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MySpace ads zero in on user data

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MySpace has tightened its advertising targeting system to let marketeers aim their pitch at more specific user interests, in the hope they'll be more likely to respond.

The social network first introduced 10 categories earlier this year to allow products to be pitched at interests listed by MySpace members, such as "movies". Today's so-called "hyper-targeting" upgrade means ads will be targeted on hundreds of sub-categories, such as "action movies".

The system will use data users have made public, and there will be an opt-out, MySpace execs have promised.

The timing of MySpace's move is telling: Facebook will announce its widely-trailed targeting network tomorrow.

It's thought it'll include some facility for Facebook to track the purchases its users make on the third-party sites they click through to, which will feed back into the targeting system.

The fate of these technologies could prove make or break for social networking sites, which promised investors a marketing goldmine but have so far delivered only chatter and vast hosting expenses. ®

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