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Advertising Age reports that Wal-Mart is trying to launch its own version of, the social networking website that is all the rage among teenagers but that has raised serious questions about security and persona safety among parents and child safety experts.

“It's a quasi-social-networking site for teens designed to allow them to ‘express their individuality,’ yet it screens all content, tells parents their kids have joined and forbids users to e-mail one another,” Ad Age writes. “Oh, and it calls users ‘hubsters’ -- a twist on hipsters that proves just how painfully uncool it is to try to be cool.

“Desperate to appeal to teens with something other than pencils and backpacks during the crucial back-to-school season, Wal-Mart is launching a highly sanitized, controlled and rather unhip site at Teens are invited to create their own page, ‘show it to the world and win some fab prizes,’ including a chance to have their videos appear in a Wal-Mart TV commercial.”

The goal, according to experts interviewed by Ad Age, is to better position Wal-Mart against Target – though this is easier said than done because Wal-Mart is imposing strict controls on site content. While this might appeal to parents, it tends to limit the appeal to the very students that the retailers is trying to attract.

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