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Though time spent on social networking sites is up a whopping 71% from last year, the market share of US visits to a custom category of 58 leading social networking websites decreased 1% in May from April and was down 6% from May ’07, according to Hitwise.

What hasn’t changed is that MySpace.com is still the leading site, having received 72.73% of the market share of US visits in May:

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Facebook ranked second with 16.24%, followed by MyYearbook, which received 1.40% – and recorded the largest gain in market share in May among the top five websites: up 384% compared with May 2007.

Facebook and BlackPlanet followed, increasing 42% and 9%, respectively.

Summer Is for Social Networking

With school out (or soon to be) for many students, visits to social networking sites will likely increase during the summer months, Hitwise said. That was the pattern in 2007, when summer visits were up some 38% from 2006.

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Moreover, the traffic percentage for the category in May is up compared with the overall 2008 average, potentially indicating an increase in traffic heading into these summer months, according to a post at the Hitwise Research blog.

Average Time Spent Up

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In May 2008, the average time spent among all social networking websites was 27 minutes and 21 minutes, an increase of 71% compared with May 2007.

Among the top 5 most-visited sites, MyYearbook led with users spending an average of 30 minutes and 51 seconds there.

Facebook had the largest growth in average time spent, increasing 56% in May 2008 to 20 minutes and 21 seconds from 13 and 01 seconds in May 2007.

New and Returning Visitors

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In May 2008, among the top 5 social-networking websites by market share, MySpace received 95% of its visits from returning visitors (within the previous 30 days). Facebook and MyYearbook.com followed with 93% and 89%, respectively.

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