MySpace Cuts Down App Virality

Tom Anderson, President of MySpace, has posted about new changes to the MySpace developer policy for which limits and prevents misleading tactics for the sole purpose of “viral distribution.” One of the biggest changes is the limiting of incentives for sending communications in an application. Here’s what the updated guidelines state:

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.

In one move MySpace has prevented virtual currencies from being used for the pupose of getting users to spam their friends. I will be posting more in depth about this issue tomorrow morning but there is a significant problem with developers wanting to take advantage of as many viral channels as possible no matter what the decrease in user experience is.

In my opinion, these aggressive strategies mimic the ones used by other sites including the Reunion.com spam that I posted about this evening. MySpace applications now have two weeks to make adjustments to their applications prior to being banned from the platform. MySpace is showing concern for the users over application developers which is a different dynamic than currently being provided on Facebook.

The bottom line is that viral distribution is not a right of developers on social platforms. This only leads one to ask: why build applications on platforms then when there is no viral distribution? While it’s in a company’s best interest to be in as many distribution channels as possible, the first channel may cease to be social platforms for many developers. Do you think the incentives for social application developers are starting to be reduced?