Social networks overtake Webmail

During October, UK Internet visits to social networks - such as Facebook, Bebo and MySpace - overtook visits to web-based email services - Hotmail, Gmail, etc - for the first time.

According to Hitwise, a leading online competitive intelligence service, the custom category of the top 25 social networks accounted for 5.17 per cent of all UK Internet visits during October 2007, compared to 4.98 per cent for Computers and Internet - Email Services, which includes Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail, among others.

This confirms that social networks are starting to eat into the web-based email providers' dominance of the Internet messaging market, says Hitwise. A growing proportion of the UK online population is choosing to communicate with friends via social networks rather than email. In October, Hitwise Demographics data for the four weeks ending 27th October 2007 shows that social networks referred as much traffic to other websites as web-based email services.

In rather less surprising news, Hitwise states that Internet users aged 18-34 are more likely to use Facebook, while older surfers, 35+, choose Windows Live Mail.

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Simon Jary

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