CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The Cincinnati Enquirer is claiming its Cincinnati.com portal is drawing "more than 2.1 million unique users per month." The claim might be a hollow boast and it looks suspiciously inflated. National data released less than a month ago measured the U.S. newspaper industry's most-visited Websites, and that data does not show the Enquirer among the Top 30. If the Enquirer had 2.1 million unique users on a monthly basis, one would expect to see the Gannett Co. Inc. daily holding place No. 20 in the national rankings. Its online audience would have been larger than that measured for the Seattle Times, which has 1.915 million unique users, a 6% increase over 2007. But the list (see link above) does not show the Enquirer ahead of the Seattle Times -- the Enquirer doesn't even show up among the top 30. The Enquirer's claim would make it the most-visited online holding among Gannett's newspapers after USA Today, which is shown with 10,785,000 unique users monthly, No. 2 after the New York Times.
Where did the Enquirer's claim of such a huge online audience originate? In a house ad. In today's print edition classified advertising section on page C-7, the Cincinnati morning daily is running a help-wanted ad for an account executive to sell online advertising. The ad states:
"Would you like to become part of a dynamic organization. Cincinnati.Com is the region's most-visited an informative local website with more than 2.1 million unique users per month. In addition, it received the industry's highest national journalism accolades for content, including the Eppy, the Digital Edge, the James K. Batten Award and more . . ."
Those "highest national journalism accolades" don't include a Pulitzer Prize -- normally considered the the industry's highest award, nor a Polk, a Society of Professional Journalists or a National Headliner. Another boast by the Enquirer? Other data about newspaper online audiences is
available here, but it is from 2007.