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January 30, 2012 / C. J. Sperling

Business Downhill

How to speed up the downfall of a “social” (as it is called) website in short time: care about optimizing sales, forget about what made you big.

I wanted to link to an excellent recording which is available only on Myspace.

I hadn’t been on Myspace for quite a while. With my ensemble, we quit Myspace two years ago, when the place started to become a marketing-only thing, everybody only looking after maximum number of “friends”, and the whole thing becoming self-centered without significant impact to the outside. There were other ways to be publicly visible.

When I visited Myspace later, it had changed into a top-down distribution channel, dominated by the same boring mass products you find in all places run by major corporations.

When I now was at Myspace because of that special recording, and clicked to start the music, nothing happened.

Until now, I made each and any sound or video play in my browser. With Myspace, I failed.

*

I know a bit about HTML, Javascript and the like. Seemingly, some essential Javascript was not loaded. (For the tech-savvy: it was the jQuery object… which means that next to nothing will work. There was much Javascript in the source code, there were many function names that started with “MS”, and I’m running Firefox on Ubuntu – a typical major frontend development fail, I’d guess.)

From what I saw (I didn’t really dig into it), much of the Javascript was used for things intended to make the users visit more Myspace pages; make them spend money; optimize advertising. And: it loads the video by ID, you can’t access the video directly.

One could easily build a working Myspace page in original design without any fancy Javascript. “Start/stop video” is the only necessary function I can think of.

*

Less tech-savvy friends of mine, running more standard browser/OS combinations than me, ran into the same problem. They had to install a new media player before getting the music.

This is done only by people who really, really, REALLY want the music in question, and can’t get it somewhere else. All others will simply pass on.

So Myspace builds its websites with strong view on revenue optimization, and forgets to ensure that the content is accessible.

Why exactly are people visiting Myspace?

It’s “penny wise, pound foolish” again.

*

They changed “Myspace” into “My______”, now into “Myspace“. Just ” _______” would have been more appropriate. Or “Go elsewhere!”. Or just “Failed”.

R.I.P., and do it soon.

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