SAN FRANCISCO: The share of the US online search market held by Twitter, the rapidly-growing microblogging service, is currently below 1% according to comScore, the internet measurement firm, although in reality this total could much higher as a result of the portal's unique model.

Twitter's rise to prominence is a defining feature of the contemporary digital landscape, and one way the site is expected to monetize its growing user base is through providing "real time" search to clients. 

Based on an analysis of the number of searches carried out via in May this year, comScore found that a total of 30.1 million enquiries were made by 4.2 million of the site's visitors.

This amounted to a share of 0.001% of all searches conducted by the American internet audience during this period, and compared with the total of 184 million such entries made on Facebook.

Despite this, Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney said these figures showed Twitter was "becoming meaningful" as a search tool, as it was ahead of sites like Time Warner Cable, which registered 22.2 million such requests for information in May.

Furthermore, a large number of searches of the information contained on Twitter are conducted via a range of independent, third-party tools, such as Tweetdeck, Tweetie and Seesmic.

As such, Peter Kafka of AllThingsD, the digital media website, argued "the majority of Twitter's searches are going uncounted by comScore."

Indeed, he estimates the total number of searches conducted of the data held by Twitter is probably "something closer to 165 million queries" a month.

Biz Stone, co-founder of the portal, responded that "we don't share absolute data such as total requests or queries per day, but we do look at the whole ecosystem when we measure these things (not just"

"Also, we are focused on the sharing and discovery of tweets, so comparing Twitter to web search is interesting but not necessarily how we would measure success," he added.

Data sourced from AllThingsD; additional content by WARC staff