Just one year ago, the three top ranking social networking sites combined (Classmates, MSN Groups and AOL Hometown) generated 35 million unique visits during April 2005.
Fast forward to April 2006..... MySpace leads the social networking pack with a whopping 367% increase to 38 million unique visits while the original top three performers slip to 33 million visits and YouTube makes its debut with 12.5 million.
The reality of this phenomenon should be taken seriously by the mainstream media channels as marketing opportunities expand in squared fashion. The integration of new and ever-changing options require a keen eye on the direction young America takes to establish themselves on their own media platforms.
Nielsen maintains that these sites enjoy a high retention rate. MySpace, for example, boasts a retention rate of 67%. Word to the wise ... that retention rates include existing but inactive accounts that contribute to the overall picture in an unhealthy way.
Marketers note: be wary that the lax supervision of questionable postings (pornographic or otherwise) doesn't slap a lid on its unbridled growth and the consumer tide turns against it.

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