MySpace Rolls Out New Redesign, Says It's No Longer Competing With Facebook
Taking its cue from Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, MySpace's home page will now feature a steady stream of tidbits about musicians, movies or TV shows that the community is discussing at any given moment. Members will also be able to subscribe to news feeds about their favorite bands and celebrities, and follow other MySpace members with similar tastes (based on the site's recommendations). Of course, members will still be able to customize their profiles with migraine-inducing graphics, but every profile will now have consistently placed navigation buttons, making it easier to jump from one user page to another. Users who spend a lot of time putting together playlists or commenting on TV shows will soon be rewarded for their hard work with these new things called badges. We're told they're irresistible.
So, let's recap. Newsfeeds, followers, badges -- sounds like MySpace is just turning into its competitors, right? Wrong, says Michael Jones, president of the News Corp-owned site. Rather than compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, MySpace is apparently devoting all of its resources to one sphere. "Our focus is social entertainment," Jones tells the New York Times. "Niche players have long staying power." Wedbush Securities analyst Lou Kerner seems to support MySpace's narrower scope, speculating that it may be the only way for the site to avoid direct competition with its more powerful counterparts. "There are other social networking companies that are still doing well, that have found niches," Kerner tells Reuters. "The most obvious is LinkedIn, which continues to grow rapidly."
Others, however, aren't so sure that a sharper focus on entertainment will be enough to salvage the struggling social network. According to estimates from eMarketer, MySpace's ad revenue is expected to drop to $297 million in 2011. In 2009, companies spent a total of $470 million to advertise on the platform. According to comScore, however, MySpace's ads currently reach an estimated 24-percent of online users, so it's not exactly dead, either. But Debra Aho Williamson, a senior analyst at eMarketer, worries that the site's latest redesign may be too little, too late. "They are definitely trying to become more relevant again," Williamson says. "But it going to be hard, because so much time has gone by."