India stands at seventh position among the top 10 countries in Asia-Pacific in terms of the average time spent by visitors on social networking portals like Orkut, Facebook and Hi5.

An average Indian visitor to these social networking websites spent about 110 minutes in December 2008 (at work or home) against 277 minutes spent by a visitor in South Korea, according to a study on Indian social networking websites released by US-based marketing research firm comScore Inc.

The study also noted that foreign social networking sites like Orkut, Facebook and Hi5 have comprehensively overtaken internet traffic away from the homegrown networking portals like ibibo, Bigadda and others. The foreign networking sites attracted more than 12 million unique visitors on their websites during December 2007-December 2008, the study revealed.

These local networking sites, in fact, saw a dip in the number of unique visitors in December 2008, compared with the same period last year, according to the study (see table).

According to the study, there was a 51 per cent jump in internet traffic to the social networking portals present in India in December 2008, compared with December 2007. This means an addition of about 19 million visitors to ten such websites.

“Orkut reigned as the most-visited social networking site in December 2008, with more than 12.8 million visitors, an increase of 81 per cent from the previous year. Local sites like witnessed an erosion of about 50 per cent visitors from its site compared with December 2007.

These numbers gain significance in the light of some of these local portals reportedly spending more than Rs 60 crore in this period on mass-media advertising and promotions.

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