pi_grabb04.22.09.jpgWe told you going online-only was a bad idea. According to Editor & Publisher, traffic to SeattlePI.com, the site of the newly online-only Seattle Post-Intelligencer, fell 23 percent from a year ago. With just 1.4 million unique visitors a month, it’s now the 32nd most-visited newspaper portal on the Web.

More concerning, perhaps, is the fact that readership dropped 400,000 uniques just one month while the Seattle Times‘ site gained almost one million users (from 1.5 million to 2.2 million) during the same time period. This news only adds credibility to the theory that having a print product drives people to your site. (Of course, given the economics of Web publishing, this increase in traffic doesn’t offset the costs of producing a physical product.)

We emailed the staff behind SeattlePostGlobe.com, the site started by former Seattle P-I staffers, but have yet to hear back about how the traffic of their venture has fared.

UPDATE: Paul Luthringer, a VP at Hearst, sent us some numbers from Omniture that show a 9.6 percent increase in Web traffic to SeattlePI.com

Here are the actual March Omniture unique user stats. (Full month of March compared to March 2008).

Website March 2009 March 2008
SeattlePI.com 4,510,207 4,114,875

The larger argument (which will not be won today) is that Nielsen’s methodology is flawed. Nielsen’s ratings are based on a statistical extrapolation of a small number of selected users—a statistical guesstimate. That is why we prefer Omniture.