MySpace and Failure

October 30, 2010

I am not a social type of goose. I think I saw a couple of MySpace pages a year or two ago. My recollection was blinking and noise. I thought MySpace was a goner, smoked by Facebook. I was taken aback by “Opinion: 10 Reasons Why MySpace’s Redesign Won’t Save It.” Lazarus maybe?

I found the observations about MySpace interesting, but to me their value is a checklist for other online information services to consider. Let me comment on three of the points and urge you to visit the original for the other seven reasons.

First, MySpace is hemorrhaging money. This is a very big deal. Online services are expensive to create, market, operate and enhance. The wrecks on the information superhighway are there for many reasons. My probes suggest that money often was a contributing factor. News Corp.’s appetite for spending dough seems to be hearty. How can it continue unless the company strikes a money gusher? Raising prices? Cutting costs? Fancy dancing?

Second, ugly. I am not into user experience. The UX and iPad crowd don’t agree and in my opinion don’t have to. However, if one wants to lure the Project Runway crowd design is essential. MySpace and online vendors have to find a way to control the costs of meeting users’ expectations. Tough. Ugly is commonplace.

Third, buzz. There is a great deal of “buzz” about buzz. The problem is that building a following or fan base is not as quick, easy, or painless as some expect. An online service has to solve a problem and those folks are the ones who become repeat visitors or habitual users. MySpace, I suppose a social network, is not hitting SF Giant type home runs in social marketing. For some online services, social marketing is the primary form of marketing. Failure in this new competency is, therefore, not good.

I recommend the checklist of 10 items. Can you apply the learnings to other online businesses? Take out your blue book and write 500 words. Ooops. The goose is not a teacher.

Stephen E Arnold, October 30, 2010

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