Online socializing in the downturn

I was surfing Alexa and Compete to see how the recent economic downturn (that we are not calling a recession) has impacted traffic to the popular social sites and saw some interesting trends.

Orkut traffic has gone down 36% over the last year while Friendster has lost over 20%. Unlike the latter, Friendster seems to inching upwards but Alexa shows traffic for Orkut  plunging over the last year. It’s interesting that neither of these sites has a major following in the U.S., Orkut’s traffic is mostly from Latin America, with Brazil accounting for over 50% of the traffic, while Friendster’s domain is Asia.

Friendster has been actively courting the Facebook developer community as well as expanding its  text alert  feature to several Asian countries, which no doubt helps increase site engagement. Orkut team on the other hand, recently introduced Orkut for iPhone but it’s not clear how many among its target audience use iPhone. Also, the site hadn’t opened access to third-party apps until this year to users outside Brazil and Asia (and Estonia??), which limited the possibility of engaging new users outside of the select countries.

Looking at the two dominant players in the N.American market, Facebook still seems to be going gangbusters with 70% YOY growth, thanks to a combination of user-friendly interface and new engaging features, while growth for the chaotic MySpace is leveling off.

I would assume that more people are socializing online during these interesting times, probably because there are more topics/issues to socialize over and thanks to the flurry of layoffs recently, more time on their hands to devote to it.

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One response to “Online socializing in the downturn

  1. You do realize that in the spring of 2008, Orkut.com split into various separate domain names (the most popular being orkut.co.in for India and orkut.co.br for Brazil). If you add all Orkut domains together, I believe traffic is way up year-over-year as Orkut is still gaining users in Brazil and especially India.

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