MySpace to sell search function

MySpace, the Internet site that lets users build their own homepage, plans to auction off its search function to either Google, Yahoo or Microsoft. Chief operating officer Peter Chernin unveiled the plans during a talk that was broadcast over the Internet. MySpace was bought by News Corporation for $580m (£315m) last year and Rupert Murdoch's firm has been looking at ways of earning cash from its investment. Giving advertisers access to MySpace's young audience may be one way, it said. 'Scratching the surface' MySpace allows anyone to build their own homepage for free, listing topics such as their favourite bands, top books, general interests, and then get in contact with other like-minded folk. As well as the user-written text, they can also stream music and video to create networks of friends and contacts. The company is the biggest social networking website, with more than 57 million registered users. Rivals include Facebook, Bebo, MSN Spaces, Friendster and Yahoo 360. Analysts estimate that the company's UK audience is somewhere in the region of two and four million. Importantly, MySpace has detailed logs of its users' preferences, online behaviour and personal information, allowing advertisers to target potential market segments. For News Corp, it also may allow the company to redirect its users to the media content that is generated by its Fox Interactive Media entertainment division. "We've just scratched the surface of how to monetise it," said Mr Chernin.

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