Latin America’s social Web
Hi5.com is No. 1 in Latin America’s social-networking scene, according to fresh figures from comScore, and social Web use as a whole is growing fast there. The number of unique visitors for the region has grown “from 53.6 million unique visitors last June, to 61.6 million this past April” (the latest figure available), VentureBeat.com cites comScore research as showing. Hi5 had 12.8 million visitors in April, “about a quarter of its 45 million monthly visitors around the world.” Facebook (whose worldwide user figure for April was 116.4 million compared to MySpace’s 115.7 million) was the fastest-growing SNS in the region and had 7.7 million Latin American visitors in April. One possible explanation for Hi5′s popularity might be its linguistic tailoring for individual markets – e.g., “two new Spanish versions, for the Argentinian and Castilian dialects, with more dialect translations to come.” It also launched a Brazilian Portuguese version in March to compete against [Google's] Orkut.” Other growth sites to watch are Sonico, Batanga, and Vostu (for people to create their own social sites), VentureBeat reports. Having said all that, VentureBeat adds that blogging is still more popular than social networking in Latin America, with blogging services such as WordPress, Blogger, and local platforms “larger than Hi5 or any of its competitors,” and mobile social networking is exploding (66% of Latin Americans own mobile phones, compared to the worldwide average of 46%).