Archive for MySpace

Mark Up Pricing?

Posted in Brand, Social networking with tags , , , on July 30, 2008 by manuscrypts

It’s been just over a month since Facebook wrested the #1 position from MySpace in terms of unique visitors to the site. That’s in spite of being only about half of MySpace in terms of traffic and having to deal with Orkut in India, Brazil etc. This, plus the fact that Facebook’s international strategy of providing the same networking tool in other countries (the only occassional concession being language) is working better than MySpace’s game of ‘communities based on local culture’ in each country – check this out in  (in India’s case), made me do a double take when I read an article recently on how Facebook should seriously consider selling out now.

While there have been debates about MS valuing it at $15 billion, and I’d side with those who say that its a tag on the higher side, I really couldn’t agree on the selling off idea. The basic premise of the argument is that once the high school and college kids (the audience driving Facebook’s exponential growth) grow up, they’ll find better toys and shiny objects to play with, and will forget Facebook.

I’d have agreed with that, but or a few factors. For starters, the way Facebook is adapting. I’d written about the new design earlier, and how Facebook had kind of ditched the old social networking premise, and quickly changed to a Friendfeed/Twitter premise of conversations. That kind of flexibility, combined with the kind of apps that keep me engaged, should help Facebook remain relevant. What, for example, prevents them from doing a ‘Second Life’ twist if virtual worlds suddenly became an even bigger rage? The traffic and the apps, I’d think have a strong correlation which benefits Facebook. The more people use the site, the more developers would want to build apps there…

Another factor is that it still has miles to grow. It’s only #2 in the US, and in markets like India, where the internet itself hasn’t reached its potential, the kind of activity we’re seeing now is not even the tip of the the berg. And what’s the investment? Unlike MySpace, which has an office for India ops, Facebook just invests in Mark Zuckerberg’s flight tickets for his rare visits. (Its an interesting

The third factor is Facebook Connect, which will allow the portability of our social identity on it. A ‘crude’ indicator of its impact would be how you can comment on this post and it would link to your Facebook profile. It means that Facebook knows and can keep track of the real you even outside the walled garden it used to be. And that, IMHO, combined with the MS association which keeps getting deeper, will really enable it to challenge Google and its plans for world domination.

And though I was mildly irritated by their inclination towards the BOSS (Build Operate Sell Stake) way, I remain a huge Facebook fan, as the tags on your right would prove, and still believe that Facebook’s biggest success is that, at a basic level, it allows me to connect with people, on the multiple interest points that i share with them, from Bollywood to F1 and quite a few others, and after they’re done with sending me virtual beers and throwing sheep at me, we can really sit down and have some great interactions on things we are interested in.

until next time, break the walls down

Appy times

Posted in India, Social networking with tags , , on April 17, 2008 by manuscrypts

And that much talked about day is finally here. The Orkut applications have started their invasion. When I logged in today, what do is see beneath my daily fortune – ‘New! Add applications and customize your profile with songs, games and much more. ‘ With the launch of MySpace slated later in the evening today, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Was that by design? 😉

Though these days, orkut has been relegated to a routine daily check, i dived in to see what’s on offer. A lot of stuff seems to what a Facebook user would be familiar with – Horoscopes, ILike (music), Teen Patti, India Dekha, TopFriends, Slide TV, Flixster, iRead, IPoke etc. But there are also stuff which i have not seen – Chakpak, an application from the website with the same name, based on Bollywood, and Typeracer, which is a typing speed testing game.

The latter already seems to be making waves, if I am to believe the various tweets that i have heard. I confess that it is quite addictive :). Interestingly, C2W also has an application, based on Hangman. Wonder if there’ll be copyright issues like Scrabble. Though I am yet to try it out, what’s cool is that apparently one can one’s own version based on fave movies etc.

I’m not quite sure how this would affect Facebook, them specially becaue apps has been one of their USPs. For all those who grumble about Facebook being confusing, Orkut with apps might be the answer. For the regular Facebook users, it does have a huge first mover advantage, which Orkut will take some time to overcome, if it does, at all. And where will MySpace and the desi versions figure in all of this?

until next time, go apply yourself 🙂

PS. Looks to be a big day for Indian social networking. Big B going to blog, i read here.

Spacing Out

Posted in Brand, India, Internet, Social networking with tags on March 18, 2008 by manuscrypts

So, MySpace is planning a formal launch in April. I had written about them earlier, when they were doing the Campus Star thing with Channel V. Maybe the idea was to get in the seed users from the audience category they expect/want. This is also a case of going after Youngistan then 🙂 But this is a neat way of doing beta testing.

Not a bad start then, because they have apparently got some 62000 users registered on IndiHub, which is a community they’d created. From what i saw, it mainly had to do with the music scene, and what has been called ‘Indian programs’. The site does have quite some Indian bands’ videos and songs. I checked Thermal and a Quarter, which is a popular Bangalore band, and it already has over 200 comments. I also happened to check for Galeej gurus, another well known Bangalore band, and found them too, though with lesser comments. Similar with Motherjane.

With Orkut and Facebook having a major presence already, MySpace will have to find radically different ways of reaching out to their core audience, and college/other music bands definitely fit the bill. If they take over this space, which currently has no owners, they could swing a good and loyal audience their way. The other good part is, it is a good way to become a part of college fests. eg. If Galeej Gurus are going to play at IIM-B’s fest, (and they’re going to know that well in advance), MySpace can actually have communication at the venue saying visit Galeej Gurus at My Space, blog about your experience at IIM-B, connect with other fans, find out where they’re playing next and so on, instead of going about the ‘online partner’ logo way. The idea is obvious- build communities around stuff which evoke passion. The brand then becomes very contextual, relevant, and therefore something which one would immediately want to asssociate with.

I wonder if they’re also planning the same trick with a more mass commodity – Bollywood, because in the videos’ space, i saw an exlusive interview with Ranvir Sheorey, and a Mithya trailer. This can be another great community builder. Imagine the movies’ trailers having a mention of MySpace in the same ‘Galeej Gurus’ fashion above. Exclusive interviews, trailers, chats with actors, more importantly actresses :D, downloads of wallpapers, ringtones etc – in essence, a Bollywood Hungama in a social networking milieu. Do this for every major movie that releases, actually the non major ones too, after all, its Bollywood and I’m waiting to see how Himesh’s Karzz will turn out to be (hope that numerology funda in the end doesnt turn out to be a preview)

I wonder if this is what they are planning. If so, social networking in India will be fun because this is a good answer to Facebook’s applications, and while junta will flock to this latest offering purely because of the novelty factor and snob appeal, its important to build users and communities right, so they dont flock towards the next entrant.

until next time, this is my space 🙂

Social Responsibility

Posted in India, Social networking with tags , , on January 21, 2008 by manuscrypts

And the mother of ’em all is finally here- My Space. I wonder if the promos happening on Channel V for its campus star is My Space’s idea of an Indian launch. I hope not, because i kinda liked Big Adda’s efforts, and hope to see a good brand campaign from My Space.Meanwhile, i read this article recently, which talked about social networking fatigue.

While it did make interesting reading, and gave what could be a popular perspective about the sites, i would tend to disagree on the fatigue factor.While I admit to being a more recent convert to all the sites, i’ve been on orkut and facebook long enough to have come across fatigue if it was lurking there. In fact, the case could be true of orkut where my involvement has perhaps seen a downturn after i joined facebook. But thats because Orkut doesnt have enough meat (IMHO) to keep me interested, and that’s precisely what differentiates Facebook. Its not just about messages and photo sharing, vampires/werewolves and forwards, its also about applications which cater to your interests in life – be it word games like scrabble, Tv shows like Heroes, or the philosophy of Ayn Rand, or a simply super group like ‘I love trashy Hindi movies’, the list just goes on.

I can’t see fatigue setting in when i’m playing scrabble with friends, while buying and selling in the fantasy stock exchange, and doing a likeness test with my friends and so on. In fact, the kind of fatigue i see is in the number of sites that keep cropping up. While (with the entry of My Space) we have three globally recognised networks, we also have the local clones like minglebox, yaari, Big Adda etc. And here’s were the fight will happen.Thats because there are users, and quite possibly the majority, who are into the social networking sites because its the in thing, and offers the (by now) plain vanilla benefit of connecting with friends. Once that connecting is done, their attention span becomes fleeting, and they’d hop, skip and jump to the newest site before you can say ‘Scrap’.

So every new site launched and every new campaign for them would create a ripple in that market.But then, there’s also the user who’ll try to derive value from a network which offers such avenues for him, and for him there’s no fatigue. If the site keeps adding stuff that will add to the user stickiness, then they would have to worry only if a better product comes into the market, not because of the wannabes that appear from time to time.

In essence, social networks, as every other commodity, will be solely responsible for how long they keep the user, depending on the value they create.So you see, the writing, as they say, is on the wall 🙂

and i bid adieu, wishing you all the best in your socialising efforts..