EXCLUSIVE: A reliable source tells me MySpace is shopping around for a provider to either co-develop or simply host MySpace's new email system. It is very much in the early stages involving MySpace soliciting advice, ideas and bids from top firms. The idea is that MySpace will have something that will get users to return to the website regularly. From a historical perspective, the move makes complete sense. In the late 1990's when Yahoo, Excite, Lycos and Altavista were all gunning for the top prize, only one survived because Yahoo had developed a huge free email userbase. Search engine users may be the most fickle of all, but changing email is a pain that most users find simply too much of a hassle, unless faced with tremendous advantages of a service at another free competitor (e.g. Gmail). But even with Gmail, many cling to their Yahoo Mail like a sailboat poll in a seastorm. This should help MySpace solidify its base and let Fox executives sleep a bit better at night. Even the most fickle social networker can find it hard to leave if they have their email on the service. If Yahoo was the sole survivor of the YELA group in a fickle search engine market, will it be MySpace that emerges as the winner in the new one? It seems MySpace will still do whatever it takes be even stickier because even though it is the largest and fastest growing social network, there is one competitor that could pose serious problems.