Microsoft and Yahoo! sites compared: a quick look at the numbers

With all the talk about Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Yahoo!, and with a little help from Nielsen Online, we thought we’d make a quick comparison of some of the main features of both services.  I asked Nielsen if they could supply audience numbers to a sampling of sites from both, and then played a bit with Excel to produce this quick look:


source: Nielsen Online "Unique audience includes anyone who visited the site at least once during the month, and anyone who visited the site more than once was not counted again."

Accurate audience measurement numbers are hard to come by, and we’ve noted some differences in the market rating services before (and more on that coming up), but at least this gives an apples to apples comparison of audience numbers (and note that this isn’t market share, but unique audience).

The purpose of this little exercise was not to show trends, or make comparisons to other sites/properties, but just to get a bit of a handle on where the two companies sit in relation to each other, and what a potential joining of forces might mean.

For clarity, here’s the February raw numbers, supplied by Nielsen:

Site Feb-08
MSN Homepage 46,093,000
Yahoo! Homepage 65,832,000
MSN/Windows Live Messenger 23,862,000
Yahoo! Messenger 21,763,000
MSN/Windows Live Search 42,082,000
Yahoo! Search 55,312,000
MSNBC Digital Network 34,013,000
Yahoo! News 35,274,000
Windows Live Hotmail 39,616,000
Yahoo! Mail 58,657,000