Facebook Soars While MySpace Wilts

I didn’t find it at all surprising when I read “Facebook Hockey Sticks, MySpace Languishes” over at techcrunch.com.  Facebook now has about double the number of active users as Myspace.  Even more disconcerting for Mysapce, their number of active users actually dropped by a couple million while Facebook’s shot up by 40 million (!!!) in a single month.

Interface, interface, interface.  When MySpace was new, a clunky interface was OK because it didn’t have significant competition.  However for a couple of years, Facebook was nipping at the heels of MySpace and then last year caught up to them.  Myspace apparently thought it could spend a minimal effort upgrading it’s interface to compete.  Did they think their seemingly dedicated users wouldn’t bother to explore another social?

Because social networking sites are (generally) free, they should not consider their “dedicated” users so dedicated afterall.  MySpace seemed to think that by doing a mediocre remake of their interface that it would be at least good enough to keep their current users and perhaps even earn a few new ones.  If social networks were subscription based, that decision might have worked because users would be less willing to “try out” a second social network if they had to enter a credit card.  But that’s not the case.  They are free, so the one the works best will move to the top.

My advice to Mysapce:
1. Quit adding new functionality and features until you make what’s already there work.
2. Get rid of the spammers!  Seriously.  Others have achieved this.  Higher the expertise required to prevent me from getting a dozen bogus friend requests every time I sign in.
3. Get a new designer/design-team.  Pretty much any reasonably competent designer could create something that looks better than what’s there currently.
4. Stop with the obnoxious advertising campaigns.  Sure they pay more in the short term, but they are driving your existing user base away because they are so obnoxious and cause pages to take longer to load.

There are more things MySpace could do (i.e., obnoxiously over-customized profiles), but if they completed any one of these items it would be a wonderful “site” to wake up to.  For now I will remain in favor of Facebook.