By now it's no secret that every company wants to capture some of the MySpace magic (even if the money in it isn't that great). Several readers have alerted us that even Wal-Mart is looking to get in on the action, as it's launching its own social-networking site for teenagers. But, as if to embrace its boring image, the site will be strictly monitored, will not allow messaging between users, and will alert parents when their child signs up for the site. In other words, the only way teens will ever take to the site, is if it becomes a competition to slip subversive images or messages onto a profile. Of course, it's understandable that Wal-Mart not want its site to resemble MySpace -- but then there are other ways to make the site social without re-inventing MySpace. The kids interviewed for the article all described the current service as being corny and forced, so maybe a site that actually allowed them to express their interests (through products that Wal-Mart carries) might work better. As it stands, it appears that Wal-Mart is just the latest in a line of people and companies painfully trying to act hip, with all emphasis on the painful part.
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