Los Angeles — It was only a matter of time, social networking website Facebook glanced at Yahoo’s traffic, laughed and sped past topping off a fine year for the company and the website, as Santa bestowed the company the title of “third largest website ever”.
New metrics from comScore revealed that Facebook has now surpassed Yahoo as the second-biggest website, pulling in 648 million unique visitors for November 2010 versus Yahoo’s 630 million. Moreover, it is even catching upon Microsoft and Google, the aging giants who have held the top two spots for years now.
Facebook climbed from strength to strength every single month, and 2010 has probably been the best year in its relatively short history. And 2011 is looking like it will be an even better year. Only Microsoft, with 869 million unique visitors, and Google, with 970 million, stand in Facebook’s way at this moment. Yahoo drops down to fourth, though that should really come as little surprise–Facebook has been chipping away at the search giant for some time now.
More people than ever are flocking to the social networking site, and Facebook passed the very impressive 500 million users milestone earlier this year. Also, 2010 was concluded with Mark Zuckerberg being named Person of The Year, rather controversially it has to be said. Many people thought WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would win the plaudit, but Zuckerberg was considered more worthy.
According to the comScore data, Facebook has been growing monthly where Yahoo is not growing at all. Three months back, Yahoo said that Facebook could one day be their number one competitor. As of December 2009, Facebook’s pageviews were already up to 193 billion versus Yahoo’s 100 billion (and Microsoft’s 109 billion, to note). Besides, Google also has actually dropped slightly over the past few months, while Microsoft has edged closer. This all suggests that the three companies are on a collision course for a three-way battle in the coming months/years. And it would take a brave man to bet against Facebook at this stage, as its growth shows little sign of slowing down.
“Our greatest competitor probably is Facebook, more so than Google,” said Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz at a Bloomberg event earlier this month. “They are a hot site, but there is room for more than one of anything.”
Facebook leaped over Yahoo in a batch of September comScore metrics related to U.S. video properties. Furthermore, November metrics from comScore shows that Facebook serves up more than twice as much display advertising as Yahoo–23 percent of all online ads within the U.S. compared to Yahoo’s 11 percent.
Moving forward as of August 2010, Facebook delivered video to 58.5 million users versus Yahoo’s 53.9, representing a total of 243 million viewing sessions to Yahoo’s 229 million. The only metric where Yahoo actually beat Facebook out was on viewing time—Yahoo users viewed an average of 31.6 minutes of online video per person versus Facebook users’ 20.5 minutes per person.
Yahoo nevertheless trounced Facebook when isolated to just U.S. visitors only. In this, the company is the top website on the Internet with 181 million unique monthly visitors. Facebook, at 152 million, sits in fourth place on this ranking.
With a modest downtrend to Google’s growth, the exponential gain of Facebook and an uptick to Microsoft site traffic, it appears that the top three spots might prove to be an interesting race in the months ahead. Of course, for now let us wait and watch the show.