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Pluck hooking up media outlets with social networks

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Online media syndication company Pluck Corp said on Wednesday it would give traditional media companies the ability to link their Web sites to online social networks like MySpace and Facebook.

A Facebook profile is seen in a handout image. Online media syndication company Pluck Corp said on Wednesday it would give traditional media companies the ability to link their Web sites to online social networks like MySpace and Facebook. REUTERS/Facebook/Handout

The move would allow people to leave comments on news Web sites that then show up on their social network profiles, allowing the traditional media outlets to reach people where they are spending increasing amounts of time on the Internet, said Pluck Chief Executive Dave Panos.

This is important to media companies that are trying to build up their online audiences as they lose readers and advertising revenue for their print editions.

“If I comment on a story about the presidential primary, the story itself is going to be noted on my Facebook profile, and so is the comment I made,” he said.

Companies using Pluck’s technology include USA Today publisher Gannett Co Inc, Discovery Communications, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, Runner’s World publisher Rodale and Better Homes & Gardens publisher Meredith Corp.

“People are interested in sharing experiences around news,” said Jim Brady, executive editor of The Washington Post Co’s Web site, washingtonpost.com, which also is participating.

Brady said that could build up more loyal readers for the Web site while exposing the Post’s news to many of Facebook’s 55 million users worldwide. MySpace, owned by News Corp, has about 110 million users worldwide.

“We’re not trying to be Facebook or MySpace,” he said. “By giving ourselves a hook into the bigger social networks, it allows us to get more pollination.”

The move allows traditional media companies to associate themselves with popular social networks whose members -- typically younger than the average newspaper reader -- are considered the most valuable to advertisers on- and offline.

“If you’re a media company, you’re now attracting more users to your site,” Panos said. “For them, I think it’s about reaching a broader audience, and maybe a younger demographic.”

Reuters Group which made a $7 million investment in Pluck last year and has an undisclosed ownership stake, also is a participant.

Media companies will be able to link up with Facebook starting in the first quarter of 2008, Pluck said. Networks that are part of Google Inc’s OpenSocial technology for independent software developers -- which includes MySpace as a member -- will be able to use Pluck’s technology by mid-2008.

Editing by Carol Bishopric

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