A MySpace race to Photobucket

News Corp.-owned networker drives 57% of photo site's traffic

The much-rumored $300 million deal for News Corp. to acquire Photobucket, the top-rated photography site according to Nielsen// NetRatings, could be a perfect match as the portal owes much of its success to News Corp.'s MySpace property.

For March, Photobucket was by far the leader in the photography category with 14.2 million unique visitors, NetRatings said, ahead of the Eastman Kodak Co.'s site, which had 8.8 million uniques. Yahoo Inc.'s Flickr property and Yahoo Photos had 7.8 million and 6.7 million visitors, respectively, and CNET Networks' Webshots had 7.2 million.

Photobucket, which has about 40 million registered users and almost 3 billion uploaded images on its site, is even more dominant among the MySpace community. The site received 57% of its traffic from MySpace in March, and 73% of those leaving the community to visit a photography site went to Photobucket, research firm Hitwise said. A Mashable Labs report from November said that Photobucket had a 68% share of all the images on MySpace.

Also according to Hitwise, Photobucket had a 41.4% market share of photo sites in March. Yahoo's sites accounted for 10.4%, and Kodak had a 3.4% share.

These numbers are due, in part, to the fact that images from the site are easily linkable to other sites, also making Photobucket popular on eBay, Facebook and Google Inc.'s Blogger. Photobucket's founders also have said that, in contrast to other top photo sites, their focus is not on building a community but rather letting a community build around them.

Nielsen//NetRatings is owned by the Nielsen Co., parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.