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RELEASE: December 9, 1999
CONTACT: Diane Murphy: 202-662-1280; fedcity@nationalpress.com

Top9.com Launches
First Internet Ranking
Search Directory

First of its Kind Portal Ranks Most Popular Websites using Market Research Data Then links Consumers to Search and Buy off the Internet

Fairfax, VA (December 9, 1999) — Aiming to "take the tech out of the Internet," to simplify surfing and direct consumers to popular websites, Omega World Travel today launched Top9.com as the first Internet Ranking Search Directory to be based on scientific market research data. Top9.com distinguishes itself from other directories or search engines by using the most reliable market research data to rank Internet sites by industry category and popularity of use. Rankings are based on consumer research preferences supplied by PC Data Online, a leading primary intelligence research firm. Top9.com’s simple design is useful to consumers on PCs, hand-held devices and WebTV.

"Top9.com will change how consumers look for information and products on the net," said founder Dan Bohan. "We’ve designed the simplest and easiest way to surf the Internet, using the most reliable consumer research information as a guide. For e-commerce users, Top9.com is invaluable. It’s a free, online directory that provides consumers with the information they need to make smart buying and business decisions."

"Top9.com" is the first Internet Ranking Directory to:
  • Identify and link to the most popular sites for key industries.
  • Use the most reliable independent consumer research data to rank sites.
  • Show future trends and the impact of e-commerce.
  • Minimize a user’s time on the site, not maximize it like other search sites.

Top9.com ranks websites in all major industry categories from Arts & Entertainment, Auctions and Shopping, to Business & Finance, News & Media, and Careers & Education. Subcategories are listed on the second level of the online directory, along with the number of "composite" visitors (or aggregate number of unique users) who visit sites listed in the subcategory. The top nine sites in major industry categories are listed on the third level — or within three short clicks of entering the site. The top nine sites in each individual industry category are ranked by "unique users" of that particular site.

The methodology used to rank Top9.com is secured from the world’s largest independent and controlled survey sample -- 85,000 home users -- whose viewing and buying habits are monitored by PC Data Online through meters on their computers. A unique user is an unduplicated monthly visitor to a site, counted only once, no matter how many times the user visits a site within that month.

"Advertisers and investors want reliable, quantifiable data to justify their investments, and they want the number of unique users, not just the number of page impressions," explained Ann Stephens, president and CEO of PC Data Online. "Our company’s entrance into the arena of Internet research is a logical progression from our 8-year preeminence in tracking sales of computer products. In the three months we have been selling online survey data, it has been the fastest growing sector of our company.

"Top9.com serves both as a barometer of successful websites and an indicator of future trends in e-commerce," continued Bohan. "As consumers continue to use the Internet more frequently for shopping and general information, its impact on traditional business models will become more apparent. For example, Avis and Hilton currently hold the number one rankings on Top9.com in the rental car and hotel categories — positions held by other companies in the more traditional marketplace.

Top9.com is a new business venture of Omega World Travel, which has signed a five-year agreement with PC Data Online for the exclusive rights to use the independent consumer research . Both companies are located in the booming high-tech corridor of Fairfax County, Virginia. Omega World Travel and PC Data Online bring to Top9.com their respective track records of innovation and success.

About Omega World Travel
Omega World Travel, a global leader in the travel industry, has gained prominence by advancing the leading edge of travel technology. With the introduction of Top9.com, Omega continues to diversify its portfolio of Internet-based ventures, which already includes Airdeals.com, Tourdeals.com and Cruise.com, the internet’s largest cruise seller. With over 200 offices in the U.S., Japan and the U.K., Omega’s internet strategy is based on a "Click and Brick" philosophy. Gloria Bohan is President and CEO of Omega, which is the largest woman-owned business in the Washington, DC area and one of the ten largest corporate travel agencies in the US.

About PC Data
PC Data is the leading technology intelligence firm in the US, providing comprehensive point-of-sale data on all software and hardware products. The company’s latest initiative includes PC Data Online, an Internet monitoring service pcdataonline.com which offers clients real-time data collection on website activity and e-commerce. In its third month of operations, PC Data Online meters 85,000 households in the US. In 2000, the company intends to increase the survey group to 200,000, by adding international and business-to-business surveying data.

More information about Top9.com:

Dan Bohan, President, Top9.com
703-359-8868; dbohan@Top9.com

Diane Murphy, President, FCCC
202-662-1280 fedcity@nationalpress.com

Ann Stephens, President, PC Data
703-435-1025; astephens@pcdata.com

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