Friday, April 20, 2007

MySpace: About to kick the bucket?

posted by Andy Leff
MySpace's impromptu decision last week to disable Photobucket's capabilities for its users has caused quite a stir in the blogosphere. So I thought it was time to give my two cents on the matter.

Faithful readers know I pull no punches when it comes to MySpace (see evidence here). And this latest move by the social networking giant solidifies my latest theory: This is the beginning of the end for MySpace.

Yes, I know that with 170 million users, MySpace must be doing something right. But therein lies their downfall. The reason MySpace is where it is today is because it gave people what they didn’t have elsewhere -- total control.

If you have an open community where users control their environment, you cannot ban services the community wants to use. In the case of MySpace, the demographic is so fickle that they will leave the site if they can't use their preferred tools to create and update their pages. And the niche social networks that do allow for users to control their environment will clean house.

From a business standpoint, however, I understand MySpace's perspective. They have the right to make changes that affect their bottom line. But remember, their bottom line is directly attached to their fickle user base -- a classic Catch-22. So it'll be interesting to see if users leave MySpace over the Photobucket debacle, and where they make their next online home.

In the meantime, if you are looking to become one of these new niche sites, GogaOM offers some advice on how to avoid MySpace's current scenario.

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