I saw this Fortune article called As Facebook Takes Off, MySpace Strikes Back and I really had to smile. I think it shows a lack of understanding to compare MySpace with Facebook, but before I rant a little bit lets take a look at some of the pluses that MySpace has according to the article:
- 45 billion page views and the most traffic on the internet
- Americans spend 12% of their time there
- Almost half of its members are 35+
- MySpace is a mishmash of modern media - rich with music and video and comedy. It's like a rock & roll club - chaotic, loud, and packed. Many user profiles are florid and flamboyant, with flashing text and music that starts playing as soon as you arrive.
- You can befriend a crab or AT&T
- It's free
Seriously, that's the pluses according to the article and those traffic numbers are formidable but I personally think that's their downfall. There is no common thread between these pages and the best way to describe MySpace is a loose confederation of pages joined together. I mean just compare the two designs for individuals. Facebook has standard layouts that you can add applications to, but at the end of the day, the designs are Facebook's. Meanwhile MySpace while allowing you to make your own personalized page looks like 42nd st of my youth - just a series of blinking lights and porn. You can friend anyone or anything and the ONLY requests I ever get are from scantily clad women with names like Bambi and Candi. I get a few Facebook requests per day and they are all legitimate.
The only part of the article that resonated with me is that MySpace is cashing in on blog bling, but then you have to question how long that will last. I spend 10+ hours per day on the internet and I NEVER RUN ACROSS A SINGLE MYSPACE PAGE. I have plenty of Google Alerts setup and never find anything from those pages. If they are cashing in on blogs then when was the last time you saw a blog post from them? Seriously where are these blog pages?
That's why I believe that MySpace is just a Web 2.0 version of GeoCities. Back in its day, GeoCities was the 5th most trafficked site on the internet. Users had their own pages with plenty of bling and were part of neighborhoods. These pages allowed them to express themselves and of course had music and pictures, but there was no consistency even within a neighborhood. They added advertising, went IPO and then was purchased by Yahoo for $3.5 billion. Now it is the equivalent of an internet junkyard and the last time I ever saw a page I caught a virus because of a behind the scenes drive by download.
I still have no use for MySpace. Not that I'm so mature (which I am definitely not), but the lack of control makes the pages look like 42nd street - just a bunch of blinking lights and porn. The folks at Fox are going to monetize the traffic and in the short term have it churn out money. Music, dating sites, movies, and entertainment will spend money to have their ads show up on those sites, but the end of the day, it will be GeoCities part 2. Mark it down.