Posts Tagged ‘myspace’

Myspace Simply Refuses to Disappear

U.S. General Douglas MacArthur famously said “old soldiers never die; they just fade away”.

You could easily say the same about social networks. They never die, they just fade into the digital background.

myspaceCase in point is Myspace, which is emailing users old photos of themselves to convince them to take another look at the network.

It’s a strange marketing campaign given most people have moved on from Myspace.

Despite having new owners and getting an overhaul, Myspace has never been able to regain its social mojo. Once the king of social networks, Myspace has been relegated to the digital basement.

Myspace is a classic example of an online property that, at one time, had product-market fit. In the early days of social media, it was among the most vibrant networks. With the rise of Facebook, however, Myspace lost its early-mover advantage.

So, what happened? Myspace seemed to lose a feel for what its users wanted – and it certainly wasn’t a busy, cluttered, ugly design and interface. Meanwhile, Facebook hooked people on the ability to connect with friends.

Perhaps Myspace’s biggest mistake was not capitalizing on its “killer app”: music. For many users, Myspace was the place to share and consume music. Unfortunately, Myspace was so big and unwieldy that it wasn’t able to evolve to effectively embrace music.

These days, the most intriguing question is why it continues to hang on. Since News Corp. dumped it, Myspace has seen new owners get excited about the idea of bringing it back to life. In theory, it’s an attractive option because Myspace still has users and name recognition.

But Myspace is also an anachronism. Its time in the spotlight has come and gone. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr has others have made Myspace irrelevant and a non-factor.

Maybe it’s time for Myspace to take a final bow, rather than hang on as a shadow of its former self. By disappearing from the scene, there would be more space for new networks to emerge.

The reality is Myspace is unlikely to exit stage left any time soon. With investors still looking for a return, Myspace will desperately look for ways to revive itself, which will include marketing gimmicks such as emailing you old photos.

Music Industry Hits the Right Notes with Social Media

Over the past decade, musicians, bands and the music industry as a whole have seen and seized the opportunity presented by social media. You could argue they have been trailblazers in many ways.

There are a variety of best practice examples from the music industry that are vital to digital marketers. To start, most bands don’t want the hassle of running a full-fledged Website. The daily maintenance and cost really isn’t conducive to the lifestyle.

Social media offers an alternative that is superior in many ways. Real-time communication, cost-effective tactics and an audience already invested in the network.

The music industry is in constant flux and always up against a mountain of odds. In many ways, social media has become its “Moneyball” to level an uneven playing field.

Whether you are The Rolling Stones or a solo act playing coffee shops, social media has the means and tools to help you discover an audience and get your voice heard by hordes of people.

This is an industry that made MySpace its own, and now it has its strategic tentacles in Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. When there is a relevant network, music finds a way to get in on the game.

The best thing to take away is that social media works for those who need it. It’s there for the taking.

For music fans out there, what artists or bands have successfully leveraged social media?

MySpace: Digital Phoenix or Dead-Cat Bounce?

It’s official…MySpace’s comeback is upon us! The once dethroned king of social media is on comeback path, trying to win back our digital hearts.

Does it have legs?

Led by uber jack of all trades, Justin Timberlake, it seems MySpace is not content to take the slow route back to the top. The new (and improved?) MySpaceis being described by insiders as a mix between Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. That’s one tall order.

Geared towards images and music, MySpace hopes to elbow its way back into a crowded field.

MySpace apparently believes a gap exists between Twitter and Facebook, and, as a result, users aren’t receiving a full social media experience. This might be true, but as we’ve learned, you don’t get a piece of the market just by showing up.

So can MySpace reclaim its greatness?

Absolutely.

It proved a successful model in the first place, and the team driving it now is experienced, innovative and bright.

The best reason to believe might be they are at least re-thinking the wheel, and not trying to recreate what ultimately failed the first time around.

As well, it is important to remember that Web and social media users are fickle, which means being a dominant player today is no guarantee that you’ll be the leading player tomorrow.

You really have to give it up to the buzz building team on this one as well. This story has been hovering around for some time, and there’s been no shortage of chatter leading up to the unveiling.

Now is the time for MySpace to put up or shut up, but if they can come out of the gate strong, then it might be one of the best stories in social media yet.

For thoughts on the New MySpace, check out the Guardian’s Hannah Davies, who says she’s willing to give it a shot but there are ground rules. Meanwhile, BetaNews describes the New MySpace as beautiful but wonders whether anyone will use it.

 

Social Media Belongs to Real Artists

Before Ark Music Factory and the Rebecca Blacks turned social media into some kind of perceived artistic wasteland, it was fertile soil to cultivate artists and offer them the unprecedented opportunity to find an audience.

Back when MySpace ruled the roost, a U.K. band called The Arctic Monkeys created an online community and became a sensation. They connected with fans, offered free album downloads, live shows and much more. They used social media to differentiate themselves from the pack.

The Arctic Monkeys were the trailblazers in the digital world, and they are still going strong today. Many other artists are still trying to discover which social network can best replicate what MySpace provided.

Maybe it’ll take Justin Timberlake’s ownership stake in MySpace to recreate its former magic.

By looking at the production quality of the Kony 2012 video, you can see what’s possible. Social media easily trumps reality television when it comes to turning everyday people into celebrities. Of course, the Kony video was not an artistic endeavour, and its legacy has been tarnished.

It would be great if more musicians, writers, actors and comedians followed the Arctic Monkeys model, but I believe social media will lend itself even more to the creative industry going forward. It will always come down to effort, smarts and creativity.

The real point is the social media is capable of high art, and showcasing a high calibre of artist. We get caught up in the “David Goes to the Dentist” style of entertainment, but it is a vehicle for all forms of art and storytelling.

Is MySpace Making a Comeback?

Before we get too wrapped up in a potential comeback by social media’s “grandfather”, MySpace, let me first say the answer to the question posed in the heading is a resounding “No”.

Yes, Justin Timberlake is attracting a lot of press and notoriety to MySpace since he was part of a group that acquired the company last June for $35 million. And yes, MySpace has gained a million users in over a month, while legitimately claiming to have more than 42 million songs in its library.

With these facts and stats, you are probably wondering how anyone can doubt the potential resurgence? But it might be a case of semantics more than anything else.

MySpace is publicly repositioning itself in a very public way as a community of music lovers and sharers, and not the social media behemoth it was five years ago. In the words of LL Cool J, don’t call it comeback.

If MySpace is to really re-enter the digital scene, we should all be all over it, similar to an athlete lacing it up once again. Many people forget Michael Jordan played for the Washington Wizards, but it was still a ton of fun while it was happening.

For MySpace, it seems the money is there, the content is coming and the users are following suit. Something about this seems both very right and a little bit wrong. Right in the sense that MySpace was such a trailblazer, it seems weird that social media has moved on without it. A little bit wrong because its latest incarnation is not what we recognize MySpace to be.

It will be fun and fascinating to watch MySpace’s rebound unfold before us, and here’s hoping they have moved beyond the problems that has plagued it to the point of near extinction the first time around.

The leadership seems to understand the art of reinvention, as oppose to trying to simply strike their luck once again against Facebook. This time, it could be different.

Can MySpace Stop Being a Social Has-Been?

If MySpace hasn’t become irrelevant, there is little doubt the social network has lost its cache as well as millions of users.

MySpace’s status as a social media has-been was front and centre in June when its $35-million sale by News Corp. was big news mostly because one of the buyers was musician and actor Justin Timberlake. It is a long way since MySpace ruled the social media world, which prompted the purchase of its corporate parent, Intermix Media, by News Corp. for $580-million in cash in 2005.

While many people have written off MySpace, it is still has about 70 million unique visitors a month globally, including about 30 million in the U.S. For people still sticking around, MySpace has appeal mostly because of its strong roots as a place to discover music and where musicians to stake a claim within the social media landscape.

The big question is whether MySpace’s new owners can revitalize the social network to not only maintain its user base but, as important, attract new users who have a myriad of social options. While, in theory, hope reigns eternal, momentum is a strange beast. Once things start heading in the wrong direction, it can be hard to reverse the flow.

Nevertheless, MySpace’s new owners are bullish there are better times ahead by giving the social network a much-needed strategic focus. Al Dejewski, MySpace’s senior VP-global marketing told Advertising Age, that music will be the core of new MySpace (aka MySpace 3.0)

“This young adult male needs to be put on a diet, we need to get it on P90X, clean its system and get back to its foundation. And we’ve found that foundation is music. No other music destination online today can claim the breadth of partnership we have with the four major music labels in addition to the tens of millions of independent artists and the libraries of their songs.”

Dejewski’s optimism is admirable but the jury is still out on whether MySpace can pull off a comeback. The social media world is competitive, consumers are notoriously fickle, and the rise of Google+ has provided another viable option for people who want an alternative to Facebook.

For MySpace to revitalize itself, focus will be important but it will also be crucial – and likely an expensive proposition – for it to drive home the message the new MySpace is a different beast that can meet the needs of music lovers better than the competition. Perhaps this is where Timberlake can play a key role in changing MySpace’s brand image.

There is no doubt resuscitating MySpace is going to be a huge challenge, which is one of the reasons why Timberlake and Specific Media were able to acquire the company for a bargain-basement price. If anything, it will be interesting to see whether MySpace can bounce back or continue its downward Friendster-like spiral.

How Social Networks Can Avoid MySpace’s Fate

What happened to MySpace?

How did it go from being the Goliath of social networking to a crumbling entity increasingly being seen as irrelevant by users, companies and advertisers?

A BusinessWeek feature story suggests MySpace’s demise was fuelled by a toxic brew of arrogance, hubris, technology issues, its acquisition by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., and growing competition.

Whatever the reason, MySpace has gone from being top of the social heap to an after-thought. And as BusinessWeek notes, MySpace’s value has crumbled even though the value (private valuations and IPOs) of social media companies is soaring as more people climb on the bandwagon and more advertising dollars flow into the marketplace.

Perhaps the biggest lesson other social networks can learn from MySpace’s demise is that confidence and complacency can be a dangerous combination. It may be difficult to remember but MySpace quickly and easily tossed aside Friendster and Tribe.Net as the leading social network. MySpace’s growth was astounding, which prompted Murdoch to make the $580-million deal in 2005.

Another problem that plagued MySpace was its usability. It went from flashy and compelling to busy and cluttered. Meanwhile, Facebook emerged with a cleaner, more attractive option with user-friendly features. Twitter also captured social media users who wanted a different kind of experience, even it meant one with no-frills.

While it’s difficult to fathom Facebook or Twitter losing their appeal, it is also important to remember that few brands have staying power. At some point, another product or service comes along that is shinier, sexier, more user-friendly or better.

As Facebook continues its ambitious mandate to become all things to all people and make its social graph ubiquitous across the Web, it could develop chinks in the armour that new services could take advantage of by focusing on a particular niche. So far, no one has really emerged as a viable rival but nothing is impossible.

In some respects, Twitter may be more vulnerable because it is a service with few features and a business model that is still in progress. Having 200 million users provides Twitter with clout but it would be interesting to see a new micro-blogging service appear on the scene that offers the same functionality as Twitter but with better features.

This, of course, is just speculation but the point is nothing is immune to competitive threats or a changing landscape. MySpace’s erosion shows that one day you can be king of the world, the next you’re standing outside the castle wondering what happened.

More: AllThingsD is reporting that MySpace could be sold for between $20-million to $30-million. The two names being suggested as buyers include Specific Media and Golden Gate Capital.

Does Facebook Have Staying Power?

Given Facebook has more than 600 million users, the title of this blog post might be puzzling. How can anyone question the future of a service with so many users? In other words, Facebook is too big to fail.

Or is it?

Nothing lasts forever, including popular social media services. It could be argued social media services have a bigger challenge sticking around because social media users are fickle, not terribly loyal, and prone to quickly jump on something newer, sexier and shinier.One minute you have the hottest club in town, the next you’re wondering why the joint is empty.

It is important to remember that MySpace dominated the social networking market not that long ago, while Friendster was the leading player in the early days of social networking.

The uncertain future of Facebook was nicely encapsulated in an opinion piece by Douglas Rushkoff, who suggested that:

“….social media is itself as temporary as any social gathering, nightclub or party. It’s the people that matter, not the venue. So when the trend leaders of one social niche or another decide the place everyone is socializing has lost its luster or, more important, its exclusivity, they move on to the next one, taking their followers with them. (Facebook’s successor will no doubt provide an easy “migration utility” through which you can bring all your so-called friends with you, if you even want to.)

For people willing to consider the idea Facebook is vulnerable to becoming less popular, here’s a theory: the more services that Facebook launches to embrace more people, the bigger threat is creates to driving people away.

This theory works like this: As Facebook drives to add more people, the strategic path being pursued is adding more services such as location-based services (Places), e-mail and social commerce.

The upside is it gives users more options and services. The downside is it makes Facebook more cluttered and less focused on its core mission of being a place that lets people connect with family and friends. In other words, the more Facebook attempts to add more features, the further away it gets from its core raison d’etre.

The danger facing Facebook is it becomes so multi-faceted that people start to have trouble figuring out what do with it. This could create an opportunity for a new social network to create a service that has less frills but drives the core features that users really want. There would be fewer frills but that would be okay.

Admittedly, this theory might sound far-fetched given Facebook added 250 million users in 2010, and could add another 200 million 2011. Does this make Facebook invincible to something new and more interesting? In many ways, it does because size does matter and provides a huge competitive barrier to entry.

On the other hand, the social media landscape has shown itself to be fluid and dynamic. Companies that have dominated niches have seen their fortunes quickly change as new players come on the scene. To dismiss the idea of Facebook facing the same fate may seem like a remote possibility, it’s not impossible.

Is it Time for Social Media Consolidation?

With Facebook raising another $500-million (a move that raises its valuation to a staggering $50-billion), one of the issues raised is the future of MySpace.

Could Facebook’s new financing help MySpace find a potential buyer? Or does it mean Facebook is so strong that MySpace’s already-fading prospects have become even more bleak?

If we run with the second scenario, it thrusts the idea of industry consolidation into the spotlight. After several years of strong growth, healthy competition and lots of start-ups, many social media markets have well-defined leaders with big chunks of the market.

The gap between the leader and second-largest player in many market is fairly wide, and then the gap between everyone has is enormous. This has not stopped start-ups from thinking they can come up with a better mousetrap – just look at the number of social social networks such as Diaspora, as well as the niche social networks that continue to emerge.

While reduced start-up and operating costs have lowered the barrier to entry in many markets, the reality is bubbly (maybe even frothy) investment landscape and the economic realities of relying on advertising are going to come home to roost for start-ups trying to gain footholds in markets where there is a dominant player.

These start-ups may, in fact, create a better mousetrap but unless they are significantly better or really unique, the chances of capturing the spotlight are fairly slim.

As social media matures and evolves, consolidation will become a fact of life. The number of companies that will fade away or merge will start to increase. It doesn’t mean start-ups will disappear (just look at the search engine start-ups that continue to battle Google) but could see fewer players in markets such as social networks.

If Digg Died, Would Anyone Care?

Digg, which was once the toast of the town, is now struggling with sharply lower traffic and a senior management team scrambling to find a way to make the company financially viable. Whereas Digg was once seen as influential, it’s now becoming irrelevant and non-player within the social media landscape.

So here’s the question: If Digg died, would anyone care?

Would Digg be missed, and would people lament its demise? While some people could miss it, the rest of the world would simply shrug it shoulders and move on. Truth be told, Digg had its time in the spotlight but its time has come and gone. The market has evolved, and the appeal Digg once enjoyed a place to discover the news has disappeared, partly because there are lots of alternatives.

Digg’s potential death puts the spotlight on an interesting topic – the rise and fall of popular social media companies. Given the social media marketplace is still pretty young, we haven’t seen many examples of spectacular failures. But, no doubt, they will happen.

The death of these companies may not occur overnight but, perhaps, in stages. Take Friendster, for example, which was Facebook before there was Facebook. Almost overnight, Friendster went from almost being acquired by Google to a service now only popular in Asia.

Another example is MySpace, which was the leading social media network not that long ago before Facebook stole the crown. Over the past couple of years, MySpace has been trying to reverse its staggering decline in popularity, highlighted the huge bet it’s making in the Futura re-design project, which will be released Oct. 15. In the process, MySpace has arguably become irrelevant unless you’re a musician or a band, or someone really interested in music.

Like any marketplace, companies come and companies go. Some are so small that when they disappear, barely anyone notices; other companies are large enough that their disappearance or shrinking profile is major news. While Digg may manage to stick around as a different and/or smaller entity, it is example of how the fickleness of social media users and the evolution of the social media landscape will see the mix of players evolve and change.

Here’s a chart showing the decline in Digg’s traffic over the past year.

More: Mashable’s Ben Parr had a blog post recently on what Digg needs to do to survive.