They would be clinking champagne glasses for many years to come at their HQ in Santa Monica, because it wasn’t until 2008 that MySpace was eventually pipped by Facebook.
At their peak they were bought by News Corp for $580m. Then disaster struck. Facebook grew and grew and grew. 6 years later Myspace sold for just $35 million to ‘Specific Media Group’ and… wait for it, Justin Timberlake.
Long story short, nothing is certain in this Social Media space. You can be a hero one day (with your own Nasdaq hoody and a company worth billions ‘on paper’)… and a relative nobody the next.
I’ve said before that I think Facebook is a vastly overrated platform with a surprisingly weak business model attached to it (weak when you consider their enormous, world conquering user base). And MySpace are by no means dead and buried…
I was very interested when a friend of mine Sara Baugh editor of the Internet Income Detective (an excellent eletter which you can see here) told me that Myspace have been working on a complete revamp and relaunch.
I think this has the potential to be a bit of a game changer. You can see a preview of what it’ll look like here:
It looks like a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube hybrid wrapped up in an appealing magazine style format. It’s also well geared towards mobile devices and tablets which taps into a growing trend of mobile users. What’s really clever is that they’ll even enable users to log in using their Twitter or Facebook account.
One of the big selling points of MySpace was that it was both a place for social networking and for bands to show case their music. People could go on their and connect with their favourite groups and discover new music.
The problem is the bands got a bit wild and unruly and you’d often have to spend ages sifting through your inbox deleting messages from random musicians you’d never heard of asking you to buy their album or check out their page.
Then when they signed major advertising deals (including a $900 million contract with Google) the site become sluggish and unwieldy and navigating the site was a bit like jabbing your thumb into the remote control and only ever finding the shopping channel.
Facebook came along at just the right time with something that was excitingly exclusive (originally it was only available to college kids) and simple. There were no frills, big ads or unnecessary junk. It was fast and easy to use.
But I’d argue that Facebook’s, stripped down, clean cut interface could also potentially be its downfall…
How many people actually click on those tiny ads that appear on Facebook? Yes it makes them money (just over $3 billion last year) but when you consider that Facebook has around 955 million users and that these users are spending nearly 7 hours every month on the site, on average, that’s not a great return.
Let’s say over the course of a year each user spends around 84 hours on the site that nets down to the equivalent of about £1.94 per user.
Imagine that in any other scenario? For example imagine you ran a local café and you discovered that on average your customers were spending less than £2 every 84 hours, not a great return and this is where I think Myspace could fill a gap in the market. Even if they aren’t able to topple Facebook on numbers I think there’s one area where they could really dominate…
Myspace was traditionally a place where bands and musicians posted new music and it was a great place to hear new tracks and click through to albums and singles. If Myspace can find a way to make the transition from listening to music to buying it online a seamless one, then I think they might have something really quite powerful on their hands.
This is certainly be a development I’ll be paying close attention to…