Friday, June 24, 2011

Requiem for Myspace: Every DotCom is a bubble

In Businessweek: The Rise and Inglorious Fall of Myspace
The article deserves a read, or at least I agree with it. And the subhead tells all:

It once promised to redefine music, politics, dating, and pop culture. Rupert Murdoch fell in love with it. Then everything fell apart

 Ah.. the more things change, the more they're the same:  But it doesn't address in depth the truth of the net.
 The Nature (of the 'netizen) abhors a Marketing Strategy!
Early social networking sprang from  Darpanet users, back in the '70s with college students or defense contractor employees banding together to talk about their off-work interests. 
They were, as you might expect, subject oriented.  This text-only discussion paradigm essentially started with mailing lists where one moderator registered an email address and wrote script to allow multiple posting and send functions to large number of subscribers. In other words you 'friended' the moderator and if he accepted you defacto friended everyone else on the list.
- This was my own first experience with the internet: I joined the 'Mustang Mail List about 1986.
- And with the mail list, came the world's First Spam Email
- understand that, in those days, you saw every bit of the headers; which meant you scrolled down through the addressees interminably to just see the message. And that's primarily what generated the HATE. It was fixed by the eighties but the first impression was not a good one. Probably just coincidence but the firm responsible - Digital Equipment Corporation though a multi-billion dollar leader in its field at the time is no longer in business.

Later came Usenet, a special protocol based service that allowed a 'Bulletin Board' type function without clunky mail servers. It was very popular for subject insiders until Usenet was declared abolished by almost all ISP's due to the ease of posting porn and concentration of anonymous porn users.
Going mainstream is the Kiss of Death
Before there was the web, before there was AOL, before there was Compuserve, or Prodigy.. There was 'The Source'
It was actually built as a new sort of marketing service for the hip in 1979.  And it was the first to be bought by a major publisher, Readers' Digest. It quickly failed because the subscribers used it mainly for social networking and comment and were not really interested in the commercial parts.
 It should be noted that the fate of all its successors was the same, even AOL which brought the average guy onto the net was doomed from the beginning. By the time AOL merged with Time Warner the writing was on the wall. AOL wanted to totally control content and access to net features and made it very hard to actually access the REAL internet.
All that was pre-ordained by the advent of the World Wide Web and the Mosaic interface. Now commonly called the browser.
I won't go into what the folks on the 'real internet' thought of AOL'ers. It would be hurtful.  The point is that concentration on product marketing is a tricky thing.  a little too much hawking of wares will quickly turn the user against you. It just took a lot longer for it to catch up with AOL.

UNLESS that sales aspect is the unabashed FEATURE of the site or service. Witness Ebay.. then Amazon. Or Craigslist.
Combine that with the fickle nature of youth, and the impatience with 'Spam' on every level and you see the future for not only Myspace but Classmates{dot}com and ultimately even Facebook.  Which brings up Twitter.  Where's the monetization plan for Twitter?  How you gonna do it without chasing users away?
Nope.. the social DotComs all have the same life paradigm:
Idea-Build-social networking self promotion-popularity critical mass- SELL!
From Reader's Digest to Time Inc to Murdoch's News Corp. The moguls will be left holding the bag.
Aint the Free Market wonderful!