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Controversy Leaves Media Buyers Wary of MySpace

  • AdAge, Wednesday, February 22, 2006 10:30 AM
News Corp. has come under serious fire in the last week or so regarding the pervasiveness of sexual predators on its massive social networking site, MySpace. That kind of press can be really bad for business, especially when your product makes all its money from sponsorships and advertising. The news instantly sparked a backlash from the marketing community, prompting Ad Age to call social networking sites "a marketing crapshoot." In a recent article, the advertising trade calls MySpace "a potential eyeball windfall," that also attracts "the worst kind of audience, namely sexual predators," adding "the negative publicity has some marketers wondering whether buying into such sites is too big a gamble." Advertisers say they've responded to the MySpace controversy by being open with their clients about the potential risks involved in buying a social networking site, which one exec calls "a living, breathing thing," that's constantly changing. Some advertisers circumvent the problem of ending up on the sketchier areas of MySpace by buying from the home page or very general areas. They warn other advertisers to be wary of user-generated content. No one knows for sure just how much MySpace makes from advertising, but Nielsen/NetRatings estimates that roughly 10 percent of display impressions in the U.S. comes from the social network.

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