Study: E-greetings continue gold rush

As and Egreetings plan IPOs, Blue Mountain Arts shows a 25 percent increase in traffic for October.

The Internet greeting card business continues to boom, according to a newly release study.

According to PC Data Online, Blue Mountain Arts showed a 25 percent increase in traffic for October, rising to 21st place from 29th place, with 9.7 million unique users.

As previously reported, Excite@Home paid about $780 million to buy Blue Mountain, largely to boost traffic. And and Egreetings Networks are planning to go public. Hurdles remain, however--notably making the sites' profitable. In addition, competition is becoming more intense.

see related story: E-cards' best wishes PC Data's ranking shows that both and Egreetings "conspicuously broke into the monthly top 100 with strong traffic figures."

"As a category leader, [Blue Mountain's] unique user numbers give us a good indication of what the total market size is and how it's growing," Sean Wargo, Internet analyst for PC Data, said in a statement.

Online sweepstakes sites also are showing strong traffic growth, the survey said.

The top five sites, in order, were: Yahoo, Microsoft Network, America Online, Geocities, and Microsoft.

PC Data compiles its information by tracking "unique visitors" and "unique buyers" on each Web site. Every visitor is counted once, no matter how many times he or she visits or buys from the site. PC Data said its survey included 80,000 Internet users.