Revealed: The top websites of 2002

Bored of 2002 list stories? Let's hope not...

Bored of 2002 list stories? Let's hope not...

The general tech downturn may have held back the number of new website launches in 2002, but the past 12 months have seen some of the biggest names in the online world get bigger, and one or two genuinely innovative minnows challenge their larger cousins for mindshare. The popularity of the web certainly hasn't waned, even if the number of dot-coms operating has. So who are the key movers and shakers in the online consumer world as we enter the new year? Internet research and analysis company Nielsen//NetRatings monitors the stats of the UK's key sites throughout the year and, by combining that quantitative data with its analysts' own opinions, has come up with a top 10 of 2002. And here they are (with comments from Nielsen//NetRatings). Website of the Year
Google (
4.7 million at-home visitors
Audience share up 10 points "Google's audience share jumped from 18 per cent to 28 per cent during 2002 its toolbar, news and shopping sites won the admiration of analysts and it's seen its name become a new verb. All that and it is consistently in profit. The success story shows no signs of stopping." Ecommerce Site of the Year
eBay UK (
2.9 million at-home visitors
Audience share up 9.6 points "2002 was the year when eBay really took off in Britain, and its growth curve in other countries suggests it can keep on expanding at this rate in 2003." British Site of the Year
BBCi (
4.1 million at-home visitors
Audience share up 6.8 points "News is still the BBC's strongest suit, but the way it's diversified its BBCi portal, with search, digital radio, and programme-based content has been extremely successful." Broadband Site of the Year
Windowsmedia (
1.6 million at-home visitors
Audience share up 3.9 points "It's not strictly a broadband site, but the success of the new-look Windows Media player leaves Windowsmedia very well-placed in the battle with Realplayer to be the carrier of choice for streamed and downloaded content." Word-of-Mouth Site of the Year
KaZaA (
1.1 million at-home visitors
Audience share up 6.2 points "KaZaA is a file-sharing program which has filled the gap left by the decline of Napster and Audiogalaxy - it's massive in Europe. It's started to sign deals with portals but the question is whether it can avoid the kind of legal problems that have crippled other big file-sharing sites." Newcomer of the Year
DooYoo (
591,000 at-home visitors
Audience share up 3.5 points "It hasn't made the kind of splash Friends Reunited or Napster did, but consumer opinion site DooYoo has quietly built a solid British audience, and is the highest 'new entry' on this chart." Most Useful Site of the Year
Symantec (
1.2 million at-home visitors
Audience share up 6.1 points "The success of anti-virus provider Symantec is a sign of the times - people are a lot more knowledgeable and worried about viruses, and are being bombarded with spam emails that might contain a virus. This is one of the problems the internet industry has to tackle to keep consumer trust." Giant of the Year
Microsoft (
5.6 million at-home visitors
Audience share up 5.1 points "The launch of Windows XP and the many add-ons and patches Microsoft made available on its website explains the big jump in popularity for this site, though it always gets a huge number of visitors." E-tailer of the Year
Amazon UK (
3.7 million at-home visitors
Audience share up 4.8 points "Amazon's brand and audience share gets stronger each year - more than one in five British web users now visit it each month. Profitability over the whole year must be on the cards in 2003." Revamp of the Year
O2 (
693,000 at-home visitors
Audience share up 4.1 points "Some canny sponsorship deals - for instance Big Brother - and an enthusiastic uptake of joint web/mobile games and tools helped raise the profile and audience of what was once the unfashionable BT Cellnet." Tom Ewing, European internet analyst for Nielsen//NetRatings said: "2002 was an exciting year for the internet in the UK. We started to see a number of well-known sites reaching break-even or profitability this year, as the market reached maturity. We now have an environment where the best-known brands are well-established and trusted, and where good new ideas can rapidly acquire the audience base they need to succeed. Not all the sites we've singled out appear in our top domains lists each month but they've been 2002's best performers and show the resilience and creativity of the online sector."


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