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MySpace Tops Yahoo in Web Traffic for First Time

The online hangout MySpace got even more popular in November, beating Yahoo (YHOO) in Web traffic for the first time, a research company said Tuesday.

News Corp.'s (NWS) MySpace recorded 38.7 billion U.S. page views last month, compared with 38.1 billion for Yahoo Inc., according to comScore Media Metrix. MySpace's growth was 2 percent over October and triple the 12.5 billion recorded in November 2005.

The numbers underscore the rapid rise of a social-networking site that encourages visitors to stay and make friends through free tools for messaging, sharing photos and creating personal pages known as profiles.

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ComScore warned, however, that a one-month change could represent an aberration. Furthermore, Yahoo's page views could be diminished by the company's growing use of Ajax technology for maps, e-mail and other services.

Ajax is a set of tools that speeds up Web applications by summoning snippets of data as needed instead of pulling entire Web pages over and over.

Yahoo, which last week announced a major reorganization after finding itself repeatedly beat in advertising sales by rival Google Inc. (GOOG), still remains the leader in unique audience, with 130 million visitors in November.

"Yahoo continues to be the overall Web audience leader with the largest number of unique users and most time spent online. The page view change in November is related to the use of Ajax and other Web 2.0 technologies across the Yahoo network," Yahoo spokeswoman Nissa Anklesaria said Tuesday.

"These technologies enhance the overall user experience, but do not either generate a page view or qualify to be counted as a page view while the user is engaged with the product," she said,

Fox Interactive Media ranked sixth at 73.8 million, including 57.2 million for MySpace. Unique audience is a measure of how many people visit in any given month; page views reflect how often they come back and how long they stay.

Including other Fox properties such as IGN Entertainment Inc., comScore said Fox had 39.5 billion page views in November.

In a statement, Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media, credited strong traffic at game site IGN.com due to the release of Sony Corp.'s (SNE) PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Co.'s Wii video game consoles.

ComScore had planned to release the numbers Wednesday or Thursday, but word of the figures leaked in an analyst report from UBS Investment Research.

MySpace.com is owned by News Corp., the parent company of FOXNews.com.