Today Myspace and Facebook announced a new service called “Myspace Mashup with Facebook”. This new service is the next evolution of Myspace’s push to become a social entertainment site. Myspace Mashup will take users’ preferences from Facebook to populate a Myspace profile that recommends different entertainment content based on these preferences.

Myspace Mashup

Myspace's new feature "Myspace Mashup with Facebook" allows users to connect to Facebook to input their preferences into a new Myspace profile.

The preferences pulled from Facebook will allow Myspace to build a custom page with the user’s favorite music, TV shows, movies and celebrities. Myspace will also suggest new content based on their preferences, like concerts to attend or videos to watch. Today’s announcement isn’t the first time that Myspace and Facebook have joined forces. In July Myspace added a sharing feature which allowed users to send their photos and updates to Facebook and Twitter.

Although this entertainment content will not flow back to Facebook, Myspace has said that eventually they will place “like” buttons throughout their site for the content to be shared on Facebook and other websites.

Myspace Logo

Myspace's new logo "My_____".

While it looks like Myspace is hoping this could help revitalize their website, the only person it really seems to benefit is Facebook. Since when does it make logical business sense to send your content to your competitor? With Myspace’s addition in July and this move, the site is undermining its own relevance. It’s like admitting that posting photos and status updates about your newest interests on Myspace alone isn’t enough!

Myspace homepage

The new Myspace landing page.

The Mashup isn’t the only recent revamp attempted by Myspace that could end up hurting it in the end. The first is its logo change, which seems like a rip on one too many commercial campaigns which allow users to fill in the blanks with their own ideas. Along with the logo change, Myspace also changed its user interface. When users log in to the homepage they can see the most popular videos, tv shows, comedies, and a scroll of user updates similar to Twitter’s trending topics. Sounds good right? Except the homepage is so busy your eyes won’t know what to focus on first. Instead of making users interested in what cool content they have available, it makes me want to log off.

The biggest change made to Myspace in an attempt to stay alive is the shift to being a primarily entertainment site with social networking tools. Myspace’s President, Mike Jones, told the NY Times that “Our focus is social entertainment”. Jones saw the shift in the company as a return to what users really wanted, saying that members “were primarily using the site to listen to music and share opinions and information about that music, as well as about movies and television shows”. Has Jones ever used Myspace? For many of my friends and colleagues, Myspace is known for its promiscuous teens and scum-bag men looking for dates. Last year, Myspace removed over 90,000 sex offenders from its site. When we think of Myspace, it sure isn’t for its entertainment content. Most users wouldn’t believe that they could discover the next big artist or internet sensation from recommendations of Myspace’s perceived user base of teenage sluts and pedophiles. If Jones is concentrating more on entertainment than social networking, the news has yet to change anyone’s opinion.

Besides having a more immoral reputation, Myspace is also facing tough competition from other popular social networking sites. In May 2010, ComScore revealed that Myspace only registered 3.3 million users, compared to 6.5 million the year before. That is almost a 50% decline in internet traffic! Myspace is losing users fast, which makes it vulnerable to competition (competition other than Facebook as well). One of its biggest competitors is Ping, Apple’s foray into the social media world. Ping allows users to discuss and recommend music over their iTunes. Ping, like Myspace Music, also features artists from every genre and allows users to search via music type. What is great about Ping is that it allows upkeep of user profiles with very little energy from users since they can update from iTunes. Ping reached over 1 million users in 2 days, and despite some criticism, I think given time it will thrive. Let’s be honest, Apple also usually does little wrong when it comes to its products, which should have Myspace shaking in its britches. I also see many similarities between the new Myspace and Tumblr. Tumblr users can share videos, songs, pictures, and more. It’s entertainment content with a rather adult flavor to it. What’s great about Tumblr is it also allows for huge amounts of self-expression. Even internet users who are usually considered on the fringe because they do not like to practice social media are enticed because Tumblr allows the users to chose their own level of anonymity while still having an ability to get their profile noticed. Tumblr’s popularity has grown immensely since its inception, with over 6 million members as of July 2010. While Tumblr and Ping are both major competition, social bookmarking sites are as well. In May 2010, Stumbleupon crossed the 10 million user mark. If Myspace continues to veer away from the social networking activities on its site, it is Stumbleupon that may prove its biggest competition. Stumbleupon allows users to create profiles based on their interests and hobbies, and then suggests websites, photos, and videos to the user. Each time the user “stumbles” they can then choose to like or dislike the content, creating a more detailed, user-specific profile. Content that is “liked” by numerous people is then featured in the favorites section on the Stumbleupon website. Stumbleupon also allows users to send content they enjoy to Facebook and Twitter. Stumbleupon already has three times the number of users, and its popularity is growing. Unlike Myspace, which features entertainment content on its own interface, Stumbleupon features entertainment content as a form of web surfing which creates a more unique experience for users. Stumbleupon users can browse thousands of sites (rather than just one like Myspace) and yet still have Stumbleupon tools at their fingertips.

It is clear that Myspace has lost its niche, and may no longer have one. The site is struggling to survive, like many of the social networking sites that appeared around the same time. Perhaps it is simply that time has erased its popularity, but it is more likely that Myspace’s constant change in corporate leadership and service philosophy has caused what was once appealing about the site to erode and become obsolete.

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