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MySpace to Let Users Rate and Rank News

Popular social networking site MySpace is owned by media giant News Corp., so in some ways it shuldn’t come as a big surprise that MySpace has decided to get into the news business, offering news stories and headlines to its members and giving them a chance to rank and comment on the stories they see…and if they don’t find anything they like, they can create their own news from their MySpace blogs.

MySpace News should roll out today in beta form, and is being developed by recent MySpace acquisition Newroo. The service steps into the same user-recommendation territory pioneered by sites like Netscape and Digg, enabling users to rank and comment on news stories they see; these actions, in turn, determine which stories “float to the top” as the most interesting or discussed news displays on the services top-level pages. MySpace will divide news into broad categories, such as sports, entertainment, and technology, each of which will contain numerous sub-categories.

However, where Digg and Netscape rely on user submissions, MySpace will take a page from Google News pulling headlines and stories into the services from a variety of outside news sites. Unlike Google, MySpace says it will offer news publishers a way to exclude their content from MySpace News; Google News has faced copyright infringement challenges from publishers, and has had to come to settlements with Agence France-Presse and the Associated Press.

The move may mark a major step in MySpace’s development, stepping away from a pure social networking model and into areas traditionally occupied by Internet portal sites like Yahoo, which bring together an amalgam of services and content offerings in a single location. Industry watchers have speculated for some time that MySpace will begin to integrate content into its service in a much more aggressive way, so users don’t take their eyeballs (and advertising impressions) away from MySpace as they use the Internet for the everyday information needs.

For its part, MySpace say its news service may actually increase traffic to news sites and news papers by enabling MySpace’s audience to connect with those news sources directly.

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