Could Soaring Traffic to RIM and Samsung Sites Spell Trouble for Motorola?

When people are looking at wireless phones, the carriers’ sites play a crucial role in the research and shopping process, but manufacturers’ web presence is playing an increasingly important role. The number of people who visited their sites every month is one indicator of an OEM’s popularity relative to competitors’.

In June, traffic to Motorola’s universe of sites (shown here in pink) was exceeded for the first time by not one, but two other OEMs’. Both RIM (in purple) and Samsung (in red) have been drawing significantly more people to their sites since the beginning of the year, as we can see in the chart below.

These numbers represent more than just traffic to the manufacturers’ domains. That you can see at compete.com. In this post we’re looking at traffic to a universe of sites belonging to the manufacturer, which is a better gauge of consumer interest in mobile phones overall by that manufacturer. Differences from compete.com include:

  • Only the US mobile phones portion of each OEM site is included, to exclude visitors to other products the manufacturer produces
  • OEM microsites dedicated to specific models are included, such as instinctthephone.com and blackberrybold.com
  • Traffic to RIM sites increased sharply, perhaps thanks to their extensive brand-focused advertising campaigns, including "Life on Blackberry," and announcements of their new Bold and Thunder models
  • Traffic to Samsung increased mainly due to the buzz around the launch of the Instinct at Sprint, and the Glyde at Verizon
  • Meanwhile, traffic to Palm, Nokia, and LG have been trending upwards or holding steady

On the one hand, this shift could be a symptom of Motorola’s recent financial and product-related struggles, as consumers increasingly turn to high-profile products at other OEMs.

On the other hand, June marked a substantial increase in traffic to Motorola to the tune of over 175,000 people more than in May, more than the total traffic to LG or Sony Ericsson last month. The overall trend in traffic is upward. Motorola might be one attention grabbing product away from reclaiming the top spot among OEM sites.

Will Motorola make a comeback? Or will RIM and Samsung fight it out to be top dog for good? Keep watching the Compete blog to find out.

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