MySpace expands advertising options

MySpace is testing a program to give brand advertisers more control over the content of their advertising profiles in the site.

MySpace is testing what it calls a new advertising platform designed to let marketers build and manage profiles for their brands in the social-networking site, the News Corp. unit said Monday.

While MySpace already allowed marketers to promote their brands via profiles, it so far has handled the creation and updating of these profiles.

Now, with the new Community Builder platform, marketers will have more control over these profiles so that they can update the content and features in them without the involvement of MySpace.

With these custom profiles, which are similar in format and concept to the profiles that individuals create for themselves, companies can promote their products and services among MySpace members and track their effectiveness.

Members can visit these brand profiles and add them to their list of MySpace "friends." Members can also interact with features in the profiles, such as playing back videos, listening to songs and participating in sweepstakes.

Marketers will also have access to usage analytics and be able to see how many page views and unique visitors their profiles have attracted, as well as how much time members spend in them.

The platform is now in a closed beta and limited to US advertisers.

MySpace will offer two options to advertisers, although both provide marketers around-the-clock access to update the profiles' content and to view usage metrics.

One option, called Self-Service, is for advertisers who have experience with the MySpace system and have "advanced coding skills" and the "time and resources" to maintain a profile by themselves, MySpace said.

The Full-Service option is for advertisers who want to entrust the design and creation of a profile to MySpace.

Social-networking providers like MySpace and Facebook are trying to find new ways to generate more advertising revenue from their massive popularity. While they use conventional online advertising formats, like pay-per-click ads and banner ads, social-networking providers have found that they need new approaches to properly engage their members with advertising. Some attempts, like Facebook's Beacon ad program, have backfired, while others have fizzled.

On the other side of the equation, advertisers are often concerned about having their ads appear along with content created by millions of social-network members, since this content is largely unregulated and can be in bad taste or even illegal.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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