MySpace in talks over European expansion

LONDON - MySpace, the internet phenomenon credited with the meteoric success of rock group Arctic Monkeys, is on the hunt for agency support.

Owner News International has ambitious expansion plans for the US-based site, including the opening of a London office and a raft of entertainment and music initiatives in the UK.

NI bought MySpace for $580m (£332m) last July. It has held informal talks with a handful of UK PR agencies for Europe-wide corporate and consumer work. MySpace is thought to want an agency with experience of building global brands.

Although MySpace has never actively promoted itself in the UK, two million of its 65 million users are based in the country.

Arctic Monkeys' debut single, 'I bet you look good on the dance floor, shot to number one in the UK charts last year after fans boosted the unsigned band's profile on MySpace.

The site has generated headlines on both sides of the Atlantic, being revered as a hub to discover new music and make friends. But it has also attracted controversy over risqué content, alleged use by stalkers and copyright issues. A handful of men have been arrested in the US on sex charges after allegedly meeting young girls via MySpace.

NI has pledged to improve safety, and is considering campaigns in the US to encourage children not to reveal their contact information.
MySpace faces the PR challenge of retaining its 'cool' while appeasing concerned parents and sponsors.

Edelman handles the bulk of MySpace's PR in the US.

It has also provided some UK consultancy.

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