Picking on Myspace at this point is like taunting your elderly relatives as they try to figure out the Wii for the first time–too easy and slightly unfair. Unfortunately, today’s launch of a new mobile site shows that Myspace still has no clear idea of what it’s trying to be.
The company basically admitted defeat to Facebook on the social networking front earlier this month, and will now concentrate on being a hub for entertainment content, particularly music. That’s not a bad strategy, as Myspace originally started as a networking site for independent musicians, and is still used as a hub for sharing music and gig information.
Today’s announcement of a new mobile version of the site seemed an opportunity for the site to gain back some of its lost credibility. Alas, it’s another botch job. The home page is a confusing mish-mash of entertainment news, links to random videos and artist profiles, and Twitter streams from celebrities like David Spade. The music tab doesn’t let you search for music and contains no playable audio streams. The video tab features a still of Jennifer Aniston from behind in a bathing suit, which is pleasant enough, but completely irrelevant.
There are also links to my profile and friends pages, but who uses Myspace for social networking anymore? There’s no way to sign in to the mobile site with Facebook Connect, so no way to connect with the social network where most people actually communicate.
Best of all, there’s a random banner ad right in the middle of the page. Sometimes it flashes and flickers, joining the random changes in the panels on the rest of the page. You know, just in case you’re nostalgic for the days when you spent hours looking at seizure-inducing Myspace pages.
A dedicated iPhone app is coming soon, and it’ll provide easy tools for sharing across networks, at least. Other mobile apps from the company are already available, including Drawler, which lets you draw on top of images on your phone, and one that offers “a new expression of randomised video discovery based on their mood.”
The key word being “randomised.” That seems to apply to Myspace’s product strategy in general. Google may need help taking on Facebook in social networking, but this is one possible acquisition it should run screaming from.
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