Facebook overtakes Myspace as Perfspot accelerates

Facebook has now overtaken MySpace in the UK.

The latest figures published from Nielsen//NetRatings show that Facebook has more unique UK visitors than MySpace. In something of a revelation however, Facebook is no longer the fastest growing social network. Instead Perfspot, the US-based site where people “share their interests”, is fast gaining traction in the UK.

And despite it being gradually deserted by corporates as a failed marketing opportunity, Second Life turns out to be the most engaging social network in terms of average time per visitor.

Nielsen//NetRatings figures say that Facebook received 6.5 million unique visitors in August 2007 compared to MySpace’s 6.4 million – both are now visited by one in every five Britons online. Since December 2006, Facebook’s audience has grown by 541% compared to 20% for MySpace. Almost half (48%) of Britons online (15.3 million people) visited at least one of the ten most popular social networks in August 2007.

Some context to this. As Alex Burmaster, European Internet Analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings points out, at the end of 2006 Facebook was one fifth the size of MySpace, so its growth has been pretty rapid. However, MySpace has managed to maintain more than six million visitors in each of the last six months – which Facebook will have to match if it is to be considered the true MySpace killer.

Perfspot’s success has come out of nowhere. Until April this year it was not even on the radar, but it has now grown by 756% in just four months – making it the fastest growing social network in 2007 ahead of Facebook, which has grown by 541% across the eight months from December 2006 – August 2007.

Amongst social networks, Facebook accrued the most total time spent by Britons (991 million minutes) followed by Bebo (600 million minutes) and MySpace (540 million minutes), while Second life is the leading social network in terms of monthly time per visitor (5 hours 29 minutes) followed by teen community Habbo (3 hrs 6 mins) and Tagged.com (2 hrs 40 mins).

Surely this is because it always takes so LONG to do anything in Second Life?

One thing’s for sure. Perfspot’s sudden appearance on the scene just goes to show that the social networking business is far from being played-out.