Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Save My Space (Part One)

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

There was an article recently that discussed the fact that My Space may disappear soon. The issue is whether or not there is a buyer for it. The current owner, NewsCorp, is willing to shut it down to stop the losses. As I understand it, the site has lost traffic to Facebook, and so it’s harder to maintain the site.

Some of what I’m going to say is going to get the good old fashioned, knee-jerk, “it’ll never work” reaction from some of you, so I will ask that if you’re going to invest any time into reading this that you invest enough time to read the whole thing. If you still think I’m dumb at the end of it, so be it. So without further ado, here is one way to save My Space…

Institute a one-time $100 fee for new accounts! *smiles cos I know that some of you are already knee-jerking* Allow me to explain.

The first, and most important, point here is that you do not, I repeat do not, charge a fee to anyone who currently has an account. We’ll talk about how to get rid of those bastards in a minute. I mean, we’ll deal with old, unused accounts in a little bit. When people signed up for My Space in the past it was with an understanding that aside from having all of their personal information available to every fucking body in the world that their account would be free. Do not betray the people who were on My Space to begin with.

This by the way is not intended to punish those who come into the My Space fold late. If My Space was to make a comeback, and the membership started rising again, it might seem unfair to charge the newcomers. The fee would serve two important purposes though. The first is that over the course of the next few years if there are one million new accounts, you have made $100 million in revenue. Now, I know what the greedy capitalists (you know who you are) are thinking right now. You’re thinking that if you charge everyone who already has an account… Get that thought out of your mind. You’ll create such a massive resentment that everyone will allow their account to be deleted, and since no one will be on the site anymore, no one will want to join. I repeat do not betray those who are already there.

The second reason for the fee is much more important than even the revenue. It will all but eliminate spam. Yes, there will be some that seeps through the cracks (the thought of Spam seeping is kind of gross), but the crazy ass people out there that create hundreds of accounts a day and send you multiple friend requests of the same nearly undressed woman who seems to have thirty different names will dry up. Here’s the thing. I think My Space has done some work to stop that, as when I do sign in, I don’t see as much of it as I used to, but I’ve rarely had random friend requests on Facebook. While that article said that they weren’t sure why My Space is suffering from loss of users, I can promise you that’s why.

First, there were some people who genuinely bailed on My Space because of functionality, and there were some who genuinely bailed because of the high levels of spam. Second, when a large percentage of your “user base” is spam accounts and you eliminate the spam accounts… well, guess what happens to your “user base.”

Having an accurate count of your “user base” for advertisers will create better trust with your advertisers, and less spam will create better trust with the account holders. This is the next point, actually, building trust.

Pick your advertisers better, and where possible, pick advertisers who are willing to genuinely give something of value to your users. Also try to avoid advertisers who are merely interested in spamming your client base once they click on the ad. If you take an advertiser’s money, and they then start spamming your clients, your clients will feel betrayed by you. I realize that this is probably a very hard one to follow, because if you don’t have the money to maintain your business, you don’t have a business.

The thing is that companies like Amazon, eBay, and Paypal (I understand that these are all sellers and moneychangers, but the point is still valid) have made a killing off the fact that in a very untrustworthy market place (the internet) that they are as trustworthy as they can reasonably be. Social networks are infamously untrustworthy, and at the moment we put up with it because we have no other option. If you create an environment where people feel safe to click on the ads, you will have more revenue from ads, and you will brand yourself as a trustworthy company.

In Part Two, I will discuss deleting unused accounts, which I’m sure would be very unpopular in ways, but I believe that if you read my longwinded approach to it, you’ll see that it just might make sense. I’ll see you then.

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