Back in January, Yahoo announced a new initiative dubbed Brand Universe whereby the company would create 100 separate sites, each one focusing on a different popular brand, such as the Wii or the TV show Lost. We noted, at the time, that the thinking behind this move wasn't all that different from the thinking behind splogs. Basically, it seemed, Yahoo was just looking at a way to build out more pages on which it could run advertising, without creating any new or compelling content. But it seems that this idea may be taking hold elsewhere. MTV's struggles online have been well documented, and now the network looks like it's taking a page out of Yahoo's playbook. It plans to put out thousands of sites based on its television programming, giving viewers many chances to come across its content. In some ways, MTV seems to be going a step further than Yahoo, as it's talking about letting users do things like re-edit its shows. Still, it's not clear what the appeal is behind this volume approach to putting content online. Why does any network need thousands or even hundreds of individual sites? Perhaps the companies are looking jealously at sites like YouTube and MySpace, and the millions of advertising pages that they have. But all that breadth was created by users, and it's all based around a basic core. There's no way to replicate this in a centralized manner, and such a strategy seems bound to result in a big, confusing mess.
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