News Corp. is shouting "Extra! Extra!" on Thursday as its popular social-networking site gets into the news business. MySpace has launched the beta version of a service that searches the Web for news stories and lets users rate them.
Dubbed MySpace News, the new service hopes to attract more advertisers to the site by mimicking popular aggregation giants such as Google News and by keeping its more than 100 million users on the site longer.
MySpace News relies on technology it added to its social-networking arsenal when parent company News Corp. acquired Newroo last year. The move is in character for News Corp., which also owns Fox News and several other media outlets.
A Different Spin
In contrast to sites such as Google News, MySpace is putting a different spin on how the day's top stories are displayed, combining both news collection and social networking.
The site will aggregate the news through online publications and blogs, group the results into categories -- such as sports, fashion, and technology -- and let users vote on the items to determine which ones are ranked highest.
The company said it would like to have news in nearly all topics and will list them by category, by alphabetical order, and by popularity. MySpace also is making room for its users to drill down into subcategories where they can gossip about celebs and other matters.
"Rating an article tells our system how much you liked the article -- your opinion influences which articles and in what order various items appear on our pages," the company explained on its FAQ page. Readers do not have to sign up with MySpace to read the news, but cannot vote without membership.
Opt Out Allowed
Among other news aggregators, Google News gathers and displays articles on the basis of similar themes, such as Sci/Tech, Business, Entertainment, and Health. Digg.com displays user-recommended content, with stories submitted by users and voted upon by the Digg community.
Some have speculated that MySpace News would favor its parent company's offerings, but the site's FAQ page insists otherwise. MySpace said it will collect the best pieces according to factors such as topical sources, publishing schedules, core audiences, and referring links.
News outlets will be allowed to opt out of MySpace's aggregation service, a safeguard to prevent the kind of legal liabilities that Google News has encountered.