The more things change ...

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Ah, the mysterious power of MySpace. With one well-timed acquisition, Rupert Murdoch moves back up to the top of the heap of Vanity Fair's New Establishment list, which picks the "thinkers, owners, creators and buyers who set the agenda in myriad arenas." What does that say about the new digital world that the biggest macher is one of the oldest media moguls we've got? Well, for one, it underscores just what a crock the whole one-to-one niche future is turning out to be. Those with power online are turning out to be the same as those with power offline: the ones who manage to grab the largest share of eyeballs and who rack up traffic numbers in the millions. Mass, it seems, is far from over.

The one truth that is parroted again and again about MySpace is that is has gobs and gobs of members. In other words, it has the potential to be a mass medium. What is less clear is how anyone can leverage all those members into something that will result in cash to the bottom line. Will advertising do it? Google alliance? Classifieds? Music downloads or some other e-commerce? Whatever. At the moment Rupert is sitting atop a network that reaches gobs of people, and surely that means money somehow.

And speaking of size, the list itself has grown. In the past, only 50 players were chosen. This year, it's expanded to 100. Vanity Fair uses a number of factors to determine the list, including wealth, influence, vision and "the footprint they will leave after they are gone."

Let's look at the rest of the top five: Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Apple's Steve Jobs, Wal-Mart's Lee Scott and Microsoft's Bill Gates. Not exactly poster children for niche marketing.
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