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Net Users Respond To Catholicism

Hitwise Press Release
Net Users Respond To Catholicism

Auckland, Wednesday 20th April, 2005: The recent death of Pope John Paul II, as well as the Easter festivities, has resulted in a surge of interest online. While much of this interest has a religious flavour, Easter also propelled the popularity of many online e-greetings websites. One such website is Yahoo! Greetings ( greetings.yahoo.com) which witnessed increases in traffic due to its range of Easter e-greetings. The site increased from 1,200th position in the week ending March 2, to 898th place the following week, to an impressive 640th in the week ending March 26.

Yahoo! Greetings is currently the 4th most popular E-Greetings site, and occupies 269th place in the Computers and Internet category in the latest weekly data. Also recording recent success online is Hallmark.com ( www.hallmark.com), the site rose to 537th position in the last week of March, an increase of 409 places from the previous week. Hallmark.com is currently 3rd place amongst E-Greetings websites, and also rose to 39th position in the Shopping and Classifieds category in the last week of March. The current leader of the E-Greetings category is 123Greetings ( www.123greetings.com), which also gained ground from Easter related online activity. 123Greetings claimed 355th position in the last week of March, a jump of 165 places from the week before, and a significant increase from 603rd place, which it occupied in the week ending March 12.

Religious themed E-Greeting websites also witnessed increased success during the Easter period, one such example is A Lighthouse ( www.alighthouse.com), which offers a range of Christian themed E-Greetings, amongst other features. A Lighthouse came from nowhere to achieve 101st position amongst E-Greetings websites on the week ending March 19, and climbed to 52nd position the following week.

While Eastercamp ( www.eastercamp.org.nz), the online presence of a Christian music camp, soared up the rankings over Easter. The site was the 952nd most popular New Zealand site in the week ending March 12, improved to 841st position the following week, and claimed 719th place the week ending March 26. In the latest weekly statistics Eastercamp was the 17th most popular website in the Lifestyle - Religion category.

While the Christian festival of Easter resulted in a wave of online activity, the passing of Pope John Paul II spurred significant interest in Catholic websites. Vatican - The Holy See ( www.vatican.va) has certainly seen increased traffic of late, the site provides information on the Vatican City, its history, its religious significance and information about the Pope. On April 5 the site rose to be the 53rd most popular Lifestyle website, and claimed 2nd position in the Lifestyle - Religion category. In the latest weekly data, the site is 1,437th most popular website amongst New Zealand's Internet users, a sharp rise from 5,843rd the previous week.

The website of the Catholic Church in New Zealand ( www.catholic.org.nz) has received comparable surges in traffic recently. The site offers a range of Catholic related information and news, including updates about the Pope, and on April 6 rose to 79th position in the Lifestyle category. In recent weekly data the site has improved steadily, from 52nd position in the Religion category two weeks ago, to 33rd place last week, to its current weekly spot of 13th position. Similarly, Catholic Culture ( www.catholicculture.org) has been rising through the rankings, from 277th position in Lifestyle - Religion two weeks ago, to this week's 32nd place.

About Hitwise:

Hitwise is the world's leading online competitive intelligence service. Each day, Hitwise monitors how more than 25 million Internet users interact with over 500,000 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 search marketing, affiliate programs, online advertising, visitor segmentation, 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 New York City and operates in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

More information about Hitwise is available at http://www.hitwise.co.nz


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