We (and others) have been casting a critical eye toward MySpace lately: We’ve detailed how Fox Interactive Media, the News Corp. unit comprised primarily of MySpace, missed its internal revenue goals for July and August. We’ve also noted that Rupert Murdoch seems to have reduced the web unit’s FY 08 revenue goals. Unique visitors at MySpace seem to finally have peaked this summer. And MySpace has certainly lost mindshare, at least, to Facebook.
But none of this means that MySpace is cratering. For instance, we have heard anecdotal reports that traffic to the MySpace “ecosystem” — external sites that offer up widgets, wallpapers and other novelty items that help users trick out their pages — remains strong. If so, that’s a very good sign for MySpace, as users dedicated enough to design their pages are the ones who are going to visit many times a month.
We asked comScore analyst Andrew Lipsman to do a spot check to confirm the thesis. His conclusion: It’s true.
Andrew’s (admittedly) brief survey of MySpace-related sites (he quickly scanned for sites that included “MySpace” in their URL, and also included Whateverlife.com, one of the other big players in the genre) shows that year-over-year traffic to the sites was up 36% in September. MySpace’s overall U.S. traffic, meanwhile, was up 23% — from 55.8 million uniques to 68.4 million.
That’s a promising sign for Rupert Murdoch, Chris DeWolfe and co. — even as Facebook stole buzz and headlines, MySpace’s core users continue to hang out at the site. The next trick: Converting those users into dollars.
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