Myspace is probably the last social network anyone thinks of today, and that’s no big surprise since it is virtually dead. According to Sean Williams, these three things were what killed Myspace
1)Former owner News Corp did not understand Myspace’s user base: Rupert Murdoch and company may know a lot about running a newspaper or catering to a TV audience, but they sure didn’t know what to do with a social media site. It seems they were more concerned with revenue than listening to what users had to say. By the time they made an upgrade, it was too late.
2) Users had too much control: Unlike Facebook with its single platform/single page design model, Myspace gave its users access to extreme customization, which meant that each users’ page had a different design. This made the site hard to navigate and people lost interest. Giving users a few personalization options is ok, but giving them full control is going too far. When Myspace lost their cohesive image they also lost their cohesive identity.
3) Little or no barrier to entry: Myspace was quickly topped by other social media websites that arose. Part of the problem is that all it takes to own a social media website is starting capital. As the amount of social media sites exploded, Myspace became just another face in the crowd.
As of the past week, Andrew Khouri reports that Myspace has been sold to Specific Media’s Tim and Chris Vanderhook
. Internet banner selling sensations looking to grow their business into a digital media company producing web content and selling services to consumers, not just ads for businesses. Their goal is to revamp Myspace and turn it into a place to interact with celebrities and artists and view content produced exclusively for Myspace. Details are vague for now, with more information to come during a news conference later this summer. Although details are slim, one can speculate as to what it may resemble and look like. I see the new Myspace as one that is going back to its roots in a sense. Part of what drew a lot of traffic to Myspace was that it was a place for upcoming artists. I envision behind the scenes content, exclusive listening parties and perhaps exclusive recording sessions. Maybe even a release party. There are all kinds of ways they can capitalize on this type of model. Perhaps they will turn it into what Ping was never able to become. Ping was iTunes attempt at building a music-centered social media site within its own program. Its goal being that artists would join, fans would follow, and friends would buy music based on friend recommendations. Well, Ping didn’t have any zing and so it died.
Adam C. Engst discussed updates to iTunes back in September that aimed at making Ping more user-friendly while fixing bugs
. However, a more recent article on July 14th about Apple’s iCloud talks about how Apple never understood how people interact on the web
. Sounds familiar, kind of like News Corp. It goes on to state that after a lot of initial sign ups all Ping does is show what songs friends purchase, which is not exciting or interactive at all. So much for that idea. Whatever happens with Myspace, it can’t be as bad as Ping. The question is will it be something new and unique? Will it stand out? Will it be competitive with Google+, Twitter, and Facebook? Nobody has ever been able to resuscitate a dead website, but that is exactly what Specific Media’s Tim and Chris Vanderhook have set out to do. They even enlisted Justin Timberlake’s help. While I’m not sure if these efforts will be enough to save Myspace, there is definitely space for sites like this. Even the Vanderhook brothers see that digital networks are the next big thing. Hulu and YouTube’s increasing popularity are proof of this. Ultimately, there is space, but only time will tell if Myspace will be one of the sites to fill that space.