It looks like MySpace is one-upping Facebook in that arena. Today, The New York Times reports that MySpace, after experimenting with technology over the last six months, has found a way to tailor ads to the personal information on its 110 million active users' profile pages, with plans to implement a “hyper targeting” option that divides its ten enthusiast categories into hundreds of subcategories. “They say the tailoring technology has improved the likelihood that members will click on an ad by 80 percent on average.”
Richard Greenfield, the managing director of Pali Research, predicts that MySpace’s fledgling program will help increase MySpace’s current revenue to $70 million a month from $40 million a month by next year.
And the PR angle…"Fox executives also hope the technology can help MySpace recapture some of the momentum and attention that has recently gone to Facebook." MySpace “celebrity” Mark Gong tells the Times, “Everybody I know is switching to Facebook...MySpace has its work cut out for it.”
The innovation is attracting expected controversy with respect to user privacy, in this case from Jeff Chester, executive director at the Center for Digital Democracy in Washington.
His organization will ask the Federal Trade Commission, during a planned hearing on Internet privacy in November, to investigate social networks for unfair and deceptive practices, he said.