Will MySpace Lose Their Space?

MySpace is seemingly Lost In Space. They have been losing users at an alarming rate.
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To MySpace’s credit, they listened and have introduced new user features (Profile 2.0), revised their music section, and launched a “connect” feature. They also ousted their CEO to bring in former Facebook exec, Owen Van Natta.
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Additionally, MySpace is offering a Beta version of ”MySpace Local” which provides some of the functionality of Twitter, like; “Where can I get a great Tuna Sandwich in Kansas City?”

To be honest, other than the music search on MySpace, it’s always been a miss for me.

And the music section, until lately, wasn’t the best: if you sifted through enough dreck, you could find a rare gem. The newly revamped music features on MySpace are far better than what they had, and leagues beyond anything Facebook has to offer.

Yet is it too little, too late? Should MySpace have made these changes mid-year 2008 when they knew Facebook was closing the gap? Facebook overtook MySpace as the largest Social Network in existence this year, and it’s not showing signs of slowing down. (My mother, in her 80s, recently added a Facebook account to keep up with the “grand kids”) So, Facebook’s growth, in addition to the growth rate of Twitter (1300% from 2008 to 2009) leaves MySpace with difficult challenges to overcome.

It’s doubtful in the near term, but it will depend on Van Natta’s leadership, innovation, and speed. MySpace will also need to rollout “MySpace II” carefully, not losing current users while regaining previous members.

The other huge benefit for MySpace: it’s owned by NewsCorp, the same company that owns Fox News, along with the WS Journal and NY Post. With that kind of breaking-news potential backing the site, it’s possible that MySpace may emerge as a pseudo-combination of Digg and Facebook, with an awesome music application, online dating services, and the Twitter-like MySpace Local application.

Another hurdle for MySpace to overcome is the “ghetto” feel when compared to Facebook. Facebook is branded thoroughly on every page of the site whereas MySpace has multiple skins that can be utilized; some from third party vendors that lead to pages not to loading correctly or causing your browser to hang.

Additionally, MySpace is not positioned like Facebook in regard to the “employment” factor. Facebook is setup to “brand” yourself to potential employers…which means that users tend to keep it clean of profanity in the headings, as well as use actual names rather than online IDs.

But, then again, maybe that is part of the MySpace charm. Facebook has experienced their share of problems; they’ve disenchanted some of their members with sweeping changes to their privacy policies (although later rescinded), and have changed the user interface, much to the chagrin of many. In fact, many demand that the “old” Facebook be brought back.

Finally, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg seems to be hold the future of the site solely in his hands, as evidenced by the mysterious departure of Chief Financial Officer, Gideon Yu. CFO Yu’s departure was the latest changing of the senior management ranks at Facebook, “whose employees and investors are anxious about Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s plans for the social-networking site.”

But, Facebook is out in front, leaving MySpace with the challenge of implenting changes quickly; not only to maintain their 130 million current members, but to also reel in former users that broke ranks. According to Nielsen, MySpace and Flixter were the only Social Networking platforms to lose users from 2008 to 2009.

Where is our beloved Xanga?

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4 thoughts on “Will MySpace Lose Their Space?

  1. I think that MySpace is not going to take the lead back from Facebook for one huge reason.  Facebook is geared to all ages, (my youngest friend there is 13, my oldest is 76,) whereas MySpace is clearly geared at the teen and young adult scene.  At the age of 38, I’m considered an oldie on there, although I do know many others my age (and some older) with MySpaces.  I see MySpace as being squarely in the “young and contemporary” camp.  From their music player, to the movie trailers, to the funky skins, they are going to have a difficult time breaking away from that image.One of the (perhaps few) things MySpace has going for it is the allowance for customization. The skins and the ability to change your space’s appearance are a huge appeal.  In fact, Facebook contines to take away more and more ability to customize your profile, a fact that myself and 1.7 other million people (as evidenced by the anti-new facebook groups I belong to,) intensely dislike.I also agree with your verdict on the new MySpace music module.  I finally got around to using it yesterday and was quite impressed.  I think it works better, looks nicer, and has better searching than the old Project Playlist.

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