MySpace Tests Community Tools for Advertisers

A new “community builder platform” being tested by MySpace allows advertisers on the huge social networking site to create and maintain their brand profiles.

The new platform also gives MySpace advertisers analytics information, via Hitbox, that they can use to measure the real-time effects of their campaign tweaks. The platform is under beta review by interactive marketing agency Deep Focus.

The platform comes in self service and full service versions. The company said the DIY version is “aimed at advertisers who are familiar with MySpace and who have advanced design coding skills (CSS and XHTML) with the time and resources required to maintain a community,” said the company. The full service version keeps the MySpace experts in the mix as a “premium in-house production solution,” but it still affords advertisers a good amount of independent control, according to MySpace.

Both versions provide round-the-clock access for updating aspects of the sites including blogs and bulletins. They also allow advertisers to bring many forms of interactivity, including sweepstakes and contests. to their MySpace profiles.

The community builder platform will initially be available only to U.S.-based advertisers.

In a statement announcing the service, MySpace SVP of Sales Bryce Emo called community builder “the next evolution of the MySpace brand profile,” and said it should help ensure that advertiser communities stay up-to-date “between major campaigns and projects.”

Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer said the platform builder “helps them position their product as something more than just an online publisher” and will help MySpace make money due to its “ability to be a customer relationship management tool.”

MySpace’s owner, News Corp., hopes advertising is the key to turning the social networking site into a big money-maker. MySpace’s announcement about the new community builder platform came on the heels of less-than-upbeat reports about the success of the News Corp.-owned site’s attempt to make money off its huge popularity. Sanford C. Bernstine analyst Michael Nathanson reportedly slashed his price estimate on News Corp. last week as did UBS’s Michael Morris.

Schafer said much depends on the pricing model for the community platform builder, but he noted the DIY aspects of it can save agencies time and money. “There’s a great production efficiency,” said Schafer. “We don’t have to rely on someone else’s production queue thanks to the ability for us to get in under the hood ourselves. We can make changes when we need to and not have to wait for somebody else to get to it.”

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