Well, I've heard about MySpace for quite awhile, but I must admit that I've spent very little time on it. I decided to do just that today, to try to understand what the draw is.
First, people should understand how much traffic MySpace drive -- a quick Alexa glance:
Yeah, they're blowing Facebook.com out of the water. So, what's the draw?
Their Tagline - a place for friends
Broader Intro - "MySpace is an online community that lets you meet your friends' friends. Create a private community on MySpace and you can share photos, journals and interests with your growing network of mutual friends! See who knows who, or how you are connected. Find out if you really are six people away from Kevin Bacon."
What MySpace Does Well:
- Great signup process - they do a great job gathering indexable user info/background
- Slick media viewing - nice media players (I think they make these easy to insert in your blog posts as well, but am not sure if they do this as well as YouTube)
- Tons of young users - seemed to be 99% under age 30, and even more under 23
- Good interfaces to edit - they also did a good job of making things not intimidating (e.g. when i went to blog area, it invited me to start one, and pointed out that I could always delete it if I didn't like it)
- Easy to create a personal page - I now own www.myspace.com/daveschappell and http://blog.myspace.com/daveschappell!
What MySpace Doesn't Do Well:
- Lack of innovation outside social networking space -- I mean, they seem to just be creating another portal ala Yahoo and MSN -- they've added a ton of categories recently like books and video, but they just weren't compelling experiences
- Enabling user generated content outside sexy photos and teen/video content -- seems like their categories like comedy are very 'professional' and don't seem to easily allow people to create a list of videos/content that they really like
- Doesn't seem to be intelligent -- that is, with Amazon.com, it learns your preferences over time and makes better recommendations. But, outside of sharing friends with friends, it doesn't learn what you like and then help improve your discovery process
- email notifications force you to return to their closed communications network to read them -- I HATE THAT -- I hate it as much at evite as I do here, but I don't think this is a sign that they trust their users to return; instead, they force them to return -- not a good sign
- limited activity by older people -- i did a number of searches of people I know -- had almost no participation -- even when I specifically tried to find some who are younger/hipper/dating, I didn't do well. That tells me that they really skewing younger with their audience, which probably means less commerce
- broken video player in comedy area -- maybe it was because this is a more popular video and/or comic, but I couldn't get this video from Brian Posehn to work (by the way, this guy looks a ton like an ex-coworker named Ryan Williams!)
- doesn't let you get your info out of MySpace -- they make it very easy to pull in all your friends to see which of them are in MySpace, but they don't seem to make it easy to get them out... that sucks
All in all... for a non-teen/dater, it doesn't seem to be a very useful service. Seems to offer things similar to Yahoo Groups, MeetUp, eVite, etc... but not enough of a draw to pull me in for the long-term...