BUSINESS WEEK -- May 31 -- Only 20 months old, MySpace has 14 million uniques a month. Friendster started three years ago and has 1 million uniques. "We're crushing it," says MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe, 39. Bands can create their own home pages, with photos, tour dates, and as many as four songs -- all for free. Now, MySpace has become something akin to the hippest bar in town. They need to boost revenues, which come largely from ads from companies ranging from Procter & Gamble to NBC. Complicating matters is rising competition from Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL who are moving into social networking. Yahoo (112 million) plans to launch Yahoo! 360 this fall. MSN (88 million users) launched 'Spaces, in April, and signed up 10 million users in a matter of weeks. Blake Irving, VP for MSN communications says it will offer e-mail, instant messaging, and social networking all in one place. "I think people will want one digital profile that says: 'This is my digital self.'" These networks are part entertainment -- a substitute for TV. Myspace is developing into a powerful way to reach 16 to 30 year olds, one of the most sought-after and elusive demographic segments. Friendster, with its smiley-face logo, has focused on fostering safety and trust. MySpace has let its members do whatever they want.
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Mark Brooks: I know, I know, yet another article on MySpace...but it's Business Week already! Friendster still has shot at stealing back some of it's thunder. I will interview the new Friendster CEO, to try and get some insight on his plans, for a feature on OPW at the beginning of July.