An ongoing sweepstakes competition helped Scripps Networks’ property search and real estate how-to site FrontDoor.com become the second most popular real estate-related website on the Internet in January, Experian Hitwise reported.

Visits to FrontDoor.com were up 1,585 percent from December to January, thanks largely to the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway, Hitwise said.

The contest, which ends Friday, is generating traffic by allowing participants to enter twice a day for the duration of the contest — once on HGTV.com, and once on FrontDoor.com.

The contest helped FrontDoor.com rocket up from 53rd place on the Hitwise list in December, climbing past household names like Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia.

An ongoing sweepstakes competition helped Scripps Networks’ property search and real estate how-to site FrontDoor.com become the second most popular real estate-related website on the Internet in January, Experian Hitwise reported.

Visits to FrontDoor.com were up 1,585 percent from December to January, thanks largely to the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway, Hitwise said.

The contest, which ends Friday, is generating traffic by allowing participants to enter twice a day for the duration of the contest — once on HGTV.com, and once on FrontDoor.com.

The contest helped FrontDoor.com rocket up from 53rd place on the Hitwise list in December, climbing past household names like Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia.

All told, traffic to U.S. real estate sites was up 36 percent from December to January, Hitwise said.

Hitwise said Yahoo Real Estate was once again the top-ranked real estate website in January, with 6.58 percent market share, followed by FrontDoor.com (5.78 percent) and Realtor.com (5.71 percent), the official property listing site of the National Association of Realtors.

Zillow (4.21 percent), Trulia.com (3.65 percent) and Rent.com (2.57 percent) all maintained their positions relative to each other from December, falling to fourth, fifth and sixth place on the Hitwise list.

Homes.com (2.19 percent) climbed past the website of brokerage company ZipRealty (1.81 percent), which fell two positions to eighth.

Apartment Guide (1.57 percent) also climbed two places to enter the Hitwise top 10 right behind MSN Real Estate (1.62 percent).

The top 10 websites on the Hitwise list captured 35.7 percent of traffic in the real estate category in January, compared with 9.9 percent for sites ranked 11th through 20th.

On the bottom half of the top 20 list, MyNewPlace (1.34 percent) dropped two positions to 11th, followed by Apartments.com (1.21 percent) and Rentals.com (1.17 percent), which bumped ForRent.com (1.06 percent) down into 14th place.

RE/MAX Real Estate (1 percent) climbed past commercial property listing portal LoopNet (0.91 percent) into 15th place, and vacation rental site HomeAway (0.85 percent) shot up from 26th place in December to 17th in January.

AOL Real Estate (0.82 percent) dropped eight positions to 18th place, with Weichert.com (0.77 percent) and Hotpads.com (0.77 percent) rounding out the top 20.

Ten sites entered the Hitwise top 100: I Rent To Own, Utlraforeclosures.us, Estately, Bluegreen, California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CMRMLS), Realestatebook.com and Seniors for Living.

Leaving the top 100 were Westfield.com, HousingWatch.com, Investor Wealth, JustListed.com, Section8-Assistance.com, RoomMates.com and Realtor.org.

The 10 most popular search terms were realtor.com, zillow, realtor, apartments for rent, zillow.com, century 21, real estate, remax, houses for rent, and trulia.

Fast-moving real estate-related websites during the last four months included StreetAdvisor (up 439 places from October to January, to 479); Sun Realty (up 208 places to 279); Garrett Realty Services (up 499 places to 737); Outer Banks Blue Realty (up 426 places to 685); HomeAway.com, up nine places to 17th; Second Porch (up 345 places to 658); I Rent To Own (up 33 places to 79th); FlipKey (up 59 places to 144th); Prudential Gary Greene Realtors (up 263 places to 636); and BellMarc (up 428 places to 1,030th).

Hitwise ranks websites according to a range of metrics, including visits, pages viewed and average visit time.

In reporting fourth-quarter results, Realtor.com operator Move Inc. emphasized "engagement" statistics like pageviews and minutes on site. Visitors to Realtor.com and other sites in the Move network viewed nearly 4.4 billion total pages in 2010, more than the next six competitors combined, CEO Steve Berkowitz said, citing comScore data.

Web metrics also don’t take into account mobile traffic, which accounts for a growing proportion of users of leading listing sites, including Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia.

Move says its Realtor.com mobile apps for iPhone, Android and Windows 7 have been downloaded more than 3 million times, and attracted nearly 600,000 unique users in January. Move’s mobile apps currently generate about 60,000 leads for real estate agents and brokers each month, the company says.

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