Martin Clarke, publisher of Mail Online, has dismissed suggestion that success of the website was down simply to the volume of show business and celebrity stories it carries.
Last week Mail Online, which includes content from the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and thisismoney.co.uk, recorded the highest ever number of users of a British newspaper website.
It pipped the previous high of 29,811,671 achieved by guardian.co.uk, in January, by just over 60,000 as it nudged ever closer to the 30 million mark.
Despite the achievement observers continually point to the seemly large amount of celebrity-focused content carried by the Daily Mail & General Trust website.
Clarke told Press Gazette: “It does annoy me that people say its all driven by search and showbiz stories because it’s actually not driven by eitherâ€¦
“Showbiz is less that 25 per cent of traffic. News is far more important to us that showbiz. News is what drives our site.”
While around 30 per cent of traffic came from search engine referrals, Clarke said, the ‘vast majority’ came from readers typing in ‘Daily Mail’.
Non-branded search referrals were ‘tiny’, he added: “The idea that we are driven just by search is nonsense.”
Mail Online’s rise to the top of the national newspaper websites was the result of long consistent growth, Clarke added, not the result of any particular ‘game changing’ content.
Clarke said the idea that unique users were just counted on a monthly basis was ‘absurd’.
He called for other media organisations publish daily UK daily page impression data, as Mail Online does, as this was a key statistic for advertisers.
Mail Online averaged 1.7 million users each day in July, with 35 per cent of those coming from the UK. An average of 603,559 domestic users each day.
According to data supplied to Press Gazette by Google, Daily Mail was the ninth most popular news search term on the search engine in August. Also featuring in the top ten were Sky News and The Sun. The number one news search term in August was “news” followed by “obama”.