A few days ago, the folks at comScore released their July Media Metrix report, which includes monthly rankings for the top fifty domestic online properties based on unique users in the United States.
This time, however, something was different.
A shift in power?
For the first time since May 2011, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) didn't top the list.
Instead, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) took home the gold, with over 196.5 million unique visitors in July. Google nabbed a close second, with just over 192.2 million. Meanwhile, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) came in third, with roughly 179.6 million U.S. visitors, and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) rounded out a distant fourth, with around 142.3 million.
Even more impressive, while this list includes all subsidiary sites owned by the aforementioned companies -- which notably includes Google's ridiculously popular YouTube video sharing site -- it doesn't take into account Yahoo!'s $1.1 billion all-cash acquisition of Tumblr.com, which was announced in May and closed in late June.
Incidentally, with just under 38.4 million unique U.S. users, Tumblr itself appears on comScore's list at a perfectly respectable 28th place.
All in all, it would appear CEO Marissa Mayer's tireless efforts to incorporate Yahoo.com into the habits of users' everyday lives are largely taking hold.
One big caveat
That said, these numbers also contain one big caveat: Mobile users aren't included -- and for those of you keeping track, mobile remains an area in which Yahoo! has largely lagged Google, thanks primarily to Big G's smartphone dominance, which is propelled by Android and last year's $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility.
What's more, though Microsoft has also floundered badly with its overall mobile strategy (see No. 1 blunder here), Facebook rose 15% last quarter after it told investors mobile users not only accounted for more than two-thirds of their total active monthly user base, but also were responsible around 30% of the company's total advertising revenue. All told, given the immense opportunity going forward in mobile, that's why shares of Facebook have risen by more than half so far this year, exceeding their "lofty" IPO price.
As a result, I can't help but worry that Yahoo! isn't putting enough focus on growing its increasingly important mobile user base.
But don't get me wrong; I don't want to completely undermine the importance of what Mayer -- who herself is a former 13-year-veteran at Google -- has achieved in a business that was formerly losing ground in seemingly every area in which it participated. After all, Mayer only took the helm of Yahoo! a little over two years ago, and you can bet she knows all too well it'll take more than a few years to right Yahoo!'s previous wrongs.
But who knows? If Yahoo! can prove July's numbers aren't a one-off event, and also manage to ultimately translate this success to building its mobile offerings, this could be start of a long, hugely profitable story of a company many had thought could never regain its former Internet glory.