Mail Online climbs to second spot in world's most popular news sites

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The Independent Online

As its home page was offering readers a picture shoot of Nigella Lawson in a "burkini" on Bondi Beach and an interview with a Muslim woman who has posed naked for German Playboy, Mail Online, the internet version of the Daily Mail, was yesterday named as the second-most popular news website in the world.

Data from the metrics company ComScore placed Mail Online ahead of the Huffington Post, the liberal-leaning blog site which has become one of America's biggest online publishing successes and which was sold in February by its founder, Arianna Huffington, to AOL for $315m.

Following a 27 per cent rise in unique visitors between February and March, Mail Online is now second only to The New York Times as the most popular news website. Although The New York Times is easily the global leader with 61,964,000 unique visitors, its traffic seems certain to be reduced by the introduction of a metered payment system on 28 March. Mail Online has 39,635,000 monthly visitors (although it places greater importance on its 4,085,000 daily audience), with the Huffington Post recording 38,429,000.

Content on Mail Online is markedly different from the Daily Mail with paparazzi photographs of Hollywood and British female celebrities to the fore. But it shares the conservative values of the paper in its news coverage, which, along with its heavy diet of showbusiness, may have helped its popularity in America, where there is no comparable title of such size.

The site, which also carries more science and gadgets coverage than the print edition, has benefited from the Daily Mail's position in the middle market on the news-stand, allowing it to move into both broadsheet and tabloid territory in search of online visitors.

The site is investing in a showbiz office in Los Angeles and a news office in New York. The owner, Associated Newspapers, has no plans to start charging for the site, relying on building scale and generating advertising revenue. Digital revenues to Mail Online and its related sites grew 57 per cent in the year to 3 October.

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