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June 22, 2006
MySpace "Safe" Content Areas Draw Ads

MySpace.com is working to encourage ad sales by offering "safe" areas for companies to post their ads. The popular social networking site, with a large teenage membership highly attractive to advertisers, is one of the most heavily trafficked websites.

MySpace is known for its popular user profile pages which occasionally include controversial material, such as sexually suggestive images, among links to friends' pages and lists of their likes and dislikes. 

"Marketers worry about the sites reputation as an uncontrolled virtual community where pornographers and sexual predators are known to lurk," said Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Angwin.

In order to legitimize itself as a competitor to other portal sites such as Yahoo Inc. and to draw advertising, MySpace is creating new sections connected to the front page. These sections, designed to be safe for marketers who don't want to be linked to controversial material, contain articles by editors and links to blogs and MySpace groups. 

Areas include subjects from movies and games to comedy. Some sections are being sponsored by specific brands, such as Pepsi's Aquafina sponsored MySpace Independent Filmmakers section.

Companies are also promoting their products by creating their own profile pages or offering special promotions. Walt Disney Co.'s "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," brought over 70,000 friends by offering users a first look at the trailer. 20th Century Fox, which is owned by News Corp. along with MySpace, created a page for "X-Men III: The Last Stand," which attracted at least three million friends and exit polling for the movie showed that 15 percent of the under-25 audience heard about the movie on MySpace.

Since most MySpace users spend their time on the pages of their friends, it is not entirely clear how popular the advertiser-friendly areas will be. The music section has about 8.1 million visitors per month and the video section seven million, while overall traffic was at 51.4 million in May, according to comScore.

 

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