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A Microsoft spinout is adding to the social networking detritus with an ads-free service intended to challenge MySpace for internet traffic.

In true Web 2.0 style, Wallop on Tuesday launched a beta version of its social network and music-sharing service aimed at young adults that allows people to join only through invitation.

Wallop contrasts its "unique business model" with that of advertising top-heavy MySpace. Wallop will charge users enhancing their "online image" by purchasing ready-made Adobe Flash graphics and features for between 99 cents and $4.00. The idea is people express themselves using pictures, music and animation.

In another attempt to differentiate itself from the MySpace herd, and alleviate the concerns of legions of parents, Wallop lets users control who views their profiles. Users can reveal different content to different audiences.

According to Wallop chief executive Karl Jacob said social networking has to-date been "limited and plagued with problems."

Wallop was spun out from Microsoft's IP ventures program and research department. Microsoft holds an equity stake in the company. So far, Wallop is living off VC cash: the company today announced it secured $10m in series B funding from Norwest Venture Partners. Past investors Bay Partners and Consor Capital also participated. ®

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