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Not "My"Space any more...
Before Facebook, before Twitter, before Flickr, there was MySpace. It was a great place to be in the mid-2000s. You could customize your own page, add photos, keep a blog, send messages to friends, leave them notes on their page and comments on their stuff. It was amazingly fun.
When Facebook came along, there was an inexplicable mass exodus. While Facebook was shiny and new, it was also very sterile. You couldn't design your own page. You couldn't leave blingy comments or even gifs. To me, it always seemed like a pale imitation of MySpace, but for some reason it took off. MySpace lingered though...like some bright, flashy carnival with no one in it.
A few years back, Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace near its peak of popularity for $580 million in 2005. He sold it for a paltry $35 million in 2011 to Justin Timberlake and Specific Media. Although the site still got millions of hits a day, the numbers were far below those of its glory days and way behind Facebook.
Last month, Timberlake and his investor cronies launch the all-new MySpace to much fanfare and a $20 million advertising campaign. Visitor numbers seemed to start jumping. Alll looked good...until you saw where the visitors (old users mostly who were coming to have a look-see) were spending their time. It wasn't checking out the new music features or any of the highly touted gizmos and gadgets (whatever they may be). They were visiting the "Feedback" section and launching complaint after complaint after complaint. Oops. It seems that in their drive to save MySpace from extinction and their push to make it a more music-centric site to attract more visitors and differentiate itself from other media sites (i.e. Facebook and what MySpace used to be like), they decided to wipe the slate clean--and removed every users' previously posted content.
With no warning to users whatsoever, over night all of those backgrounds on the home pages that users worked so hard on to personalize--GONE! Alll of the blogs disappeared. Private messages and comments? POOF! Photos are available to transfer over to the new site, but instead of being neatly tucked away in files/albums, they are randomly placed in what they call a "photostream", which you have to wade through to find whatever particular photo you might be looking for. Games are also a thing of the past.
On one of the sites informational pages they explained that:
"Going forward we're concentrating on building and maintaining the features that make those experience better. That means you won't see a few products on the new site...
- Private Messages
- Comments or Posts
- Custom background design
With the re-launch and the elimination of all of that pesky old content, the users have returned--but only to beg, plead, and demand the return of their content. Major backfire.
The Feedback section on "Classic" MySpace alone has 55 pages of threads (17 threads to a page). One thread alone has more than 1900 messages on it. The moderators have stopped trying to answer questions (maybe they are all looking for new jobs?). They can't keep up with the barrage of angry user comments and requests. The return of "Classic" blogs seem to be the most requested item (aside from the return of the "Classic MySpace" altogether). And more than two weeks ago a message from MySpace said they were looking in to returning the blogs and would reach a decision soon. All of those disgruntled users are still waiting. Videos and private messages apparently may be back or coming back. That list of what the new MySpace would NOT have seemed to dwindle and has actually disappeared from the site.
As the new MySpace flounders and users are either screaming for blood or just deleting accounts altogether, Myspace seems to be trying to stop the hemmoraghing by sending out emails to users who are on the friends list (now called "connections"--whatever...) of those who have already logged in and seen their descimated profiles. Those emails appear to be from the user and invite those friends, er... connections to check out their hot, newly redesigned page. It's a cheap, underhanded (and desperate) trick to get more traffic. Those former users log on to see their friend's..er, "connection's" new page and...Blam-O! They discovered their content is now wiped out as well. This causes more angry feedback and/or deleted accounts.
Some won't care that their accounts were deleted. Some are devastated that loved ones who have died and visited their pages to remember them (a sort of cyber shrine) will no longer be able to do that. Most just seem to want their content back and then plan to give MySpace the finger and leave.
Perhaps MySpace really thinks that their redesign will eventually catch on with someone--anyone, or are they trying to get as much traffic as possible to make a good showing and hopefully offload the lemon on some other billionaire or investment group? In 2006, when MySpace was riding high and ultra popular, Justin Timberlake was bringing "Sexy Back". In 2013, he sure ain't bringing MySpace back. With the deletion of every users' material, he and his crew have totally alienated the millions and millions of users they were so anxiously trying to woo back.
If there is any hope of rescuing MySpace, Specific Media need to take a look back at another "New" versus "Classic" instance. Back in the 1980s, Coca Cola was flailing and debuted "New Coke". The original Coke product was removed from the market and there was an outcry from the public over this. Coca Cola nearly collapsed over this debacle, but wisely reintroduced "Classic Coke" and all was well again. "New Coke" hung on for awhile, but eventually faded into oblivion.
Timberlake and the execs at Specific Media are probably too young to remember that. Perhaps it's their pride that is keeping them from returning the "Classic" MySpace or just stupidity...or maybe they really want a HUGE tax write off this year. There's no guarantee that the return of the "Classic" could save MySpace, but it would make users happy (momentarily) and give the company time to re-evaluate the "New" version. Perhaps they could relaunch it under another name? It is worth noting that MySpace's popularity starting sagging after Murdoch bought it and started tweaking it. Maybe taking it all of the way back to its simplest and easy-to-use/understand roots isn't such a bad idea. It worked for Coke.