Start-ups should be wary of using the new version of MySpace as a social media platform, according to a leading social media agency.
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MySpace is reinventing itself yet again in an attempt to grab a slice of the social media pie. Under a new logo, MySpace has streamlined the site and shifted its focus from being a meeting place for friends to becoming a content-driven site that will mix user-generated content with professionally produced material including TV shows, movies and music.
The new site will also allow users, called curators, to become collectors of specific content that other users will be able to follow, based on their interests.
MySpace Australia and New Zealand managing director Nick Love told The Australian that the site had lost its way and had become confusing and difficult to navigate.
As a result, 117 logo styles have been reduced to one, 152 templates reduced to seven and 81 button styles reduced to two.
MySpace says it aims to become a one-stop-shop for online publishing of content, allowing users to post photos, movies and music on other sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with a single mouse click.
Love believes Australian advertisers will welcome the relaunch, which will allow them to align their brands with a particular audience.
But SR7 partner Peter Fraser says start-ups would be ill-advised to use MySpace as a social media tool given the nature of the new format.
“Social media and social networking sites are increasingly being used as a search tool rather than just to build social networks,” Fraser says.
“So people are going onto MySpace, Facebook and so on to actually research information about goods, services and products.”
“If you’re a start-up or a small business, you can be impacted by negative commentary that appears on these sites.”
According to Fraser, 86% of Australians trust and believe what their friends, peers and others say online, compared to only 14% who believe online advertising.
“It’s the power of word of mouth that is determining these purchasing decisions and consumer behaviour, so that’s where start-ups and small businesses can be significantly impacted,” he says.
Fraser says the absence of identification also leaves start-ups with uncertainty over whom, how and by what means they can communicate with potential customers or clients.