New research has dissected the US market for social marketing websites as it stood in May.

Released by intelligence provider Hitwise, the report showed that Fox Interactive Media’s MySpace property achieved 72.73 per cent of all US visits to social networking websites last month.

This represented a slight decline compared with April and a six per cent drop when compared to May 2007.

Meanwhile, Facebook, which placed second, increased its market share by 42 per cent compared with the same month last year, accounting for 16.24 per cent of all social networking website visits.

This is compared with 14.8 per cent in April and 11.47 per cent in May 2007, Hitwise revealed.

The other websites that made it into the top five were myYearBook, with 1.4 per cent of all visits, Bebo (one per cent) and BlackPlanet.com (0.9 per cent). Interestingly, myYearBook saw its market share soar by 384 per cent year-on-year.

Hitwise also noted that previous years have seen a spike in social networking activity during the summer and predicted that this will be reflected in statistics for the next few months as students finish up their studies for the current academic year and log on to the web.

MySpace has hit the headlines recently for beginning the rollout of a new-look website.

The redesign features a revamped homepage, improved profile editing tools that do not assume knowledge of HTML on the part of the user, a new search facility that makes use of the Lucene open source engine and is capable of searching across a variety of MySpace channels, and an enhanced video player.

Speaking to the BBC’s Newsbeat, MySpace president Tom Anderson recently said that the revamp was part of a drive to make the website less intimidating to new users.

Facebook is also planning to redesign its site over the next few months.

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