The future certainly looks bleak for MySpace. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that advertisers are wary of Myspace and cited companies such as PepsiCo, which has not run an ad on Myspace since 2009. And according to comScore, the volume of Myspace site visitors has dropped by 44 percent in a year.
With News Corp. attempting to sell the one-time social media darling, does Myspace even have a future? It might. Here are three ways Myspace can improve its chances of survival:
1. Clean up its site
The new owner of Myspace (whoever that adventurous soul turns out to be) needs to address a fundamental problem: the Myspace user experience sucks. It’s almost as if Myspace decision makers sat down and asked, “How can we design a site that alienates as many people as we can?”
Even after undergoing a redesign, the site is notoriously difficult to navigate, the layout is messy, and the personal accounts are hard to manage. MySpace would do well to hire an outsider like Forrester Research to do a basic site audit and quickly make itself more usable. Simply put, Myspace is going to have a hard time encouraging visitors if you can’t use the site.
2. Be the challenger brand to Facebook
What makes Facebook so formidable – its sheer scale – also makes it vulnerable. Myspace could improve its chances of survival by positioning itself as a friendlier, more approachable Facebook. For instance, MySpace could give itself a human face as Global 14 has done with producer Jermaine Dupri, who not only launched the site but is an active participant, personally responding to requests and comments.
And at a time when social media sites like Facebook offer zero user support, MySpace could differentiate with more personal customer experience (assuming MySpace cleans up its site).
3. Become useful
One of MySpace’s fundamental problems is that it no longer fulfills any particular use because Facebook long ago surpassed MySpace as a social network utility. MySpace can reclaim its role as a platform for connecting people with cool music, and certainly that’s what the site seems to be trying to do. One challenge: there are already plenty of site like Pitchforkmedia and the recently launched Noisey acting as a music connector. But Myspace does have brand visibility and 37.7 million unique U.S. visitors (and dropping). Myspace can be a worthwhile music and entertainment destination site, but it will need to launch a major partnership with another big brand to reinvigorate itself.
In fact, I can see morphing into the in-house music brand of a content-savvy company like AXE, Mountain Dew or Coca-Cola. As the lines between advertising, content, and entertainment have blurred, it’s no longer considered a sell-out for a corporation to act as music distributor.
What about you – do you think Myspace has a future?