Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hey our customers are enjoying themselves, let's monetize that!

From Sunday's issue of The Observer, concerning Rupert Murdoch's future plans for MySpace:
On Tuesday his lieutenant, Peter Chernin, began to make threatening noises about the way Myspace users are allowed to import feeds from other sites, such as YouTube and Flickr, thereby driving web traffic their way. 'Almost all of them are really driven off the back of Myspace,' he said. 'There's no reason why we can't build a parallel business. Given that most of their traffic comes from us, if we build adequate, if not superior, competitors, I think we ought to be able to match them, if not exceed them.'

If you wanted a statement encapsulating why Big Media still doesn't understand the internet, you couldn't do better than that. The lesson of Web 2.0 is that the whole (of a number of independent, autonomous services) winds up being greater than the sum of its parts. If Murdoch fails to get this, Myspace will wither before his eyes.

2 schools of thought here:

1 - Companies such as YouTube and Flickr need to be paying MySpace for the 'free exposure' that they are getting on the social-networking site, and for all the traffic that MySpace is sending their way. If they won't, MySpace needs to ban their feeds and create their own version of the services.

2 - By allowing users to add YouTube and Flickr feeds to their MySpace pages, you are creating a more enjoyable experience for them on MySpace, which means they will be more likely to stay longer, and to tell others to check out the site.

Again, do you put the wants and needs of the customer first, or your own? Will you make more money by attempting to control your customers, or by attempting to empower them to create and enjoy their own experience?

Pic via Flickr user Grace :)


Toby said...

Matt - For the 'smash-up' viral video campaign that I'm involved with for GourmetStation we are using MySpace as a launch and tease site and housing the contest videos on YouTube. We have reciprocal links on all of the sites: MySpace, YouTube and GourmetStation. For anyone interested - www.myspace.com/getoutofthedoghouse

Murdock's thinking seems to be so 1999 when newspaper sites were taking people to court for deep linking to articles because they (the newspapers) wanted visitors to come in the front door (home page). But then again .. he's the zillionaire I'm just a wee social media diva -wink-

Mack Collier said...

Who's Matt? Don't you mean MaRk? ;)

Paul McEnany said...

It's big company, me me mentality, and it will ruin MySpace. How can they possibly think they can continue this growth without doing their best to keep their fans happy?

Did they see what happened to Friendster?

Clearly, they have an advantage, especially with people like myself, who have been on it for a couple years, and have friends who are on it. That relationship is easier for them to control because it's more difficult for me to leave.

But now, 14, 15, 16 year-old kids are just getting into the social media landscape. They can choose where to go, and if they're treated like shit, why wouldn't they gravitate towards another resource? Why would they want to be on the same site their parents are probably on, anyway?

If MySpace thinks they own the game, they're up for a very rude awakening, and I imagine it's coming soon. Especially if their number one concern is stealing back page views rather than fixing their servers.

Paul McEnany said...

And that's badass. Never seen you called Matt before. It's more of a phonetic misspelling.

Mario Sundar said...

Hey guys,

I'd go with the "let the users decide" policy. It's sad that all companies wish to monetize every instance of customer loyalty and doing so harm the trust their audience has in them.

Actually, the single largest reason MySpace is popular is because of its ability to customize, and by forcing users to try their own applications I think they'll be hurting themselves.


Jordan said...

I'm with Mario here.

I think we're witnessing the beginning of the inevitable decline of MySpace, right now.

I encourage them to build whatever hosting services and interactive tools that they want, to compete with YouTube and Flickr. But try to tell me that I can't have my Youtube videos or Filmloop or Flickr shots on my MySpace page, and you'll certainly lose me as a user.

Oh well, I never click any of those stupid banners anyway.

Ann Handley said...

Paul said: "Why would they want to be on the same site their parents are probably on, anyway?"

My high-school-age son came home yesterday and announced that MySpace is OVER...apparently his TEACHERS are on it! First parents...now teachers. MySpace is so mid-2006! LOL....

Futurelab said...

Ehrm...excuse me guys, aren't we getting carried away a bit here?

Looking at the actual quote by the guy, I dont see anything that reeks of wrongdoing or not getting it. What he says is: 'clearly our users like these kind of services. If we build and offer these services even better, we might make our investment back...'

Nothing about forbidding outside links, just trying to understand his customers desires.

Now, I'm interpreting his words just as much as the next guy is interpreting, but let's try not to automatically assume the guy is evil :)

But it does seem as if MySpace is a bit 5 minutes ago. Even so, it can still be the big dog in its space for years to come.