Murdoch Issues Challenge to Yahoo and MSN

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NewsCorp chief Rupert Murdoch has finally revealed his intentions for MySpace, arguably the most popular social-networking site on the web.

Alleging that the portal models of Yahoo and MSN are becoming increasingly obsolete, Murdoch revealed his plan to have MySpace challenge those venerable sites for market share by offering a revamped instant-messaging program, free video downloads and Internet calling.

“The portal model is in danger of becoming out of date,” Murdoch said in a statement. “Young people know exactly what sites they want to go to, and they go there. They don’t have to work their way through Yahoo’s or MSN’s home pages.”

Murdoch also plans to expand MySpace into Western Europe and then further east in the near future, with the aim of filling its mass quantity of ad inventory. Murdoch added that News Corp. has met with ad networks overseas to “judge whether they can sell it better than we can.”

According to comScore, since its January 2004 launch, MySpace has signed up 47 million members and this past December alone, it saw 32 million unique visitors (compared to 127 million for Yahoo). But Murdoch’s $629 million purchase of MySpace and its parent company Intermix hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Just weeks ago, angry MySpace members accused News Corp of censoring their postings and blocking their access to rival sites, specifically when subscribers wrote to each other about rival video-swapping site YouTube. The words were automatically deleted, and attempts to download video images from YouTube led to blank screens. According to SlashDot, News Corp’s intervention with the alteration of personal users provoked hundred of MySpace customers to boycott the site and to relocate to rival sites such as one-time social networking leader Friendster.

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