Apple is the world's fastest growing website, new research from expert analysts at Nielsen//NetRatings reveals.

Apple's web traffic climbed 57 per cent over November last year, driven by iTunes traffic. Google and Amazon also saw significant year-over-year increases, growing 29 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively. Yahoo! kept high traffic, attracting nearly 104 million unique visitors that month.

News-led Web

"Among the top web brands, fierce competition for share of online visitors
continues to be a catalyst for the launch of new products and features," said Gerry Davidson, senior media analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings.

"These additions appear to be spearheading much of the top web brand growth, because they keep visitors interested and engaged," he continued.

Other gainers included: MapQuest (up 13 per cent); Real (up 12 per cent); Yahoo! and eBay (up 10 per cent each); Microsoft (up 8 per cent); AOL (up 4 per cent).

The researchers also disclosed which websites are growing fastest in terms of use by 12-24-year olds - and there's a little bad news for Apple there.

P2P remains a threat

File-sharing site LimeWire saw traffic climb 345 per cent, underlining the continued efforts required by the legitimate online music industry and the music industry proper to help persuade consumers that legitimate services are a worthy alternative.

Image hosting site PhotoBucket led the group, growing an astounding 1,492 per cent, from 983,000 unique visitors in November 2004 to 15.6 million in November 2005. Social networking sites MySpace, Facebook and also saw impressive year-over-year growth, increasing 752 per cent, 530 per cent and 446 per cent, respectively.

"Sites that strongly appeal to generation Y are those at which they can control the content," said Davidson. "They provide a desirable service in an entertaining format. Thus it is not surprising that many of the fastest growing sites fall into the social networking, blogging, and online member community genres," he observed.