WaTunes: Why MySpace Failed (Or When You Kill Your User Experience, You Kill Yourself)
In August 2006 MySpace signed a massive $900M deal with Google. In exchange for that tidy little sum of money MySpace let Google power all search across the site. MySpace had to make certain search page view requirements happen to keep the deal going, and they managed to hit those marks by….cheating. They have destroyed the user experience and monetized the site into oblivion. One example of this that is most relevant to bands and artists is the little pop up ad on the music player that interrups your play list. I would argue that one of the Online Axioms is that when you kill the user experience, you kill yourself.
The Google/MySpace deal ends in ten days, and today Google makes their last payment. There is little to no chance for the deal to be renewed under the same terms, if at all. I hope they can turn the company around, but I honestly don’t know if it’s still possible.
It’s relatively easy to correlate this to similar mistakes made in the music industry. As soon as we started attacking our customers, rather than putting their user experience first, we lost the battle and they left. And this is of course long after we destroyed the artist’s experience as well, by way of unfair contracts and lack of creative control. It’s now our job to destroy and rebuild our industry with our artists and customers’ experience at the very forefront of our minds. We should work in service of our customers, and in a partnership with our artists.
One of my Offline Axioms is that there are no short cuts, that you have to earn everything and aren’t entitled to anything. Marco Arment recently shared a quote from a Richard Dunlop-Walters rant that I thought was particularly relevant to today’s post and both axioms:
“Employing tricks like needless pagination, auto-refreshing (see Salon.com), misleading headlines, and the like is cheating. You didn’t earn those pageviews, you tricked people into giving them to you. And then you look at shit like popups, popunders, double underlined links, Snap previews, Tynt scripts, and so on, and it’s pretty clear how hostile it all is. It’s nothing but money-grabbing. If you’ve got it set up so bad that your readers are employing things like ad blockers and Safari’s Reader, you f*cked up. You did something wrong. You overestimated how much your readers are willing to tolerate.” – Richard Dunlop-Walters
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