Touchdown for the dot-coms

The critics didn’t love this year’s crop of Super Bowl commercials, but dot-com advertisers claim record-breaking results

Super Bowl hangover? No way, say a number of Sunday night’s dot-com advertisers. Whether or not this year’s crop of Super Bowl commercials failed to live up to enormous expectations, huge traffic spikes are being reported at the advertisers’ Web sites.

OF THE 38 advertisers in the game, 17 were Internet companies who paid an average of $2.2 million for their 30 seconds of Super Bowl fame. In one way, they got their money’s worth. ABC estimated that more than 130 million people tuned in to to see St. Louis defeat the Tennessee Titans in a dramatic, edge-of-the-seat game. The event drew a 43.2 rating and 62 share, according to Nielsen Media Research, making it the 19th highest rated Super Bowl.

When it comes to online ratings, the results are less clear, though still impressive. Online measurement firm Media Metrix reports that Super Bowl advertiser sites showed a 38.7 percent increase in unique visitors on Super Sunday and Monday over the three weeks preceeding. Rival Nielsen/Netratings found the total unique Internet audience increased by more than 10 percent between Sunday, January 30 and Monday, January 31, with Super Bowl advertisers seeing 15.7 percent growth in unique audience overnight.

The biggest gainers among dot-com advertisers were and, Nielsen/Netratings found. On Monday following the game, had a unique audience of 173,689, compared to its unique audience of 189,812 for the entire week of Jan. 24, Nielsen/Netratings reported. jumped to 155,998 unique visitors on Monday after the game, 47.6 percent above the site’s total traffic the week prior.

According to Media Metrix, witnessed the strongest growth (414,000 visitors), a 4.5 percent increase on Sunday and Monday over the previous three weeks.

The ads may be widely considered a creative bust, but if the metric is audience traffic numbers, then the dot-coms scored a Bowl touchdown.