Viral Channels: MySpace Changes Application Guidelines

While every platform must always try to strike a delicate balance between developer and user interests, MySpace today updated its application guidelines around the use of key viral channels. The changes, announced on the MySpace Developer Platform blog by Kyle Brinkman, limit applications from creating incentives around use of MySpace communication channels. Specifically,

  • No incentives may be given to a member for sending a message, bulletin, comment, or any other form of communication. This includes “points,” “bucks,” increased standing, or even features within the app.
  • It must be very clear to a member what they are sending, when they are sending communication. “Share with friends” is not sufficient messaging, the link must state “send comment,” “send bulletin,” and so on.
  • The “no popups” rule we have had in place since day one applies to messaging windows. This means no more popping up a messaging window the first time someone tries to use an app. No popping up messaging windows without a user clicking on a very clearly marked link.

The new guidelines will be enforced via an editorial review process by the MySpace platform team. These new rules are in effect immediately for new applications, and existing applications have 2 weeks – until 5pm PT on June 3 – to comply before MySpace conducts a full review of the app directory.

In a long post today on the MySpace Developer Platform blog, MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson wrote about MySpace’s platform philosophy and the reasoning behind the changes:

To be clear, the purpose of these changes is to emphasize to developers that their focus should be on creating great apps that users will want to tell each other about. The best viral software is software you can’t live without. Unfortunately, for some developers, the focus has been on how to come up with the best methods of viral distribution.

Clearly, MySpace is taking steps to protect users from spammy apps. What do you think of this approach?

Developers can find the full MySpace Developer Platform Application Guidelines here.