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TechCrunch50: MySpace looks for friends

September 14, 2009 | 12:23 pm

Myspace-primary_logo-blue_clean It's the sad fact of life for MySpace, a sponsor of this week's TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco: Silicon Valley loves Facebook and Twitter. MySpace? Not so much.

Yet that doesn't stop Rupert Murdoch's favorite social network from trying. Chad Russell, who runs MySpace's OpenSocial team, is at the conference, trying to persuade developers to create apps for the one-time social networking leader. MySpace, he points out, still has 170 million users -- dwarfed by Facebook's 250 million, but still a significant population.

"It's almost like we're back to square one," Russell said. "We're pitching again, like we were a few years ago."

"This is a Facebook crowd," he said, noting that Facebook and Twitter get a lot of positive coverage on the TechCrunch website, which covers Silicon Valley and is hosting the conference. "They take their leanings from on high."

OpenSocial, which Russell works on, is an effort launched by Google two years ago to get developers to build applications that can run across a number of social networks, including MySpace, LinkedIn and Google's Orkut. Facebook has its own system and has not signed on to OpenSocial. "They're anti-open standards," Russell said. "All of Facebook has closed protocols."

As for MySpace's newfound role as underdog and Web 2.0 whipping boy, Russell said, "Some of it we deserve. Some of it we don't."

-- Dan Fost

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