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Social Network Sites Experience High Growth

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 leader 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."

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.

A fundamental aspect of the success of social networking sites is cultural relevance, according to Mr. Ivins. "Those doing well in certain regions are likely doing an effective job of communicating appropriately with those region's specific populations. As social networking continues to evolve, it will be exciting to see if networks are able to cross cultural barriers and bring people from different corners of the globe together in fulfilling the truest ideals of social networking."

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