Blogs and Social Networks Drive Web Traffic

Posted on April 4, 2006

The Washington Post reports on a new study from ComScore Media Metrix that showed major traffic gains for blogging and social networking sites like Blogger.com and MySpace.com.

The number of monthly visitors to each site rose at rates ranging from 185 percent (Citysearch) to 528 percent (Blogger.com) between February 2005 and February 2006. Their growth far exceeded the 4 percent increase in overall Internet visitors in the United States during that period.

The traffic analysis shows the Internet is still a space where new brands such as MySpace can suddenly break into the upper ranks, where older brands such as Citysearch can revive themselves after languishing for years, and where established outfits such as Google often wind up as beneficiaries because they buy or copy services pioneered by upstarts.

Google Inc., for instance, bought Blogger.com in 2003; the number of people posting or reading material at that site jumped to 15.6 million last month from 2.5 million a year ago.

"The growth in blogging reminds us the Internet is fulfilling its original promise about participation," said Gary Arlen, a research analyst and president of Arlen Communications Inc. "This medium empowers users in such a way that they can do what they want and be heard."

MySpace's traffic also soared. The report said they received 37 million visitors in February -- 28 million more than a year ago. ComScore says MySpace is now the 10th most popular website. The Washington Post has also provided a list of the top 50 domains. Influence says everything old is new again.
The Washington Post's article on the growth of traffic to community websites sent me to the bookshelf to dust off my copy of net gain by Hagel and Armstrong. It was published in 1997, a year after we started Forum One. net gain helped inspire many online community tools and services including ours, the "Forum One Index," a search engine for web forums. The Index didn't survive the bursting bubble, but Forum One did.

Now it is blogs and RSS instead of forums and "push" but the rationale is much the same -- the power of people. We're very excited to see the market catch up with the ideas and applaud the success of the new generation of community sites.



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