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Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Religion proves a draw on net
Caltholic Online website
Religious sites saw a surge of interest last month
Religious websites have experienced a surge of visitors in the past month according to analysts.

Internet measurement firm Jupiter Media Metrix found that sites dedicated to religion were the fastest growing in the United States during March.

"While religion sites have grown steadily over the past year, the surge in visitors in March 2002 was quite significant, with traffic to the category double what it was just six months ago," said Jupiter Media Metrix analyst Stephen Kim.

Top religious sites
Christianbook.com: 890,000 visitors
Wuzupgod: 652,000
Christianitytoday.com: 633,000
Liveoakfbc.org: 556,000
Catholic.org: 416,000
Jewishworldreview.org: 168,000
This is not necessarily because surfers are becoming more spiritual, though.

Instead, Jupiter Media Metrix puts the surge in interest down to the fact that March is a holy month for both Christians and Jews.

In addition, religion has been the subject of intense media attention following the 11 September attacks and renewed tensions in the Middle East.

The figures show that 6.4% of the US online population visited a religious site during March.

Pope backs the net

Newcomer Wuzupgod.com proved popular with 652,000 unique visitors.

But the most visited site was Christianbook.com with 890,000 surfers logging on in a month.

"So far the majority of religion sites to attract sizeable audiences focus on Christianity, though a few focus on Judaism or offer content tailored to multiple faiths," said Mr Kim.

Religions of all flavours are being forced to recognise the important influence of the internet.

Next month, the Pope will make a speech, warning of the dangers of the web but also proclaiming it as a new forum for evangelising the Christian message.

See also:

12 Apr 02 | Wales
Church name used by sex site
28 Mar 02 | Sci/Tech
Church grapples with hi-tech dilemma
21 May 01 | dot life
When www spells World Wide Worship
28 Nov 00 | UK
UK is 'losing' its religion
09 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Boom in Buddhist websites
Internet links:


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