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Saturday, September 20, 2008

MySpace: Open For Business?

By Chris Kauza
Technology Editor

According to Forrester Research, MySpace is the first social network in recent history to grow as big and broadly as it has, and it is the largest Social Networking site in North America, maintaining a growing monthly user community of 110 Million or more.

That's big, but is it really a Big Deal? Should you really pay attention to this one? Let's see:

  • 20 Billion mails on the site total

  • 50 Million mails per day (more than yahoo, Hotmail, or Google)

  • 10 Billion “friend” relationships

  • 1.5 Billion images

  • 8 Million images being uploaded per day

  • 60,000 new videos being upload to MySpaceTV each day

  • More than 8 million artists and bands on MySpace Music Acts including Lily Allen, Sean Kingston, Arctic Monkeys, Dane Cook discovered on the site by users, that's a lot! But does this site really matter for your business? How does this translate into business or networking success? It depends on your business. And your purpose; as one user recently commented:

Myspace is like a night-club for a younger crowd to meet whoever, whenever and ‘hang out’. Facebook is more like a casual dining restaurant suitable even for your grandparents. If we’re talking advertising dollars, the very same person may be interested in different things given the social groups they associate with on either site.

If your business relationships require you to reach localized and / or a younger audience, then I absolutely think you should have a professional presence on MySpace. You should promote your page and it should be integral to your Social Marketing Plan (you do have one of those, right???). MySpace has become a web portal (not just a website) through which people get news and information on topics important to them.

In my experience, the most successful businesses that I have seen on MySpace have been those of bands or individual performers. It offers a great platform to showcase a performing artist's portfolio, and to have fans comment and share on the content – a fantastic way to build a community of interest around that particular artist. It is a great showcase for undiscovered or rising talent, and really gives independent performers an edge against the “big guys”, with users able to profile songs on their page. It has also become a successful advertising platform for new performing art content (think movies, concerts, TV shows, etc.).

In general, though, I would not focus on MySpace for business beyond the exceptions I mentioned above. It takes time to develop and manage a social networking profile, and I believe other sites (such as LinkedIn and Facebook) offer businesses and professionals a better ROI on their time. 50 million emails and 8 million images a day is a lot – but how many of thoise will your customers read or see, and how does that translate into more effective networking? The potential is there, but I think it needs more work. As of this writing, there are only 37 business-oriented applications available for download. Assuming a user is only part of one of these groups (not likely), there are approximately 59,000 users in these groups – the two largest being “Jobs” by Simply Hired Job Search Services (9,057 users) and Daily Despair by KlickNation (5,755 users). And these groups are free (but presumably lead to for-fee content).

To be perfectly candid, I created a MySpace page because it was an easy way for me to stay in touch with one of my cousins (who is 10+ years my junior) - or to check out new bands that he likes (we have similar tastes). Other than that, I don't log onto MySpace.

Facebook, however, is a different story, and we'll discuss that next month. In the meantime, if you have questions about these or other technologies, feel free to email me at or to connect with me on LinkedIn.

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