Today, MySpace launches a redesign of the site aimed at attracting younger users and differentiating themselves from Facebook. Once the king of social networking, MySpace has had a tough time since Facebook blew up. Now, it’s mostly synonymous with artists and glitter graphics. Some have even called it the ghetto of social networks. MySpace isn’t down and out yet, though.
This update will be the latest in a series of changes MySpace has made to change direction and make the service more attractive. According to MySpace President, Mike Jones, “This is a full rethink.” They plan to go after 13 to 35-year-olds looks for a social network centered around entertainment. Somewhere separate to hang out away from your standard friends and family network. “This is an entirely different product”
Rather than connecting with others based on real-life connections, MySpace wants users to connect based on common interests. This is possible to do on other networks like Facebook, but not necessarily practical. This single change in direction could take away the competitive dynamic of the Facebook-MySpace relationship and make it easier for users to justify using both. If MySpace doesn’t have to compete directly with Facebook, it’s more likely they can turn things around.
One feature of the redesign pulls a page from the Windows Phone 7 interface, displaying information in tiles that update before your eyes. Another setting displays a full-screen slideshow of recommended media, profiles, and messages from your network and interests. Of course, your standard customizable profile view, both a blessing and a curse for MySpace, is still an option.
In addition to cutting clutter on the site and improving mobile support, MySpace has also added a gaming aspect to the social network. Active users are rewarded with badges and get their profiles promoted.
This feature recognizes and rewards curators and fans for their social activity around entertainment topics on the beta site and promotes them with badges – graphic icons that appear in a user’s stream.
News Corp. is aiming to make MySpace profitable by the end of next year. The site fell behind Facebook last year and estimates say they’ve lost about $350 million. News Corp. will likely sell the site, estimated at $300 million if it doesn’t improve within the next two years.