Given Sale of MySpace, Can Businesses Learn from Mistakes?

Posted by on June 30, 2011 in Affiliate Marketing, Business News, Business Start Up Advice, Internet Marketing, Social Networking [ 0 Comments ]

Many companies come and go without even a whimper.

Others, however, learn from their mistakes and the errors of others, making adjustments to their businesses in order to survive and fight for each and every dollar in a tough economy.

Given the news Thursday that entertainer Justin Timberlake was part of a group (Specific Media) that purchased MySpace for a mere $35 million (News Corp. reportedly paid some $580 million for it six years ago), one must wonder if this is a publicity stunt or Timberlake and others really think they can make a go of this site.

To put things in perspective for people like myself who are starting to see a few gray hairs here and there, MySpace is like an old AMC Gremlin.

Back in the day the Gremlin was rather unique and it wasn’t such a bad thing to be seen in one.

Turn the clock forward to 2011; being known for using MySpace is about as cool as still being caught dead in the few Gremlins that still roam the roads, having dial-up Internet or shooting with a Polaroid instant camera. Well, maybe the latter is back in style, given that Polaroid is once again producing this relic for those (myself included) who dig nostalgia.

So why would Timberlake and others invest the money and time in MySpace, which according to reports, has been taking on water faster than the Titanic?

A report from com.Score shows that at its height of popularity in December 2008, MySpace had nearly 76 million unique visitors. In May of this year that figure was just below 35 million. Meantime, Facebook attracted more than 157 million visitors in May of this year, clearly placing itself as the predominant venue for people to communicate online back-and-forth.

Is Timberlake perhaps thinking he can bring some “Sexy Back” to MySpace?

“There’s a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect,” Timberlake remarked in a statement. “MySpace has the potential to be that place. Art is inspired by people and vice versa, so there’s a natural social component to entertainment.”

Ironically, this is the same Timberlake who appeared on the big screen as the first president of Facebook in the hit movie “The Social Network.”

What can businesses take from this demise of  MySpace?

Quite simply – adapt, adapt, adapt!

One of a number of things that ultimately doomed MySpace, leaving it where it was bought and sold in a six-year span for an approximate loss of $545 million, was that it was behind the eight-ball on mobile technology.

Given the millions and millions of individuals who access sites like Facebook and Twitter daily from their mobile apps, MySpace was always one step behind in moving its offerings to an iPhone app.

Another problem rightly or wrongly is that MySpace was always focused in on the music scene, while Facebook and Twitter among others found their way into the business scene, with many companies setting up pages on both.

MySpace also succumbed to the pressure of trying to make money too quickly, being relegated to achieving quarterly revenue targets. Meantime, the Facebook and Twitters of the world were startups that had venture capital backing.

When you throw in the fact that MySpace never really attempted to integrate itself broadly throughout the Web, is it any surprise News Corp. took a bath in selling it to Timberlake and his group?

What the future holds for MySpace is still to be determined.

What businesses both large and small can do is take a page out of the MySpace playbook, then burn that page.

Businesses need to adapt to today’s technology yesterday, be willing to think outside the box, and be able to use integration where needed.

Otherwise, they may also find themselves on life support.

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