No way Hearst is going to let its online teen braid be yanked by the likes of Condé Nast's forthcoming flip.com or Atoosa's as-yet-unrealized MySpace empire. The mag-publishing owner of CosmoGirl.com, Seventeen.com, and TeenMag.com — all being revamped for February — has done the corporate equivalent of making sure no other beeyotch gets the same prom dress by purchasing ecrush.com, a social-networking site that lets users find out if he likes them, do a chaperoned flirt, and vote on pressing issues like "best hair." Says Chuck Cordray, Hearst's digital VP, "as social networking and interactivity online become an integral part of teenagers' lives, we want to be everywhere they turn." Which, if we read that right, makes him the world's first corporate-backed stalker.
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