Hitwise: Facebook's 'Connect' pushed it past MySpace

The traffic firm noticed a clear uptick in U.S. Facebook growth after the site launched Facebook Connect in full, and that's when it passed MySpace in traffic.

Traffic firm Hitwise says Facebook eventually overcame MySpace in terms of U.S. traffic as a result of the launch of its Facebook Connect universal log-in product, according to a post from analyst Heather Dougherty.

"The number of Web sites participating in Facebook Connect has grown quickly to over 15,000 Web sites (globally) including CNN.com, NBC.com, ABCNews.com, Hulu, WashingtonPost.com, The Huffington Post, and others," Dougherty's post read. "And what is really interesting is to look at the year-over-year growth in the market share of visits to Facebook, because there is a clear uptick in the growth rate following the launch of Facebook Connect."

And that growth spurt was what made it the biggest site of its kind in the U.S., according to the numbers. The social network officially surpassed MySpace in U.S. traffic during the week of May 30, Hitwise estimated.

Facebook's rapid growth made it pretty much inevitable that it would surpass the News Corp.-owned MySpace, once the clear leader in social networking. But even when Facebook passed MySpace in worldwide traffic, MySpace still had a pretty big edge in the U.S. Ultimately, Facebook passed MySpace in U.S. usage earlier than some thought it would .

If Hitwise's numbers are accurate, it's a big testament to the success of Facebook Connect, which launched in full last December.

MySpace has launched its own universal log-in product, MySpaceID , backed by partnerships with Google and Yahoo. But it's Facebook Connect that has caught on among both the Web-going public and the marketing world.

"A clear benefit of Facebook Connect is the ability of the user to use a single portable identity--and most importantly, one password, rather than logging into multiple accounts across the network of Web sites," Dougherty wrote. "Participation from Web sites in Facebook Connect also has strong implications to appear more often in the search results executed on Facebook resulting from member postings as search becomes a more prevalent activity within this large audience.

Facebook now has more than 250 million active users worldwide.

 

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