MySpace opens its platform to developers

Following in Facebook's footsteps

Following in the footsteps of Facebook, one of its toughest competitors, MySpace announced Wednesday plans to open its platform for developers to build applications on top of the popular social networking site.

Facebook, which opened its API to developers in April, has seen 100,000 developers deliver 6,000 applications on the site since then.

Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of MySpace, announced during the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco Wednesday that within the next few months, MySpace will be opening its platform to all developers.

"We are going to create a sandbox for two million beta users and our developers," DeWolfe said. "The idea there is to make sure the applications are safe and secure and pass a certain level of value to get on the site. We expect the majority of these applications will make it onto MySpace."

Within the next few weeks, it will develop a catalogue of all the widgets that developers already have built on MySpace, he added. Up until now, widgets developed for MySpace have directed users back to the site of the developer who built them. Going forward, MySpace will provide a control page for developers to "essentially own," DeWolfe added.

"MySpace can help them sell advertising on that page," he said. "The developers will own all the inventory on that page."

When asked if MySpace plans to follow the lead of Facebook in allowing users to port their data to other applications, DeWolfe first said "the more deals where we can port at least portions of the MySpace profile if that is what the user wants, that is great."

When pressed to affirm that MySpace at some point in the future would allow users to port their data to other applications even without MySpace striking a deal with that company, DeWolfe said, "The answer is pretty simple. It is yes as long as it is safe and secure for the users."

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of MySpace parent News, joined DeWolfe on the stage at the conference. For his part, he dismissed Facebook as "a utility," noting that MySpace instead connects users from different cultures and interests from all over the world.

"It is not just looking up friends," he noted.

According to Internet measurement company Comscore, MySpace had 55 million unique visitors in August (the last month for which data was available), with Facebook pulling in 14 million unique visitors during the same time.

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