Summary:

Remember when UK social networking was a three-horse race? Those days are gone, my friend. In the last year, Facebook has surged ahead of it…

imageRemember when UK social networking was a three-horse race? Those days are gone, my friend. In the last year, Facebook has surged ahead of its rivals, two of which in particular have gone in to reverse, according to measurement firms’ stats obtained by paidContent:UK…

– Nielsen says first-place Facebook’s unique users surged 114 percent between February 2008 and 2009, while MySpace in second lost two percent and Bebo in fourth lost sixteen percent, overtaken to second by Blogger. Even Friends Reunited grew 58 percent.

– Want a second opinion? comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) has the same pattern – Facebook grew traffic 75 percent while Bebo and MySpace lost 16 and 15 percent of their uniques respectively, in second and third place.

– Leaving out YouTube, Hitwise, too, puts the three sites in that order, but Facebook has nearly doubled its share of visits to a whopping 41 percent, while Bebo’s has halved to seven percent and MySpace’s has halved to four percent.

What could account for the falls? A MySpace that is still from the Jackson Pollock school of web design? Bebo’s teen audience growing up to Facebook? Either way, those sites may be declining, but the overall sector is not – overall, Nielsen says, the UK audience for these “member communities” (AKA social networks) grew by a tenth to 69 percent of web users through 2008, though Facebook’s global surge has been thanks to those aged 35 to 49. We’re waiting on the firms’ official numbers.

comScore (doesn’t monitor under-15s or public computers)…
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Nielsen…
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Hitwise…
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(Horse photo: Paulo Camera, some rights reserved)

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