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Yahoo Loses Attention, Google And MSN Gain It

Since December, Yahoo's share of user attention has declined 22%, while Google's attention share has risen 10%, which doesn't include YouTube's performance.

One area where Yahoo continues to lead Google is in user attention. But Yahoo is losing ground and Google is gaining it, according to Internet metrics company Compete.

The recently updated Compete Attention 200 shows Yahoo with roughly three times the share of user attention than Google received in June, 6.5% vs. 2.3%. These percentages represent the fraction of time Internet users spent at a given site out of the entire amount of time they spent online.

Since December, Yahoo's share of user attention has declined 22%, while Google's attention share has risen 10%, which doesn't include YouTube's performance.

It's debatable how relevant Compete's attention metric is to Google, which measures the success of its search engine mostly by the speed with which users find relevant links and move on.

Still, as Google continues to develop as a service ecosystem, offering online applications, tools, and other diversions, many of its properties are aiming for greater user engagement.

The top 10 sites in terms of attention in June were MySpace (12.7%), Yahoo (6.5%), MSN (5.8%), eBay (2.3%), Google (2.3%), Facebook (1.5%), Pogo (1.4%), YouTube (1.4%), AOL (1%), and Craigslist (0.8%).

YouTube, owned by Google, showed the largest gain between December and June, with a 148% increase. This may reflect both an increase in popularity and the time-intensive nature of video viewing.

The other two major gainers were MSN and Facebook, which elicited 57% and 59% more attention, respectively, between December and June.

In a blog post, Compete analyst Max Freiert observes that social networking is driving attention growth for media sites.

Yahoo's failure to purchase Facebook has left it with properties that just don't seem to be able to match the magnetism of Google's YouTube or the gravity that keeps Windows users circling Microsoft properties. MySpace may be willing to date Yahoo -- the two sites have explored a relationship -- but it's hard to see how there would be any chemistry between the social site's in-your-face sensibility and Yahoo's Flickr aesthetes.

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