February Top Social Networks – Make way for the new guys

Earlier this week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg made Forbes list of the World’s Richest Men. Facebook certainly had more ups than downs in 2007, but can the site continue its rapid growth into 2008? Where’s MySpace and what else is going in the social web? It appears that the real movers in and shakers in 2008 weren’t moving much in early 2007.

For the big players in the space, February represented a slight decrease in traffic, but the year- over-year growth rates seem to indicate that social networking (as an industry) has yet to peak. The table below shows the top social networks in February 2008, ranked by monthly visits. This ranking factors in both total audience size, and also intensity of use.

UPDATED – 3/13

  • Myspace was down slightly from February 2007 in terms of total US visits. However, the networking giant still holds a commanding traffic lead over all other Social sites.
  • Facebook visits fell slightly from January 2008 to February 2008, but over the year the site has grown by over 75%. In terms of US visitors, it is now about one half the size of Myspace, but receives about 1/3rd as many visits.
  • Niche markets are still attractive in terms of Social networking: Cafemom (a social network geared towards mothers), Linkedin (a networking site for professionals) and Fubar ("the first online bar") all grew by 5X or more from February 2007 through February 2008. Fubar, in fact, exploded into the top 20 networks from relative obscurity one year ago.
  • Innovative business models also had success in 2007: Communication platform Twitter, and white label social network Ning, both found a dramatically larger audience in the past year.

While fairly flat trend lines in MySpace traffic may provide an indication of the market reaching its peak, the rapid growth of some very new players in the space speaks to the opportunities in social networking that still exist"¦ but only time will tell if Zuckerburg makes Forbe’s list next year.

Update: At the request of several of our readers, we’ve updated the table to include several prominent social networks that were left off the original post:

  • imeem.com
  • livejournal.com
  • 360.yahoo.com

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