Facebook on the march – the FT is in love

This article in the FT this morning argues that Facebook has a good chance of overtaking Myspace as the leading social network.  Unfortunately you can’t read the whole thing due to their dammed DRM, but if you subscribe or buy the paper you will see the author feels in his gut that Facebook will win.

As you know, I’m a Facebook fan, so I’m not arguing with the conclusion (although I think it may be a little premature) – what was surprising to me was to see the FT taking a position like this when Facebook is still so much smaller than Myspace.

By this article on FT.com yesterday (which curiously has no DRM) Myspace had nearly 80% of visits to the top 20 social networking sites last month, while Facebook accounted for just over 11% (per Hitwise).  For the stat junkies amongst you Bebo rounded out the top three with 1.3%.

I don’t think you would ever see the FT arguing so positively in favour of a traditional business which was one seventh the size of its market leader.

This is the extent to which Facebook is capturing mindshare at the moment.

Some caveats are appropriate:

  1. First, and probably most important, Facebook’s users are the sort of people who write FT articles and care about this kind of debate (that counts me and many, if not most, of you) – so there is a built in bias to these positions. 
  2. Second – the data is far from perfect – I blogged on some of the problems with page views as a metric back in December and in addition Myspace stands accused of architecting it’s site to inflate page views
  3. Finally – it shouldn’t be forgotten that these businesses are different enough that we may end up putting them in different categories – Myspace is an entertainment business for teenagers and Facebook is a social utility for a slightly older crowd.

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