MySpace Tries Self-Serve Local Ads

Tapping Local Pizza Shops for Incremental Ad Dollars

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NEW YORK ( -- MySpace has made itself a must-buy for movie studios and music labels. Now it would like some dollars from your local pizza joint as well.

Rupert Murdoch's social network is introducing a local self-serve display ads service, MyAds on Oct. 13 in hopes of attracting small advertisers spending as little as $25.

The service allows advertisers to upload their creative, choose a budget from $25 to $10,000, and then select from targeting options, including sex, age, geographic location, and user interest categories.

A local band could target MySpace-using music fans in a certain area, for example, or a filmmaker could reach fans of a certain movie. Those campaigns can then be tracked and analyzed wherever they are placed throughout the MySpace ecosystem.

Jeff Berman, MySpace ad-sales president, would like to see the service used like Google's AdSense, except for online display advertising.

"In a difficult economic climate we are bringing millions of new advertisers to the store," Mr. Berman said. "You may be a huge Rolling Stones fan and have no idea a Rolling Stones cover band is going to be playing and you can get half-price tickets that show up on your MySpace page."

Mr. Berman believes local advertising will be an eight-figure business for MySpace, which has struggled to translate an immensely popular service into a lucrative ad-supported business.

News Corp. has forecasted a 30% revenue increase for Fox Interactive -- mostly MySpace -- in its fiscal 2009, which ends in June, but the social network, with 122 million global users, still isn't a significant contributor to News Corp.'s bottom line.

But Mr. Berman said beta testers of MyAds exceeded their internal expectations and that the service will contribute incremental revenue to MySpace in 2008. Twenty million small businesses and 5 million bands maintain promotional profiles on MySpace, he said.
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