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Facebook in France: Bonne chance

New ComScore numbers show Facebook grew fast over the past year in unique visitors. That still wasn't enough to get it past Skyrock, a popular Paris-based social site.

Bienvenue sur, the French answer to MySpace--and Facebook's big competitor over there.

There's good news for Facebook in France. According to new numbers released Thursday by ComScore, the social network grew a staggering 2,877 percent from April 2007 to April 2008 in terms of unique visitors.

That number took a big jump when Facebook rolled out a French-language edition early this spring--ComScore noted an increase of 600,000 visitors.

But there's a flip side: Facebook's still a long-shot second place in French social networking, according to the metrics. Skyrock, a site almost completely unknown in the U.S., pulled in 11.5 million unique visitors in April 2008 compared to Facebook's 3.2. With a bright design that resembles that of News Corp.'s MySpace, which appears to be about equal in popularity to Facebook in France, the teen-oriented Skyrock is available in 14 languages (including Canadian versions of French and English) but claims to have just slightly over 6 million user accounts. (UPDATE: That's the number of public profiles on the site; it also claims to have 16 million user-run blogs.)

What does that mean? Well, people are either checking out the site without actually being registered members (sort of like how MySpace likely gets a fair amount of traffic from blogs on the site written by celebrities) or that its users are just totally nuts about the site. Either that, or ComScore's high numbers are skewed. But with users whose screen names are along the lines of "Xx-emo-famous-xX666" (yes, that was a "featured member" on Thursday) this might not be the quasi-professional demographic that Facebook's courted recently anyway.

Also, Skyrock is not growing fast--ComScore says that it grew only about 34 percent from April 2007 to April 2008 in France, roughly in line with the 36 percent growth that French social networking experienced overall.

This post was updated at 11:41 AM PT to clarify the size of Skyrock.