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September 8, 2007

Social Networking grows in 2007

Comscore released the results of a study on the expansion of social networking across the globe, revealing that several major social networking sites have experienced dramatic growth during the past year.



Social networking behemoth MySpace.com attracted more than 114 million global visitors age 15 and older in June 2007, representing a 72-percent increase versus year ago. Facebook.com experienced even stronger growth during that same time frame, jumping 270 percent to 52.2 million visitors. Bebo.com (up 172 percent to 18.2 million visitors) and Tagged.com (up 774 percent to 13.2 million visitors) also increased by orders of magnitude.

“During the past year, social networking has really taken off globally,” said Bob Ivins, executive vice president of international markets. “Literally hundreds of millions of people around the world are visiting social networking sites each month and many are doing so on a daily basis. It would appear that social networking is not a fad but rather an activity that is being woven into the very fabric of the global Internet.”


MySpace, Facebook Strong in North America; Bebo Grabs Hold in Europe

While attracting global users, specific social networks have a tendency to skew in popularity in different regions. For example, both MySpace.com (62 percent) and Facebook.com (68 percent) attract approximately two-thirds of their respective audiences from North America. That said, each has already amassed a large international visitor base and both appear poised to continue their global expansion.

Bebo.com has a particularly strong grasp on Europe, attracting nearly 63 percent of its visitors from that region, while Orkut is firmly entrenched in Latin America (49 percent) and Asia-Pacific (43 percent). Friendster also attracts a significant proportion of its visitors (89 percent) from the Asia-Pacific region. Both Hi5.com and Tagged.com exhibit more balance in their respective visitor bases, drawing at least 8 percent from each of the five worldwide regions.

Techcrunch recently came out with numbers showing how Orkut lags behind with facebook in terms of numbers in the United States .Orkut has 425 million monthly page views compared to 15 billion for Facebook in the US





But if we see the overall worldwide Comscore numbers - Facebook doubles to 31 billion monthly page views, but Orkut jumps all the way up to 38 billion (we’ve also included some of the other big social networks for comparison in this chart)


The important lesson here is that the "social networking sites" are more regional and cultural specific" No social networks actually dominate the global marketplace. Social networking is more dependent on the local markets, the local demographics and how website customizes its services for local audience.

It would be interesting to see if any social networks can become a global giant and appeals to audiences worldwide . I would not surprised if we actually can see MySpace launching an Indian or a Japanese version soon along with local languages . Orkut has started rolling out its service in many Indian languages like Tamil,Marathi and Bengali . For an entry into a country like India , This is a safe way for Google to be a part of the India growth story .Going Local .. is the key to cracking developing countries where social networking is still at a nascent stage.