MySpace on diversification: it won't 'hurt the brand'

MySpace’s inability to fully monetize its 100 million branded “friends
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor

In May, I reported MySpace collaboration with Nylon Magazine in “MySpace sponsors digital magazine downloading premiere”:

Nylon magazine is partnering with MySpace to release a free digital version of its June-July music issue, the first step of its plan to offer digital issues for 99 cents, and annual digital subscriptions for $4.95…Both the digital and print versions of the magazine will refer readers to MySpace profiles of bands and artists.

MySpace is now considering a print version, under its own name, according to an AdAge story yesterday:

MySpace is actively considering whether to launch an ink-on-paper magazine to complement its insanely popular and remarkably valued online property.

The MySpace property is apparently deemed so “remarkably valued,” that executives are wary of tampering:

Our main concern is the MySpace brand. We don't want to do anything that would hurt the brand.

MySpace is looking for ways to leverage, and further monetize, the MySpace “brand.” MySpace, “a place for friends,” touts its 100 million friends; The 100 million "friends" profiles are what comprise the MySpace brand.

MySpace’s inability to fully monetize its 100 million personally branded “friends” has been the albatross of News Corp since it acquired the social networking star.

In “Facebook cedes equity stake to ad agency and gains advertising dollars” I discuss the MySpace dilemma. MySpace is:

hoping to lure advertisers by claiming insider knowledge of the coveted youth market, and unique access to it.

While a day of advertising on the MySpace homepage now costs close to $1 million, MySpace is hoping to raise the value of advertising at the site’s less controlled ‘friends’ profile pages. According to MySpace Marketing VP Shawn Gold, MySpace is appealing to advertiser interest in reaching 'real' young people:

‘Individual pages identify products. Millions of people are defining what they are there, and for young people especially, getting feedback and evolving themselves. Any criticism we get of MySpace is usually about the individual pages being unwieldy or having too much going on on them.

But if you have a problem with MySpace pages, go visit a teenager's room and you'll see the same thing. For advertisers, it's the potential for a level of intimacy that they could never have dreamed of 20 years ago. Brands are going to people and becoming their friends. Entertainment marketers get that and are there on MySpace, but any brand that operates on an entertainment platform could do the same.’

Below is a taste of the 100 million branded friends’ “image” that MySpace is promising not to "hurt": "Sexy Sangria" (on left) and “sexxxy muscle" (on right).



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