A list of the most searched-for brands and top websites in different industry categories for 2008 has been released by Hitwise.

The data is likely to be of interest to internet marketing experts looking to place their ads on some of the most high-profile sites.

Facebook topped the list of most searched-for brands last year, followed by rival social networking site bebo and auction website eBay.

Retailers Argos and Amazon also made the top ten, as did the BBC, autotrader and video sharing website YouTube.

In terms of industry categories, three sectors saw significant growth last year. These were fashion, food and drink and central government.

Next, ASOS and Topshop were the three most visited sights in the fashion category, while BBC Food, UKTV Food and Delia Online took the top places in the food and drink group.

Internet traffic to government websites rose by 13.3 per cent over the year, with the Met Office seeing the biggest increase in visitor numbers.

The latest US web property rankings from comScore show that tax-related websites saw the biggest increase in traffic in January, followed by career and job search sites.

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