The other threat to MySpace.com
I previously wrote about the threat to MySpace.com if advertisers over-commercialise it. The success of MySpace is in the freedom it gives its (mostly) young subscribers to hang out online and connect with new and old friends - they don't want their space taken over by over-eager marketers selling them stuff.
An article in this week's Wall Street Journal online looks at another problem - increasing concerns about keeping MySpace a safe place for teenagers to visit.
MySpace has become the focus of criticism from authorities, teachers and parents that children are exposed to risqué content and are preyed upon by sexual predators who meet them on the site. Such episodes aren't unique to MySpace, but the site stands out because of its size -- 54 million registered users, with about 22% of monthly users under 17, according to MySpace.
In response, NewsCorp has promised to take "dramatic" action to address these fears. As well as parents, advertisers are also concerned and some media buying agencies have been questioning whether MySpace is an appropriate place for their clients to advertise.
So NewsCorp is caught between a rock and a hard place: impose too many controls and MySpace users will go somewhere else; fail to address legitimate concerns about safety and both advertisers and parents will turn against it. Let's see how NewsCorp deals with this one...