News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS ) got a problem. A good kind of problem. Its MySpace site has become so popular that it's on a torrid pace to double in size every six months, leaving the company at odds over what to do with MySpace's popular search feature.With companies like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) deriving nearly all of their revenue from search advertising, that little search box on every MySpace page has become key online real estate.
During yesterday's Deutsche Bank Media & Telecom Conference, News Corp. President Peter Chernin offered some ideas on how the company hopes to cash in on the fast-growing site.
According to Alexa.com, MySpace is the country's fifth most trafficked website. Even though Alexa estimates that just 2% of the page views are taking place in MySpace's search.myspace.com subdomain, the fact that the feature is prominent throughout the social networking experience is huge.
Earlier this year, many speculated that MySpace would drum up its own search engine technology. Chernin counters that the best solution might be to play the field, with Google, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) , and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) all bidding for MySpace's search business.
It's a good solution, especially since News Corp. is still scrambling to build out a system that will better monetize the growing traffic. The three established search engine stars already have a healthy inventory of high-paying ads. And News Corp. also has the luxury of pitching its various media entertainment properties to the MySpace community.
Only MySpace's lifespan at the top will keep it from achieving those goals. That's right. We can't always assume that MySpace will be the top dog. After all, pioneers like Friendster and Tribe.net once ruled the social networking roost.
But there's no point in fretting over that possibility when time is ticking. And I wouldn't be surprised if MySpace shows its appreciation to advertisers the same way that tens of millions of MySpace users do when someone adds them as a friend; thanks for the ad!
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz knows that you can't ignore sleeping giants, much less the wide awake ones, like MySpace. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Foolhas a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.