MySpace wins $234M spam judgment

MySpace has won a $234 million judgment over junk messages sent to its members in what is believed to be the largest anti-spam award ever, The Associated Press has learned.

A federal judge ruled against two of the Internet’s most prominent spam defendants, Sanford Wallace and Walter Rines, after the two failed to show up at a court hearing.

Rines and Wallace worked in concert to create their own MySpace accounts or take over existing ones by stealing passwords.

They then e-mailed other MySpace members asking them to check out a cool video or another cool site. When you go there, they were making money trying to sell you something or making money based on hits or trying to sell ring tones.

It would be a surprise, though, if MySpace ever collected. The giant judgments are all defaults, which means they don’t necessarily even know how to find the spammer.

There was no telephone listing for Wallace in the Las Vegas area, where he is last known to live. Service was disconnected for two listed numbers for Rines in Stratham, N.H., his last known address; a third number was unlisted.

Myspace, FaceBook and Google Embrace Data Portability

data portabilityThe 3 bigs are starting to embrace data portability by making available sets of APIs for Open Social participants to pull profile information from social networks into third party websites.

MySpace launched Data Availability on Thursday. The following day, FaceBook rushed to announce FaceBook Connect, and Google is expected to present Google’s Friend Connect on Monday.

This whole Data Portability thing will be a way to securely send personal profile data, including friend lists, presence/status information, etc., to third party applications. The primary benefit of these services is to allow users to maintain a single friends list and to coordinate social activities across different sites that perform different services.

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch says:

The reason these companies are are rushing to get products out the door is because whoever is a player in this space is likely to control user data over the long run. If users don’t have to put profile and friend information into multiple sites, they will gravitate towards one site that they identify with, and then allow other sites to access that data.

Google will have to catch up with MySpace and FaceBook as it doesn’t have a gigantic pool of active users like the 2 social networks sites already have. What? Google is not leading the way for once?

MySpace disappointing results

MySpace has missed its financial targets, showing that social networking is struggling to earn its keep – even as part of Rupert Murdoch’s globe-spanning media empire.

News Corp said yesterday that the site will fall short of its annual revenue target of $1bn by 10 per cent. Third quarter revenues actually fell to $210m from $233m in the preceding three months.

About a third of MySpace revenues come from a guaranteed three year deal with Google, signed in 2006. The search giant has already started complaining that it’s not seeing a decent return on its end of the tie-up, however.

What News Corp has in MySpace is an endless supply of page impressions. Despite the magical life-affirming properties of social networking, the laws of supply and demand still apply, and so those pages are worth little more to advertisers than the web’s bottomless midden of spam blogs.