I like rankings and lists.
This particular chart from Hitwise tracks only one metric — share of visits. In some ways that is more interesting than the more common “unique visitors” reports, which can easily be inflated by successful marketing campaigns. Share of visits can’t be inflated much by spending a lot of money on email or PPC to get tons of clicks in one month. But Unique Visitors reports can be.
Share of visits reports show ongoing engagement.
Now look at the top 10 chart. Legacy, the most robust obituary and memorial web site ranks #1. Ancestry, the world’s leading genealogy web site is #2. And below that is MyFamily.com, which used to be the top private social network, but over the past 7 years has lost most of its users.
This means that even though not that many people use MyFamily.com anymore, it still ranks #3 on this list because those who do use it still visit it frequently, thus giving MyFamily.com a large share of total visits.
According to Quantcast data (which is free and easy to obtain on any site) Ancestry.com has 5.5MM unique US monthly visitors while MyFamily.com has only 173,000. So if my math is correct, MyFamily has only 3% of the VISITORS of Ancestry.com, but almost half (according to the Hitwise chart) as many total monthly visits.
I’m sure that my wife’s family accounts for about half of all the visits to MyFamily.com. 🙂 She and her 7 sisters have probably posted 10,000 times to MyFamily.com’s message boards in the past 10 years. Some of them are using Facebook now, more and more, so it will be interesting for me to see whether their usage of MyFamily.com — a paid, private family web site experience will continue.
Even Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com (which recently filed to go public) apparently wonders about this. The company generates almost all of its revenue from its genealogy property, not from its family web site business. It always has. Tim was quoted in Fortune magazine in May 2009 as saying, “we’re still trying to figure out if it’s relevant in the age of Facebook.”
If I look at Quantcast data, I don’t understand why MyHeritage.com isn’t on this list. It looks like Geni and Footnote missed this list but are probably in the top 20 for family web sites.
Do you have a favorite family-related web site that your family uses, that you think is probably also close to making it onto this list?