Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
Jun 19

Social networking sites: who will be the real winner?

Lexy Klain

by Lexy Klain
Category: Technology

Are social networks such as Facebook and MySpace over-valued today? The price tags we put on them are steep in my opinion – in the billions of dollars! Although, are these sites and other online communities just a fad that will be replaced by the next big ‘It’ technology shortly down the line, or will they all see a long and prosperous future?

MySpace was a huge success in its early days and managed to stay on top for a good while. However, many people today consider that MySpace, as a brand, has lost its champion title to Facebook.

I slightly digress from my original thoughts but want to put this perception to the test and undergo a couple of benchmarking tests.

Step One – The Site Traffic Test

I got some interesting results whilst conducting a traffic rank comparison between Facebook and MySpace on traffic ranking site, Alexa. For your reference, all the following figures are based on a snapshot of a three month average.

MySpace receives a traffic rank of 6 [this traffic rank is based on a combined measure of page views and users (reach)]. The number of unique pages viewed per user per day on MySpace is 34.52.

Facebook comes in just behind MySpace with a traffic rank of 7. The number of unique pages viewed per user per day on Facebook is 21.26.

The graph above, however, shows us that the traffic rank of MySpace has dipped over the past two months. Over this same two month period, Facebook has grown considerably.

To be completely honest, i’m a little surprised with these figures. I definitely thought that Facebook would have had a bigger lead on MySpace.

Step Two – The Member Test

This next step isn’t really a fair test but I thought I would throw it in to add a new dimension into the mix.

An interesting sociology study was posted on Mashable about one year ago now addressing the difference between Facebook and MySpace users. According to the study ‘jocks’, ‘athletes’ and ‘goodie two shoes’ are the types that frequent Facebook whereas MySpace is the hang out for the ‘alternative’ crowd, ‘punks’, ‘emos’ and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm!

Based on the vast differences between the member bases of these sites, I am starting to feel a little guilty for comparing the two. Apples with oranges? :)

After completely digressing from my first questions in this post, I want to go back to my original question on the longevity of these online sites. And are we or are we not over-valuing them?

LinkedIn recently valued itself at $1 billion. Similarly, according to Computerworld, Facebook received a market valuation of around US$15 billion after Microsoft bought 1.6% of the site for US$240 million last year. Other networking sites have had valuations between US$200 million and US$560 million, based on transactions from this year. In the same vain, Facebook received a market valuation of approximately “…US$15 billion after Microsoft bought 1.6% of the site for US$240 million last year…”

I’ll leave this one with you to ponder on. Will this bubble burst?





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