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MySpace goes after European teens

The challenge: Euros more into SMS chat, Americans into IM. Will MySpace appeal?
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Written by ZDNet Editors on
MySpace, the preferred social networking site for teens, is aggressively pursuing the overseas market but do Europeans socially network the same way, asks The New York Times.

Like every good capitalist corporation, MySpace is attempting to test the overseas waters by opening public test pages for Germany and France. Most of the users of MySpace are in the U.S. and these test pages were the company's forays into a language other than English.

MySpace is finding that people use social networking sites differently than in the U.S. Many use MySpace via cellphone, rather than computers.

"In the U.S., teen and 20-something culture is more about I.M.," said Danah Boyd, a fellow at the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California, who studies popular culture and technology. In other countries, "the primary way of talking to your friends is SMS," text messages on mobile phones.

Because social networking sites are aimed at teens, it is a fickle business and subject to the whims of fashion.

"MySpace seems to be doing pretty well so far," said Nate Elliot, a senior analyst at Jupiter Research, of the site's international expansion. "But you have very little control over where these things take off."

And there is competition from European sites such as Studivz.net , a German site maodeled after Facebook, and Skyblog, in France, which attracted 5.9 million unique visitors as opposed to the 1.1 million French MySpace visitors, according to comScore.

MySpace is banking on its emphasis on music and local band which helped build the site in the U.S.

"It's important to have something that reflects the local culture."Mr. DeWolfe said. "They know what's cool," "The idea behind internationalization is localization."said Chris DeWolfe, the chief executive of MySpace.

MySpace's strategy to keep it local my help them gain control over the market. The site has offered users a chance to hear albums by French rock bands before they were available in stores, said Jamie Kantrowitz, senior vice president for marketing and content for MySpace in Europe.

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