Social network search terms top Hitwise list for 4th straight year

Facebook, Inc.

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Last month, “unfriend” was named Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year for 2009. This afternoon, our friends at Experian Hitwise analyzed the top 300 search terms for 2009 and Facebook was the top-searched term overall.

Now, if only I could convince my kids to friend me on Facebook. But I digress.

This is the first year that the social networking Website has been the top search term overall, accounting for 0.67 percent of all searches. In fact, four variations of the term “facebook” were among the top 25 terms, according to Hitwise.

Facebook moved up from the 10th spot in 2008 to the top spot in 2009. MySpace was the second most-searched term in 2009, followed by Craigslist, and YouTube. Analysis by Hitwise of the search terms reveals that social networking-related terms dominated the results, accounting for 2.48 percent of the top 300 searches.

MySpace had been the top term for the previous three years. So, I hope my old buddy Owen Van Natta, the former Facebook COO who became MySpace’s CEO in April, can find a way to make MySpace number one again.

According to Hitwise, if you add up common search terms — e.g., facebook and — Facebook terms accounted for 1.09 percent of all US searches. MySpace terms accounted for 1.02 percent, Yahoo terms accounted for 0.95 percent, Google terms accounted for 0.63 percent, and Craigslist terms accounted for 0.62 percent.

Hitwise also reports that Google was the top-visited Website for the second straight year. Google accounted for 6.70 percent of all U.S. visits between January and November 2009. Yahoo! Mail accounted for 4.44 percent of visits, followed by Facebook (4.26 percent), Yahoo! (3.36 percent) and MySpace (3 percent).

If you add up common properties — e.g., and — Yahoo! properties accounted for 10.60 percent of all U.S. visits. Google properties accounted for 9.93 percent, and Facebook properties accounted for 4.26 percent. The top 50 Websites accounted for 39 percent of all U.S. visits between January and November 2009.

Fionn Downhill, CEO of Elixir Interactive, interviewed Tim Kendall, Facebook Director of Monetization at SES New York, 2009. As Mike Grehan would say, it appears that Downhill was having intermittent problems with her microphone, because she seems to have an Irish accent but it seems fine when Kendall speaks.

Tim Kendall, Facebook, discusses Facebook’s growth and advertising model at SES New York 2009

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