Hitwise: MySpace is Google's #1 Traffic Source
The traffic numbers reveal the high stakes of the search partnership talks that Google and MySpace are engaged in, according to a report from the Financial Times. The same report also stated that competitor Microsoft was likewise engaged in talks, meaning that Microsoft's gain could be Google's loss.
According to Bill Tancer, Hitwise's general manager of research, the deal is a defensive one for Google. Similar to the AOL-Google deal last year, where the search giant bought a major stake in AOL amid rumors of a possible AOL-MSN deal, Google is engaged in an effort to protect one of its major traffic sources.
A deal between MySpace and a Google competitor could well mean a big chunk out of MySpace's 8.7 percent contribution to its traffic. "It's a source of traffic, and Google's in the business of taking that traffic that comes in the front door, and making people interact with sponsored listings or other Google properties," Tancer said. "If there is a deal between MySpace and someone else, there's a potential to lose that traffic."
Tancer said that Microsoft, as well as any other company looking to carve out a part of the portal space, would also be well served by a MySpace partnership. "We've seen the MySpace property grow about 1000 percent over the last year, in terms of market share," he said. "It's going to be important going forward for all the search engines and portals to embrace this space, and find ways to capitalize on it."