Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Move over MySpace and Bebo but who’s going to replace Facebook?

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation plans to sell MySpace

The social network that's loved by musicians announced last week that it will be laying off half of its 1,000 staff.

News Corporation aren't ruling out selling on MySpace to someone else, hinting that the site has now officially outstayed its welcome.

Let me ask a quick question — do you have a MySpace account? Next question, do you still use it? I have two and I can't remember the last time I logged in. It seems that some of the 66 million user base are just the same.

The social networking site was the dominant force of connecting friends. And it was the first site to do a very good job of targeting adverts to user segments, so much so Google did a $900m deal to provide advertising and search functionality on MySpace.

While it's fair to say MySpace page layouts were not the most pleasing on the eye, the fact that it became really easy to upload and publish for the everyday user made it an easy win.

On the plus side, we have MySpace to thank for being the place for finding new music and it was a trend that still rings true today. The site was a catalyst in enabling acts like the Arctic Monkeys to get noticed. Having that all important demo tape to press into the hand of the A&R man went into decline in favour of being able to post your music online and talk direct to your audience and future fan base.

These elements became key in 2010 when MySpace had a redesign and its core selling point was the music. The surprising thing was the Facebook Connect link enabling you to log in to the site with your Facebook account. It sent out the message that in the long running battle of which social network ruled, the Zuckerberg PR machine had won.

Over the years the rivalry between the two sites was heated. It caused division between users, the main question being, ‘which site are you on?’ To the point that every serious user had a MySpace, Facebook and Bebo account. Now it doesn't seem to matter as everyone has a Facebook account.

The next few months will be crucial. News Corporation are serious when talking about selling on MySpace. It does show that no matter what the idea there is always the ebb and flow of popularity and when the tide starts to go out there's always another one coming in to replace it.

So, perhaps the real question is when the Facebook tide starts to go out, who's going to be there to replace it?

Jase Bell is founder of Datasentiment. You can contact him at www.twitter.com/jasebell

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