Today the interest in social networks is so great that the audiences of some of them already exceed the population of the largest countries. Social associations on the Internet appeared only 10 years ago, then no one could predict their success. Today, their influence on our lives is very great.
There is hardly an active use of the Internet, which one way or another did not come across social networks. They meet and get acquainted, conduct business and play, exchange photos and videos. Usually our knowledge is limited to “Classmates” and “Contact”, some heard about Facebook. Let’s talk about the ten most popular on the Internet such networks by the version of Morgan Stanley.
The universally recognized world leader is Facebook. Initially located in the US network has today united more than 471 million users around the world. Facebook Inc. quite a young company, established in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. The entrepreneur, thanks to the success of his brainchild, became the youngest billionaire in the world. On the deafening success of Facebook, you can say a lot, and in 2010 on the screens came the tape “Social Network”, which in many ways reveals this story. The growth rate of the network is impressive – over the past year the audience has doubled. All users can create their own accounts, send messages to friends, post their own photo and video materials and create communities. The very word “facebook” came from the name of special books that are issued to students in the US by the administration before the start of the academic year. They contain information about all students so that students can get to know each other better. Facebook is by no means a charitable organization – its revenue in 2008 alone amounted to more than $ 300 million. In 2009, the growth in profits coincided with the increase in attendance and amounted, according to some estimates, to half a billion. Today in Facebook Inc. works about one and a half thousand people. Traffic network is so large that it has already outrun in its volume the main Internet search engine – Google. Do you want to join this largest network? Go to www.facebook.com.
The second largest social network was the American MySpace, located on www.myspace.com. It includes more than 120 million users. The association was established in 2003 and for a long time remained the world’s largest social network. The peak of her popularity came in 2006. But by the spring of 2008 MySpace gave way to a young and ambitious competitor – Facebook, the gap has only increased since then. Despite a large number of users, the network has grown insignificantly for the last 4 years – after all, 100 million registration was held back in 2006. In addition, 2009 brought a series of disappointments – the number of users has decreased by 7%. Nevertheless, today in the state of MySpace is working more than 1000 employees. The last major staff reduction took place in the summer of 2009. Then, during the hard times for the network, about 400 people were fired. Today, the social network MySpace is part of the media giant News Corp. Although the results of the network itself are not disclosed, experts estimate the annual turnover of $ 100 million.
In 2006, Twitter appeared in the US, which now ranks third with 74 million users. The idea of the service is somewhat different from the generally accepted standards, in Twitter, the emphasis is on microblogging. Users are given the opportunity to create small, up to 140 characters, text messages, or tweets. They appear as a result in the person’s profile and can be read by his fellow followers. Service has become very convenient and in demand in the mobile environment, it even began to be called the SMS Internet service. The very creators of Twitter claim that their network is not so much social as information. Now the service company with a relatively small staff of 140 people serves the service.But among the users stand out businessman Bill Gates, singer Britney Spears, politician and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and many other famous personalities and even companies. You can get to such an important company at www.twitter.com.
The world leaders are not far behind and the Chinese, their largest social network Baidu Space brings together 54 million users. The history of Baidu began in 2000, when this largest search resource of the Celestial Empire was created. The site works in Chinese and Japanese. The very same company Baidu Inc. registered as much in the Cayman Islands. The pride of the enterprise is the fact that it was the first of the Chinese included in the NASDAQ-100 index. Today, the search engine stores more than 740 million pages and 80 million images, as well as 10 million multimedia records. It is curious that the issue of the search results by the site is reviewed by the Chinese government, therefore, some controversial issues can not be found here. For example, Baidu will keep silent about requesting information about the independence of Tibet. The international rating Alexa puts today this Chinese resource on 8 place on attendance in the world. No wonder the desire of such a large resource to create its own social network – so Baidu Space appeared on the light. Registered users were given the opportunity to create their own home pages, communities and participate in them within the framework of the project. The audience of this network is growing rapidly, so, in 2009 the number of users increased by 65%. The service itself is located at www.hi.baidu.com.
The world’s largest search engine also did not stay away from such a tidbit of the Internet market. Today, Google Corporation owns the social network Orkut, which has 52 million users. Service is growing not very fast – only 6% in 2009. Originally Orkut was born in the US in 2004, but soon success came to it in India and Brazil. Today, Americans account for only 17% of registrations, for Indians – 20%, and for Brazilians – about 51%. As a result, such a geography of users led to the fact that the headquarters of Orkut is gradually moving to the Brazilian branch of Google. There are also restrictions on the age of participants in the networks, similar to Facebook. So, the user must be over 13 years old. Such a framework is established to restrict the children’s part of the Internet from unwanted information. The popularity rating of the sites took www.orkut.com a place in the seventh decade.
In 2003, the social network Hi5 appeared in America. Today its audience totals as many as 47 million people. However, now the company is going through hard times – in 2009 the number of followers decreased by 22%. The main popularity of the network is no longer the US, but Latin America. Another interesting fact is that two thirds of Hi5 users are male. In 2010, the company tried to give its members something new, developing the directions of social gaming. For this purpose, Big Six, which works in this direction, was acquired. The company Hi5 in the international rating Alexa is located immediately outside the first fifty – on the 51st place. Finding the same network is quite easy – www.hi5.com.
Another famous Chinese social network is QQ. It combined 47 million users (some estimates call numbers up to 80 million). The full name of the company is Tencent QQ. In fact – it’s just a computer program for messaging, the so-called messenger. QQ appeared in China in the late 90’s, having gained great popularity. This is a kind of local analog ICQ. The owner of the service is the Chinese company Tencents Holdings Limited, part of which is owned by the South African media giant Naspers. The functions of QQ are not limited to the mere exchange of messages. Users are offered games, caring for virtual animals (Tamagotchi), the ability to share files. Rating Alexa in April 2010, located the site www.qq.com in the 10th place. This is not surprising, because the growth in the number of users over the past year was 65%. The English version of the network is located by version www.imqq.com.
Again, we will talk about the Chinese project. The RenRen social network was launched in 2005, over the next 5 years, more than 34 million users entered it. Most of them are young people and students. The network managed to go through the process of changing the name. The original name Xiaonei in August 2009 was changed to RenRen (in Chinese – “for everyone”). Rating Alexa has placed the site www.renrem.com on 85th place in popularity.
The most popular social network in the CIS is Vkontakte. The number of users exceeds 25 million. The service was launched in 2006 in Russia. “Vkontakte” has received wide distribution also in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan. The audience is growing quite rapidly, over the past year the number of users has increased by 20%. Many believe that Vkontakte is just a domestic clone of Facebook. Indeed, there are similar elements in both the design and the interface, and in the functionality of the network itself. But we must not forget about the uniqueness of our product – it contains some options that are similar to the ideas of the social network, but not YouTube, Pandora and MySpace. At one time in Russia for a long time were the “Odnoklassniki”, but “Vkontakte” united a younger audience, which gave it a significant breakthrough. “Classmates” also lost attractiveness due to excessive monetization of their services and management errors. Experts believe that in 2009 alone, our largest social network Vkontakte received up to 40 million dollars, while up to a quarter of the profits accounted for the share of built-in games. Today “Vkontakte” ranks 37th in the world in terms of attendance among all sites. The website address is known in our country to almost everyone – www.vkontakte.ru.
The largest social network in France – SkyRock – closes the honorable ten. It includes about 20 million users. The service itself was launched in 2002. SkyRock is very popular in Western Europe. This is the third most visited site in France, the 6th in Belgium and the 9th in Switzerland. During the year, the number of users increased by 9%. Originally the company was called SkyBlog and was a platform for blogs. But in 2007, there was a rebranding and a change in the direction of the development of the service towards a full-scale social network. In the Alexa rating mentioned above, the SkyRock site occupies the 54th place in attendance, its address is www.skyrock.com.