Its appeal is both local and international. USATODAY offers a snapshot of how social networking is doing around the world, and even though US-based services have been expanding internationally for some time, most are doing so in a "local" (or national and regional way) with a lot of local competition (such as Mixi.jp in Japan, Naseeb in Pakistan, StudiVZ in Germany, and SkyRock.com in France). "This year, MySpace is opening operations in Russia, Turkey, Poland and Portugal, among others" and is in 9 of the "top 10 Internet markets," USATODAY reports. Though Facebook says it's the exception in not launching separate sites for individual countries, look at its growth outside the US: "In September 2006, 7% of Facebook's 10 million active users were outside the USA; today, 60% of its 63 million active users are." There are good business reasons for this growth: "About 80% of the world's estimated 1.2 billion Internet users are outside the USA," USATODAY adds, and " half the $40 billion online advertising market is." The numbers are pretty amazing. According to comScore MediaMetrix figures USATODAY cites, this past November, there were 173.5 million social networkers in the Asia-Pacific region, the No. 1 in this category of Web use; that's a 50% increase over the figure for November 2006. But look at the increase for the Middle East/Africa, the 5th-biggest social-networking region in the article's chart: 23.8 social-networking users and a 69% increase over a year ago.
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NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
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