MySpace is Starting to Suck

The fun thing about MySpace was the ability to customize your profile page with widgets from other (smaller) services such as media-sharing service Imeem or social content-sharing site esnips or slideshow-generating service Slide, or even more well known sites such as YouTube or Photobucket.

For users who don't own a personal domain or blog, MySpace (despite its privacy issues) is a great way for them to share their identities and personal tastes with both offline and online friends. Besides all of the cool bands there, the personalization is one of the big draws for the millions of teens who hang out there. But lately, it's becoming more difficult to use third party services on MySpace. I know this because though I've found workarounds in the past, now even I'm unable to use many of the third-party services on my personal page.

Granted, the easiest way to hack MySpace is to inject scripts through some of these third-party applications, as has happened there with java-based widgets and Flash-based widgets in the past. But it's not like MySpace has the business model of either Wallop or Cyworld, where the user's creative expression is the focus. On both social networking sites, users can purchase widgets and items that enable them to personalize their pages. MySpace isn't even in the same business as Vox, which accesses the backend of services such as Amazon or Flickr and enables users to feature content from these services on their blog pages. So if that's not MySpace's deal, why can't it figure out a way to make the third=party applications work? The truth is, MySpace could have these services work, but good old competition definitely serves as a factor in disabling access to widgets from services other than MySpace.

Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch had this to say about the issue:

"It’s clear that MySpace isn’t happy with the fact that other services are building their business on the back of their massive user numbers - Peter Chernin, the COO of News Corp. (MySpace’s parent company) said as much late last year and specifically named YouTube, Flickr and Photobucket as services that were "really driven off the back of MySpace."

Industry insiders have said (and continue to say) that MySpace has had enough of building third party widget providers into massive businesses. They say MySpace is preparing to block all widget providers over time and will let only those who pay a "toll" back in. MySpace PR denies this as well, saying that the January block was a developer error, and not commenting at all on the recent service-specific blockages.

If MySpace does eventually go the route of generally blocking widget providers, except those willing to pay a fee, they’ll be called to the mat for previously saying that they have no plans to do so. And whether these blockages really are developer errors, or in fact shots across their bow, widget companies that rely on MySpace for users are literally quaking in their boots, waiting to see who’s next to get blocked."

The potential of users becoming frustrated enough with MySpace's blockage of widget providers to the point of leaving the service could become inevitable at some point. So as a business, what is MySpace to do to keep its users? Does it let down the barriers entirely or does it go into business with widget providers and offer them a revenue share? Or does MySpace think about becoming a widget provider itself? It's a tough call.

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13 Comments

  • SOMEONE

    the only reason myspace is becoming boring it because it is hard to access you have these girls being provocative you have these guys being completely explicit and its becoming a porn site. people are there to meet not share there body. now a days there is bullying on myspace and it is just getting out of control.

  • John White

    Can you imagine the auto makers complaining that the Tire Industry was built off their backs and they were no longer going to offers tires on cars from now on? Or if PC Makers complained that MicroSoft was other software companies were profiting off their backs and they would no longer off software? With these guys in charge of MySpace, decline is only a matter of time.

  • dudesfbay

    myspace is not cool anymore b/c it's too crowded and everyone is a "friend"- whatever no time for nonsense!!

    for the pioneers- check http://www.workwhisper.com/, it's a cool new way to form participate to forums. no frills, no junk, no add just what you need to form a community!!

  • Dan

    My first words were the same as Michael--the first comment on this list. MySpace's look/feel has been just "fugly" from the get-go.

    And Rem is right on the money: "User numbers may increase but the quality is decreasing and eventually both sites will fall apart."

    When social networks get too big, the mature users (not necessarily in age, but in skill/talent) go elsewhere.

  • Rem Macson

    It's no surprise. They're also suing bulletin spammers (who are making money) and blocking everything they can. It's THEIR site and they can do whatever they want to keep their users to themselves and not allow third parties to make money off of them. However, the premise that it is starting to suck is also relevant with the quality of users on myspace now. YouTube is starting to suck as well. I think both sites are on the decline. User numbers may increase but the quality is decreasing and eventually both sites will fall apart. People are having fun with other smaller less political video and social network sites out
    there where there is less censorship and where third parties have a shot at making some money instead of being clubbed to death by the screw you police force.

  • Welch

    I just dont think big companies get it. The moment you begin to bully young people, they turn off. It's the same with the purchase of MySpace - sooner or later, the cool factor is going to run out.
    Murdoch and other large media propietors continue to buy up small operating media properties with large levels of participants, but miss the fundamental area in this - When its big, the rules come in, and young people dont like rules. They either have to accept the need to cut advertising, and stop prosituting the time of MySpace users out to other marketers, or let the people customise their own area.

  • AK

    Well, we are talking about a site that has had my profile down for two days, citing "Maintenance", and now "Login is temporarily disabled while we fix some database problems. We'll be back shortly. 2/28/2007".

    Add to this the fact you can't even send an e-mail to their support staff while your profile is down, they don't reply even if you DO send an e-mail, and when you finally are able to access your profile the site is so congested it's near impossible to navigate. These are the makings of a company that won't be around, or more importantly, relevant, in 2 years.

    Yet sadly, I still use it because nothing better has caught on...

  • Daniel

    I can't believe that people have enough time on their hands to sit and worry about MySpace.

  • Marc LaFountain

    If MySpace does block widgets from some or all third-parties, I think that will be a mistake. MySpace needs its users to see it as an enabling, centralizing service for their interests, tastes, and hobbies. To use an analogy, if widgets were phones, then MySpace should wan to be seen as the best "phone company" for making the widgets run. The harder you make that for users, the more they will look for solutions elsewhere.

  • chad

    I run a site offering free myspace layouts.

    Its strange seeing myspace behave in this way, by blocking out these widget services.

    The google deal inked last year give news corp a very nice roi on the purchase of Myspace.

    Why worry about these lil fish in the sea that just give the myspace public what they want...?

  • Andy C

    It's funny because I thought the *SAME* thing as Mr. Sitarzewski above when I read the article's headline. The site is a heap of broken pages and links. The last update to the framework of the site was right around the time Murdoch bought off Tom... I hope he's enjoying his mai-tais in The Bahamas.