Social Networking Sites Grow Nearly 50%

Posted on May 15, 2006

A new report from Nielsen//NetRatings shows that April's top 10 social networking sites collectively grew 47% since last year -- a climb from 46.8 million uniques in April 2005 to 68.8 million in April 2006. Nielsen//NetRatings says these social networking sites reach 45% of active Web suers. MySpace led the other social networks with 38.4 million unique visitors and growth rate of 367%.

"Social networking sites are the reality television of the Internet," said Jon Gibs, senior director of media, Nielsen//NetRatings. "The content is relatively inexpensive for publishers to produce, and social networking is not a fad that will disappear. If anything, it will become more ingrained in mainstream sites, just as reality TV programming has become ubiquitous in network programming."

Site Apr-05 UA (000) Apr-06 UA (000) YOY Growth
MySpace 8,210 38,359 367%
Blogger 10,301 18,508 80%
Classmates Online 11,672 12,865 10%
YouTube N/A 12,505 N/A
MSN Groups 12,352 10,570 -14%
AOL Hometown 11,236 9,590 -15%
Yahoo! Groups 8,262 9,165 11%
MSN Spaces 1,857 7,165 286%
Six Apart TypePad 5,065 6,711 32%
Xanga.com 5,202 6,631 27%

Classmates Online is primarily a fee-based service so that would restrict it from growing as much as the others. AOL Hometown's dismal performance shows why the company is launching AIM Pages to try and compete with the rapidly growing MySpace.com. Why Yahoo Groups is listed instead of Yahoo 360 is questionable -- possibly they do not have enough traffic yet at Yahoo 360.