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Social media site Facebook has replaced internet portal Yahoo as the second-most-popular web site in the US, according to compete.

Facebook Grows, Yahoo Slows

In January 2010, Facebook drew about 133.6 million unique US visitors. This was enough unique visitor traffic to put Facebook ahead of Yahoo, which attracted about 132 million unique US visitors last month.

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From January to July 2009, Facebook experienced a sharp growth curve, growing from about 68 million to about 122 million unique US visitors, or a roughly 80% increase. From July 2009 to January 2010, Facebook experienced much slower, but fairly steady growth, of about 8%.

In contrast, from January to July 2009, Yahoo experienced erratic growth including a sharp dip in February, but wound up increasing unique US visitors from about 132 million to 142 million, or roughly 7.5%. From July 2009 to January 2010, Yahoo’s unique US visitors steadily dwindled to the point Yahoo lost about 7% of its unique US visitor traffic.

Google Remains on Top
compete has not reported a change in the top three US web sites since February 2008, when search engine provider Google overtook previous number one site Yahoo. Last month, Google had about 140 million unique visitors.

Facebook Attracts Attention
In addition to growing its unique visitor base, Facebook has also been significantly increasing its monthly attention rating, which measures time spent on Facebook.com as a percentage of all time spent online each month. In January 2010, 11.6% of all time spent online was spent on Facebook, compared to 4.25% for Yahoo and 4.1% for Google.

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Facebook’s attention rating more than doubled between January 2009, when about 5% of all time spent online was spent on Facebook, and January 2010. In contrast, during that same 12-month period Yahoo’s attention rating dropped from about 5.5% to a little more than 4%, and Google’s attention rating experienced a fluctuating curve that started and ended at about 4%.

Facebook Grows More than 100%
Facebook experienced 105% growth in total visitors during 2009, according to comScore. Figures from comScore indicate Facebook had 112 million visitors in December 2009, compared to 55 million in 2008. Facebook took the number one position among social networks for the first time in May 2009.

In addition to its surging population of users, Facebook grew substantially across nearly every performance metric in 2009. Unique visitors, page views, and total time spent all increased by a factor of two or more. Frequency metrics such as average minutes per usage day (up 6%) and average usage days per visitors (up 37%) also saw gains.

As more people use Facebook more frequently, the site has grown to account for three times as much total time spent online as it did last year. The only metric by which Facebook decreased was the average minutes per visit (down 11%), which comScore says can likely be attributed to the increasing frequency with which people are visiting the site.

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