LOS ANGELES – The social networking site MySpace.com is launching a free, advertising-supported cell phone version as part of a wider bid by parent News Corp. to attract advertising for mobile Web sites, the company was set to announce Monday.
The new version will work on all U.S. carriers and will allow users to send and receive messages, friend requests, comment on pictures, post bulletins, update blogs and find and search for friends.
Fox Interactive Media, which oversees News Corp.'s Internet properties, planned to launch the mobile version Monday.
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The company already has premium, subscription-based versions of MySpace on AT&T and Helio that include special features integrated into specific handsets, such as uploading cell phone photos directly to a user's profile page.
In the coming months, the company also plans to offer a mobile version of Photobucket, its picture-sharing site, as well as mobile versions of FoxSports.com, the gaming site IGN, AskMen and its local TV affiliates.
The company said advertisers have become more interested as the quality of the mobile Web experience has increased.
"Accessing the Internet from your mobile phone will soon be as common as text messaging and voice calling," said John Smelzer, senior vice president of mobile at Fox Interactive Media.
Initially, advertising will take the form of sponsorships and clickable banner ads.
Eventually, the company will seek to sell more targeted advertising, using registration data from cell phone carriers. The company also hopes to send local ads based on a user's location, established using GPS data sent by the phones.
"Over time, the most targeted ads will be on mobile," Smelzer said.
MySpace recently announced plans to sell targeted ads using personal information culled from each user's profile and blogs.
The new mobile sites will be tailored to the small screen on most handsets, Smelzer said. Smart phones with larger screens can already access full versions of Fox's Web sites.
FoxSports, for instance, will allow users to check scores and perform other core tasks, but will not have the video and photo offerings of the subscription version.
FOXNews.com is owned and operated by News Corporation, which also owns and operates MySpace.com.