Things are looking grim for the once king of social networking, MySpace. The site's numbers have been plummeting since Facebook and Twitter started to really gain traction. In December of 2008, MySpace had 43 billion page views. Last month they were down to only 12 billion according to ComScore. But on October 15, MySpace is expected to take one last stab at this whole social networking thing with a complete redesign of the site.
The new design is being called Project Futura internally. It is described as a much lighter interface. It will have less clutter and will focus on the news stream. Sound like any wildly successful website you know? Parent company News Corp. is expected to be keeping a close eye on the project. It's no secret that the value of MySpace has plummeted since it was acquired.
Can a redesign, however needed, stop the bleeding? It might just be too late for MySpace. With Facebook and Twitter both growing by leaps and bounds, News Corp. might be looking at an unpleasant reality in the coming months.
Have you been on Facebook today? How about Twitter, YouTube, or any other of the scores of social networking sites scattered across the Web? Chances are you've visited at least one of them, and if Nielsen's latest stats are correct, you'll spend about six hours this month on social networking sites and blogs.
According to Nielsen, users are now spending 23 percent of their Internet time on social networking sites, a leap of 7 percentage points from this same time last year. This ranks as the biggest jump for any of Nielsen's online categories, which also include checking email, using Web portals, and playing games. And if we widen the social umbrella to also include communicating via blogs, personal email, and instant messaging, that number jumps to 36 percent.
"Despite the almost the almost unlimited nature of what you can do on the Web, nearly half of U.S. online time is spent on three activities -- social networking, playing games, and emailing," says Dave Martin, vice president of primary research at Nielsen.
Other activities, like shopping and random Web searches, haven't changed a whole lot, while watching online videos increased slightly from 3.5 percent to 3.9 percent from June 2009 to June 2010.
Things aren't looking so hot for MySpace, the once dominant social networking site that has since taken a distant backseat to Facebook. According to comScore, MySpace's traffic declined 49 percent in the course of a year, dropping from 6.5 million visitors in May 2009 to a mere 3.3 million in May 2010.
Adding insult to injury, Facebook is in a celebratory mood after having recently reached 500 million registered users. That's 400 million more than MySpace claimed at its peak, and despite a recent revamp of the site, it doesn't appear as though MySpace is going to be able to turn things around.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. paid $580 million for MySpace back in 2005, and in the past six months alone has lost two chief executives.
There is some good news for those of you still awaiting a true measure of Facebook's transcendence. The world's most popular social networking site generates 11 times more page views than first runner-up MySpace, according to Pingdom. Its monthly page view count is a truly vertiginous figure: 260 billion. Microblogging sensation Twitter is rated the fourth most popular social networking site on the planet in terms of page views.
Twitter's 4.4 billion monthly page views may make it look very small in comparison to the top three sites on the list – Facebook, MySpace (24 billion) and Hi5 (12 billion), but as correctly pointed out by Cnet's Caroline McCarthy, it is not the perfect yardstick for measuring Twitter's true reach. Social news aggregator occupies the tenth spot with 340 million monthly page views, twice as many as its rival Reddit.
Despite the social web's spectacular expansion during recent times, it is not uncommon to find those who abstain from social networking sites just as an austere monk clings onto his virginity. You may also know a few people who have bid farewell to social networking sites for once and for all (not to mention those who delete their accounts only to resurface on the social web and so on and so forth). Now there is a ridiculously easy solution for killing your web2.0-self: the web2.0 Suicide Machine.
Based out of Netherlands, Suicide Machine is a website that automates the process of deleting a person's contacts on social networking sites, besides making the social networking profile inaccessible to even its owner. Although Facebook is among the sites that are supported – MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter are the others, Suicide Machine is currently unable to “kill” Facebook profiles. This is due to the fact that Facebook has blocked its IP address. The site's administrators are working on “ways to circumvent this ungrounded restriction imposed on our service.”Those mulling a web2.0 suicide, be amply warned that once initiated the process can not be stopped.
You may have noticed the name RockYou on some popular apps found on leading social networking sites Facebook and MySpace. The Redwood City-based company was founded in 2006 and currently ranks among the world's top social networking app developers. However, paying tribute to RockYou's precious contribution to the social web is not the subject of this story.
The app developer has vowed to defend itself “vigorously” and dismissed allegations that user privacy does not figure on its list of priorities. But a spokesperson for the company refused to comment any further on the allegations during an interview with Wired.
Facebook games like Farmville and Mafia Wars carry a rep for being diabolically addictive, but who knew they were just downright diabolical? Apparently, the productivity-whacking timewasters were birthed in a hive of scam and villainy. Straight from the horse’s mouth:
“I knew that I wanted to control my destiny, so I knew I needed revenues, right, f***ing, now. Like I needed revenues now. I funded the company myself but I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues right away," said Zynga CEO Mark Pincus. "I mean we gave our users poker chips if they downloaded this zwinky toolbar which was like, I don’t know, I downloaded it once and couldn't get rid of it.”
Fortunately, Pincus recently vowed to turn his games into sleaze-free zones, which will involve removing offers that ask for players’ addresses, phone numbers, and things of the like.
“We have worked hard to police and remove bad offers. Nevertheless, we need to be more aggressive and have revised our service level agreements with these providers requiring them to filter and police offers prior to posting on their networks. We have also removed all mobile ads until we see any that offer clear user value,” Pincus said.
As a result, other Facebook/MySpace gaming companies -- like Offerpal -- have begun cleaning up their acts as well. This is especially surprising for Offerpal, who – before a recent CEO switcheroo – was vehemently denying its involvement in any backdoor dealings.
Honestly though, people, if you willingly gave your address and phone number away to a game called “Mafia Wars,” you only got what was coming to you. Just sayin'.
Hard times come quickly for social networking sites. One minute you’re on top, popping open bottles of vintage sparkling mineral water and picking up the tab for another round of tofu burgers. The next you are head-in-hands wonder how it all went so horribly wrong. Today’s patient on the couch is MySpace, with parent company News Corp. none to pleased with what’s going on.
Jonathan Miller, who keeps the watcher’s eye on News Corp.’s Internet services, put it pretty plainly: "The thing you see in this space more than anything else is that if you don't keep innovating and moving forward, you get in trouble. You can't stop. And MySpace stopped." MySpace’s stopped and, since being number one in 2006, has been outpaced by more popular alternatives: Facebook and Twitter.
Time, again, to reinvent the wheel, according to Miller, and return to what MySpace does best: music and gaming. MySpace recently purchased the online music provider iLike. And it has announced a new music video service which will allow labels and artists to see how well their music is doing on MySpace.
To expand gaming opportunities, Miller believes MySpace must open up its system to external developers. He also hinted that some paid premium services to be in the offing.
"Everybody in the company is upset that we didn't keep going when we had the real momentum. Regaining momentum is always much harder than keeping momentum going,” Miller stated. That, and keeping an eye on your rearview mirror to see who’s about to overtake you.
The most obvious and common reason to avoid any SSD solution presently is certainly price. Compared to rotational-magnetic state drives, solid states offer far better performance for most server environments, but prices were keeping them out of the server closet.
However, as datacenters continue to find the need to grow (due to the software-as-a-service movement, cloud server environments, etc) they are finding that the overall power consumption and thermal capabilities of SSDs may be worth the cost.
MySpace recently revamped their server outfit with SSD technology and managed to cut hardware costs by 60 percent simply by using SSDs. It was undoubtedly an expensive move, but what they spent in hardware they’ll make up for in infrastructure savings. The SSD units they used will save them 50 percent on power, and 80 percent in cooling.
Further, you can also setup the connection to work both ways and synchronize tweets into your MySpace activity stream. The synchronized tweets are advertised as “from MySpace” and offer a link back to your MySpace profile.
MySpace is jumping on the bandwagon after AIM began offering similar functionality through its Lifestream service earlier this month. The canoodling is likely an attempt, by all parties involved, to steal market share from social networking giant Facebook.