CEO Chris de Wolfe says he will turn to advertising to monetize the social network, as nearly a quarter of MySpace members access the site from a cell phone.
MySpace is betting that its mobile version will gain traction and generate a lot of revenue, CEO Chris de Wolfe said at a keynote at the Mobile World Congress trade show.
The social network has made aggressive moves in the mobile space, including a redesign of the mobile site, and it recently announced plans to develop new applications for the upcoming Nokia App Store and Palm's webOS platform. The moves appear to be working, as MySpace has seen its mobile user base grow by 400% from last year, and now nearly 20 million users access the site through a cell phone or smartphone.
The adoption rate has seen tremendous success in areas not normally associated with social networking, as the company's BlackBerry application recently shattered download records. In about five years, the social network predicts that nearly half of its members will be accessing the site via a mobile phone.
The mobile space is a way for customers to have convenient access to their friends, but it can also serve as a monetization platform, de Wolfe said. The first avenue is through partnerships with carriers, as it could lead voice subscribers to increase their data usage. But de Wolfe sees mobile advertising as a business model that can generate significant revenue. The social network will determine how to deliver relevant ads with its "Hypertarget" technology, which is a set of algorithms that segments the audience data into multiple segments.
"It's incredibly effective, and increases our yields," de Wolfe said of MySpace's Hypertarget system.
Rival Facebook is also looking to expand its mobile presence and is reportedly in talks with Nokia and Motorola for tighter integration into handsets. Neither social network has been able to significantly monetize its mobile platform.
MySpace, Facebook, and other social networks can definitely be time wasters, but they also have the potential to be useful tools for enterprise collaboration. InformationWeek wrote a report on this issue, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).
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