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MySpace rolls up the white flag

September 4, 2010

Launched in 2003 (as a copy to Friendster), MySpace was once the darling of social networks.

According to the MySpace book (which I read parts of), it was launched to be an online version of a nightclub, with lots of flashy lights, sounds, bands and models. The first time I went there, I was struck by how 1997 it felt. To me, MySpace felt needy, like a banner ad from the late 90’s. It was too flashy, too crazy sounding, and I was slightly disturbed by Tom. That said, we used MySpace profiles for some campaigns to mild success.

I’ve often argued that in the web 2.0 world, small businesses don’t need websites. Bands really took to MySpace as a way of creating a free presence to share concert dates, new music, and interact with fans.

As the people with profiles grew, so did the perceived worth of MySpace. In July 2005, News Corporation bought MySpace for US$580 million. One can argue that this news gave instant credibility to the whole notion of social networking. If News Corp thought MySpace was worth that much, then maybe there was something to this whole social networking thing.

According to comScore, MySpace was overtaken internationally by its main competitor, Facebook, in April 2008, based on monthly unique visitors.

And now, in blissful full on white flag raising, MySpace has decided to sync with Facebook.

Remember how MySpace wanted to be a place for bands? This is their sign up page:

If you are a band, MySpace is your home.

So bands came and built up some nice communities of fans. The only problem? People stopped going to MySpace. So bands were looking to get their content to Facebook without having to rebuild it all from scratch. MySpace explains:

“This is particularly exciting for the millions of musicians on MySpace who can now use this tool as a complement to their MySpace Music presence and share their vast library of content, including full album catalogs, to people who’ve liked their Facebook page,”

This is from CNET.

That, my friends, is called waving a white flag and trying to spin it as a good thing.  MySpace has basically thrown in the towel and opted for being another community inside of Facebook.

One of the most interesting things that came out at time when people could choose MySpace or Facebook were the theories put out there by Dana Boyd. I’m simplifying her research, but her basic conclusion was that people in high school who were going to college were more likely to be on Facebook. People who weren’t, were more likely on MySpace.

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