Sprint First To Offer Direct Access to MySpace Mobile
The deal lets users edit MySpace profiles, view and add friends, post to blogs, and exchange MySpace messages, among other things, via a direct link from Sprint's mobile deck at no extra cost.
Sprint's MySpace advantage may be short-lived, however, as the social networking site plans to announce similar direct-access arrangements with other wireless carriers in the coming weeks. By saving mobile users from having to type in the MySpace WAP address, the company aims to boost traffic to the mobile site.
The latest version of MySpace Mobile, launched in beta last September, is already drawing 1 million unique visitors daily, according to Brandon Lucas, senior director of mobile business development for MySpace. The new incarnation includes a revamped design and more user-friendly e-mail interface.
To boost traffic further, MySpace will soon begin promoting MySpace Mobile on the MySpace Web site through small display ads on profile pages positioned below members' photos and above notifications.
The ads will link to the social network's MySpace Mobile group, where users can get more information about the service. "In the next few weeks we're going to start promoting MySpace Mobile to the broader MySpace community very aggressively," Lucas said.
Previously, MySpace had offered a mobile version of the social network as a paid downloadable application through AT&T and on T-Mobile's Sidekick device.
Sprint and Fox Interactive Media announced plans in December to distribute all Fox mobile sites including MySpace, FoxSports.com, IGN and Photobucket via Sprint's mobile portal.
Sprint recently became the first U.S. carrier to offer a $100 all-you-can-eat plan covering voice and data. Additional offerings such as easy access to MySpace could help encourage consumers to sign up for the new package--and spend more time surfing the mobile Web.
"We're so excited about Sprint's new plan where users don't have to worry about how much they're paying for data anymore," said Lucas. "Hopefully, they're then going to spend more time on MySpace Mobile."
Among key advertisers on the MySpace mobile service to date have been Ford, GM's Saturn, Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures. "We're seeing brands committing bigger and bigger budgets to mobile while we're still doing smaller scale tests with brands still on the fence about mobile advertising," Lucas said.