Top Ten Reasons Cheezhead is Wrong About Myspace/Facebook

February 12, 2007 at 11:44 PM

I'll start by looking briefly at the original Top 10 claims:

  1. Traffic. No one can deny the masses that click their way to MySpace everyday. Hitwise data from December 2006 puts MySpace at No. 1, ahead of both Yahoo! and Google. They also have two subdomains in the Top 20. The mail domain comes in at No. 5 in traffic and their blog platform is No. 14. Facebook has respectable traffic, but fails to crack the Top 10. Want user data? How 'bout 155 million-plus and growing.
    Traffic is fine and good, but it's meaningless in determining the better of two things. I mean, think about music—currently, the #1 Mobile Music Single is Poppin' by Chris Brown—does that mean this song is better than, say, Beethoven's pastoral symphony? I certainly hope not.
  2. Brand leader. MySpace has become synonymous with "social networking for the masses." Facebook, which used to have firm residence in the hip, college-only market position is now trying to out-MySpace MySpace. Ain't happenin'.
    One of the aspects of Facebook that many users laud is its focus on restricting social networking. And it still has a firm position in the college market—but it's ceratinly expanding from there. Tons of high school students have created profiles, found friends, et cetera. And Facebook trying to "out-Myspace Myspace"? Phshaw! Facebook continually adds innovative and (gasp) working features that provide functionality Myspace developers can only dream of attaining.
  3. Media powerhouse. Videos, music, concerts, films, comedy acts, IM and photos help make MySpace an impressive outlet to consume media today and is sure to only get more dominant in the future.
    Myspace's media consumption is a usability and functionality nightmare. I spent 20 minutes the other night trying to watch a single video. I look at a friend's page, accompanied by the annoying blare of some band I hate. If I view any other part of that user's profile, the song starts over. Oh yes, Myspace provides consumption for media—but it doesn't put the end-user in control.
  4. Rock 'n' roll will never die. In light of last night's Grammy's, one can't deny the lock MySpace has as a centerpiece for every band that's currently putting out music. Allowing users to feel like their one degree away from their favorite rock (and other categories) stars is a good position to be in.
    Cool. Great. Who cares? There's no actual functionality here—it's just like joining a Facebook group. Now, the fact that bands use Myspace is a perk, for those who are interested in it. I'm not.
  5. Mo' money. MySpace has an ownership with mega-wads of cash. Facebook doesn't.
    Microsoft has more money than Google; is search better than Google's? Michael Jackson likely has more money than Yo-Yo Ma; is Jackson a better cellist? No—like popularity, money has nothing to do with the quality of the thing in question.
  6. Rupert Murdoch. Don't underestimate the power of experienced leadership, especially if that experience 'gets it.' Murdoch is as smart as they come and knows media as well as anyone in the world. His empire is scary impressive.
    Um, wait just a second. Rupert Murdoch... a plus? Hah. I'm so delighted to give away personal information to that man. It's a selling point for every other site that they are not owned by him.
  7. Unique URLs. I can promote my own MySpace page using the following URL: Promoting my Facebook page isn't as clear-cut. The growing number of movies and other media properties promoting their MySpace URLs in commercials and other mediums will only make this more important. Do you own You should.
    This is a useful feature. We recently implemented it at Jobster; perhaps Facebook has their own reasons for omitting it. I don't know.
  8. Customizable pages. With varying degrees of Web design know-how, MySpace pages are easily customizable, even to the point where your page can vaguely look like MySpace at all. The Marines' MySpace page is a good example of this. Facebook doesn't allow such customization that I'm aware of. The only exception is for sponsors, and those seem to come with limitations and a price tag.
    90% of the pages I see on Myspace make me think, "My god—the animated GIFs!—the background music!—it's 1995 all over again!" Format customization is bad; information customization is good. Facebook provides a more structured approach to personal information. This not only allows users to make interesting customizations, but it also allows Facebook to uses these data more easily.
  9. News Corporation and phat partners. If you take a look at the monster network MySpace belongs to known as News Corporation, it's big and far-reaching. MySpace is global. And they have Google under contract to the tune of $900 million through 2010 running their search engine and contextual ads. EBay may be next. If things ever got bad at MySpace, falling back on such reserves is comforting.
    Once again, I want my data as far away from News Corp & Co. as possible.
  10. Classifieds. MySpace has a platform by which users can post classifieds for free. No, it's not Craigslist, but it's a far greater leap than Facebook has made. The social networking leader is also in talks with eBay to deliver an auction platform. As far as jobs are concerned, MySpace users have access to the millions of jobs currently at Simply Hired as well. Will the deal with Jobster - who will have about the same job content as MySpace - make a big difference? We'll have to wait and see. Interestingly, jobs posted on MySpace fail to make it to the vertical job search engines that I checked. Wonder why? At a minimum they should be on partner site Simply Hired.
    I'm not really going to comment on the classifieds arena. I think Craigslist suffices for most users, and Facebook's Note functionality could work in this way if someone really wanted another outlet. And naturally, I do think the deal with Jobster will provide a big advantage to Facebook users.

I'm not just going to react to these 10 items. Many people have problems with Myspace. It's "Brand leader" status, led by wonder-boy Rupert Murdoch results in nothing more than trash bulletins, spambots, and useless "in my network" recommendations. The site is focused not on improving social networking, but on advertising to a ton of people.

Facebook, on the other hand, is innovative. The "feed" feature is really, really cool. Sharing items, posting links, and creating photo albums is easy and intuitive. Facebook provides an API so that developers can provided extended functionality. Myspace, on the other hand, is in some bass-ackwards Microsoft Frontpage nightmare; instead of providing APIs, they shut down anyone developers that appear on their radar. The structured approach that Facebook takes to personal information makes it possible for those data to be of use to both the company and the end user.

The clincher for me, however, is stability. I have never seen Facebook go down, throw an error, or any such thing. Myspace gives me an error one out of every three times I use it, and I don't use it often. Puh-lease.