What is MySpace?

Day 1 of the Kelsey Group’s MarketPlaces 2009 conference. Jeff Berman, President, Sales & Marketing for MySpace, was on stage for a keynote address.

Of note in his presentation:

  • Jeff described MySpace as a “social portal” halfway between a portal and a social network
  • 40% of online moms in the US are on MySpace each month
  • Their classifieds section, powered by Oodle, generates 500K postings a month
  •  They’re recently introduced MySpaceID, their equivalent of Facebook Connect or Google FriendConnect
  • When asked how do they differentiate MySpace from Facebook, he answers that Facebook is a social utility, a very powerful, elegantly designed, communication platform. But that there are no licensed music content and no licensed video content in it like you find in MySpace.
  • When asked “what is your USP?”, Berman said ” Massive content platform, social discovery around music”.
  • When asked if they’re interested in “local”, he started by replying that they’re careful before they go in a space because they don’t want to upset their large user base. They need the right model. They also need a foreseeable revenue component but he did say local was interesting to them.
  • Questioned about their target market, the MySpace exec said “everyone”

Here is the Kelsey Group blog summary of the presentation.

What it means: a couple of thoughts. First, I got the feeling that MySpace is in this bizarre brand/product positioning situation. They’d like to be Facebook and embrace social networking to the max but they’re not there yet. At the same time, the music/video component of the platform is what makes it compelling to a lot of users. If you’re a new music group, you need to be on MySpace and personally, I often start my search on the site when I want to listen to new acts bypassing search engines completely. I also like the level of activity in their classifieds section. Not bad at all! Finally, on the “local” question, I decoded from Berman’s answers that MySpace is not going to play in “local” in the short term. They’re still trying to find a model that will work. So, what is MySpace? A music/video site? A social network? Given that they’re owned by News Corp, I think they should morph into a “social entertainment” destination and platform. The launch of MySpace ID (now available on Yahoo! by the way) should increase their relevancy in the social ecosystem.

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