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More than 50% of Myspace’s US visitors are now over 35 years of age, according to a report that shows the site’s appeal to older internet users is increasing as its mainstream popularity grows.

The research, by comScore Media Metrix, shows the site’s teenage visitors form a much lower percentage of its audience compared to last year, while over four in ten Myspace users are now between the ages of 35 and 54.

Eleven percent of its visitor base is 55-plus; almost as large as its base of users in the 12 to 17 age bracket (11.9%).

There is a misconception that social networking is the exclusive domain of teenagers, but this analysis confirms that the appeal of social networking sites is far broader,” said Jack Flanagan, comScore’s executive vice president.

The research also reveals significant age differences between the user bases of the most popular community sites.

According to the figures, MySpace and Friendster have relatively older audiences, with visitors of 25 and older comprising 68% and 71% of their user bases, respectively.

Twenty percent of Xanga.com’s users are between 12 and 17, around twice as high as that age segment's representation within the total Internet audience.

More than one third of visitors to Facebook.com, which began as a social networking site for college students, are 18 to 24 years old.

"While the top social networking sites are typically viewed as directly competing with one another, our analysis demonstrates that each site occupies a slightly different niche," said Flanagan.

The figures will be pleasant reading for Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation as they look to increase Myspace’s ad revenues.

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Published 6 October, 2006 by Richard Maven

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