free html hit counter Cnet Gets Some Good News | John Battelle's Search Blog

Cnet Gets Some Good News

By - December 09, 2003

An interesting coup for Cnet: MediaPost reports it topped all other search engines, by a rather wide margin, in a recent WebSideStory study which compared vertical shopping engines on a key metric: whether visitors from the engine who clicked through to a commerce site actually convert into buyers. Cnet’s conversion rate of 1.64% was better than AOL, the #2 engine, by 28%.
I’d like to know why this is. I’ve sent a note to folks at Cnet, and I congratulate them – it’s been a rough few years for them as they weathered the tech nuclear winter, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the company – it launched roughly at the same time as Wired, and has really seen it all.

Order Conversion Rates: Searches To Gift/Electronics Sites

Conversion Ratio
CNET 1.64%
AOL 1.28%
Overture 1.25%
iWon 1.15%
LookSmart 1.14%
MSN 1.04%
Yahoo 1.01%
Netscape 0.93%
Lycos 0.92%
Google 0.85%

Update: I must’ve been rushed and didn’t think this through, as I was driving to a Webby business awards tonight I realized of course Cnet has better conversion because it’s a vertical portal that aggregates folks with intent to buy particular technology items. Matt points this out in the comments section as well.

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  • Matt McAlister

    These stats say a lot about the quality of the audience on a search engine. Though Google may be the largest single traffic driver for us at InfoWorld, up to 5% at times, the search terms that are found to drive them to us are rarely very meaningful (“aol 9.0″ for example). Our sales guys point this out when talking to high-end advertisers who want to make their money mean something. A quality content site is going to offer a much more valuable click than a big search engine.