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News Corp. to expand MySpace on cellphone

September 24, 2007|From the Associated Press

The social-networking website MySpace.com is launching a free, advertising-supported cellphone version as part of a wider bid by parent News Corp. to attract advertising for mobile sites, the company was set to announce today.

The new version will work with all U.S. phone carriers and allow users to send and receive messages, comment on pictures, post bulletins, update blogs and request, find and search for friends.

Fox Interactive Media, which oversees News Corp.'s Internet properties, planned to launch the mobile version today. The company already has premium, subscription-based versions of MySpace on AT&T and Helio that include special features integrated into specific handset models, such as uploading cellphone photos directly to a user's profile page.

In coming months, the company also plans to offer a mobile version of Photobucket, its picture-sharing site, as well as mobile versions of FoxSports.com, gaming site IGN, AskMen and its local TV affiliates.

Advertisers have become more interested as the quality of the mobile Web experience has increased, the company said.

"Accessing the Internet from your mobile phone will soon be as common as text messaging and voice calling," said John Smelzer, senior vice president of mobile at Fox Interactive Media.

Initially, advertising will take the form of sponsorships and clickable banner ads.

Eventually, the company will seek to sell more targeted advertising, using registration data from cellphone carriers. The company also hopes to send local ads based on a user's location, established using GPS data sent by the phones. "Over time, the most targeted ads will be on mobile," Smelzer said.

MySpace recently announced plans to sell targeted ads using personal information culled from each user's profile and blogs.

The new mobile sites will be tailored to the small screen on most handsets, Smelzer said.

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