MySpace said Tuesday it is teaming up with merchant guide Citysearch to let users of the social-networking service share reviews of local restaurants and bars.
MySpace Local will go public in the United States after a few weeks of private testing by employees and selected members of the online community.
"We like to call it a social directory," said MySpace vice president of product management Chris Blandy.
"We are taking the rich, deep content Citysearch has built up over the years, ingesting all that content into our pages and adding all the social-networking capabilities."
Citysearch lets people rate and review local businesses online.
Citysearch pages also provide information such as business addresses, telephone numbers, hours of operation, and, in the case of eateries, copies of menus.
Any visitors to MySpace will be able to read reviews, but only social-networking community members will be able to rate or comment on businesses listed in Citysearch
News Corp-owned MySpace will automatically let members know when their friends have posted Citysearch comments or reviews.
"The friend updates and the recommendation alert on the home page are the primary ways we expect users to engage," Blandy said. "That is the key to this social-discovery concept."
MySpace expects to make money from online ads and sponsored links, and has negotiated a revenue-sharing deal with Citysearch.
MySpace Local will start with restaurants, bars and night life but eventually expand to include more categories, such as doctors, dentists, hotels, travel, and lawyers.
"The traditional model is where an editor picks something to review and then shouts to the masses," Blandy said. "We find our users are very interested in what their friends have to say."
MySpace Local is to be rolled out globally over time.
(c) 2009 AFP
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