Social Nets Rise Rapidly in U.K.

Social networks were the big gainers in the U.K. as comScore released its April World Metrix ratings.

Bebo--the subject of recent takeover speculation by Yahoo--rose 6% from March, to 8.3 million unique users. Bebo had more than twice as many users as Facebook (3.7 million), but the gap is closing quickly, as Facebook showed the most growth of any U.K. site--up 38% for the second straight month, and with an aggregate 90% rise over the two-month period.

Photobucket was also one of the top 10 gainers--up 5%--and Alloy, driven by photo-sharing site rockyou.com, rose 4%.

In the ranking of top British online properties, Google continues to be even more popular in the U.K. than in the U.S., with Google Sites repeating as the top online property in unique users.

In the U.S, previously released April comScore Media Metrix ratings found Yahoo Sites once again to be the top destination, with Google moving up one spot to third place.

Yahoo was the fourth top property in the U.K., with Microsoft Sites and eBay coming in second and third. Microsoft placed fourth in the U.S., with Time Warner Network at #2. eBay was #6 in the U.S., and Time Warner #6 in the U.K. The same properties made up all of the top 10 positions in both countries, except for New York Times Digital in the U.S. (#10) and BBC Sites in the U.K. (#5).

Moving up to #11 in the U.K. was Lycos Europe Sites, which saw a 206% increase, due to the additions of About.com and IMDB.com to its site portfolio. In the U.S., Lycos Sites placed at #23.