Services & Software

MySpace Mobile Web beta now free, but with a catch

The WAP version of MySpace Mobile Web is currently in beta, and ads are coming soon. CNET editor Jessica Dolcourt checks it out on her phone.

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MySpace Mobile Web on Helio
MySpace Mobile Web gets better graphic treatment as part of a subscription download.

MySpace users can now e-mail, add friends, and edit profile information for free from their mobile phone.

MySpace Mobile Web beta became available this week, featuring a WAP browsing experience that's lighter, sparser, and more cost-effective than the downloadable version users purchase from their phone carriers for about $3 per month.

The free WAP version has a much more austere interface, which helps support compatibility across carriers and manufactures. I was able to check and write e-mail, search for contacts, edit my profile, and update my blog quickly and without incident on a Verizon LG flip phone.

MySpace Mobile Web beta certainly lacks the refinery of the commercial version. It also skimps on letting users upload photos from the phone into a MySpace profile, the most significant omission.

Sample banner ad that will soon grace MySpace's mobile WAP interface.

However, the free version will have one thing the subscription version won't--ads. (Now you didn't really expect MySpace to miss out on a revenue opportunity, did you?)

Banner ads will dress the top or bottom (or both!) of nearly every page, says Dan Berger, Director of Communications for Fox Interactive, MySpace's parent company.

Berger kindly provided us with a preview of what those ads might looks like (see image), but revealed that the reason I hadn't seen any messaging during my testing is because they're not ready for prime time. Apparently, MySpace's Mobile Web is in such early stages of its beta release that ads aren't expected to appear for another two or three weeks.

Better hurry up and enjoy it while you can.