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Sarah UKFast | Account Manager

MySpace faces up to rivals as it takes on branded widgets

Social networking site MySpace is opening up its site to allow external applications and branded widgets in a move to combat the fast-growing Facebook.

Facebook opened its site to external developers back in May and has since benefited as branded widgets and applications drove traffic growth.

Chris DeWolfe, MySpace chief executive, said he was looking to create a far more lucrative environment for outside developers on MySpace than Facebook. He said: "We are opening our platform in the next couple of months. The idea will be to allow outside developers to tightly integrate their applications into MySpace."

The News Corporation-owned site plans to give developers the chance to build more complex web services than are currently available on MySpace, as well as allowing them to have control over advertising that runs on the web pages created to host the new services.

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp chairman, who was speaking at the same conference in Silicon Valley, announced his company had lower expectations for MySpace revenue in the 2008 fiscal year and said it may not reach the forecast of over $800m (£392m).

He said: "I might say $750m but it's at least 30 times what it was the day we bought it two years ago."

In audience terms, MySpace has now been overtaken in the UK by Facebook, which has 6.5m monthly users, according to the latest figures from Nielsen//NetRatings.

Facebook opened its application programme interface (API) to third-parties in May with the intention of providing marketers with access to the building blocks of the site, so they could create their own branded widgets and applications. was one of the first companies to develop an application that allows Facebook members to write book reviews, share them with their Facebook friends, and buy products from Amazon. European ticketing exchange, Viagogo, also developed an application that allows members to buy and sell their tickets to live events.

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