Magazine article Marketing

Myspace

Magazine article Marketing

Myspace

Article excerpt

The social network is showing no signs of arresting its spectacular decline, writes Sarah Shearman.

Myspace's decline in recent years has been well-documented. Founded in 2003, it was one of the original social networks to emerge after the dotcom bubble. The music-focused brand was left behind, however, after the arrival of Facebook and, subsequently, Twitter.

Several revamps and relaunches followed, but Myspace is yet to prove it can be the comeback kid of social networks.

Rupert Murdoch admitted via Twitter last week that his company, News Corporation, had 'screwed up'

in 'every way possible' in its acquisition of Myspace. It paid dollars 580m for the platform in 2005, before selling it on last July for just dollars 35m.

It now has unlikely owners in ad network Specific Media and pop star and actor Justin Timberlake. The latest 'new direction' for Myspace, though, has been kept under wraps.

However, the industry was given a taster of Myspace's future earlier this month - a social TV venture to bring music channels and, eventually, more content to consumers via a connected TV app.

As site visitor numbers continue to plummet, will this sort of innovation be enough to win back its audience or attract a new crowd? Last December, Myspace dropped out of Experian Hitwise's list of the top 10 most- visited social networking sites for the first time.

Meanwhile, annual comScore data released in November revealed a 25% drop in unique visitors to 61m.

Is there still room in the market for Myspace to re-establish itself as a credible social network?

We asked John Allert, group brand director at McLaren, where he has overseen an increase in digital marketing investment, and Sam Kelly, business development director at digital media agency AKQA.

Unique visitors November 2011 (yr/yr)

61m 25%

Source: comScore

DIAGNOSIS - TWO INDUSTRY EXPERTS OFFER ADVICE ON HOW THE SITE CAN make a COMEBACK

JOHN ALLERT - GROUP BRAND DIRECTOR, MCLAREN

I'm not sure that Myspace lost its way; rather, other social networking brands found their way more ably. Online behaviour is fickle and brutally democratic.

Sadly for Myspace (the most-visited site in the US just five years ago), its brand and site premise were not sufficiently unique, protectable or compelling.

It didn't actively get it wrong, but nor did it get it right enough, unlike those around it (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) which did.

The old information superhighway (remember?) is littered with similar roadkill. Unfortunately for Myspace, the principles of Darwinian theory are alive and well in cyberspace, where a weakened brand tends to quickly fall prey to the stronger competitors around it. …

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