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ComScore: In U.S., MySpace-Facebook race goes on

Year-end stats indicate that Facebook won't pass MySpace's traffic until early 2010 at current growth rates, and that MySpace is notably ahead in the "engagement" department.


It's that time again: Measuring the traffic of the two biggest social-networking sites, Facebook and MySpace. Traffic firm ComScore has released year-end numbers that show the News Corp.-owned MySpace is still noticeably ahead in the U.S., but that Facebook's traffic is getting up there--however slowly.

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch has done some, uh, crunching: he estimates that at current growth rates, Facebook's U.S. audience will overtake MySpace's early in 2010.

The key point here is that the U.S. growth for both social networks has cooled down. Facebook's average monthly growth rate in the U.S. was 3.8 percent--its rapid growth these days is almost exclusively overseas--and MySpace's was 0.8 percent.

Other traffic firms, like Pingdom, have predicted that Facebook will pass MySpace in the U.S. much sooner. Facebook, with more than 150 million users worldwide, has been ahead in the global game for months now.

Arrington's probably not far off in estimating when Facebook will catch up in unique U.S. users. But he also notes that the more media-centric MySpace is way ahead in page views--40 billion in December (in the U.S.), compared to Facebook's 18 billion. MySpace also clocks up about twice as much time spent per visit, understandable for a site with a streaming-music service and a video portal. And it's been well-documented that MySpace's media consumption focus and stronger U.S. base have given it an edge when it comes to advertising.

The verdict? We still can't declare a winner, at least stateside.