News Corp.'s MySpace, the world's most popular social-networking website, opened its software code to outside developers Tuesday, following rivals Facebook Inc. and Bebo Inc.
Chief Operating Officer Amit Kapur, promoted last week to lead the project, is giving programmers access to member information such as friend lists, and will let them build and test applications.
Adding games and services may help Los Angeles-based MySpace lure marketers and attract users as it competes against faster-growing Facebook. Access to the software has been in the works "for quite a long time," Kapur said, declining to be more specific.
Programs will be created and tested during the next month before MySpace users can access them, said Kapur, who replaced site co-founder Josh Berman on Jan. 30.
"We're basically engaging a community of thousands of developers to build features," said Kapur, 26.
Users will be able to embed programs on their private and public profile pages. Developers will retain all of the revenue from ads, sponsorships and e-commerce on the applications' profile pages, Kapur said. No advertising is allowed in the programs themselves.
Closely held Facebook, based in Palo Alto, Calif., began allowing independent developers to build programs for the site in May.
In December, the number of unique visitors to Facebook rose more than fourfold from a year earlier to 97.8 million. The number of MySpace visitors increased 19% to 107.2 million, according to research firm ComScore Inc.
Sales at the division that includes MySpace climbed 54% to $798 million in the second quarter, New York-based News Corp. said.
News Corp. Class A shares rose 25 cents to $19.60 on Tuesday.