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Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
UK surfers swamp news sites
Net surfers in the UK, just like computer users around the world, flooded online to try to get the latest news about Tuesday's attacks on New York and Washington.

The internet became the main source for the information

Bryan Porter, New Media Zero
They headed straight for the news networks - and experienced slow downloads from the most popular sites.

Internet performance measurement company Hitwise said it witnessed a phenomenal rise in demand for access to news web pages from British computer users. The high traffic load pushed providers' sites to their highest ever rankings in the company's popularity league tables.

CNN went for a cut-down front page
In terms of the overall rankings, the BBC climbed from 18th position to number 8, and CNN leapt from position 302 to enter the top 20 for the first time, Hitwise said.

And in the entertainment category, Sky rose from position 19 to number 3, and MSNBC jumped from 73 to number 7.

It said the most meteoric jump in traffic for any site visited by UK users was ABC News, which took a leap from position 258 to number 13.

Hearing and seeing

Bryan Porter, an editor with New Media Zero, an online weekly for the industry, said the awful events in America showed once again how important the internet had now become as source for news.

"Because the story broke when so many people in the US and the UK were at work, the internet became the main source for the information - it was a story that was truly broken on the internet," he said.

Browser error message
Frustrated users faced error messages
"People were trying to find the information on their regular news sites and if they couldn't find it there, they were going to search engines, typing in all the different news terms, and then finding alternative sites.

"What was interesting to note, however, was that monitoring company Keynote Systems reported a 10% decrease in worldwide network traffic immediately after the attack - which is quite phenomenal. The way I read that is that you can imagine all the people within hearing and seeing distance of the World Trade Center would rush away from their desks and actually go and see what's happening for themselves."

Mr Porter said search engine had reported a staggering rise in requests for information on terms such as "news", "World Trade Centre" and "Bin Laden".

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26 Jul 00 | Sci/Tech
Unweaving the world wide web
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