The Beastie Boys said, “You gotta fight for your right to party”. In this case, Internet companies are duking it out to fight for their right to be called the number one Internet destination. MySpace had a big coup this week when Hitwise reported that MySpace had taken the number one spot from Yahoo as the most visited U.S. destination on the web. This was a big win, not just for MySpace, but for social networking and web 2.0 in general.
Now the controversy starts. According to Reuters:
Yahoo issued a statement saying that: "The Yahoo network is made up of many domains and it is not accurate to compare MySpace.com to just Yahoo's (e-mail site)."
In the United States, Yahoo said it attracts 129 million unique visitors per month, which represents 74 percent of the online population in the world's biggest Internet market. By contrast, MySpace reaches 30 percent of the online audience, with 52 million unique visitors, according to Yahoo.
Hitwise does not provide figures for the number of unique visitors to a site. (Reuters)
The big question: Who is right?
Mark Twain popularized the now-famous Benjamin Disraeli quote: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Hitwise measures based on a single site; therefore, MySpace has more visitors than any of Yahoo's single sites. On the flip side, if you combined all of Yahoo's web properties, they probably have more visitors than MySpace.
The answer: Both, and it depends on how you measure it.