Home  › Stats › Audience/Traffic

The Web Is the Eye of Hurricane Relief

  |  November 24, 2005   |  Comments

Following the Gulf Coast hurricanes, online donations spiked -- as did the use of alternative news sources.

Thirteen million people, or 9 percent of American Internet users, gave money online for relief efforts following hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Since the beginning of this year, the number of Americans who say they've donated online is up 53 percent to 26 million people, according to a new Pew Internet & American Life Project study.

Though half of all U.S. Internet users got news and information about the hurricanes online, most of these people (54 percent) sought alternative sources, including blogs, nonprofits, and non-mainstream media sites, for details. Five percent set up their own relief efforts online, and four percent posted their own hurricane-related material to the Web, including comments, links, and pictures.

The study recognizes a sharp trend toward online giving. After September 11, 10 percent of U.S. Internet users (11 million Americans) said they'd donated money online. That figure rose to 13 percent following the Asian tsunami in late 2004. John B. Horrigan, who authored the study, points out donations weren't necessarily made in conjunction with those tragedies, but the news likely prompted new online donors to action.

Americans Who Have Donated Online, October 2001-September 2005
Month Donors (M)
October 2001 11
January 2005 17
September 2005 26
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2005

Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 18 percent of all U.S. Internet users said they had made an online donation. Half this number said they specifically donated to Gulf Coast hurricane relief efforts.

In addition to users seeking non-mainstream sources of news and information, this study marks the first time Pew has found parity in online news consumption between broadband and dial-up users. This is attributed to people's strong desire for news of the hurricanes as well as the fact media such as blogs don't place significant demands on bandwidth or connection speed.

How Americans Got News About Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (%)
All Internet Users Home Broadband Internet Users Home Dial-Up Internet Users
Got news online about hurricanes Katrina or Rita* 50 59 45
Type of Site Visited
Web site of a major news organization, such as CNN.com 73 74 69
Web site of nonprofit organizations, such as the Red Cross or the United Way* 32 37 27
A government Web site, such as firstgov.gov or fema.gov 19 20 17
Internet blogs about the hurricanes 17 17 15
Web site of an international news organization, such as the BBC* 14 16 11
The Web site of an alternative news organization, such as AlterNet.org or NewsMax.com* 11 12 8
Notes:
1. The asterisk denotes statistically significant differences between home broadband and dial-up users.
2. Approximately 72 million Ameicans used the Internet to get news and information about the hurricanes.
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2005

For the study, 1,577 Internet users were surveyed in September 2005. Of these, 792 were home broadband users; 563 were home dial-up users; and remainder accessed the Web outside the home.

ClickZ Live San Francisco Revolutionize your digital marketing campaigns at ClickZ Live San Francisco! (August 10-12) Educating marketers for over 15 years, we return to San Francisco this August with our action-packed, educationally-focused agenda that will cover every aspect of digital marketing. Super Saver rates expire this Friday, June 5, so register today and save $500!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca was previously VP, U.S. operations of Econsultancy, an independent source of advice and insight on digital marketing and e-commerce. Earlier, she held executive marketing and communications positions at strategic e-services companies, including Siegel & Gale, and has worked in the same capacity for global entertainment and media companies, including Universal Television & Networks Group (formerly USA Networks International) and Bertelsmann's RTL Television. As a journalist, she's written on media for numerous publications, including "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal." Rebecca spent five years as Variety's Berlin-based German/Eastern European bureau chief. Rebecca also taught at New York University's Center for Publishing, where she also served on the Electronic Publishing Advisory Group. Rebecca, author of "The Truth About Search Engine Optimization," was ClickZ's editor-in-chief for over seven years.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Stats delivers stats headlines to your inbox twice a week. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.

Paid Search in the Mobile Era

Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.

Resources

Jobs

    • SEO Specialist
      SEO Specialist (HeBS Digital) - NEW YORK                             ...
    • GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator
      GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator (British Consulate-General, New York) - New YorkThe GREAT Britain Campaign is seeking an energetic and creative...
    • Paid Search Senior Account Manager
      Paid Search Senior Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring a strategic Paid Search Senior Account Manager...