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USAToday Says Traffic Way Up

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Less than twelve hours after I posted that USAToday’s traffic appears to be going the wrong way, they issue a press release saying traffic is way up.

USATODAY.com, recorded a 20% year-over year increase in traffic for the month of July 2007 and a month-over-month growth of 24% according to Nielsen/NetRatings. It was also reported that more than 10.6 million unique visitors came to USATODAY.com in the month of July.

Much of the increase was attributed to the Simpson’s Movie (the site held a contest around it) and an exclusive interview with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

This was issued way too fast to have been a response to my post, so the timing is coincidental. I also received an email from Pluck CEO Dave Panos, who says that their social networking tools are doing very well on USAToday’s site. He says “The results that USA Today has received from our social media tools has been absolutely phenomenal and usage continues to skyrocket each and every month. I wish I was a liberty to give you the specific metrics — but they are staggering.”

Well, if the results are indeed “staggering,” (in a good way) the Comscore data must be pointing the wrong way. That’s good news for USAToday, and even better news for Pluck.

But the situation isn’t certain. The Comscore data I posted only went through June. The data released today is for July. A 24% traffic increase from June to July is too much of a jump, too. As they said in the press release, the Simpson’s contest and the Rowling interview probably helped drive most or all of the gains.

What would be ideal is if USAToday or Pluck published a case study on the results of the social network experiment to date.

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