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MySpace eyes more sites in local languages

15 октября 2007

MySpace, the social networking site owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, is planning to expand its international footprint by launching locally-targeted sites in Brazil, India, Poland and Russia over the next four months.

MySpace eyes more sites in local languagesMySpace began rolling out local language sites about a year and a half ago and now has 24 in 20 countries, in 12 languages, including French, German and Japanese.

MySpace said the number of visitors to its European sites had risen more than 68 per cent in the past year, to about 25m per month.

The company is the biggest social networking site overall across Europe and is a close number two in the UK and Germany.

However, in places such as France, local SkyRock still dominates, with about 70 per cent of the social networking market. MySpace is a distant second with about 17 per cent, according to figures from ComScore, the research company.

Even in the UK it is facing a tough battle. MySpace was the leading site in the UK but, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, rival Facebook recently overtook it in user numbers. ComScore figures show Bebo in the lead in the UK.

Expansion into markets such as Brazil and India could be tricky, as these are dominated by Orkut, the social networking site owned by Google.

In Poland, local site Grono.net has a strong following, with more than 1.3m registered users. In Russia, LiveJournal, a San Francisco-based blogging site, has a strong following, and Yandex, a local company that dominates the country’s internet search market, far overshadowing Google, owns its own social networking site, MoiKrug.ru.

“These local sites like SkyRock are not going to disappear,” said Nick Thomas, analyst at Jupiter Research. “There is a limit to how many networks people want to join, and the longer the head start local companies have, the harder it is to compete.”

Travis Katz, head of MySpace’s international operations, admits new expansion can be challenging. “In the US we had a four-year head start over everyone else but, in places like Europe, we are coming to market against established local competitors,” he said.

Mr Katz said the new sites in Brazil, India, Poland and Russia could be initially loss-making.

“We initially launched in countries where we could make money, as they had a developed online advertising market. We are now moving into countries that are at a much earlier stage of development. Russia, for example, does not have a huge online advertising market. But the time to go in is now, when we can capitalise on the growth in these markets,” he said.

There is still plenty of room for expansion internationally.

In the US about 18 per cent of internet users use a social networking site. Across Europe, for example, the figure is just 14 per cent.

Источник: Financial Times

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