Despite the name of its parent company, nobody goes to News Corp.'s (NYSE:NWS) MySpace for news. Sure, tens of millions may flock to the site to learn new things about their friends or make new plans for the weekend, but the lively social-networking site isn't a hotbed for conventional news.

Well, MySpace is hoping to shake that distinction with yesterday's beta rollout of MySpace News. The new offering is an algorithmically fueled news aggregator, like Google News. However, it then hands the keys to the community. Even if it's not old enough to drive. Visitors can rate news stories, sending the better rated articles to the top. It's a lot like Digg, but the market rewards results over awarding originality points.

Can you Digg it?
Digg can rest easy, for now. The service at didn't catch on right away. The most-rated articles have just a handful of votes and user comments are scarce. Unfortunately for Digg and other upstart Web 2.0 sites, things will change once MySpace actively promotes the news site.

That's usually all it takes when you're as youthfully relevant as MySpace. MySpace didn't seem like much of a threat to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) video-sharing site stronghold when it began showcasing video clips. Now it's the inspired silver medalist.

MySpace's transformation from a rave-hopping fiend into a crack reporter is an extreme makeover, but it's also perfectly logical. Wooing advertisers to back unchecked profile pages can be a chore. With Google as an advertising partner, the best route is to cash in on Google's ability to serve up perfectly targeted ads on content pages. Lining up quality news feeds is one way to make sure that you have the ability to line up lucrative sponsored spots.

Click on the personal-finance category on MySpace News, for instance, and you may be treated to Google text ads pitching money workshops and Warren Buffett's stock tips. MySpace has dozens of news categories. Unlike on Digg, there doesn't seem to be a feature to submit articles, but that is likely to change.

New and slightly improved MySpace
That crack reporter also has political aspirations. MySpace is positioning itself as a virtual whistle-stop tour for next year's presidential hopefuls. Most of the leading campaigns already have a presence on the site, even if many of the site's users aren't old enough to vote.

So what's going on here? You used to worry about what your kid was doing on MySpace, and now you find that the social-networking site is trying to clean up nice. Is it the better ad money, is it the drive to appeal to a wider audience, or has MySpace finally grown up?

I wouldn't put too much faith in having the site grow out of its rebellious phase. It may see rival Facebook's push to expand beyond campus coeds as a roadmap for growth, but it also knows that it can't betray its original audience.

Sites don't often have much of a chance to evolve. There are exceptions, of course. (NASDAQ:BIDU) is shaking its reputation as a hub for illegal MP3 file searches by teaming up with record labels for ad-supported content. eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) has grown from a consumer-to-consumer bazaar to one that feels more like a merchant-to-consumer marketplace. (NASDAQ:AMZN) originally sold just books and other light media. These days, it has more store categories than flavors at a Baskin-Robbins scoop shop.

The biggest example may be Napster (NASDAQ:NAPS). The original Napster died years ago, but the renegade brand has been dusted off as the company continues to grow as a legal music-subscription site.

MySpace is blessed in that it can learn from the past. It has already avoided the missteps by original social-networking sites like Friendster and It's also in a great position of being popular. If you've got Web traffic, you may as well flaunt it. Google and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) certainly didn't settle for being merely search engines. Why should MySpace settle for being merely a social-networking site?

Oh, and if you happen to be reading this story on MySpace News, allow me to be the first to try to game the system by requesting that you give it the five-figure nod of approval.

Thanks in advance.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz really isn't a friend of MySpace's ubiquitous "Tom" character, but Rick doesn't want to hurt his feelings by giving him the boot. Rick does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.