MySpace has lost two of its most important executives, CEO Chris DeWolfe and co-founder and President Tom Anderson. With their departure we’re reminded of MySpace’s impending decline, but we wonder what MySpace’s next steps will be. Many complain that MySpace departed from its core competency of offering an online tool for musicians seeking a free place to build their brands.
But that often happens when a web 2.0 company is overtaken by a traditional media sector. And in the face of Facebook’s rapid growth these past two years, MySpace has also jumped on the open platform bandwagon after initially resisting integration from third parties. So what can MySpace do at this point? I’ve jotted down a few basic ideas, but it boils down to some semblance of reinvention, which i actually thing requires an introspective return to MySpace’s beginnings.
Continue to build out its application platform
This is an approach currently being employed by Facebook, which is probably better suited to the task. But turning to the developer community and providing a place for third parties to plug into MySpace’s large user base is beneficial to nearly all parties involved.
Converting this application platform into a self-sustaining marketplace would be the natural next step, but none of the major social networking platforms have achieved this quite yet. But being able to charge to some degree for the use of the platform and access to aggregate data and other metrics is just one way in which MySpace could continue to build incremental revenue while providing value to developers and retaining users.
Rely more heavily on integration with third party sites
Something MySpace dove into with the partnership with OpenID and MySpaceID. Allowing deeper integration with third party sites is yet another way in which others can take advantage of the MySpace user base, while more readily building out their own service without having to create a “competing” destination site or even immediate support for a large database of users.
Facebook Connect has taken the lead on this one, but offering cooperative support from multiple services won’t hurt MySpace, and will place MySpace in a better position to leverage its existing data and the connections users have already made on MySpace.
Break up the bulk of its native apps
So far it seems as though MySpace should merely continue to take cues from Facebook, but there are other things MySpace could do with some of its own native applications and sub-sites. Since being acquired by News Corp. MySpace has taken on a distinctive traditional media feel, which could be used to MySpace’s benefit in some aspects. Spinning off MySpace Music and MySpace TV could be useful ways in which to more efficiently direct targeted advertising and enable continued integration of traditional and new media concepts for the purpose of future media consumption.
As cheesy as some of MySpace’s sub-sites appear to be, they still generate a great deal of traffic, and their design and user integration is superior to the features and interface of the main MySpace site. Chopping up MySpace into semi-independent entities under the larger MySpace umbrella could be useful and better for MySpace’s sustainability.
Create a self-sustaining marketplace for all things media
As MySpace began as a site where artists could create their own presence for free, the long-awaited next step was for MySpace to layer in more features to help these artists promote their work. The majority of these expectations never came to fruition, but it’s not too late for MySpace. The social network still dominates, especially for those musicians who need to establish an online presence.
Creating a marketplace around this, with integrated selling and purchasing features, mobile applications, extensive and automated media sharing and cross-network compatibility would generate revenue for MySpace and provide value to developers and musicians by way of offering them the ability to generate their own revenue as well. I know this is still something MySpace is working towards (for several years), but now is the time for MySpace to execute.
Do you think MySpace will survive, after losing traffic and users to Facebook and Twitter? Where would you like to see MySpace go in the future?