MySpace Tries To Make A Comeback, Gets Redesigned
It’s clear that Facebook is the most popular social network in the world and we can’t underestimate Twitter either. But what about MySpace? It used to be the place to be. Everyone wanted some “space” on MySpace. Perhaps some people decided Facebook was more stylish, simple and mature. In the meantime, MySpace has been on a constant decrease in terms of interest, number of users, activities and obviously revenue as well. According to BusinessWeek the site’s visitors have gone down by 20 percent in the last two years and it’s not recording a lot of profit nowadays.
Furthermore, it’s value is now just over half of the $580 million that News Corp. payed to acquire MySpace in 2005. That definitely doesn’t sound promising and MySpace has to come up with some pretty major changes assuming it still wants to remain an important player in the social networking battles. That’s exactly the approach the company seemed to take. Yesterday it unveiled what it’s been working on for a while. The site has undergone a significant face lift, or as Jon Miller, the chief digital officer of News Corp. likes to say, a “dramatic remake”. The problem with MySpace was that it was full of ads, oversized photos, and videos all over the place. People would frequently get lost through the abundance of meaningless content and became unable to find what they were actually looking for. That’s probably why I though “ok, let’s move along” the first time I interacted with the site. I never came back to see if something changed either.
Keeping up with multiple other sites, web browsers and apps, MySpace is not ruling in favor of the “less is more” theory and slimming down. That’s the kind of design young adults (for a lack of better description) are looking for. Most of those users have already made the transition to Facebook and Myspace is now attempting to win some of them back. During September, for example, Facebook managed to attract 148 million visitors while MySpace only scored 58 million. Of course, MySpace also had a couple of flops until it came up with this relatively good looking new layout. For starters, the company has showcased a very awkward proposition for a new logo, showing us all that sometimes even the most qualified people can get the “less is more” theory completely wrong. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, go here. The idea behind it had some potential as it would allow users to make up their own MySpace logo or in other words “customize their space”. But MySpace would easily turn into MyIcecream, MyHorse or multiple other things in this scenario.
Leaving the joking aside for the moment, MySpace and Yahoo do have something in common. They’re starting to not be profitable. In the case of the social networking site, if this new redesign doesn’t succeed it could mean that News Corp. finally decides to ditch it and sell it to someone else who can worry about making it popular.
According to Dana Settle, a partner with a venture capital firm Greycroft Partners, most people are very skeptical regarding the success of MySpace. “It’s a pretty Herculean task for any sort of entrenched company to really restart itself,” she added. As for MySpace’s chief exec officer Mike Jones, he believes that all the feedback the site has been receiving is great. But if you’re expecting to see something exactly like Facebook, don’t get your hopes up. Jones has also made it perfectly clear that MySpace is offering social entertainment and not a social network. The focus is meant to stay on entertainment content rather than friends and while the new look of the site is sleeker it can’t be classified as “quieter” necessarily. While some will like the changes enough to stay and the revamp might convince more people to sign up for an account, it could also result in MySpace losing some of its existent users who liked the site just the way it was.
If you’re interested in finding out what type of person MySpace is now aiming with the new design, apparently it’s everyone between the ages of 13 and 35. Those are exactly the category of web users that advertising companies are interested in. More such people visiting the site often, more chances that advertisers will invest more on having ads displayed there. While most of us greatly enjoy all of the benefits social networks offer, let’s not forget that deep down they remain a business and it’s a pretty hard task to balance things so that you can please both advertisers and members.
The changes to MySpace don’t end here though. This summer the site also added access to other social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Users could basically sync their account on MySpace with accounts on the other services. If people received comments on Facebook and Twitter, they’d show up on their MySpace page as well.
So does all this mean MySpace has a better chance of succeeding? It’s possible but not a sure thing. What really makes a website succeed is that feeling of “this is the cool place to be right now”. Unless the team working on the social network manages to inspire such a feeling in existing and potential users, it has a bigger chance of recording a decrease in user base rather than growth. What do you think about the changes that took place on MySpace? Do you like it more now or did you like it more before the changes occurred?11