May 25th, 2006

Has the MySpace Downturn Begun?

by

Guy Kawasaki held a focus group with six teenagers — this is a small sample, of course, but their view of MySpace is telling:

Two panelists were MySpace users. The others expressed a certain backlash and purposeful resistance to the addiction of MySpace. One 14 year old used to be an active MySpace user but stopped after the police came to her school to warn the students about various dangers lurking there.

This points to two key MySpace vulnerabilities (among many):

1. When a fad becomes overhyped, teens will eventually retreat
2. Most teens know that MySpace isn’t entirely safe

After reading this, I went to check out MySpace’s latest Alexa chart:

MySpace Traffic May 23 2006

Could it be that MySpace peaked in April? The traffic chart sure looks a dot com stock chart circa April 2000 — the run up always looks like it will never end…until it does.

Come to think of it, Facebook is looking kind of downish, too:

Facebook Traffic May 23 2006

Well, anyway, just wondering.

UPDATE

David Krug and others think the MySpace dip is cyclical, driven by spring break, finals, etc. Well, hmmm. Most spring breaks fall in March or early April — so it appears that extra free time drove MySpace to its peak — and then what? Studiousness swept the land as people got an early jump on studying for finals in mid April? And wouldn’t there have been a similar seasonal downturn last year?

MySpace Traffic May 24 2006 - Two Years

Yeah, seasonality, that’s go to be it. And that’s right, I have fallen out of touch with teenage psychology. I forgot how conformist teenagers are — of course they will continue to embrace MySpace now that’s gone totally mainstream. It’s totally hip to do what everyone else is doing.

Given David’s brilliant seasonal theory, I wonder when we should see the sharp upturn as everyone finds time to rush back to MySpace.

UPDATE #2

I’ve been told that I’m “so out of touch with this age group,” so I’m bringing in an outside expert (from “For Teens, MySpace.com Is Just So Last Year“) — “Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher for the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Lenhart has studied teens’ online behavior since the late 1990s”:

“Teens will go where their friends go,” she said. “They’re always looking for new places to gather. If those places become viewed as more regulated, they’ll move on.”

This is my favorite observation:

Teens like Larios are increasingly finding other social networks that meet their needs — and that aren’t as well known to their parents.

MySpace’s notoriety could be a turnoff for young people who are looking for an online community of their own

Parents know all about MySpace — yeah, that really makes it a long-term winner for teens.

UPDATE #3

Since I can’t respond to this Bloggers Blog post on their site, I’ll do so here. It looks like they got their apples and oranges confused — they posted the Alexa REACH chart for MySpace to counter my posting of the PAGE VIEW chart:

MySpace Reach May 24 2006

So the reach is flat and the page views have dropped.

Yeah, must be because kids are spending more time outside. I guess we’ll have to check back in December.

For the record, I have no interest in declaring MySpace “dead” — just deeply, deeply vulnerable.

  • If to speak about safety of information of course none of the internet sources is safe. So we must watch our children when they use them.

  • Robert Poole Jr

    Another reason people might be turning away from MySpace is the ridiculous site glitches. Never have I seen a site with more issues logging in or with general functionality.

    It's frustrating to make 20 attempts to log in and it's worse to have to check daily to see if things are working on your site. The music and video issues are frequent and now with people figuring out the easy way to spam the system with fake accounts and viruses it may not be worth all the hassle that it takes to login to the thing.

    They just started MySpaceIM but I can't see anyone signing up for it to use a new IM service when they can use AIM or Yahoo and programs like Trillian let you do both at the same time all in one smaller, non-spyware loaded program.

    MySpace may just need to redirect and work on itself to fix the major turnoffs they have created themselves.

    Rp

  • anthony Punnett

    everyone loves to knock the guy at the top BUT facts are a little off. Look at all the top sites in the same time period, they seem to follow the same pattern....the fact that the new york times is chiming in without checking those facts really lowers my opinion of the paper and the writer (sad)...sound more like a story for the NY Post (a newscorp pub)...and comparing myspace to geocities is a bad idea. Geocities was about self expression but not identification with others, where myspace is about both and has an install base, a consumer mindset and a tool set that are worlds apart. A HUGE factor is that geocities was pre-digital camera and the opportunity for identity production was very limited back in the day...don't get me started...I used to write a journal on geocities, does that mean that blogs are a fad? (not as long as they continue to optimize google algorithms) there are definitely ways myspace can fail but it is theirs to loose... as long as they evolve the platform. It is not going to because it is uncool with teens… Teens want empowerment and efficiency, just like everyone else...and myspace will stay “cool” as long as they stay true to that theme.

  • I think your post is very important and that you have brought up many truths. The NET will continue to evolve, and I would not be surprised to see MySpace take a back seat to "the next big thing," whatever that may be ( a Social Network version of YouTube, Perhaps?) I referenced your post in an article posted to my blog today:

    http://capitalregionpeople.blo...

  • Kevin

    MySpace will slowly decline to nothing. Not really soon, but it will happen

    Right now, the biggest usage of MySpace is comming from teens. It's a fad, everyone has it, everyone talks about it. It's what's cool and popular. But as the current teens who have it grow older, they'll start using it less. And the younger generation won't jump onto MySpace as quickly. Younger kids don't want to just copy what older kids are doing. They want to look for individuality from their older brother or sisters. Sure some might jump on the bandwagon because they want to be just like their siblings and such, but in reality younger generations are going to look for something BESIDES MySpace because MySpace isn't new and hip. It's so old and what the past generations used- they won't be a copycat

    Just like fashions, MySpace will fade for the simple reason of the human drive for individuality. You can personalize a MySpace all you want, but as long as the older kids used to do it, it's not ganna be the same for the younger generation

    -Kevin

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