Tag Archives: Myspace

Is Bebo really worthless?

Michael and Xochi BirchThe
sale of Bebo announced this morning has been a long time coming. It
started coming almost as soon as AOL bought the site and it started to
lose ground in March 2008.

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Advertisers fight it out for YouTube’s homepage

Wow things have really moved on for YouTube. One time advertisers had little interest in the video sharing site and now they are fighting to own the video site’s homepage, which means a profit ahead as revenues leap.

Advertisers used to be worried about being associated with some of the inappropriate content that you can find on YouTube. Not it seems anymore according to this Adage piece.

YouTube’s home page sold out in the fourth quarter and film studios are now biding for space on what is a prime piece of video real estate to promote their latest movies.

Lionsgate and Twentieth Century Fox are among the studios that have embraced it. And what they have embraced is a site that is estimated to be serving as many as 1 billion videos per day.

Twentieth Century Fox bought the YouTube homepage in 15 countries for ‘Avatar’ to drive traffic for the trailer. Well something worked (clearly being a mega budget 3-D extravaganza helps).

Last week alone YouTube’s advertising partners accounted for 44.7% of the views among the top 100 videos, compared to 36.3% six months ago. That’s quite a change.

The piece quotes YouTube Ad Director Shishir Mehrotra, saying: “When I took this job a year and a half ago, people kept asking ‘What is going to be the equivalent of the Google text ad for YouTube?’. What we realized is there is no one ad format for video, because consumers come to YouTube to do different things.”

The piece makes a very good point in comparing it to MySpace circa 2006. Everyone talked about MySpace being the place where entertainment advertisers went. That was only a year after Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace for $580m. Now it’s worth…oh way less. Is it on a road to profit? Well it is on a road at least.

YouTube seems to have triumphed even as the market has become more competitive with the likes of Hulu and others taking a share of its market. It has been helped by more and more professional content being uploaded onto the service much by media companies and advertisers who have become adept at establishing their own channels.

What does all this mean in hard numbers? Well last month All Things Digital reported Barclays analyst Douglas Anmuth saying that YouTube will see a revenue jump of 55% to $700m in 2010 and that it will “start contributing positively” to the Google’s earnings. I think that means the long road profit has almost been reached.

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Facebook close to 400m users as growth accelerates

It was only two months ago that Facebook announced it had hit 350 million users and now it is about to hit 400 million. Couple that with yesterday’s report that it is now the fourth biggest traffic source for news sites then its significance to all of us appears to be growing by the day.

Back in June Facebook reached 250 million active users and by December Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social networking site he founded had grown to 350m users globally (23 million) in the UK and that his target was 1bn.

That is a big number and it is announced on the site’s sixth birthday. In the space of 60 days give or take Facebook has attracted 50 million people – that’s 830,000 people a day — and its growth appears to be accelerating.

Here’s what Zuckerberg has to say: “Today we’re celebrating our sixth birthday, and this week there will be 400 million people on Facebook. Just one year ago we served less than half as many people, and thanks to you we’ve made great progress over the last year towards making the world more open and connected.”

News of the 400 million club comes as Facebook also announces changes to its design and navigation. There are improvements to search and the way pictures are uploaded and they’ve added a new games application dashboard to make it easier to find these things should you want them.

The focus there is clear. These games are massive money spinners (like Farmville) and traffic drivers, which is in part helping to fuel Facebook’s growth.

“We’re making it easier for you to find and interact with applications and discover new ones, with the new Applications and Games dashboards, accessible via the “Applications” and “Games” links on the home page. The dashboards will surface the applications you’ve interacted with most recently as well as your most recent application activity and your friends’ activity.”

There are already 3,000 comments on the post announcing changes to Facebook’s design. Plus another 2,500 plus saying they like it. That’s an engaged community. The post only went up five hours ago.

Facebook Connect also looks to have played a big part in this and that has barely got going. People have called Facebook Connect a game changer and we are going to see big things with that this year.

As more sites implement Facebook Connect it will doubtless persuade more users to Facebook because it so easily allows people to hop around the web with a single login.

What’s interesting about Facebook Connect and its success with sites like the Huffington Post for instance is that these are sites come with a huge cross section of audience in terms of age and demographics, which underscores Facebook’s success (and MySpace’s failure). Facebook has broad sustained appeal from your mother to your kids.

What’s also interesting is that the growth appears sustainable. It took it six months to get it the 100 million users it needed to growth from 250 million to 350 million, but only two months to add another 50 million. That raises the prospect of Facebook of hitting 500 million users by June.

What will that mean for news sites and the likes of Google News? It could be significant as more and more people choose Facebook as the platform not only where they network with friends, share pictures, play games, but also stay informed.

[Twitter]

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BBC readies social media make-over

A couple of reports around today on the BBC’s social media plans saying that as soon as this weekend it will begin adding applications to support its most popular shows.

Broadband TV News says that the likes of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ will get the social media treatment first and that the BBC is working on bringing in third party partners (such as buzz tracker), which cold extend to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

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Gordon Brown needs to consider his social media reputation

Following on from Friday’s post on Labour’s Twitter lead, research says that Gordon Brown has a lot of ground to make up with Britain’s 30m online social network users as he looks to make his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference this week.

Of course, his social media reputation is not the only thing he and Labour needs (a fight back would be nice, but not the place).

Social media agency Yomego carried out a Social Media Reputation audit (a new service it is launching) of the Prime Minister’s online reputation looking across the spectrum at Facebook, Bebo, Myspace, Twitter and YouTube alongside other social spaces such as blogs, comments, ratings, reviews and user-generated content.

While the party might have more MPs Twittering and engaging with social media, David Cameron’s reputation in the world of Twitter, Facebook and the blogging community is ranked 20 points higher, which is of course ironic give what he thinks for instance of Twitter (“Too many twits might make a twat.”) although he really should come clean about Facebook as well (I’m just sitting here drumming my fingers waiting for that one).

Out of a possible 100, the Prime Minister scores 42.59 in the audit, which measures the volume and newness of social media chatter and whether it is positive or negative.

To be honest the recent week’s that Brown has been having that is almost better than expected. From here on out, and with his speech this week, the party and Brown have to get that higher.

According to Yomego, in Brown’s case there was lots of noise, but opinion was almost universally unenthusiastic with his “sentiment” score lower than that achieved by British National Party leader Nick Griffin (seriously? I find that hard to believe, but that is what the agency says).

Tory leader David Cameron rated a score of 62.49 with the level of noise on social media networks achieving similar volume and recency to the PM, but the overall sentiment rating more than three times better than his Labour counterpart. Well the Tories are between 13 and 15 points ahead in the polls depending on who you look at so that is going to happen.

A ray of light for Brown comes from the Liberal Democrat who should be soaking up the anti Brown/Labour chatter, but while leader Nick Clegg scores a respectable 54.13 he is let down by a low noise rating. You mean no one is talking Clegg? Apparently he is not exactly inspiring the Lib Dems to new heights as the party’s recent conference appeared to demonstrate (either that or Lib Dems don’t chatter/make much noise in social media).

Steve Richards, MD of Yomego, says that the audits carried out so far have underlined how important it is for brands (political parties) to manage that social media noise and sentiment around them.

“The noise around your brand may be deafening but if that noise is overwhelmingly negative, its reputation will suffer real damage. Conversely, if positive sentiment about your brand is drowned out by your competitors, you won’t see the benefits.

“For politicians, with nearly 30m people in the UK alone regularly using a social network, social media reputation is an important barometer for measuring whether their message is getting through and how it’s being received. That’s particularly true as we enter the party conference season and all parties start gearing up for a general election next year.”

Other stuff thrown up by the audit, but not strictly earth shattering (but here you are) are the high scores achieved by Barack Obama who scored 77.79 (shocker – he is the social media king, or president as he likes to be known) and French Premier Nicolas Sarkozy achieving 66.15. Does he Twitter? Do the French? I’m sure they do, but weirdly I don’t think I have ever followed/been followed by someone from across the channel. The rest of Europe yes, France no.

I digress, um here’s a bit of how they did the Social Media Reputation audit, which Yomego says is a first measurement system combining quantity and quality, with insight and will be officially launched at Mipcom 2009 (5th – 9th October).

 The result is a total score out of 100, representing an average of the level and freshness of noise generated and the nature and recency of sentiment behind what’s being expressed.

[Twitter]

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Facebook at 300m it’s the Disney of social networks

Facebook has passed a number of milestones this year and as it passes the 300m users mark there doesn’t seem to be much stopping it or much competition in its rear view mirror.

Adding 50m users in two months is really something. Earlier this year it became the fourth biggest website on the planet, snapped up FriendFeed for $50m and is making money. Although no clues on how much money it is making.

The trick that Facebook has managed to pull off so successfully is that it is all encompassing. If you look at it in terms of the family set-up, whole families are there: kids, parents, cousins, aunts and grandparents are all represented. Sports teams and other groups use it as a virtual adjunct. It’s social and crosses the business divide as well (although not successfully).

It’s like the Disney of social networks. Okay, so Disney would never allow you to post pictures of your friends vomiting – but hey you get the idea.

I know lots of people who have their parents as friends on Facebook. I’m not sure they always want to and occasionally live in fear that drunk status updating might draw leading questions.

But it is that achievement of universality that is the cornerstone of Facebook’s success, coupled with the fact that it is a generally cleanly designed and not to cluttered website. Yes we all have irks with the changes that get introduced now and again, but by and large it works and navigating is as easy for my mum as it is for a teenage cousin.

Its growth to some degree I’m sure has been helped by the lack of solid competition. MySpace has faded in a mess of spam, clutter and lack of focus. Twitter despite its really impressive growth is not Facebook. I might spend a lot more time on Twitter, but I still use both. Twitter clearly works very differently, it serves a different purpose, and it is not universal in its appeal.

So much has already been written about why teenagers are not on Twitter (less about my mum), but that always seemed pretty obvious to me from the start. Twitter is much more about grown-up networks. Its use as a business networking tool is well established and can be awesomely effective at this (see yesterday’s post about Twitter and the power of small business). That’s not what Facebook does and teens generally don’t have a lot of business networking to do.

What they do have is friends to connect and socialise with and Facebook works brilliantly for that. For those in work who don’t need the kind of connections that those in certain industries need (communications, media, marketing, entertainment et cet) Facebook answers most of their social networking needs.

All ages are welcome which is why I guess it is making money ahead of its 2010 target as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg writes on his blog:

“We’re also succeeding at building Facebook in a sustainable way. Earlier this year, we said we expected to be cash flow positive sometime in 2010, and I’m pleased to share that we achieved this milestone last quarter. This is important to us because it sets Facebook up to be a strong independent service for the long term.

“Over time, Facebook will continue to be as strong as all of the connections you make. We’ll continue building new and better things to make connecting with the people you care about as easy and rewarding as possible. We thank all of you for helping us reach the point where we are connecting 300 million people, and we hope to serve you and many more people in increasingly deep and innovative ways in the months and years ahead.”

Congratulations its seems well deserved.

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US Marine Corps grapples with Web 2.0 – bans use of Twitter, Facebook and MySpace

The US Marine Corps has banned use of Twitter, Facebook and
MySpace for its active soldiers – the result of the US’ deputy defence
secretary William Lynn’s vow to review military use of social networks.

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MySpace ventures into webmail

News Corporation’s MySpace is believed to be rolling out its own webmail service tomorrow. According to paidContent.org, users will be given their own addresses “@myspace.com”.

Apparently “a bunch of ex-Hotmail guys”are running the project out of Seattle. It is unclear whether the social networking site, which has 130m global members, will limit the webmail service to US users only.

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MySpace goes into rapid retreat/embraces its future

There’s carnage at MySpace. Almost 800 jobs cut within a week and the closed sign is being hung up around the world. It looks like today we are seeing the social media map being reshaped.

Last week MySpace laid off 420 staff in its US offices. Today it has cut a further 300 internationally and is closing down a host of offices as it retrenches and faces up to its place in the world.

In the new world order of MySpace, London, Berlin, and Sydney will be the primary regional hubs for MySpace as offices in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, and Spain get the chop as has Travis Katzis, the MySpace SVP and MD, who is leaving, having grown staff around the world from two to more than 400.

The cuts have come as new MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta has been given the job of re-envisioning the social networking site and helping it “operate as a nimble and entrepreneurial company with the adaptive mentality of a start-up”.

That has come against a backdrop of MySpace usage falling rapidly away. In the last year the number of minutes spent on the site has fallen by 31% (although it remains top for video) while Facebook soared 700%.

MySpace has lost its place as a general social networking site and these tough cuts are obvious signs that it has accepted this.

Where MySpace is strong, is in music and video or entertainment more generally. As a place for promoting new music and bands, as well as movies, MySpace has its niche, but is that enough?

I saw a headline last week on Adage, which posed this question neatly: Can Bruno (as in Sasha Baron Cohen) save MySpace? Or “MeinSpace” as the campy Austrian character calls it.

‘Bruno’ is another movie that has close ties with MySpace, which has a special MeinSpace.com hosted page.

The story detailed how ‘Bruno’ was only part of MySpace efforts to forge deep ties with the entertainment industry and major studios.

Something seems to be working. Bruno has 330,000-odd friends on MySpace, but only 31,500 on Facebook and around 14,000 followers on Twitter (who are these people?) where his username is @brunovassup.

For MySpace this is retrenchment, but clearly the right thing to do and from its perspective it is clearly better for it to embrace this rather simply try to continue to compete as a more general social networking site such as Facebook.

This suggests several things. There are a whole bunch of special interest gaps out there.

Fake profiles and anonymity have always been the order of the day on MySpace. As some have said before this was like Twitter in the early days, but increasingly Twitter has become more like Facebook. People have ditched their fake names and more and more only want to connect people who only have their real names.

I started out as GordonM before changing my username to my actual name. It makes sense.

The fakery and anonymity means that MySpace is taking on increasingly the properties of niche interest social networking sites. If you are a cyclist for instance you probably go to Bikeradar or a runner you go to Runner’s World. And when you do you are likely to be a member of them in addition to broader sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

This gives us a world where we have a number of top level broad interest sites (like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) and more special interest sites (both international and local) of which a retrenched MySpace appears to be one of.

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Twitter getting into the (#spymaster free) groove

Another piece of research out today that confirms my view that Twitter’s future will be a more compact one and that while its growth spurt may continue, it will not be sustained and in the not too distant future it will settle down to what its eventually going to be.

The latest research from Harvard Business has a lot of interesting stats in it. Top of that list is the one about who does the Twittering. The report says that there is a small contingent of users who are very active and specifically the top 10% of Twitter users account for over 90% of all tweets. That is a huge and disproportionate statistic in comparison to any other social network out there.

The report goes on to say that on a typical social network, the top 10% of users usually account for 30% of all activity. Even on Wikipedia, the figure is 15% of the most prolific users accounting for 90% of Wikipedia’s activity.

“In other words, the pattern of contributions on Twitter is more concentrated among the few top users than is the case on Wikipedia, even though Wikipedia is clearly not a communications tool. This implies that Twitter’s resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network,” Harvard Business says.

The Harvard study comes on the same day that Nielsen put out some numbers on general social networking growth. They revealed nothing terribly exciting, but what the stats came with was a timely reminder from Jon Gibs at Nielsen Online who asked: “Remember Friendster? Remember when MySpace was an unbeatable force?”

Sure we all do, but what has happened since then is this: fantastic growth as users flock to these sites and then try them out, but then they abandon them. Its like dating.

Much of this trying results in many Twitter users signing up and never tweeting and in fact abandoning their accounts after one month. I’ve had friends sign up, give it a go and not really find that it fits in with what they do day to day. Their community is simply not involved.

In essence this is what has happened to MySpace. We all flocked to it. We tried. We experimented and some of us moved on. I closed my account the other week as I hadn’t used it for 18 months. Frankly truth is I’m way past it, when it comes to MySpace. Oh yeah that and they were always spamming me.

But while the Nielsen research showed that MySpace fell 31% in the last year, it also showed that when it comes to streamed video it rules the roost. That’s what it does best.

It’s the settling effect that comes after all the hype as MySpace has slipped into its natural groove. The same will be true of others in the social networking space.

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