Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

MySpace – $30 billion to zero?

Monday, December 1st, 2008
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I have just read Jon Fine’s column in Business Week – he interviewed Michael Wolff, who wrote the new Rupert Murdoch bio The Man Who Owns The News Here is an exerpt:

Michael Wolff: MySpace. They [meaning News Corp] know they have a huge problem. They’re quaking in their boots about MySpace. It always was a little rustling when I was there, there was this rustling—

Jon Fine: What do you identify as the problem?

MW: Facebook.

JF: OK. But Facebook is still smaller in America, and—

MW: Absolutely. But you know the rhythms of the Internet business, which I think are still, at this point, immutable. Something else comes along – a better technology, a better flavor of the month – and you, the former, are downgraded. Possibly to the point of being downgraded out of existence.

You can read the whole article here.

I have been an avid follower of MySpace v Facebook over the last 3 years. The two businesses initially had markedly different strategies. MySpace traded on being the cool place to hang out, driven by its band pages. Facebook has always been focused on being a “social utility”, replicating real world relationships online and providing new and innovative ways of communicating with friends on many different levels.

About a year ago, MySpace finally did something about the usability of its site – it redesigned its profile pages and introduced a range of Facebook like features.

The problem MySpace has, is that it does not really know what it is. There are now lots of places to find and share music and videos which work better than MySpace (LastFM, YouTube etc) and it is not as good at connecting people as Facebook. With no USP and some highly focused and ambitious competitors you can understand why News Corp might be losing sleep about MySpace.

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The battle for Joe The Plumber’s Landing Page

Monday, November 17th, 2008
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I have just been catching up on Fred Wilson‘s blog and was interested to see his post on Joe The Plumber’s Landing Page. The post basically says that Google should improve its Google Local service to provider better landing pages for small businesses (skinning, own URL, call to action etc). Several Union Square Ventures‘ portfolio companies are in the business of helping advertisers target local businesses – so I can see why he would like Google to help solve their landing page problem as this would bring more of them in to the market for being sold online advertising.

Google Local is already a very powerful resource – I can see that if Google does improve its service, this could put traditional directories such as Yellow Pages and Thompson Local under even more pressure. These companies have been slow to innovate, it may now be too late to grab their slice of the online pie.

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