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Will MySpace Take Note and Rebrand?
By: Jeff Louis
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FacebookBoring_img“You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few,” notes the website promoting one of the most discussed movies of the fall, “The Social Network." Based on Mark Zuckerberg and the rise of Facebook, the movie debuts in theaters Oct. 1. As Xerox with photocopy, Facebook has become synonymous with social network for many Americans.
Just a couple years ago, Facebook made headlines as MySpace’s strongest competitor. Last year, Facebook catapulted to the top spot, and MySpace disappeared from view, becoming an also-ran.
News Corp., owner of the struggling MySpace, now fights to keep the brand alive, despite the fact that MySpace still claims 61 million unique monthly users, which is second to Facebook. Last year, rumors swirled that Rupert Murdoch and MySpace would revamp the brand, and small changes stirred across the Internet. 

Murdoch brought in former Facebook and Amazon executive Owen Van Natta, and speculation centered on the site playing to one of its strengths, local and independent music. However, other than a few cosmetic and user-experience changes, no real transformation took place, and the heralded Van Natta was out after six months.  

It’s tough to stay relevant in an industry that changes daily; MySpace's competitors, besides Facebook, are real-time competitors like Twitter and location-based networks similar to Foursquare. While the top social media networks expand via mobile social networking, MySpace flounders with determining their niche. In reality, however, they have one. 
MySpace’s problem is one of perception, yet perception is reality in an industry that revolutionizes constantly. The social site fights to retain current users while frantically searching for a unique difference to build their user-base. Online, the buzz focuses on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, which actually provides MySpace with a unique opportunity to stay out of the spotlight and quietly improve user experience by focusing on new music, music sharing, and the entertainment aspects the site provides.

MySpace doesn’t need to compete with Facebook; it needs to differentiate and capitalize on Zuckerberg’s weaknesses. MySpace could take large leaps forward by offering users total control of privacy settings and rebranding the site to appeal to younger demographics.
Online measurements indicate Facebook’s growth isn’t with the 18-34 demographic anymore; the latest numbers show that the network’s strongest growth areas are adults between the ages of 35-64 and with adults 65 and older (100 percent growth).  MySpaceMusic
Not every site has to aspire to be the same as Facebook, but the overall goal -- eyeballs and advertisers -- is the same for all. MySpace can capitalize on their ability to “create experiences around stuff consumers are rabid about and tap a brand into those.” The best example, of course, is MySpace’s appeal to musicians. According to Brandweek, more than 5 million musical groups clamor for ears on the site. All have active followers -- mainly younger -- who participate in contests, share music, and show up for concerts. Wendy’s, became the official sponsor of MySpace Music’s “Get Close” competition that provides fans with the opportunity to see their favorite groups live.

Wendy’s successful integration of music and active followers propelled their MySpace fans to over one million, more than doubling the number of fans they have on Facebook (393,000).
That, it would seem, is MySpace’s niche; it would be great to see them capitalize on it.


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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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