I agree. The whole thing obviously comes down to Marketing and you cant criticise Myspace for their Markcomms cause they have clearly got it right!
You can have the best product in the world of its class but if you dont get your marketing right then you'll be flogging a dead horse from the start.

Take the classic Betamax vs VHS war in the seventies where Betamax was arguably the superior technology yet clever Marketing tactics by JVC ensured we spent the next 40 years taping our favourite shows on VHS.
I think you could probably spend forever slaging off the shortcomings of Myspace, but in truth, I don’t see it going away for quite a while yet....

Kris's Gravatar Kris 11 May 2007
9:22 AM

Thanks for the comments guys!

I think Ian is right when he says that people care about style when it's a differentiator - I can could give you 100's of comments posted on forums on Ning powered networks, they usually follow the pattern 'Wow, this is like MySpace - but better'.

Although having said that, I'm not sure if that's because Ning networks tend to be more focused on a topic/genre/interest so there is a better sense of community.

I think MySpace is probably proof that 'being cool' sells - people like to buy into the latest fashion - be that from peer pressure, or the sense of inclusion. See virality. Design I guess is only part of that equation, but it does matter, in that it makes products more 'sticky'.

I can't tell you how many friends I know who have signed up to both MySpace and Facebook. They sign up to both of these services because they are cool, and because everybody else is. But which of these services do you think they actively use day-to-day. I wonder how many accounts on MySpace are actually dormant? I wonder how many people who do use MySpace, actually enjoy their experience?

Things in fashion quickly go out of fashion, and they only remain successful if the product changes to meet customer expectation, and/or constantly reinvent themselves.

MySpace a.) couldn't give a shit about it's customers (see the amount of advertising plastered across it's pages) and b.) I'm not sure MySpace has it within itself to come up with anything new.

I'm looking forward to the day when MySpace is what the Walkman is to the iPod - yesterday's news.

Paul's Gravatar Paul 10 May 2007
12:14 PM

Its all about money, they just brought their huge audience with huge marketing ploys, all you hear on the radio are DJ's talking about their MySpace accounts, hmmm wonder who pays them to say this?

About the UI, Its about style and image. People do care about style when its a differentiator, but if people were to walk around after smearing our faces with toilet chocolate then no one would notice that we all smelt of sh*t. MySpace UI is not different, same principle right?

Ian's Gravatar Ian 10 May 2007
11:02 AM

Yes, Indeed they are doing something right, which just goes to show there are very few people bothered about design that works well, or interfaces that are a joy to use.

Kinda makes me feel like my job is a big waste of time. Well done Paul, in one foul swoop you've killed my passion for the web.

If you need me, I'll be getting a job on the bins.

Jon Roobottom's Gravatar Jon Roobottom 10 May 2007
8:39 AM

But surely the worlds most popular online social network. So they must be doing something right from the business point of view.

Kris's Gravatar Kris 7 May 2007
11:33 AM