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Web traffic jam as people search for financial news

by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Oct 9, 2008
The financial crisis has people flocking to the Internet for the latest money news along with tips on how to salvage investments and save on the routine costs of living.

Visits to websites such as the business-centric Wall Street Journal and economy-focused Yahoo Finance set new records as the US Congress grappled with its 700 billion dollar plan to stop credit markets from imploding.

Internet tracker comScore says visits to www.gasbuddy.com, which steers drivers to stations featuring low fuel prices, are up nearly 30 percent and it expects to report spikes in traffic to finance and bargain-hunter websites when September statistics are calculated later this week.

"Investment pages are just red hot right now with people wanting to know what is going on with stocks," Yahoo Finance general manager Mark Interrante told AFP.

"We have been impressed by the traffic. People are not just diving down into stocks but asking what is going on, how it affects them and where it is all going."

Activity is up 40 percent at Yahoo Finance message boards where people chat online about cash, finance and other personal money matters and the website's Tech Ticker video news programme is getting millions of daily visitors.

"The editorial team at Tech Ticker is working around the clock to find the right stories for people to understand the crisis," Interrante said. "This is going to be a record month for us."

Yahoo Finance stock quotes and other features popular in the United States began being rolled out Tuesday at the California firm's websites in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Britain.

"We pre-launched a couple of pages in France and got very positive customer feedback and moved forward with the rest of Europe," Interrante said. "You will see a lot more stuff rolling out in Europe in the next six weeks."

Google queries regarding "stocks" nearly tripled in September, according to data posted this week at the Internet search king's website that tracks trends in what people seek online.

US-based Akamai Technologies, which handles online traffic for major news outlets such as NBC and the BBC, reports visits to those websites surged to record levels as the dramatic events played out in money markets.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported an unprecedented two million visitors in a single day.

Meanwhile, penny-pinchers website SavingAdvice.com says it has seen "a significant amount of traffic" for information about shopping coupons, deals on gasoline and troubled banks.

"That increase in search engine traffic may indeed have something to do with the economic issues," said Jeffrey Strain of SavingAdvice.

"The forums have had some change in focus with the changes in the economy as well. Questions about the stock market and changes taking place there have increased as the financial meltdown has taken place."

Self-help startup PeopleJam.com has seen interest in personal finance tips multiply nearly eightfold in the past month as people seek ways to save money or find reliable investing advice.

"Our audience is clearly worried about their retirement savings or waking up in the morning wondering if they can put gas in the car, pay their mortgage or cover a child's tuition bill," PeopleJam chief executive Matt Edelman said.

"They want ways to eat healthy on a budget; ways to exercise for free as opposed to joining a gym... day-to-day activities that people want to keep in their lives but don't have the money to afford."

FindHow.com, a website created as a resource for people that want to fix or build things themselves instead of paying for professionals, sees a tsunami of interest heading its way due to the financial markets meltdown.

"If I were a betting person, right now I would bet that do-it-yourself is going to get very big in the coming months," FindHow president Dave Smith said.

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Gadget sales thrive during economic storm: CEA
San Francisco (AFP) Oct 7, 2008
The Consumer Electronics Association said Tuesday that sales of gadgets are thriving as people hunker down in their homes to weather the brutal economic storm battering world markets.







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