I’d like to offer you a primer today on which of the online sites are really striking a chord with users.

We keep hearing about how popular Facebook is, and that Canadians have fallen in love with the social networking site, and that is true. Yet Facebook draws less than half the audience of the site holding down the number one spot, MySpace: 58 million versus 22 million in the month of April. (All figures U.S. market only).

The more interesting figure, however, reveals the fading power of MySpace. Growth year over is just three per cent, while Facebook grew 56 per cent. Facebook has managed to get the media attention and that is helping to drive users to the site, along with a huge variety of third party applications that are very popular with users.


Other sites are out there but their audiences are much smaller. In third spot is Classmates Online, at 14 million visits. In fourth spot was LinkedIn, the business-oriented social site, with eight million visitors; however its annual growth was 361 per cent — far and away the strongest expansion … perhaps you should consider getting LinkedIn.

Other up-and-comers are Buzznet.com and Imeem.com, which allows for sharing of music, photos and videos, both with reported increases of about 100 per cent.

As for blogging, once again the leader has a wide margin over number two, though the second-place finisher is rapidly closing the gap. Wordpress.com grew 160 per cent and had 16 million visitors vs. Bloggers’ 38 million.

Gossip sites seem to be fading. Tmz.com dropped 21 per cent while perezhilton.com managed to increase its visitor count just 12 per cent to a little over two million in April.

Political blogging is a hot subject, with the U.S. presidential nomination race for the Democrats still ongoing. The Huffington Post is benefiting in a big way, with visits that are up 99 per cent. And that’ll likely rise more since the author, a Barack Obama supporter, just recently put up a controversial post that has created a storm in the blogsphere. Arianna Huffington said Republican presidential candidate John McCain told her at a dinner party that he did not vote for George Bush and she says he is not the man many American voters think he is — terrific fodder for an online debate as the U.S. presidential election campaign looms.

A sports blog — sportsaol.com/fanhouse — made it to the number five spot, rising out of nowhere in the blogsphere. Engadget, with the latest in gizmos both useful and otherwise, made it 10th spot with more than a million visitors.

Paul’s Website of the week: www.blist.com — an online database manager. It looks a bit like a spreadsheet but it does a lot more. It’s a way to share information of all kinds.

>> This Sunday one of the stories on TECH NOW will be a look at an Ottawa firm making waves in DNA testing. And don’t forget to check our website — www.ctvottawa.ca.

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