MySpace plans new display-advertising network

Based on technology already used by Toyota, Taco Bell and Procter & Gamble

In a move aimed at generating revenue from the vast amount of data the social networking behemoth has accumulated about its millions of users, MySpace unveiled plans today to launch a new advertising platform to allow small-business owners, bands and politicians to purchase, create and analyze the performance of display advertisements on the popular social networking site.

SelfServe by MySpace, which will be available early next year, will allow users to create customized advertising with a new ad-creation tool, MySpace said. The tool will allow users to choose among different ad-targeting factors like geography, demographics and various user-interest categories. SelfServe users will select their desired ad placement within the MySpace network and then use a customized tool to pay for their ads. They then can access analytics tools to allow them to track ad performance.

The SelfServe platform uses HyperTargeting by MySpace technology, which MySpace also announced today. HyperTargeting by MySpace has completed its first phase and now has more than 50 advertisers, including Procter & Gamble, Ford, Sony Electronics, Taco Bell, Universal Pictures and Toyota. HyperTargeting, which MySpace quietly launched in July, allows advertisers to connect with specific user groups based on the interests users express in their MySpace profiles.

"Our mission with HyperTargeting by MySpace was to build an ad platform that translates our massive amounts of self-expressed user data into highly targeted, interest-based segments, enabling us to better serve the exact right ad to the right person at the right time," said Michael Barrett, chief revenue officer for Fox Interactive Media, in a statement. "We far exceeded our initial goals in increasing campaign performance for our clients -- in some cases tripling the performance over comparable campaigns."

During the first phase of HyperTargeting, marketers could buy advertising targeted to users in 10 specific categories: music, movies, personal finance, gaming, consumer electronics, sports, travel, autos, fashion and fitness. In the second phase, now under way, marketers can segment users into 100 additional subcategories. Beginning early next year, MySpace plans to roll out HyperTargeting internationally.

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