MySpace Integrates Sponsored User Updates from Ad.ly

Social network welcomes in-stream ads as rival Twitter does its best to outlaw them.

As Twitter tries to outlaw third parties that piggy-back its platform and place advertiser content into users’ posts, MySpace is instead choosing to embrace them, and today announced a deal with in-stream ad network Ad.ly.

The agreement will allow MySpace users registered with Ad.ly to publish advertiser content in their updates in exchange for payment, of which the social network will take a cut. Users can decide which messages from advertisers they want to support.

According to a MySpace press release, the integration of Ad.ly’s platform will “bring together key influencers with key marketers to broadcast targeted messages to their friends.”

Sean Percival, director of content socialization for MySpace, said, “MySpace pioneered tools for musicians and now with this new relationship with Ad.ly we’re doing the same for our community of social leaders.”

The official statement did not address the potential impact to user experience on the site following the introduction. In a recent blog post explaining the reasons for attempting to remove such platforms from its own network, Twitter specifically cited that issue as one of its considerations. “Third party ad networks are not necessarily looking to preserve the unique user experience Twitter has created,” wrote Twitter COO Dick Costolo.

Costolo also pointed out that Twitter receives no revenue for carrying such ads, but said the company’s primary concern was forgoing “near-term revenue opportunities” in favor of monitoring the impact of ad products on user experience. MySpace has instead opted to take a share of revenue for making its platform available for in-stream ads, though sponsored updates will be marked to help users identify them easily.

Ad.ly actually claims it will not be affected by Twitter’s ban, presumably since it does not insert ads into users’ updates automatically, but instead requires users to manually approve and publish them. According to Ad.ly’s site, current advertisers in its network include “celebrities” such as Kim Kardashian and musician Pete Wentz, and advertisers have included major brands including Sony, Universal Pictures, and Microsoft.

In the press release, Derek Rey, VP of sales for Ad.ly, said the relationship with MySpace will help further scale its network, generating greater reach for its advertisers. The company did not return requests for comment on the MySpace deal or its relationship with Twitter.

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