MySpace, the social networking phenomenon that has become one of the world’s most popular Web sites, may “auction off” its search business to a major search engine operator, an executive from its parent company, News Corp., said Tuesday.
Too many users leave the social networking site to go to external search engines, so MySpace needs to improve its search functionality and make its search box more prominent, said Peter Chernin, News Corp.’s president and chief operating officer.
In fact, the external site most MySpace users jump to is Google Inc.’s Google.com main search page, and every time that happens, MySpace loses an opportunity to generate advertising revenue, he said at the Deutsche Bank Media and Telecom conference.
“So we will redesign the page to make search more prominent, and we will probably look to auction off our search business to one of the big 3 search players, Google, Yahoo [Inc.] or [Microsoft Corp.'s] MSN, and see what’s the best deal we can get,” he said, responding to questions from a Deutsche Bank financial analyst.
MySpace currently uses Yahoo’s search engine and carries sponsored search ads from Yahoo’s network. MySpace didn’t immediately respond to questions about what different type of arrangement News Corp. wants MySpace to have with its search engine partner.
On the latter point, Danny Sullivan has an explanation at Search Engine Watch – MySpace is currently buying search results through a Yahoo partner. Sullivan also brings some perspective to the claim advanced in some articles that MySpace has the “sixth largest market share among search engines.”