MySpace to revamp site

2010-08-12 12:17
New York – The once-dominant social network MySpace is revamping its home page. It's looking a little more like its more popular and populous rival, Facebook, even as it attempts to set itself apart.

In simplifying its user home page, MySpace is making users' stream wider and more prominent. The stream is the constantly updated flow of status updates and shared content, much like the news feed that is front and centre on Facebook.

MySpace also is consolidating recommendations, such as games, events and "people you may know", into one section instead of scattering them around the page. And users' photos, videos, music and events will be combined under a "My Stuff" section on their home page.

The redesign is part of a broader overhaul of MySpace, as the site works to stay relevant to its current audience and draw in new users, including those who haven't visited in years.

In setting itself apart from Facebook – which in just a couple of years dethroned MySpace as a media darling and internet favourite – MySpace is focusing on attracting younger users and helping them discover new things.

That has been the site's forte since its heyday, when teens flocked to MySpace to find out about new music and design their often flashy, jumbled home pages. Facebook, meanwhile has become especially popular with the over-35 crowd.

MySpace President Mike Jones said the latest changes are in preparation for a big overhaul in the fall, "so as we turn on the full re-launch it's not a shock to the system."

Relevant

The goal is to be relevant to 13- to 34-year-olds and help them discover new people and new content.

EMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson called the redesign smart, a clear departure from the MySpace of old that was a "cluttered, messy catchall".

"Do I wish it happened sooner? Yes," she said.

But it didn't, and in the meantime Facebook has grown to 500 million. MySpace, which is owned by News Corp, has more than 120 million users worldwide.

"MySpace and Facebook really aren't even competing in the same category any more," Williamson said. "Which is good. For MySpace to be successful they need to carve out their own place."

MySpace remains a go-to place for many new musicians who want to showcase their music and interact with their audience.

If MySpace's overhaul works, making music and entertainment front and centre could help it serve the same purpose MTV did a generation ago. If it doesn't, it could go the way of another once-dominant network, Friendster.

- AP
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