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© 2000

Top 10 Canadian Portals - Reach and Unique Visitors
Sites Categorized by Traffick
Source: Media Metrix April 2000
Home/Work, Persons 2+

Media Metrix, the global provider of Internet statistics, has released the top 10 Canadian portals for April 2000. See below for Traffick's commentary on this month's numbers.

Reach %
Unique Visitors (000s)
Portals 90.9 8,048
 MSN.COM 56.3 4,985
 YAHOO.COM 56.0 4,954
 LYCOS.COM 36.8 3,262
NETSCAPE.COM 27.5 2,434
MSN.CA 25.3 2,242
SYMPATICO.CA 23.8 2,106
GO.COM 19.6 1,731
AOL.COM 18.9 1,677
ALTAVISTA.COM 16.9 1,496
YAHOO.CA 15.5 1,369


From this glimpse at the leading Canadian portals, it looks as if MSN snuck up on Yahoo! north of the border. We've been aware for some time that MSN has remarkably good homegrown Canadian news content - Now Magazine, The Sports Network, CBC Newsworld, and much more good local stuff.

It also looks like those browser defaults have a long shelf life, as is also a strong contender. Netscape's brand is stronger globally than many people suspect, and it looks as if AOL has every intention of using the Netscape name to promote the Netcenter portal site and even seems to be planning to use it as an ISP brand in Europe.

Globally, MSN also has a major traffic driver in Hotmail, the most widely recognized web-based email. Thus we'd expect MSN to continue strong - at least on paper - due to the browser defaults and Hotmail exit traffic.

We believe the Lycos numbers are partly attributable to their recent partnership with Sympatico, which is Canada's leading ISP. That Lycos is in third place is quite frankly surprising, and one wonders if it can last. Local media watchers are disappointed that BCE Inc's Sympatico has fumbled its portal partnerships to finally wind up with the favorite of no one in particular... Lycos. We're likely to hear more from both and AOL as a proprietary network and ISP. This year AOL had a major TV ad blitz and on-campus CD distribution blitz. We'd expect them to crank up the volume in the fall. They're also piloting a high-speed access service in a small northern Ontario town.

Conspicuous by their absence in the top 10 are, a joint venture between Excite@Home and Rogers Media, the main Canadian cable company;, a popular news service owned by Quebecor, and, owned by Hollinger. But all of these are lurking not too far behind. Hollinger's print edition of the National Post ran a full-color spread called Portals for Newbies recently, trying to promote with a tutorial approach to news personalization.

Finally, shows that it still has a strong "legacy" name worldwide and is associated with searching the web by many net veterans. Can it last? Without bold moves by Altavista, we wonder if it can. In two years' time, the same people may have switched permanently to Google. The impact of Altavista Free ISP is probably being felt in these numbers - it's a very good dialup service with access numbers throughout Canada - but one does wonder if the Free ISP will peter out over time.

Here's a thought. Many of Canada's public universities are needing to raise more money from the private sector as government policy has shifted away from funding postsecondary education. But for now, some institutions are really hurting for benefactors. Wouldn't it be a win-win situation for MSN, Yahoo, AOL, Altavista, Excite, Sympatico, etc. to donate substantial sums for new computers, Internet services and even for general endowments? Campus officials probably wouldn't balk at a little reciprocation to promote the companies' products and services to students.

If you spot any factual errors or off-base interpretations of the above data, do contact us. We welcome your feedback!


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