The online hangout MySpace is continuing its international expansion with Tuesday's launch of a Korean site peppered with features tailored to local cultural habits.
Among the new tools is "Minilog," a way for Korean youths to jot down everyday thoughts and feelings in a few hundred characters, with options to personalize stamps and backgrounds to resemble different types of notebook paper.
The blue color MySpace uses on its site also has been softened to give it a greater sense of intimacy, the company said, while thumbnail images that have appeared elsewhere in varying sizes have been standardized to give Korean users consistency.
Los Angeles-based MySpace will face stiff competition from established, Korea-based social-networking sites such as Cyworld in a market that has typically shunned online services popular elsewhere. For instance, Korea is one of few markets in the world where Google Inc. isn't the dominant search engine.
Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and chief executive of MySpace, said the company has collaborated with Korea's culture creators and information-technology specialists to create an environment that caters to Koreans.
Though hugely popular in Korea, Cyworld has had little success with its 2006 expansion into the United States, where MySpace and Facebook dominate. DeWolfe is touting MySpace as a way for Koreans to connect with Americans and others around the world.
"MySpace will be the one and only platform that provides an opportunity for Korean users to easily meet friends around the globe, surpassing the hindrance of language and culture,'' DeWolfe said in a statement.
The site will be primarily in Korean, though users can easily switch the interface to another language. Information written on the personal profile pages, however, won't be automatically translated. Initially, music and video will be the content prominently featured, allowing users to communicate regardless of their native language.
MySpace, a unit of News Corp., plans to launch a site for India later this week. Plans there include partnerships with the Bollywood movie industry and integration with local television networks and mobile carriers.
Last week, MySpace expanded its offerings for Latinos based in the United States.