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Do a Web search for MySpace and you’ll find a wide variety of third-party companies, including sites that offer codes that can add colors or background pictures to your profile page. Other companies offer additional tools for inputting pictures or sending instant messages to MySpace friends.

Many of these sites are funded with click-through ads that can make the owner anywhere from $1 to $10 for every 1,000 page views. Since many of these sites get thousands — or even hundreds of thousands — of page views, the money can add up.

Although no one keeps track of the number of third-party sites and companies, Pete Cashmore, who runs the social-networking blog Mashable, said the number is in the thousands and growing. Every time users demand a new function for MySpace or a new way to personalize their profiles, programmers respond, he said.

“The market really seems to fill in those gaps really quickly,” he added.

Mr. Brown, for example, uses a Web site called, which has tapped into a big demand from users desperate to know who’s been checking out their profiles. The site keeps a list of the unique Internet Protocol address of its subscribers, and each time one of its users looks at Mr. Brown’s profile, it adds that user identity to a log of who’s viewed him.

If the viewer isn’t a subscriber, Mr. Brown can still see the user’s IP address, which can be used to look up the city and state where it’s registered.

In other words, when his ex-girlfriend in Boston is checking out his profile, Mr. Brown has a pretty good idea.

The site has signed up almost 200,000 users since it started a year ago. Social-networkers seem to be willing to give up the anonymity of the Web to satisfy their curiosity and find out if the girl you once loved still thinks of you.

“I think MySpace might enjoy having us around,” said co-founder Tom Gill, a 25-year-old Orlando, Fla., resident.

But user demand doesn’t necessarily mean a business will succeed in the social-networking sphere. Since many of these sites work off the MySpace platform, they must abide by MySpace’s terms of service, which prohibits any unauthorized commercial use of the site.

MySpace said although it’s shut down and blocked some sites like Stalkerati for violating its terms, it’s mainly encouraged innovation and development.

“We have always offered our users a blank canvas for their creativity and self-expression, whether it’s customizing profiles, importing HTML, or embedding third-party services,” the company said in a statement.

In fact, MySpace has recently made some inroads with third-party services. Last month, MySpace’s parent company announced it would buy Photobucket, which lets users share photos and videos with each other online.

Fox Interactive also bought Flektor in May, a photo- and video-sharing site that had been open to the public for only a month. Fox plans to incorporate Flektor’s slide shows, video mash-ups and interactive presentations into MySpace.

But for many of those starting a new third-party MySpace business, like Jared Kim, MySpace has been more of a policeman than a benefactor. He’s stopped trying to work around the MySpace block. “It’s pretty much an endless battle,” he said.

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