If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
It’s a cliché I would avoid like the plague if it weren’t for the fact we’re talking about MySpace potentially bowing down and using Facebook Connect on its site. According to insidefacebook.com, Facebook Connect will be “everywhere” on MySpace next year.
For those unfamiliar with Facebook Connect: It’s a service from Facebook that lets third parties access member data and site features. Using Facebook Connect, a third-party can share a user’s activity on their site with that user’s friends on Facebook. The goal is to make your activities online more social because your activities become more transparent to your friends.
On MySpace, for example, it would make your MySpace activity more visible to your friends on Facebook (and in the long run promote MySpace to your friends who may not use the site).
So what’s the big deal if MySpace promotes itself on Facebook? Simply put: MySpace would be using a competitor’s site to gain exposure because the competitor’s site does a better job of attracting people. In real-world terms, it would be akin to AMC movie theatres promoting themselves in commercials that run in Cineplex theatres because Cineplex is bigger and does a better job of getting people in the door.
MySpace and Facebook have a long-standing rivalry that only now seems to be fading.
It’s important to remember MySpace once ruled the social media world; beginning as a site where musicians could promote their music, MySpace evolved into a destination where anyone could share their lives. The idea took off and News Corp. bought MySpace for $580 million (USD) in July 2005.
Then Facebook came along with a simpler layout, a better user-interface and more bells and whistles to wow Web wanderers. In a very short period of time Facebook’s transition into the world’s largest social network began and today the site has more than 350 million members.
So what does MySpace do in the face of dropping traffic? Integrate the competitor, of course.
Citing “industry sources,” InsideFacebook.com says MySpace will make Facebook Connect “a key part of the site,” because Facebook currently does the best job of mapping people’s real-life relationships.
Few details have emerged, but the report says it will be used all over MySpace and some News Corp. managers were “shocked” by how deep it has been integrated.
InsideFacebook.com makes some healthy assumptions, suggesting MySpace Music could use Connect so people can share music with their Facebook friends.
MySpace and Facebook had some vague public discussion about this in October, suggesting to the Telegraph that MySpace could become a Facebook Connect parter.
“Hypothetically speaking, as nothing has been formally arranged yet, MySpace could become a Facebook Connect partner – which would allow people to share content they liked from MySpace with their Facebook network,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, told the Telegraph.
In fact, MySpace’s CEO Owen Van Natta used to be Facebook’s chief revenue officer, and he still maintains a relationship with his former employer. Exploiting that relationship could prove beneficial to both camps.
It seems that new blood in MySpace’s executive management team has been focused on reviving MySpace to brand it as a social entertainment site for music, games and videos. That re-branding could be critical to the social network’s resurgence.
It remains to be seen just how deep Facebook Connect will be integrated into MySpace (if it will at all), but the new direction would certainly be a big step in a different direction for MySpace. Being more visible on Facebook and promoting users’ activities is exactly what MySpace needs.