Yahoo Calls Hitwise Report Claiming MySpace #1 Internet Site Misleading

I just got an email from Tim Smith at Outcast Communications, Yahoo’s PR firm. He was writing me with regards to the big news that MySpace had surpassed Yahoo to become the number #1 as the most visited domain on the Internet for US Internet users. The email included Yahoo’s statement on the matter which I’m publishing below:

“The report that Hitwise released today with the headline “MySpace Moves Into #1 Position for all Internet Sites” is misleading. The Yahoo! network is made up of many domains and it is not accurate to compare MySpace.com to just Yahoo!’s mail.yahoo.com domain. When taking into account all of Yahoo!’s domains together as an entire network, Yahoo! clearly remains the number one property in terms of audience share, duration share, page view share and days visited per month.

In the U.S. alone, Yahoo! attracts 129 million unique visitors per month, which represents 74 percent of the online population; in comparison, MySpace reaches only 30 percent of the online population with an audience of 52 million unique visitors. In addition, Yahoo! has the largest share of online time spent than any other property: Yahoo! accounts for 13 percent of users’ online time, while MySpace has only 3.2 percent share in users’ online time.

Yahoo! maintains its leadership position as the world’s most trafficked Internet destination online, with a community of more than 500 million unique monthly visitors from around the globe.

(These statistics are according to comScore Media Metrix, June 2006)”

Ok, this is interesting. Certainly it shows that there is more than one way to look at who’s the biggest and it may not be as clear cut as claimed by Hitwise.

But what is even more interesting to me in all of this is the saavy on Yahoo’s part in shooting me an email on this. Yahoo (or their PR firm at least) is obviously listening to what the blogosphere is saying about them and the fact that I published a tid bit on this earlier today they picked up on. It wasn’t even a main article but a small part in an article on GigaOm about social networking sites in general. Most likely OutCast Communications though is monitoring Technorati as to the Hitwise report today or saw something on Memeorandum, or is using Talkdigger or Blogpulse or some other tool. By the way PR Pros, what are the other tools you use to monitor the conversations about your company?

The point is though that they are listening to the blogosphere and think it an important enough medium to give their PR attention to in addition to the mainstream press.

Although I get PR stuff all the time, it’s usually just generic unpersonalized product pitches. By including the blogosphere in breaking stories and tracking the conversations out there, this is smart PR on Yahoo’s part.

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8 Comments

  1. Eric E says:

    Speaking of misleading, the way Yahoo equates “unique visitors” with individual people is misleading.

    Do they have proof that each of those 129 million “unique visitors” is a separate person? If not, how can they claim that the volume of visitors to their site “represents 74 percent of the online population.”

    If I visit a Yahoo site from my office computer, then visit it from my home computer, does that make me two different people? No. So how do they know how much of the online population visits their sites?

    Answer: they don’t.

    Yahoo needs to be a bit more careful about making unsubstantiated claims in an e-mail that complains about the unsubstantiated claims of another company.

  2. Anonymous says:

    My understanding is that hitwise data is not very usefull, as they have monitoring boxes in 2nd tier ISP’s, but not comcast and SBC etc.

    I asked a friend in the know about the 8% of google’s traffic coming from myspace report they came out with and he dismissed it immediately as more bad data from hitwise.

  3. Bryan "Accident" Socha says:

    > Do they have proof that each of those 129 million “unique visitors” is a separate person? If not, how can they claim that the volume of visitors to their site “represents 74 percent of the online population.”

    There are defacto industry standards for how to determine how many unique users there are. Well theres not, but there are methods that each auditing/rating company uses. this is why the industry tends to stick with a specific company for its numbers. Usually its the most reputable organization like nielson.

  4. Bryan "Accident" Socha says:

    > Do they have proof that each of those 129 million “unique visitors” is a separate person? If not, how can they claim that the volume of visitors to their site “represents 74 percent of the online population.”

    There are defacto industry standards for how to determine how many unique users there are. Well theres not, but there are methods that each auditing/rating company uses. this is why the industry tends to stick with a specific company for its numbers. Usually its the most reputable organization like nielson.

  5. I always figured they used google alerts

  6. Thomas Hawk says:

    I don’t think my article triggered a Google alert. More likely a smart intern who knows how to use Technorati!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hitwise data is a joke. They use ISP’s and look at log file data. They will not disclose the ISP’s they use but in Australia the three biggest don’t provide their data. The three biggest make up most of the broadband audience and at least 60% of the market. I figure only measuring at the most 40% of the market is going to have some bias. Hitwise don’t deserve the kudos.

  8. Jay says:

    I work at Compete and we felt our data would be useful in clearing up the MySpace vs Yahoo confusion regarding which is bigger.

    Compete’s analysis (which can be found on our blog) indicates Yahoo dominates MySpace in-terms of visitors (advanage 64M and change), but that MySpace surpassed Yahoo in January in terms of page views (advantage 15B).

    See the blog for trended graphics.

    blog.compete.com
    Thanks.