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MySpace unblocks Photobucket videos

Web 2.0 scuffle ends at MySpace relents

An impasse between the world's largest social network and the US's most popular photo site has ended.

After locking horns for almost two weeks, News Corp's MySpace and Photobucket have smoothed out the differences that led the social-networking site to block Photobucket videos and photo slideshows.

"Following discussions with MySpace, we're pleased to announce that all Photobucket videos and remixes are enabled once more on MySpace with immediate effect. Both our companies are committed to putting our users first," Photobucket CEO Alex Welch wrote on the company's blog.

MySpace had accused video- and photo-sharing site Photobucket of violating its terms of service by encouraging MySpace users to post an ad-sponsored slideshow in their profiles. The result: MySpace blocked the videos and photo slideshows its users create, store and edit with Photobucket, while allowing its users to continue to post individual Photobucket pictures.

Photobucket countered that MySpace never contacted it prior to enacting the block and challenged the assertion that it had violated the terms of service, saying the slideshow in question generated no revenue for Photobucket when users embedded it on MySpace.

The mashup tussle once again renewed criticisms that MySpace has been reluctant to embrace Web 2.0 technologies and open its platform to third parties. MySpace grants access to its platform on a case-by-case basis to companies that request it, but doesn't have open APIs (application programming interface), something most internet companies provide for many services.

Likely aware of this, MySpace public-relations Achilles heel, Photobucket's Welch fired away by calling MySpace's decision "retrograde" and one that contradicted "the very ethos of personal and social media" as well as "an unacceptable attempt to limit the freedom of the very people who are its lifeblood - its users."

News Corp executives have done little to help MySpace improve its standing among Web 2.0 backers, saying in public forums that they have reservations about third-party services on MySpace, which they feel take advantage of the site's massive popularity.

In November 2006, MySpace had the 38.7 billion page views, the most of any site on the internet, according to comScore Networks. In March of this year, it had almost 95 million unique visitors from around the world.

Meanwhile, Photobucket ranks by far as the most popular photo-sharing site in the US with 41.4 percent of visits to sites in that category in March, according to Hitwise.

Photobucket, which lets users store photos, slide shows, videos and graphics on its servers and then link them to other websites, receives almost 57 percent of its upstream traffic from MySpace, according to Hitwise.

Photobucket, founded in 2003, has 39 million registered users and ranked 34th among comScore's top 50 US web properties in March, with almost 16.8 million unique visitors.

Neither MySpace nor Photobucket representatives were immediately available for comment.


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