Just about everybody has heard some sort of interesting search-related fact that has to do with pornography on the Internet. First it was that searches for Jesus Christ came up with less results than the word porn on Google. Then it became a big deal to be 'bigger than porn' when it came to Google hits.
But the number of search results doesn't accurately depict the number of searches on a subject, just the volume of related material. So who's 'bigger than porn' this week? According to Hitwise it's none other than Facebook, at least with one of its key demographics:
"Perhaps a more interesting — and more accurate — way to figure out where college students are going online is to assess which of the 172 web categories tracked by Hitwise get the most hits from 18- to 24-year-olds. Here's a shocker: Porn is not No. 1. I've actually been puzzled by the decrease in visits to the Adult Entertainment category over the last two years. Visits to porn sites have dropped from 16.9% of all site visits in the U.S. in October 2005 to 11.9% as of last week, a 33% decline. Currently, for web users over the age of 25, Adult Entertainment still ranks high in popularity, coming in second, after search engines. Not so for 18- to 24-year-olds, for whom social networks rank first, followed by search engines, then web-based e-mail — with porn sites lagging behind in fourth. If you chart the rate of visits to social-networking sites against those to adult sites over the last two years, there appears to be a strong negative correlation (i.e., visits to social networks go up as visits to adult sites go down). It's a leap to say there's a real correlation there, but if there is one, then I'd bet it has everything to do with Gen Y's changing habits: they're too busy chatting with friends to look at online skin. Imagine."
There's no denying that Facebook and MySpace are becoming huge, but they're also potentially the next major breeding ground for product placement spam.