Buzzfeed reports that in December 2011 Mail Online reached 45.3 million users, compared to 44.8 million reached by the The New York Times.
Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke told Buzzfeed in an interview that growing US audiences and the hiring of deputy editor Katherine Thompson, formerly of the Huffington Post, have helped fuel the Mail's boom in readers. The site has a strong presence in America, with permanent staff in New York and Los Angeles.
Most importantly, he says, "we just do news that people want to read." Clarke credits the Mail's roots in Fleet Street for its "entertaining, engaging way with clear, concise, straightforward copy and lots of good pictures."
Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy criticized the The Daily Mail's claims to the top spot, saying that Mail Online only became number one by including its personal finance site ThisIsMoney in the total. She told BuzzFeed that if the Times counted readers of its other properties, such as the Boston Globe, it would still be on top.