Despite the massive popularity of some social-networking sites, it's well known that they've had a hard time monetizing their page views. In the case of MySpace, the company is trying a different approach. Instead of selling site-wide ads, it's allowing advertisers like Disney to buy sponsored profiles that are separate from the normal user pages. Essentially, it's exploiting the fact that MySpace is perceived to be a haven of tawdry teenage high jinks by offering a way for brands to be present on the site without mixing in with the "bad stuff". Whether this makes any sense, or whether users will want to make friends with these officially sponsored profiles remains doubtful. The other powerhouse in the space is, of course, Facebook, which is well known for wanting a $2 billion buyout. They recently announced a new advertising deal that came with one caveat -- they gave the buyer an equity stake in the company. The company is claiming that this wasn't a quid-pro-quo, and that the deal is more strategic than a mere ad sale, but it certainly sounds a lot like some of the deal making behind the last bubble when offering up an equity stake in exchange for a purchase was a common strategy. Given the troubles these companies are having, maybe these companies are a little too good at moving value to the edge of the network.
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