Will the Kids Come Back to Myspace?

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In 2005, Rupert Murdoch was seen as a visionary for buying Myspace for a cool $580 million. But in the years following the acquisition, the social network has hemorrhaged users and cash at an alarming rate. Now, in a last-ditch effort to regain its panache (and user base), Myspace has unveiled a new redesign. Some say the company's new look is marginally better, while others think Myspace is abandoning social networking altogether. Company President Mike Jones said the redesign is aimed at the 13 to 35 demographic. Will Generation Y come back to Myspace? Here's a preview of the new site followed by commentary from techies:

  • We're Redefining Ourselves, explains Myspace in a letter to users: "Myspace is creating a rich, highly personalized experience for people to discover content and connect with other fans who share similar interests. The entertainment experience will span music, celebrities, movies, television and games and will be available through multiple platforms, including online, mobile devices and offline events."

  • This Could Work, writes Rasheen at Black Web 2.0: "Rather than connecting with others based on real life connections, MySpace wants users to connect based on common interests. This is possible to do on other networks like Facebook, but not necessarily practical. This single change in direction could take away the competitive dynamic of the Facebook-MySpace relationship and make it easier for users to justify using both. If MySpace doesn’t have to compete directly with Facebook, it’s more likely they can turn things around."

  • It Undermines Itself, writes Brennon Slattery at Computer World: "Myspace is a Sad Middleman. Posting photos and videos on your profile page is part of the joy of social networking, but Myspace recently added functionality allowing users to push photos, status updates, links and videos out to a Facebook profile or page, and also Twitter. This is basically Myspace undermining its own relevance, admitting that its social features are worthless and that its competitors are superior -- which is wicked sad."

  • It's Marginally Better, writes Matthew Ingram at Gigaom: "The redesign makes profile pages somewhat cleaner looking — in other words, they have mostly lost that late-1990s look. However, pages are still quite cluttered, and it’s still difficult to find things amidst all the widgets and plugins and assorted doo-dads. More than anything, the new design looks very Facebook-like, which probably isn’t surprising. In other words, the changes are a coat of paint and perhaps some new plumbing, but the house remains the same."

  • It's Ugly, adds Brennon Slattery at Computer World: "Cosmetic overhaul? Not quite. Myspace is gunning for a clean and streamlined interface, but one look at a screenshot and boom -- instant headache. It's riddled with flashy textiles, text-heavy, and sandwiched between throbbing banner advertisements. Barftastic!"

  • Comebacks Are Rare, writes Matthew Ingram at Gigaom: "The problem for Myspace and Yahoo and Digg — not to mention dozens of other faded superstars of the web — is that once you’re on that downward slide in terms of users and traffic, it’s virtually impossible to recover. That’s just not how the network effect works. Myspace’s redesign might appeal to many of its existing users, and possibly encourage some to use it more, but will it bring in new users, or enough of them to make a difference? Unlikely."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.