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Nielsen: Facebook growth outpaces MySpace

Nov 15, 2007

Facebook's unique audience grew by 1.5 million people in October, according to a report released this week by Nielsen Online. That's five times the rate of larger rival MySpace, which grew by about 300,000.

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If the numbers are accurate, it means Facebook, the second-largest social network, continued its surge. MySpace logged 58.8 million unique visitors in October, up 19 percent from a year before; Facebook logged 19.5 million, up 125 percent.

Though the numbers seem to suggest that Facebook is growing at a far faster clip than MySpace (NWS), third-party numbers can be deceiving. Because of the methods companies like Nielsen use to estimate traffic, the official numbers from the sites themselves can differ somewhat. It's also not clear whether the trend will continue as both companies link up with powerful online allies. Facebook last month took a $240 million investment from Microsoft (MSFT), and MySpace announced that it will participate in Google's (GOOG) OpenSocial initiative to build social software on the Web.

Nielsen also released stats that show WordPress.com for the first time edging out TypePad to become the number-two blogging platform behind Blogger. The numbers are below:

 Table 1: Top 10 Social Networking Sites for October 2007 (U.S., Home and Work)  +-----------------------+----------+----------+----------------+ | Site                  |   Oct-06 |   Oct-07 | Percent Change | |                       | UA (000) | UA (000) |                | +-----------------------+----------+----------+----------------+ | Myspace.com           |   49,516 |   58,843 |            19% | | Facebook              |    8,682 |   19,519 |           125% | | Classmates Online     |   13,564 |   13,278 |            -2% | | Windows Live Spaces   |    7,795 |   10,261 |            32% | | AOL Hometown (TWX)    |    9,298 |    7,923 |           -15% | | LinkedIn              |    1,705 |    4,919 |           189% | | AOL People Connection |    5,849 |    4,084 |           -30% | | Reunion.com           |    4,723 |    4,082 |           -14% | | Club Penguin          |    1,512 |    3,880 |           157% | | Buzznet.com           |    1,104 |    2,397 |           117% | +-----------------------+----------+----------+----------------+ Source: Nielsen Online  Table 2: Top 10 Blogs for October 2007 (U.S., Home and Work) +-------------------+----------+----------+-----------------+ | Site              |   Oct-06 |   Oct-07 |  Percent Change | |                   | UA (000) | UA (000) |                 | +-------------------+----------+----------+-----------------+ | Blogger           |   21,572 |   34,104 |             58% | | WordPress.com     |    2,104 |   11,440 |            444% | | Six Apart TypePad |    8,813 |   10,601 |             20% | | tmz.com           |    7,107 |    7,805 |             10% | | LiveJournal       |    3,366 |    4,260 |             27% | | Xanga.com         |    4,760 |    2,741 |            -42% | | Thatsfit          |     534* |    2,613 |            389% | | Gizmodo           |     941* |    2,135 |            127% | | Autoblog          |      920 |    1,949 |            112% | | StyleDash         |    1,319 |    1,947 |             48% | +-------------------+----------+----------+-----------------+ Source: Nielsen Online  * This Web site did not meet minimum sample size standards in October 2006. Projected and average measures for this site may exhibit large changes month-to-month as a result.
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