MySpace, RIP

June 30, 2011

MySpace, the site that arguably invented social media, was sold yesterday for a paltry $35 million. Since News Corp bought it in 2005, the site has lost a whopping 94% of its value.

From a business point of view, this was the equivalent of pulling the plug. RIP, MySpace.

MySpace speaks to the transience of online users and the power of a defining Web brand. So what as branders can we learn? It’s a simple lesson, really: Keep innovating or go home. Leading today isn’t good enough. To be a leading brand, the challenge is to continually re-define yourself to define your market.

Once Facebook overtook MySpace, it was game over. That’s the way the Web works. Ask Yahoo. Or bn.com. Or friendfeed. Or UBid. All online brands — some of whom have better technology — that are struggling to gain or hold traction against a clear category leader.

Darwin figured this out in 1859. The Web has just accelerated it, providing compelling case studies of evolution in the equivalent of an eye blink. As a category matures, the market picks the winner. And pity the brand that comes in number two.

A fascinating battle is being waged in real time between LivingSocial and Groupon. These two deal-of-the-day sites are fighting for mindshare, marketshare and dominance in their nascent category. Groupon has the louder voice and sexy business history, but LivingSocial is on the offensive with a TV ad campaign.

The market hasn’t decided Groupon vs. LivingSocial yet. (You wonder if Groupon missed its payday by turning down $6 billion to be acquired.) And maybe they’ll break the paradigm and both succeed. But I’m not betting on it. The Web’s just not big enough for both. Ask MySpace.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Brandlogic and CoreBrand have become Tenet Partners — Where brand meets innovation®. More