Compete: Facebook US Traffic Nearing Google, Yahoo

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Web analytics firm Compete has released its data for the month of May, and as Justin Smith over at InsideFacebook has already pointed out, US traffic to Facebook.com has increased by nearly 8% to 82.9 million unique visitors last month, with Facebook Connect sites generating an additional 65 million uniques. That means that, according to Compete, a total of 113 million people in the U.S. interacted with the Facebook service. The data also shows MySpace is (still) steadily decreasing compared to the beginning of the year, while Twitter growth seems to have flattened all of the sudden.

While it is interesting to see how the hot social networks stack up in terms of traffic, I thought I’d also take a look at how well Facebook is doing compared to other Web giants like Google.com, Yahoo.com and MSN.com. To my surprise, Facebook appears to have become a real challenger to these Internet juggernauts, who are relatively old compared to the social network that started out in 2004 as a university student-only service and only really opened up to the public in September 2006.

Evidently. this is only one way to look at things. First, Compete does not always provide spot-on traffic estimates (data from comScore suggested Facebook had yet to surpass MySpace in US traffic back in March) and second it’s hardly fair to compare these websites as they all serve different purposes and audiences. But the picture painted here is that Facebook has unmistakingly grown up to become one of the most popular Internet destinations on the planet, both in terms of registered users (well beyond 200 million at this point) and in terms of received traffic. And we’re still talking about a privately-held (albeit massively funded) company that has come this far. No wonder its valuation is surging.

Then there’s our model of the true value of social networks, which gave Facebook a clear lead as well.

For comparison, Compete pegs Google to have received a total of 145.5 million unique visitors in May, ahead of Yahoo (135.5 million) and MSN.com (97.5 million), which means Facebook has already overtaken the MSN website and is nearing the former two. It’s important to note that all four sites show a significant increase in U.S. traffic since the beginning of this year, but Facebook is definitely on the steepest growth curve here. In January 2009, total traffic to Facebook was somewhere around 68.5 million uniques, which means the May number of 113 million represents a 61% jump, mostly thanks to the successful spread of the Facebook Connect service.

If these trends persist, expect Facebook to come out on top of the Compete charts well before the year ends.

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