As the competition for medals heats up in the sporting arena, the competition for global internet traffic to the various websites offering coverage of the Games is also on the rise.
According to web traffic monitoring joint venture Nielsen//NetRatings' Web Olympics Index, the website of US TV broadcaster NBC has clocked the most page views worldwide in a 24-hour period for the second day in a row.
NBCOlympics.com recorded 5.88 million page views for September 18 (Monday), cementing its spot at the top of the Nielsen//NetRatings index. But the big mover was the portal site sports.yahoo.com, which recorded a 60 per cent increase, taking its total daily page views from 3.2 million on Monday to 5.3 million -- and into second spot behind NBC.
The move by sports.yahoo.com sees IBM's official site, Olympics.com, drop to third, despite increasing its page views from 4.4 to 4.5 million.
Phil Burfurd, ACNielsen's senior vice president for communications, Asia-Pacific, said that after three days of Olympic competition, web surfing patterns are starting to settle on a handful of major sites that complement surfers' traditional sources of news and information.
European and US web traffic has also been stimulated, Burfurd claimed, as delayed television broadcasting picks up momentum overseas. Similarly, as the US Olympic team begins its medal-tally domination, a number of US sites have jumped up the global index rankings.
USA Today has grabbed fourth spot on the global Web Olympics Index, in the process nearly doubling its page views to 2.6 million from 1.4 million.
In related news, reports from Australian traffic monitoring service Hitwise have surfaced, suggesting the News Interactive site OurOlympics.com suffered a "server problem" over the weekend. Hitwise speculated that the 74 per cent drop in hits from Australians it recorded for OurOlympics.com on Saturday was due to the problem.
But News Interactive has called into question the validity of Hitwise's results. "We had no server issues on Saturday and are openly sceptical about Hitwise's statistics," blasted Sonja Apostoloff, media communications for News Interactive.
Hitwise monitors internet traffic to local and international sites by tracking the proxy logs of many Australian ISPs. While it provides a sample of Australian internet usage, Hitwise does not measure international traffic, a company spokesperson said.