websites (such as BestBuy.com, WalMart.com) continues to increase, accounting for almost six percent of all U.S. Internet visits for week ending September 27th.

Comparison shopping engines such as Shopping.com and Yahoo! Shopping have played an important role in driving this traffic increase, with the Hitwise Rewards & Directories category experiencing a 16 percent increase in U.S. visits since January of this year.

From the beginning of Q1, 2003 through the end of Q3, 2003 the amount of traffic that Rewards & Directories websites referred to Shopping & Classifieds websites increased 23.3 percent, revealing U.S. Internet users' increasing propensity to comparison shop online before buying.

The recently re-branded Shopping.com Network of sites (formerly called the DealTime Network and including www.shopping.com and www.epinions.com as well as www.dealtime.com and www.pricetool.com) has emerged as the category leader in referring traffic to Shopping & Classifieds sites.

The Shopping.com network contributed more than 7 percent of all customer referrals from Rewards & Directories websites to Shopping & Classifieds websites for the week ending September 27th. This is over 60 percent more than Yahoo! Shopping, the overall sector leader in terms of traffic, and nearly double the number of customer referrals delivered by BizRate in the same period.

Top Five Rewards & Directories WebsitesPercentage of traffic referred to Shopping & Classifieds sites (week ending Sept. 27, 2003)
Shopping.com*7.04 %
Yahoo! Shopping4.35 %
BizRate3.67 %
NexTag2.17 %
MSN Shopping2.11 %

(*Includes the Shopping.com network sites.)

"Comparison shopping search engines are a key component of any online retailer's marketing strategy," said Chris Maher, General Manager of Hitwise North America. "And the quality of the traffic that online retailers receive from their shopping search partners is essential to their success."

Recent findings from the United States Department of Commerce show that eCommerce has increased by 28 percent from Q2, 2002 to Q2, 2003(1). Hitwise data shows that this trend is likely to continue for Q3, 2003 -- traffic to Shopping & Classifieds websites and Rewards & Directories websites has increased 9 percent and 8 percent respectively, from July 1st through September 30th, 2003.

About Hitwise:
Hitwise is the world's leading provider of online competitive intelligence services. Each day, Hitwise monitors how more than 25 million Internet users interact with over 450,000 websites across 160 industry categories.

By monitoring more people, more websites, more often, Hitwise provides marketers with timely and actionable marketing insights on how their online presence compares to competitive websites. Companies use this information to maximize the return on their online investment, in efforts such as affiliate programs, search marketing, online advertising, content development and lead generation.

Hitwise collects Internet usage information via a combination of ISP data partnerships and opt-in mega panels, and complies with local and international privacy legislation as audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Founded in 1997, Hitwise is a privately held company, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and operates in the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

(1) United States Department of Commerce, August 2003.

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