Is MySpace Toast?By: WebProNews Staff - March 19, 2009
If it’s lucky, MySpace is the new Yahoo. If unlucky, and it is unlucky lately, MySpace is AOL. Facebook has supplanted it, and will continue to do so, in much the same way Google ran past Yahoo, and for many of the same reasons.
The suspicion was there from the start of the social networking phenomenon MySpace spearheaded. When it stops being cool, what then? Well, then is now, and MySpace is a strip mall in a sleazy part of town. Traffic is down. Revenues are down. Executives are stepping down.
Back in 2005, when the buzz first came on about MySpace, I took a look and said, simply “meh.” The profiles seemed ugly and pointless. It seemed faddy and a lot of work just for the sake of coolness. In general, the site reminded me of slap bracelets, Beanie Babies, and acid washed jeans mixed with red plastic cups, bathroom walls and booty calls.
And then News Corporation took it over.
But I wasn’t 15, so what did I know? I regarded it like one of those teenage nightclubs creepy old men go to for no good reason at all. I just didn’t have any business there, and that may be just one of the problems leading to MySpace’s eventual peak.
High school student Jacob Ruffman, quoted today by McClatchy, has his own more teenage reasons. “I can go to the Facebook home page and see what’s going on with my friends. Then I flip over to MySpace and I get kicked in the face with colors and flashing penguins.”
Jacob’s at odds with my stepson, who’s 15 now and recently lamented that all his friends, like Jacob, had switched to Facebook. He could really customize his MySpace profile they way he had once customized his abandoned Gaia profile. And his parents and grandparents weren’t on MySpace the way they were on Facebook.
Coincidentally, about the same time he told me that his friends had all switched, a friend my own age had worried he’d not hear important news from home if he wasn’t on Facebook like everybody else. About that time too Facebook had started to overcome MySpace in terms of visitors.
Compete.com shows the shift began late last year. Facebook equaled MySpace around December, and by January had surpassed it, a huge feat considering how MySpace dwarfed Facebook this time last year. Compete says MySpace traffic is down by 5 percent for the year, though it still attracted over 58 million unique US visitors. Facebook on the other hand is up 125 percent for the year, and grabbed over 68 million visitors. On an international level, Comscore says Facebook is outdrawing MySpace by 110 million monthly visitors.
Taking a direct hit from MySpace’s woes is Photobucket, another Fox Interactive (News Corp.) property. MySpace had helped propel Photobucket to holding 45 percent of the online photo sharing market—just half a year ago. In February, Photobucket traffic declined by 24 percent, according to Hitwise, and Flickr is near to supplanting it as well. How quickly things can change.
I guess now, the question is why things turned around completely in just a couple of months. A year ago, Facebook wasn’t anywhere near MySpace, no threat at all. Well, part of it is, I think, MySpace’s time has come and gone. That doesn’t mean it won’t stay a reasonably popular and trafficked site, but, like Yahoo, MySpace will be a distant second at least.
Effectively, MySpace has been googled by Facebook for much of the same reason Google googled Yahoo. Facebook is cleaner, more intuitive, and has better features. Its members are rabid devotees who freak out at the slightest provocations. But they don’t leave. They protest until things change. Facebook has loyalty MySpace never did.
And while Facebook is opening up more and more, and making, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last week, “hundreds” of upgrades over the coming weeks, what has absentee landlord MySpace been launching?
Pretty yawnable, if you ask me.
>>> Is MySpace Toast? … Yes or No?