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MySpace launches free mobile service

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MySpace has fired another salvo in the battle for social network supremacy with a free mobile version of its website.

MySpace will provide free access to the service to US-based users with advertising being used to cover the costs. The new site will load one banner ad and one text based ad for each visitor.

The move is part of News Corporation's - MySpace's parent company - efforts to take a share of the growing mobile advertising market. Social networks are seen as being a key player in driving interest in accessing content online with research firm Juniper estimating that the number of mobile users accessing social networking sites via their phones will rise from 14 million in 2007 to nearly 600 million in 2012.

Despite the launch of the free website there are no plans to shut down the subscription-version of MySpace, which has been offered to AT&T mobile subscribers since December for $1.99 per month.

The launch of a free mobile service is part of a series of efforts by the social networking giant to diversify its offering. Earlier this month MySpace announced that it was picking up a TV series that had been dropped by US network ABC.

Quarterlife, a new show about a group of twentysomethings in the digital generation, is to be broadcast on the popular social networking website in November after having been initially shelved by network executives who were unimpressed by its pilot. A total of 36 episodes are expected to be shown on MySpace, with the show being broadcast twice a week and each episode lasting approximately eight minutes.

Unsurprisingly, the other major social networks aren't sitting idly by while MySpace finds new ways to generate income. Less than a fortnight ago Bebo inked a new deal with Yahoo! which will see the search giant provide advertising on the social network site. Bebo's move followed similar deals made by MySpace with Google and by Facebook with Microsoft.

The major players in this arena may soon have a new contender to deal with as last week ENN reported that, despite its ties to Bebo, Yahoo! is to launch its own social network under the moniker of Mash.

© 2007 ENN

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