Why MySpace's redesign was well done but remains a failure

by Knowlton Thomas | Culture

myspaceMySpace was once tremendously successful and no less lucrative, being bought by News Corp. in 2005 for nearly $600 million. Back then, it had more pageviews than Google. It was the place to go to connect with friends and engage in the world of music.

Even in late 2008, MySpace raked in well over 40 billion page views per month. But it's fast becoming faded and forgotten.

In order to reverse its dramatic downward spiral - less than two years later, its 40-plus billion page views have dwindled to a comparatively meager 12 billion - News Corp. initiated a thorough redesign of the website. CEO Jonathan Miller stated that the redesign would return MySpace to its music-based roots.

The redesign is no Digg V4 flop - it's actually well done. It's considerably more clean-cut and modern than its tacky predecessor. But MySpace is still a doomed failure. The question is, how come?

There are two core reasons, and they'e the two core reasons that MySpace became a giant in the first place: friends and music. First, friends. The U.S. is perhaps somewhat of an exception (for now), but everybody else is mass-migrating to Twitter and Facebook because they offer vastly superior channels of communication. The U.S. is mass-adopting these two sites, yes, but they're also clinging to MySpace too. The rest of us have full-out abandoned it.

The second reason is a little overlooked, but nonetheless crucial to the theory. Music is less and less the lifeblood of people's self-definition. An annual study recently showed for the first time in its history that friends overpowered music as what chiefly defined a person. Facebook, therefore, offers a much greater opportunity to monitor and expand one's distinction in society, than MySpace, whose relevance crumbles with each passing month.

The proof is in the pudding, as MySpace's redesign went largely unnoticed, when typically such a thorough renovation would generate some internet buzz. 

Better pull out the gravestone, Jonathan.

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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