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Nearly $2 Billion Projected For Social Networking Ads By 2010

U.S. companies are expected to spend an estimated $1.8 billion at and competing social networking sites by 2010, up from $280 million this year, research firm eMarketer said Tuesday.

Companies with businesses built on creating buzz need to tap into social networking destinations such as MySpace to effectively market their wares, said eMarketer senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

"There are banner ads and profile pages that marketers set up on MySpace," Williamson said. "We project MySpace's ad revenue will hit $180 million this year. They will take the biggest chunk of ad revenue of all the social networking sites." Still, social network ad spending will account for only 1.7 percent of the $16.7 billion spent on U.S. online advertising in 2006, rising to 6.3 percent in 2010, Williamson said.

Williamson calls the strategy of targeting social networks for ad spending "experimental," but Hollywood studios are in the forefront when it comes to connecting with movie fans through social network sites. Warner Independent Pictures launched in April a site on to promote the movie "A Scanner Darkly" in an effort to connect with moviegoers.

When Sony Pictures Entertainment recently released the movie "Monster House," the studio posted character profiles on to attract consumers of all ages to a movie they otherwise might not have seen.

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