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MySpace: The new MTV

Last week the Wall Street Journal called it a kind of alternate-reality game. This week the New York Times depicts it as a combination virtual bar (with lots of beautiful people and wannabes) and MTV (there will soon be a MySpace record label). Another metaphor relevant to this readership: “Even with many users in their 20’s MySpace has the personality of an online version of a teenager’s bedroom, a place where the walls are papered with posters and photographs, the music is loud, and grownups are an alien species.” The Times also provides fresh (fairly staggering) numbers: about 27 million members, with nearly 400% growth since the start of the year. MySpace passed Google in the number of pages viewed/month, according to comScore MediaMetrix traffic figures the Times cites, and users spend more than three times as much time at MySpace than they do at Facebook.com (here’s my latest item on this), according to Nielsen/NetRatings numbers. MySpacers’ pictures are a big part of the draw, its founders tell the Times, probably because there’s this sense that this is where the musically hip beautiful people gather and network. Remember my item about BeautifulPeople.net? Well, founders Chris DeWolfe (39) and Tom Anderson (29) were brilliant to create that kind of illusion but make it completely open (probably too much so for minors) to all comers and add the blogging element, classifieds like the phenomenally popular Craigslist.com, online invitations as at Evite.com, and “the come-hither dating profiles of Match.com,” as the Times puts it. Parents might want to ask any MySpacers at their house to show them what they have in their user profiles and how they’ve configured the privacy features in their blogs on the site.

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