Friday, April 01, 2011

MySpace: You can't expect lots of visitors in a little month

Against a background of mutterings about a possible merger with Vevo, the team in charge of MySpace desperately try to keep up spirits and value.

Mike Jones, CEO, talks to Business Insider and tries to explain the collapsing audience figures:

BI: When I look at MySpace traffic charts, just from ComScore or any of the outside auditors, it looks like a crumbling mess – a halving year-over-year situation. What numbers are you guys looking at to have a more optimistic picture? Please explain.

MJ: That's a fair question. First, February was a short month where we and a lot of other sites were impacted.
Yes, Mike. February 2011 was a short month. I'm pretty certain Febuary 2010 was also pretty short, too, so how does that explain a year-on-year fall?

Still, next year there's an extra day in February. Something to cling too.

Jones then tries to explain how 'audience tumbling away' is actually some sort of delicate rebalancing act:
In addition to that, we have an expected audience shift. We launched a new product in November, we've substantially changed the value proposition for our audience, and we expect that we're going to be changing the nature of our registered userbase, which is something that's been impacting us on our monthly metric basis.

What Comscore doesn't necessarily capture for us is the internal metrics that show success against the strategy.
What Jones appears to be saying is that because fewer people are coming, that's making the visitor numbers look bad.

But the strategy - oh, think of the strategy!
It doesn't show that we've roughly doubled our mobile traffic in the last few months because of products that we've offered on the mobile platforms.
Given the massive boom in the number of Smartphones, you'd expect a rise in mobile traffic. It does you little good if all you're doing is shifting what's left of your audience from one platform to another.
It doesn't show an increase around our content products.
The bits that are doing well are doing well.
I would say we're going into a new market that's an extremely large market of entertainment content. I think that we're migrating portions of our current audience against that strategy. We're attracting new audience against that strategy and we have a portion of our audience that's a legacy audience that has to decide whether they want to be a part of that strategy.
I think this sort of talk from the management - "you're part of our oldest audience, so shape up or ship out" - might be the reason why MySpace is broken.