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MySpace Soars; Hitwise Defends Figures

MySpace accounts for 4.5% of all U.S. Internet domain name visits, according to the metrics company Hitwise, which is explaining the methodology behind its research in light of the extreme growth it says MySpace has experienced over the past two years.
MySpace has received more page visits than all other domain names, according to Hitwise, a metrics company.

Hitwise announced the breakthrough this week, saying beat Yahoo Mail as the most visited domain. The metrics company monitors Web traffic among 10 million U.S. Internet users and more than 500,000 Web sites.

In 2004, social networking site represented .1 percent of U.S. Internet visits, according to Hitwise. By 2005, the figure was up to 1.9 percent. Now, MySpace accounts for 4.5 percent of all U.S. Internet domain name visits, according to the metrics company. In other words, the company has increased its market share by 4,300 percent in two years.

"MySpace continues its meteoric rise, to now claim the number one spot for all Internet visits in the U.S.," Bill Tancer, general manager of Global Research at Hitwise, said in a prepared statement. "We are still discovering the Internet laws of gravity as it relates to a site's potential to grow on the Internet. The fact that MySpace was virtually unknown by the mainstream Internet users two years ago and now claims the top position, demonstrates how hyper-competitive the Internet really is."

Yahoo ranked third with 4.25 percent and Google was fourth with 3.89 percent of all page visits to its domain, according to Hitwise.

Yahoo refuted the findings Friday and reported 129 million unique monthly visitors per month. The company issued a statement, saying MySpace only has 52 million unique visitors.

In his blog Yahoo employee Jeremy D. Zawodny criticized Hitwise's figures. He said MySpace and Yahoo Mail are not similar enough for a fair comparison.

Matt Tatham, manager of media relations for HitWise, disputed the criticism saying that his company is not comparing an entire portal to a domain name.

"If you were to roll up all of the Yahoo sites, you'd be comparing a portal to a social networking site," he said during an interview Friday. "At no time did we represent an aggregate view of all MySpace domains compared to all Yahoo domains."

Tatham said the rankings are based on market share of total visits of the individual domains and sub-domains as reported from our data. Hitwise collects Internet usage information via a combination of ISP data partnerships and opt-in panels.

Among social networks, MySpace accounted for 79.9 percent of the Internet's market share, according to the report. Facebook followed, with 7.5 percent of the visits, and Xanga ranked third, with 3.8 percent. Yahoo! 360 and Bebo hovered around 1 percent, but Bebo showed the largest percentage increase since May 2006, with a 21 percent gain.