Everyone is doing it. Or at least it seems that way when it comes to the number of people using Facebook.
A MySpace.com communications manager even admits to having a Facebook because, “a lot of my friends have Facebooks and it’s a way to stay connected with them. They do have a very successful growth model.“
The social networking site grew to 150 million users this month, half of whom log on daily, according to creator Mark Zuckerberg. The number of Facebook members dwarfs that of similar sites such as MySpace, hi5, Orkut, Friendster and Bebo.
According to the global Internet information provider comScore, traffic on Facebook has grown 116 percent since last year, while other sites such as MySpace have only grown 16 percent. Hi5 and Orkut grew at higher rates than MySpace, but are still not up to par with that of Facebook.
The site, which was established in February 2004 for college students, was expanded to anyone with an e-mail address in 2006. Facebook also comes in 35 languages (with about 60 more in development), while MySpace has about 31.
Facebook Platform, established in 2007, provides a place for software developers to create applications and allows Facebook users to log into Facebook to use their identifications on other sites such as CNN.
“Facebook is successful because it’s easy to use, and we are focused on the mission of enabling people to share and connect with people they know in real life,” said Facebook spokesperson Matt Hicks. “[Unlike other sites] it’s not about celebrities or other personas, so people are more prone to share real things with friends, family and co-workers that are important to them.“
For some UC Davis students, page clutter and safety have been major concerns on a lot of social networking sites.
“My sister’s MySpace made our computer run slow and it drove me insane,” said senior chemistry major Cara Schneider. “For that reason I never got a MySpace, as well as the fact that predators tend to be more of a MySpace issue. Facebook just seems safer since it was originally developed for colleges.”
MySpace spokesperson Jamie Schumacher disputes the claims that MySpace is dangerous.
“In honor of MySpace’s fifth anniversary, we announced Profile 2.0 in November of 2008, which allows for more privacy settings and is safer,” Schumacher said. “We are updating our technology on a daily basis and expanding on a global mindset. We are being very strategic.“
Although there are a lot of people with Facebook accounts, especially in college, some are more hesitant to join, saying the risks are too great.
Both Facebook and MySpace use targeting technology that allows them to use specific ads for members based on profile information such as age, region, gender and other attributes. The sites also use international brands and other global ads for a more general audience.
“What’s really great about MySpace is that we identify markets that have the biggest market share and target them,” said a MySpace spokesperson who asked not to be named. “MySpace may be a lot more cluttered than Facebook, but when Facebook is so clean ads have to be a lot smaller and that doesn’t allow for much creativity or large campaigns.“
Facebook, a private company, does not release information on its ad revenues.
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.