By Leena Rao
The gap between Facebook and MySpace is growing wider in the U.S. In May, Facebook finally caught up to MySpace in unique U.S. visitors and surpassed its rival social network by a smidgeon. Last month, Facebook left MySpace in the dust, according to June data from comScore. Facebook reached 77 million unique visitors for the month of June, rising from 70.28 million unique visitors in May. MySpace had 68.4 million unique visitors in June, dropping from 70.25 million unique visitors in May.
Facebook is steadily growing in the U.S.; the network gained just under 7 million unique visitors in June compared to a gain of 2.8 million U.S. unique visitors in May. In comparison, MySpace lost nearly 4 million unique visitors in June, compared to 700,000 unique visitors lost in May. While Facebook is growing both in the U.S. and internationally, MySpace appears to be stagnating.
The widening of the gap between the rival social networks comes at a time when MySpace is under new management and recently terminated two-thirds of its international staff, laying off staff in countries where MySpace is being trounced by Facebook. MySpace’s international numbers were startling. For example, in India, where social networking is growing fast, Facebook had 6.4 million unique visitors in May, compared to 848,000 unique visitors to MySpace. In our most recent model of the true value of social networks, MySpace fell below Facebook, dropping from the top spot last year.
MySpace still generates more page views than Facebook. In June, MySpace had 32.4 billion page views in the U.S., but that number dropped 10 percent in a single month, from May (gulp). Facebook is catching up there as well, with 21.3 billion page views in June, a 12 percent increase from May. And worldwide, Facebook is already ahead. As we reported a few months ago, worldwide monthly page views for MySpace declined from 47.4 billion a year ago to 38 billion in April, a 20% drop. In that same period Facebook grew from 44 billion to 87 billion, a roughly 100% increase. MySpace’s user number growth has stalled out also, and developers are reporting that activity on MySpace is decreasing at a dramatic rate, as high as “half a percent a week.”
A decline in user numbers isn’t the only predicament that MySpace is in—there is speculation that the social network could lose one of its major revenue streams in the near future. In 2010, MySpace will be receiving its last “welfare payment” from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (stemming from an advertising deal between News Corp. and Google struck in 2006), after which it looks like it will be cut off. Under the terms of the agreement, MySpace will receive $300 million over the next year if the network hits certain search pageview requirements, which considering the recent data on page views, may not happen.
Meanwhile, Facebook shows no signs of slowing down. The network successfully launched its “vanity URLs,” in June, with millions of users signing up for the new feature within days. The network also got some notice around its use during the Iran elections and protests, and around the new privacy settings surrounding its “Everyone” button.