Nielsen has released its year-end list of the top 10 web brands, based on average monthly unique visitors, and there’s a bit of drama playing out at the top. Facebook’s meteoric rise has quickly made it No. 2 in U.S. audience, surpassing Yahoo and starting to come within reach of Google.

Apart from industry bragging rights, rankings like this say a lot about our online habits, in this case showing how social networks are rivaling search as our entry point to the online world.

Just for fun,the list inspired GeekWire to go back and find a similar Nielson Netratings list from 2005, to see how the rankings have changed (and stayed the same). It’s important to note that the rankings used different research methods, so our chart comparing the 2005 and 2011 lists isn’t statistically valid.

That said, it provides a rough snapshot of how much things have changed in a span of just six years. Google was at No. 4 back in 2005, behind Yahoo, Microsoft and MSN. And Facebook wasn’t even on the list. Having been founded just a year before, Facebook was still focused on colleges and wasn’t yet available for widespread public use at that point.

Facebook was No. 3 as of June 2010.

With that in mind, here’s the interesting question for 2012: Can Facebook claim the No. 1 spot?

Comments

  • Guest

    Google owns YouTube, so if Google sites are lumped under one owner (as “MSN” is) then Google has about twice as many visitors as does Facebook. Until Facebook lets one search the web, send e-mail, watch videos, share photos, and group one’s friends into “circles,” I think Google’s dominance is safe.

    • Another Guest

      Facebook does all those things today: Search the web through Bing, send email, watch & share videos, share photos (Facebook is the largest photo sharing site on the Internet), and group friends in many ways beyond just circles (lists, groups, subscriptions, etc.)

  • Mike Mathieu

    The biggest surprise for me is Ask at #10. Ask? Really?

    • Guest

      Ask.com’s parent owns Match.com, Dictionary.com, Vimeo, CollegeHumor, and dozens of other web properties. I’m not surprised that they rank so highly, especially considering how well Ask’s sites optimize for Google.

    • Guest

      Ask.com’s parent owns Match.com, Dictionary.com, Vimeo, CollegeHumor, and dozens of other web properties. I’m not surprised that they rank so highly, especially considering how well Ask’s sites optimize for Google.

  • guest

    75k/Month still using AOL? That’s amazing!

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