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MySpace grabs top spot among U.S. sites

It gets the No. 1 traffic ranking for individual sites, but Yahoo still lures more to its many destinations in total.

Online hangout has overtaken Yahoo's e-mail gateway as the single most-visited U.S. Web site, although Yahoo's network of sites retains a broader audience, according to a report issued Tuesday.

According to Internet traffic measurement firm Hitwise, News Corp.'s MySpace accounted for 4.46 percent of all U.S. Internet visits for the week ended July 8, pushing it past Yahoo Mail for the first time and outpacing the home pages of Yahoo, Google and Microsoft's MSN Hotmail.

However, Yahoo's top three destinations--Yahoo Mail, the home page and Yahoo search--collectively attracted more than 10 percent of the total U.S. audience, according to Hitwise data.

MySpace's home page and e-mail site amounted to only 7.3 percent of U.S. Web visits, according to Hitwise's list of top 10 U.S. Internet properties for the first full week of July.

Yahoo issued a statement saying that: "The Yahoo network is made up of many domains and it is not accurate to compare to just Yahoo's (e-mail site)."

In the United States, Yahoo said it attracts 129 million unique visitors per month, which represents 74 percent of the online population in the world's biggest Internet market. By contrast, MySpace reaches only 30 percent of the online audience, with 52 million unique visitors, according to Yahoo.

Hitwise does not provide figures for the number of unique visitors to a site.

Yahoo also said it has a larger share of online time spent than any other property--a key measure for advertisers. It said it accounts for 13 percent of users' online time, while MySpace has only 3.2 percent share in users' online time.

U.S.-only statistics also understate the far greater international audience Yahoo has than MySpace, which only recently has been seeking to expand outside of the United States.

ComScore Networks, a rival to Hitwise in the Internet measurement field, projects that Yahoo attracts more than 500 million unique monthly visitors to its network of sites on a global basis, making Yahoo the most visited Internet network.

With its own category, MySpace, which dominates social networking on the Web, gained U.S. market share in June from other sites that aim to create virtual communities online for sharing music, photos or other interests, Hitwise said.

MySpace captured nearly 80 percent of visits to online social networking sites, up from 76 percent in April. distant second was Facebook at 7.6 percent, or one-tenth the traffic.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought MySpace for $580 million one year ago as part of a strategy to rapidly build up the media conglomerate's Internet presence.