‘Bakersfield Californian’ To Sell MySpace-Like Social Software

By: E&P Staff

The Bakersfield Californian on Thursday jumped into the social networking business dominated by MySpace.

The Californian said it will begin marketing the home-made social networking software that runs Bakotopia, Northwestvoice.com and its other niche audience-focused Web sites.

The paper is positioning the software as a newspaper-based platform that will appeal to users of such community sites as MySpace.

Dan Pacheco, the Californian’s senior manager of digital products, said the software, Bakomatic, is available for enterprise licensing through the paper’s subsidiary Partici
pata LLC.

“In the hyper-local market of Bakersfield, we have observed a significant amount of overlap between people who use My Space and those who have user profiles on sites like Bakotopia.com,” Pacheco said. He said other newspaper publishers can attract “the elusive audience familiar” with MySpace, owned by the News Corporation.

“Until now, a publisher’s only choice was to watch (News Corp. chief Rupert) Murdoch take their most strategic young users away. Now they can fight back,” he said in a prepared statement.

Pacheco said the software is an end-to-end platform that lets any newspaper provide social networking, blogging, user publishing and so-called “citizen journalism.” Site managers can decide if they want to review content before publication, or let the community police itself, Pacheco said.

Mary Lou Fulton, the Californian’s vice president of audience development, said the paper decided to license Bakomatic after receiving “numerous” inquiries over the past couple of years.

For now, the Californian said, it is restricting licensing to newspaper companies. Licensing is priced on a sliding scale based on circulation size and number of sites planned, the paper said.

More information can be found on the Participata site.

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