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Traffic Flows to User-Generated Content Sites

Nielsen//NetRatings announced that user-generated content sites, platforms for photo sharing, video sharing and blogging, comprised five out of the top 10 fastest growing Web brands in July 2006.

Image hosting site ImageShack ranked No. 4 among July�s fastest growing Web brands, increasing 233 percent, from a unique audience of 2.3 million to 7.7 million. Heavy.com, a video sharing site, took the No. 5 spot, increasing 213 percent, from 965,000 to 3.0 million unique visitors. Photo sharing site Flickr followed at No. 6, growing 201 percent from 2.1 million to 6.3 million unique visitors. Other user-generated content sites that made it into the top 10 fastest growing Web brands were MySpace, with a 183 percent year-over-year increase, and Wikipedia, with a 181 percent year-over-year increase.

�User-generated content sites have seen significant growth over the past year, owing in large part to their reliance on viral marketing,� said Jon Gibs, director of media analytics, Nielsen//NetRatings. �They also benefit from their cost-effectiveness - the content is practically free.� Gibs continued, �Notably, the Associated Press also stands out, as a more traditional outlet innovating to keep pace with technology. The launch of its video offering earlier this year has driven significant growth as consumers seek streaming content to complement online and print news. In addition, benefiting from massive online and offline advertising, incentive pricing and reduced security concerns, HSBC has been attracting an increasing number of existing and new customers to online banking.�

Among the top 10 Web brands overall, MySpace was the No. 1 fastest growing, increasing 183 percent, from 16.2 million unique visitors in July 2005 to 46.0 million in July 2006. Google ranked No. 2, growing 23 percent, from a unique audience of 76.2 million to 94.0 million. eBay rounded out the top three, increasing 13 percent, from 51.1 million to 57.8 million unique visitors.

�MySpace is in a nearly unique position, because of its large audience base and its continued triple-digit growth,� said Gibs. �Only other popular user-generated content sites, such as YouTube, can rival it.�

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