5 Problems with MySpace

Posted: March 25, 2011

It has been reported today by comScore that MySpace has lost 10 million unique users in January and February alone! What must even be more disturbing to the folks at MySpace is that they have about 63 million users, down from almost 110 million users at this time last year.

I’ve played in bands for years and have used MySpace quite extensively to promote the bands I’ve been in. For a good part of the past decade, MySpace has been THE online site to promote your band. At times, we had thousands of friends, booked many of our gigs through the site’s messaging service, and even coordinated tours with promoters and other bands through the site. It became so important at one point to login the day after a gig and leave comments on other friends profiles, thanking them for coming out to shows, listening to your music, or just being there.

So, what happened to MySpace? The obvious is that the masses are using Facebook and Twitter these days but MySpace should have been years ahead of these other sites. After all, MySpace has be around for many more years than their competition.

I’ve come up with the 5 Problems with MySpace:

1. Usability

For as long as I’ve been a MySpace user, finding what I need to do on the site has been a nightmare. Until recently, there was never a clear administration navigation and if you didn’t have the process memorized, doing something as simple as moderating a comment could take time.

2. Profile Design Randomness

As a developer, it was kinda cool that MySpace allowed you to customize your own profile using CSS codes. The problem was it was difficult for 95% of the world to use and ended up causing a mess of people’s profiles, in some cases so bad, they were unviewable. This inconsistency made it frustrating to look at other band’s profile pages because you had to search for their songs or their Add Friend Button.

A much better option would have been limiting users to update their profile designs through specific form fields that allowed for the changing of backgrounds, font colours, or even better, selecting from a few different themes that you could then customize these elements.

3. Technical Problems

One morning I woke up to find that my band’s profile had songs for sale from another band on it. Looking through the admin pages, there was no options for removing or changing these songs so I contacted MySpace. After dozens of emails back and forth over the next few months, it was finally removed.

This was only one of many issues that I experienced, including pages not loading, not displaying correctly in different browsers, songs not playing in the media player, etc. etc. etc. Even today, a profile loads terribly slow! All of these problems were more than enough reason to seek out other services.

4. Lack of Innovation

With the past few years having been spent fixing all the problems with MySpace and trying to improve the ease of use, it’s no wonder there haven’t been any major functionality additions. MySpace was way behind in offering developers an API to use to customize the function of the site. Even on the mobile side, they missed an opportunity while services like Facebook and Twitter have firmly entrenched themselves into the mobile market.

5. Failed to Expand Audience

All of my friends in bands were on MySpace but very few people I knew who were not musicians ever logged into MySpace. MySpace was a good way to promote the band but most people do not feel they need to promote themselves. People use social media largely to stay in touch, to see the status updates and photos of their friends, and to look up others. MySpace failed to capture this market and hence has largely stayed as a service used to promote yourself in some form.

Is all lost? Not necessarily. With 63 million users still using the site, it is significant enough to make an effort to stop the ship from sinking. But time is running and out fast and the next round of changes must be right to convince users to stay with MySpace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *