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On How MySpace beat Friendster / Engaging young people & social networking

Interesting comments from Schonfeld on How MySpace Beat Friendster

But it was Tagworld CEO (and aspiring MySpace competitor) Fred Krueger who really put his finger on why MySpace succeeded and Friendtser didn’t (that’s him in the picture putting his finger on it):

“There is a tendency to over-intellectualize the problem. The reason kids left Friendster is that it did not allow strikethroughs of every word and personal pages with black backgrounds. Have you ever seen a teenager’s room? That’s what MySpace looks like. Friendster took people off because they put up pictures of their dog.”

The lesson there is that if you are trying to build a social network, you need to let the members express themselves however they like, even if you don’t like how they are doing it.

It will be interesting to look at MySpace in 2 years time. Riffing on Krueger’s point, I think that part of the reason MySpace is so attractive to teens is that is repels older people first in terms of visual design, and secondly in terms of content. I often get asked whether band x or y should set up a MySpace site and generally I tell them not to bother – especially not if they already have some other well indexed and SEO-ed web presence, and they are not trying to target the teen market. MySpace is good for storing and streaming audio – but how long will that last after GDrive, Amazon’s S3 etc really get going and limitless online storage becomes a reality? MySpace is also very good for Murdoch/Fox who now own a powerful market research tool – for a particular age group which is generally hard for traditional market research to deal with.