Monday, October 1, 2012

The New MySpace

I’m sure you saw the news last week about the big revamp coming for MySpace, along with the video that showcases all its new features. It does look like a robust, visually pleasing site is on the way. But the public already rejected MySpace once. So do you think they'll come back? Do people have time for another social media site, particularly one with all the features this one seems to have coming? How much does it help to have a celebrity spokesman (and stakeholder) in Justin Timberlake? And finally, should brands be anxious to get involved on the new MySpace? Which brands would benefit most from the music culture focus of the site?

1. The challenge is enormous, but there’s always room in the digital marketplace. For example, Facebook had the status update, but then Twitter came along and did it better—to the tune of 140 million users. Twitter had Twitpic, but then Instagram came in and did it better—to the tune of 80 million users. The beauty of the web is that it dramatically lowers the traditional barriers to entry, so a brilliant service can penetrate an already saturated market.

The old MySpace focused on monetization at the expense of growth—the exact opposite of Facebook’s strategy. If the new MySpace can reverse this, if it can recapture the spirit of a startup, it can rebound.

2. Just as Arianna Huffington persuaded her friends to blog for the Huffington Post, so too will Justin Timberlake leverage his offline social network to boost MySpace. Indeed, so central are celebrities to Twitter’s future that the company is interviewing Hollywood bigwigs for a seat on its board of directors. If MySpace can brand itself as the place where celebrities go for music, then the public will follow.

3. At this point, MySpace needs brands more than brands need MySpace. As such, brands curious about this rejuvenated site might explore the possibility of perks—say, a free ad budget, promotion among the site’s “featured” accounts, or access to an account rep. Make your early-adopter status mutually advantageous.

Addendum: Success!

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