It seems like forever ago when I last wrote about MySpace on .eduGuru. Actually it was over a year and a half ago when I was exploring Social Media Sites for Higher Education Marketing, but one quote still stands out as an accurate way to describe MySpace.
”MySpace is like the wild wild west or Las Vegas of social media, dirty and ghetto”
Yup, that quote pretty much summed up MySpace a year and a half ago and now it’s even worse. It’s like an abandoned Detroit neighborhood. If you look at the below graph (click to view full size or follow the complete link to the left) from website analytics company Compete you will see how unique visitors to MySpace have pretty much flat lined over the last year while Facebook has jumped right over it. However, look how Facebook has flat lined the last few months… this might be another trend to watch if Facebook has finally hit its saturation point. At least Facebook got profitable first.
So What Did We Learn?
MySpace had sexual predator problems and then came the swarms of spammers, viruses and even porn. When News Corp bought MySpace for $560 million dollars back in 2005 many people thought the price was way too low. Although MySpace was profitable for quite some time you always felt like that was because they pushed advertising too strongly and the whole site was just a bunch of unorganized advertisements. Quite frankly I remember when I first created a MySpace profile probably back in 2006. I thought the site felt like a badly designed site brought back from the 90’s.
For a while it was a lot of fun, but there is only so much fun we can have reconnecting with old friends before we realize why we lost touch with them in the first place. People have short attention spans…
I think the takeaways were many but here are a few I would note:
- Technology changes at lightning speeds (aka things get old and unsexy) – We are talking about years, not decades, between the rise and collapse of this website.
- Keep It Simple – Remember the KISS rule I wrote about a while back? Quite frankly it wasn’t very easy to do a lot of things in MySpace if my memory serves me correctly. Yes, many of those things might be easier now, but the only saving grace I had was the fact I understood HTML and enough CSS to be dangerous.
- Everyone isn’t a designer – The fact that MySpace gave people so much control over the look and feel of their profile turned out to be a very dangerous thing.
- Advertising can’t be your only revenue stream (unless your Google) – MySpace sucked in the ad dollars and for quite some time was the much more successful bigger brother of Facebook. Although it took Facebook forever to begin to break into the green, they appear to be building a sustainable revenue module, and instead of forcing as many ads as possible, they are doing it in intuitive and quasi interesting ways.
- Third party developers help – You probably know third party programs in Facebook as Applications, and anyone who has ever used Twitter can probably name a dozen third party applications for it. If you let your rabid fans build upon your produc, there will be new ideas and features that you never thought about come out!
Is Facebook Also Doomed?,
Eventually we have to assume that Facebook will hit that saturation point…the day my mom gets a Facebook account I will know it has gotten to that point (my mom refuses to learn to text message so we might be safe here… love you Mom!). Rachel just wrote a post last week about how she had a crisis with her institute’s Facebook page. This will be interesting to watch going forward, especially since as I noted above they appear to be beginning to flat line on monthly unique visitor traffic.
So MySpace is the new Yahoo… it’s the new AOL. That’s good, but that’s not great. It basically means they win the silver for second place to hold on and slowly become less and less relevant over time. Its golden age has come and gone, and although like those other entities I’ve just listed it will probably remain around for a while, it will never be the same beast that claimed over 75% of the market. Take away the lessons learned and apply them for the better.
What other lessons did you learn from MySpace’s slow decline? Leave a comment and share!