Skyblog has over 2.85 billion page views per month, is operated by Paris-based Orbus, and is launched by a French rap radio station, Skyrock. MySpace has a similar history. Before MySpace was big, the company “began promoting the site offline, sponsoring parties in Los Angeles with clubs, bands, and party promoters. This began to build the buzz around the site, but more importantly attracted micro offline communities (i.e. groups of people) to use the site together.” Skyblog started 4 years ago and recently launched free blogging services to allow users to share reviews on music and network with each other.
Skyblog even has a live counter to display how fast the site is growing on its homepage. As I am writing this post, the counter states 6,241,674 Skyblog accounts are active, 318,588,540 articles published, and 600,313,300 comments on these blog posts. According to Alexa, Skyblog is the #5 ranked site in France after Google, Adobe, Free.fr, and Symantec.fr.
Through Skyblog, Orbus has generated profit margins of 20-25% on $6.4 million in ad revenues in 2005 according to BusinessWeek. “The Skyblog phenomenon has been tremendous,” stated Delphine Gatignol, a comScore Europe analyst.
In terms of the market share rivalry of social networks in Europe, MySpace claims 7% of Europe, while Skyblog claims 4.2%. Since Skyblog’s initial launch, the company has added free e-mail services, IM software, and mobile download services. “Keeping [users] within a site is crucial,” stated Benjamin Lehmann, Jupiter Research analyst in London. “The more time they spend there, the more ads you can send. And to challenge MySpace, a site has to let users do more.”
Skyblog attracts a lucrative amount of corporate sponsorships. McDonalds, Nike, Coca-Cola, Neutrogena, and even the new X-Men movie has found their logos embedded in the Skyblog homepage. The attraction of U.S. based companies approaching foreign social networks reinforces the notion that the social network advertising opportunities are expected to grow from $445 million to $1.1 billion in 2007. Skyblog is will soon be launching websites in English, German, and Spanish for expansion initiatives throughout Europe and USA.