Or How I’d Save MySpace

But Brian, MySpace isn’t dead, why does it need saving? Hah! What’s that expression, you’re dead you just don’t know it yet. Well MySpace isn’t dead just yet, but its got the path and the symptoms of a dying site. MySpace has a number of problems that befell another famous social network 4 years ago that has only recently resuscitated as a mere shadow of what it could have been (Friendster in case you were wondering, the O.G. of social networks).

So let’s outline what MySpace’s problems are:

· Traffic is flat or down

· Engagement is way down

· Growth is gone

· Costs are still super high

· No smart way to monetize

· Marketers are losing interest

· Developers are losing interest

So some of these issues are harder to address than others, and MySpace has been making strides to cut costs (slashing most of their staff) before the Google Ad deal runs out (thereby decimating their revenue). MySpace has been diametrically opposite of facebook from a product standpoint from day one. Facebook for being such a large group of people, innovates faster than any other startup out there. MySpace on the other hand takes AGES to roll out improvements, and when they do, no one knows about them.

Step 1 – Stop insulting your users just to boost your pageviews
If your CPM on your pageviews is still hovering below $0.50 as it had in the past then its really unprofitable to keep all that remnant super low response rate pageviews. Move items throughout the site that don’t need a separate page load into on page AJAX calls. Save us some time, and improve your site’s usability at the same time. Your users aren’t as dumb as you assume they are.

Step 2 – Build small and build fast
Your platform is years behind facebook’s so you need to start over and build it for engagement and as an enhancement to the user’s experience. Right now its tacked on as though it was an afterthought, rethink it, and don’t be afraid to learn from facebook or twitter. Reorganize your team into small groups that can build out new features fast, and forget the giant projects. Facebook’s photos team is 6 people, they built an app that houses more photos than any other site out there. 6 people.

Step 3 – Focus on your core competencies
MySpace was the defacto place for celebrities and music at one point. That’s being lost to twitter and facebook because they are providing better tools for their users. Myspace had the opportunity to become the defacto clearing house for music on the web outside of iTunes, but yet it dropped the ball. Why not build what pandora and last.fm wished they could?

Step4 – Out innovate on the user experience
MySpace has allowed itself to become the next friendster which failed mostly due to a lack of a solid user experience. Take this opportunity to build better communication tools, to build more forms of self expression into your platform, and to forge stronger relations for your users social graph.

So these might just be oversimplifying their problems, but sometimes you need to look at their issues from a basic level. Let’s hope for their sake MySpace manages to come up with something.