The Score: Crowding Out MySpace?

There is no denying the incredible growth in MySpace.com over the past year and its dominance among social networking sites. The site’s popularity has garnered so much attention that it has inevitably invited competition from other social networking sites. New sites are cropping up every month attempting to siphon away users from MySpace, but they have been only moderately successful in cutting into MySpace’s market share dominance.

A well-established social networking site poses a difficult barrier to entry for potential competitors because of the pre-existing network of people with whom to interact online. Because greater numbers of users at established social networking sites increase the audience’s networking capabilities, it can be difficult for a new networking site to get off the ground. Competitors have found that their best chance of survival in the market is to focus on a specific niche or demographic.

  • MySpace.com predictably skews younger with a composition index (CI) of 205 among 12- to17-year-olds (composition index represents the proportion of the given group within a specific site audience, compared to the proportion of that group in the total online population. A CI of 100 represents parity.) However, MyYearbook.com (CI 374) and Xanga.com (CI 246) show a stronger relative skew among the same demographic.

  • Facebook.com holds a strong relative advantage among the college-aged crowd (ages 18 to 24) with an index of 352.

  • Friendster’s niche appears to be among the “young professionals,” as persons 25 to 34 are more than twice as likely than average to visit the site. Hi5.com is the only other social networking site that people in this demo show an above-average likelihood of visiting.

Selected Social Networking Sites by Age
*Composition Index
December 2005
Social Networking Sites Composition Index
Persons:
12-17
Persons:
18-24
Persons:
25-34
Facebook.com 120 352 52
Friendster.com 61 151 203
Hi5.com 153 185 105
MySpace.com 205 169 84
Xanga.com 246 132 65
MyYearbook.com 374 129 53
Source: comScore Media Metrix


Some competitors of MySpace are experiencing greater success than others, however. While a few competitors seem to be making inroads into the 12 to 17 demographic, MySpace is maintaining its position among other demos.

  • Growth among persons 12 to 17 at both Xanga.com and MyYearbook has outpaced MySpace during the past month. Xanga grew 29 percent and MyYearbook grew 44 percent versus MySpace’s nine percent growth among its core demographic.

  • Among persons 18 to 24, MySpace grew at a strong 34 percent pace over the past month to outpace every competitor except MyYearbook, which grew 43 percent. Facebook.com, which shows the heaviest skews to this demo, grew at 14 percent.

 

  Unique Visitors (000)
  Nov-05 Dec-05 % Change
Total Internet Persons: 12-17 16,507 16,637 1
MYSPACE.COM 5,925 6,437 9
XANGA.COM 1,628 2,093 29
FACEBOOK.COM 1,595 1,458 -9
MYYEARBOOK.COM 613 884 44
HI5.COM 556 460 -17
FRIENDSTER.COM 100 93 -7
Source: comScore Media Metrix

 

  Unique Visitors (000)
  Nov-05 Dec-05 % Change
Total Internet Persons: 18-24 20,963 21,313 2
MYSPACE.COM 5,106 6,831 34
FACEBOOK.COM 4,798 5,467 14
XANGA.COM 1,437 1,437 0
HI5.COM 680 711 5
FRIENDSTER.COM 275 295 7
MYYEARBOOK.COM 273 390 43

Source: comScore Media Metrix

*Composition Index represents the proportion of the given group within a specific site audience, compared to the proportion of that group in the total online population. A composition index of 100 represents parity.

 

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