MySpace's Retro-Evolution

News Corp. mogul Rupert Murdoch and MySpace co-founder and CEO Chris DeWolfe have revealed the social network's strategy for the coming year. Interestingly, the MySpace agenda for '08 smatters mostly of traditional media, including the further integration of content from News Corp.'s publishing and broadcasting arms, the creation of a new record label for musicians, a new games portal, and the development of a new online video series. Overseas expansion is also a primary concern--the company is now up to 24 different local versions of MySpace, with four or five new ones on the way. It is still the No. 1 social network, with an estimated user base of 110 million.

DeWolfe says it's become very mainstream. "It's about consuming content and discovering pop culture." In that sense, MySpace now resembles a traditional Web portal like AOL or Yahoo, but with a personal, social bent.

A huge, loyal, lingering user base is music to advertisers. Alan Rambam, a senior vice president at the ad agency Fleishman Hillard, says parent Fox Interactive Media "clearly envisioned [MySpace] as a portal." That said, he adds, "I thought they would be much further along with that today." Original content allows MySpace to sidestep the thorny problem of placing ads on profiles with sexually explicit or other questionable content.

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