Thursday, December 27, 2007

Myspace Report 1 : "C-" Rating

On 12/27/07 myspace receives a total of 70 points out of the possible 100 giving it a letter grade of "C-". Below is a breakdown of how the website did in each category and a summary of the judging comments.

The 10 different areas are worth 10 pts. each:

1) User Friendliness : 7pts. = "C"
How easy the site is to learn and use?

Being one of the original play makers in the Social Network arena, users have been forced to learn the clunky ways of the Myspace system. In the beginning, it took awhile for users to acclimate to the confusing navigation on the site but once friends persisted in signing up friends, the ease of use was overlooked. Giving them some slack for being innovative in their re-design of Friendster, judges decided to be generous and give them an average score of 7 even though the overall ease of use is not par for the course.

2) Amount of Content : 8pts. = "B"
How much stuff they have to look at?

In terms of content, the original draw for myspace was based around the revolutionary music sharing capabilities. However, their lack of video file sharing allowed the incredibly explosive growth of Youtube, who continues to dominate this area of the industry. Myspace followed and added the video file sharing functionality. But, in comparison to other file sharing sites, like the monster Youtube they created, Myspace is still behind. Another important factor to the judges was Myspace's lack of original content by users. We give this category an 8 for a decent amount of "other" peoples content.

3) Amount of Users : 10pts. = "A+"
How many users are on site?

MySpace is the biggest social network on the net surpassing the populations of most countries. This judge sums up how ubiquitous myspace is, " don't have a myspace account?.......YUCK!"

4) Extra Features : 8pts. = "B"
How much extra stuff do they have to do?

As previously mentioned, Myspace blew the lid off of the music industry by allowing users to share their music with peers and fans. However, since those early days when users flocked in mass numbers, Myspace has been playing catchup to add features other sites came out with before them. Examples of such competitors are Youtube (video sharing), Facebook (open source applications), Evite (Invitations), Craigslist (Classifieds) to name a few. Sure, Myspace has added key features to their system but because of their lack of ingenuity judges give them a 8.

5) General Mission of Site : 7pts. = "C"
Does the company have a good mission?

Myspace has the slogan, "A Place For Friends" which so happens to be their basic mission statement. Since the buy out of co-founders Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe, The Fox Group has been a bit more worried about the bottom line, and the community has degraded to what one judge sadly said, "A Place for Spammers and Lewd Material". No longer can users freely browse the system for real people. Now they must weed through the fake profiles and obnoxious advertisements crowding up the system. Because of its solid mission foundation but its subsequent deterioration, judges will be nice and give it a 7.

6) User Involvement : 6pts. = "D"
How much do users affect Development/Management?

Myspace was one of the Social Network innovators. They paved the way for the online revolution and should be commended. Because of their rapid rise and uncanny success, they may have turned a deaf ear to their user base. When companies have a high success rate they tend to have the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra. Well, Myspace has followed this to a tee. Sure, they had to keep up with their competitors and add new features, but overall they never listened to their enormous user base. We hear it all the time now, "Quality over Quantity". It seems that Myspace is looking for more quantity and risks alienating the people that got them their in the first place. Corporate juggernauts should not be in charge of telling users how to interact with their friends. In our eyes, it's time to start listening to users rather than telling them how it is. 6 for arrogance and their resistance to innovation after their initial success.

7) Company Loyalty : 6pts. = "D"
How much the company cares about it's users?

This category is tied closely with number 6 (User Development). If Myspace listened to their audience more, they would find that they aren't very happy. One key thing going for Myspace at the moment is the fact that it is the largest social network on the planet. Thus, users feel obligated to stay where their friends are. If another system came out that gave users a voice we feel their would be mass migration. Judges cited numerous articles quoting Myspace users as saying they feel like Myspace has sold out and is taking advantage of the users. This is not hard to imagine given that it is owned by one of the largest news agencies in the world. 6 for not listening to the people that got you where you are today.

8) Social Responsibility : 5pts. = "F"
Does the company operate in the best interest of the community?

Myspace is one of the most important internet contributors ever. They opened up the lines of communication that had never been seen and the shockwave is still being felt throughout the industry. However, like all successful businesses, there is a bottom line that must be met. Judges feel the original concept behind the site was sound but with the Fox Group currently behind the reigns there seems to be more focus on advertising than community. Maybe Rupert should listen to Oprah who has a great idea that when you put something good/positive out, good things will come back. 5 points for sponging off their users for so long; success should be a 2 way street.

9) How Green the Company Operates : 5pts. = "F"
Does the company operate with the best interest of the environment in mind?

There is a new movement amongst all businesses now. It is trendy and lucrative to be Green. The majority of companies have noticed this trend and are attempting to brand themself a new Green image. Myspace is no different. A few months back Myspace created a new section called "Impact" which is designed to promote people or causes making a positive impact in the world. A genuinely nice idea, however, in the judges eyes, "Impact" has had little impact on the network. Maybe users aren't ready to make a positive difference? Not was mentioned before, Myspace has created an enormous network in which they have "trained" their followers how to best interact with their peers online and ultimately in life. It's time to lead by example and promote green living and so we ask, what are you doing as a company to limit your impact on the environment? Judges give them a 5 for at least creating the "Impact" section on the site. However, just because it is there does not mean it has any value.

10) How Cool the site is : 8pts. = "B"
Can you see this being a cool site for whoever it's target user is?

There is no doubt that Myspace lead the way in Social Networking and what is now called the "Web 2.0" revolution. Myspace adopted the early success and innovation of Friendster to become the biggest, most well known of all the social networks. They have pioneered the way we share and listen to music and have a very comprehensive system for their users to participate in. They have a wide variety of age ranges and backgrounds. Overall, the site is a monster and is pretty cool because of it's size and scope. 8 points for coolness...obviously there is still work to be done to bridge all the gaps that were mentioned above.

Total Score = 70 pts. = "C-"

3 Ways to Improve

1) Myspace should stop worrying so much about making ad revenue and, instead, go back to the original roots it was founded under.

2) Crack down on inappropriate material and spammers, open up the lines of communication between the system and the users. Maybe then will Myspace save itself from the lack of loyalty it has generated amongst its users.

3) Get off its "high horse". The internet is a much different place than when Myspace came into existence. In order to survive and continue to grow you must adapt. Listen to your user base.

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