Matt Marshall over at Venture Beat has a post up about Friendster with a “returning from the dead” kind of vibe: Matt points out that the site — which is kind of the poster boy for early social-networking success, followed by equally rapid failure — has had what he calls a “massive” 40-per-cent jump in page views in May, to 9 billion (Facebook gets about 11 billion a month).
Of course, Matt also explains most of the reason for that growth by saying the site has adopted similar techniques as are used by Facebook and MySpace — which generates a mind-boggling 3 billion page views every day — including forcing you to click multiple times to get anywhere. Is that something to be proud of? Not in my book. There’s also a table in Matt’s post that tells a different story — and what I think is a far more worthwhile one when comparing sites: it’s a table of unique visitors at the different social networks.
Over the past six months, Friendster’s unique visitor numbers have grown by about 30 per cent, while MySpace’s have grown by about 20 per cent. And Facebook.com? Over 100 per cent in the same period, and close to 30 per cent in the last month alone. To me, that’s the whole story right there — something I wish Megan McCarthy had pointed out at Valleywag instead of just pointing to Matt’s post. I wish we could get away from the focus on page views.