MySpace Securing Itself For Advertisers
Some 200,000 profiles containing content ranging from hate speech to racy images have been purged from MySpace by News Corp as the company fights negative perceptions about the popular site.
Having the term “sexual predators” associated with your website brand can make work difficult for one’s advertising sales team. High-powered companies with well-known brand names generally tend to avoid certain types of controversy when placing their marketing campaigns.
MySpace cropping up in the news as the conduit for hooking up underage girls with adult sexual predators does not help the site earn its place as News Corp’s centerpiece for its Internet strategy. Steps have been taken to rein in the wilder side of the site, as the Financial Times reported from the Bank of America Media, Telecommunications and Entertainment Conference in New York.
Fox Interactive Media president Ross Levinsohn told attendees that content containing hate speech or items that are “too risqué” found its way to the recycle bin. “It’s a problem that’s endemic to the Internet – not just MySpace,” Levinsohn said. “The site, in the last two months, I think has become safer.”
News Corp has claimed MySpace brings in 250,000 new users each day, pushing membership to 66 million people. The site began as a place for fans to share music and quickly grew in popularity. That growth prompted Rupert Murdoch’s new Internet media arm in Los Angeles to angle for the site, which News Corp purchased for $580 million in 2005.
Success and popularity came with the unfortunate side effect of being attractive to the wrong crowd. Teens could easily create profiles, and unsavory types could just as easily view them and make contact with those users.
Many users take steps to make their profiles anonymous and private, but for many the thrill of sharing a wilder side wins out. Unfortunately that happens with those teens being relatively unaware or unconcerned about the the negative aspects to such openness.
It’s also pretty unlikely they are concerned at all with MySpace’s desirability or lack thereof to advertisers, who themselves face a quandary: advertise with MySpace to get their marketing in front of potentially millions of members of the demographic they love more than oxygen, or avoid MySpace due to the potential of being associated with the next negative headline about it.
That’s the multi-million dollar question MySpace wants to answer. As Levinsohn noted, safety is not just a MySpace issue online. But it is a MySpace issue to marketers.