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When MySpace Away, Adult, Dating Sites Get Better Play

Google gained the greatest increase in market share during the time MySpace was down in late July, as measured by page impressions, according to Hitwise.
When MySpace went down recently, activity on adult and dating Web sites rose, according to a company that tracks Internet traffic.

Google also saw more activity, according to Hitwise, an online marketing and research company. Bill Tancer, general manager of global research for Hitwise examined Web activity during the two days that MySpace went down in July. He announced his findings this week.

Matt Tatham, manager of media relations for Hitwise, said during an interview Friday that the information gives some valuable insights into the behavior of those who use MySpace, the Internet's most popular social networking sites.

"I think it's natural for people to go to search online for people to seek news out," he said. "The dating and some of the adult sites had increases. It gives you an indication of people's online behavior."

When Tancer heard the popular social networking site went down because of a power outage on July 22 and 23, he saw an opportunity to study how people reacted.

"I thought 'Wow! If a site with over 4 percent of all Internet visits and over 17 percent of all page impressions in the U.S. goes down, where do people go instead," Tancer said. "I was surprised to see that on the days of the outage, market share of visits to MySpace.com actually went up."

Tancer said the increase was probably a result of people visiting frequently to see if they could log back on and most visitors were unable to get beyond the first page.

According to Tancer's MySpace outage "Post Mortem", Google gained the greatest increase in market share, as measured by page impressions. Dating sites experienced a 10 percent increase and adult sites had a slight rise.

Tancer said he believes the rise in Google activity was due to long-tail behavior, like recreational searches. Facebook, a competitor in social networking, also saw an increase in use, according to Tancer.

While MySpace shares of page impressions dropped from about 16.5 percent to 11 percent, Google shot up from 11.5 to 16.5, according to Hitwise. Facebook impressions rose from about 11 percent to 16.5 percent of the market share at the same time, according to Tancer, who did not provide figures on the adult sites' increase. He described those as a "mild bump up."

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