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MySpace: the Web 2.0 Victim of Innovators Dilemma.

Image representing MySpace as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

There’s been a lot of talk about the massive layoffs and restructuring happening at MySpace. While among social media elites MySpace has become a bit of a joke I wanted to take a minute to reflect back on an old friend.

I’ve never been all that impressed with Facebook. MySpace taught me about the power of social networks.MySpace taught me about the power of combining online and offline marketing. MySpace gave me outages, vanity URL’s and most of the functionality we enjoy today, long before Twitter and Facebook. But as the Web shifted to real time MySpace wasn’t ready to respond.

To understand where MySpace is and why you need to understand what got them here. Because I’m the dork that I am I have been on MySpace for about 7 years. Back when Tom only had a few thousand friends back when they were the 2nd largest social network behind Friendster.

Ironically the reason Friendster lost the #1 spot was customer backlash over “fake” accounts. Bands or groups that set up accounts were deleted by Friendster for TOS violations. MySpace said, we don’t care what you do with an account just set one up.  What resulted was thousands of local bands on stage telling all their fans to check out their MySpace page. This was the best free, viral WOM.

I even used MySpace as the primary website for the skate shop I owned in Vegas. All the kids I wanted to reach were already there. It was free and provided better functionality than any website I could have built. In one regards MySpace became a social version of GeoCities. As a small local business it became my #1 marketing asset. It drove tons of traffic to events (we used to do snowboarding and wakeboarding competitions in our parking lot).

The MySpace team was smart and started doing local MySpace party’s in various major markets. MySpace members even started holding their own MySpace parties. (Can anyone say twetup?)

This resulted in yet to be seen astronomical growth. The technology was not cutting edge. Basic php Web design. This lead to constant outages (ala Twitter) constantly re-architecting and rebuilding but through it all the fans stayed with it. Twitter didn’t exist and Facebook was still closed to anyone without a college email address.

So what drove MySpace’s success were:

  • Customizable Site with vanity URL’s
  • Customized free social Web pages
  • Bands (and then entertainment as a whole)

What are the biggest complaints about MySpace

  • Fake accounts (aka spam)
  • Ugly ass designs
  • Too many ads.

The music piece has never been fully realized. MySpace was in a position to make having a music label completely irrelevant. They had the potential to create broad discovery and distribution at almost zero cost. Thus disrupting one of the largest financial pillars of their parent company. The one area they could have executed on was stunted by the company that owned them (kind of makes you wonder the real intentions behind the acquisition).

But at the end of it all MySpace suffered from a classic case of Innovators Dilemma. What made them a huge success is exactly what left them open to attack. But even after all of this if you really want to know what’s wrong with MySpace just look at the bellow screen shots. This is what I see when I log in to my accounts.

New Comm Biz » Twitter Craze Feels Like MySpace Back in the Day

New Comm Biz » Facebook Reality Check

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/facebook-is-the-mashup-of-my-life-2/ Facebook is the Mashup of My Life

    [...] MySpace: the Web 2.0 Victim of Innovators Dilemma. (newcommbiz.com) [...]

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