Digg users, read it and weep. MySpace is NOT dying. Sorry to burst your bubble here. This is in response to the recent promotion of an article entitled MySpace is Dying to the Digg home page. This article currently has 940 diggs (and climbing) and yet didn't provide one shred of proof that MySpace was indeed dying.

Now the article author is perfectly entitled to post opinion and speculation (it's his blog, he can do whatever he wants). But it seems to me that many Digg users —who appear to be anti-MySpace for whatever reason— will pile on and promote any article that gives MySpace a good whacking and then drags its name through the mud regardless of how much actual fact is contained in the copy. It appears that this article could have just as well contained nothing but lorem ipsum filler text but as long as it carried the sensationalist title MySpace is Dying, a legion of Digg users will begin to salivate uncontrollably and rush to promote it.

Speaking of actual fact, let's delve into that concept for a little bit, shall we?

First off, let's take a look at a Hitwise press release which ranked weekly market share of visits among all websites (U.S.) for the week ending July 8th, 2006. In this report, myspace.com for the first time beat yahoo.com and was (drumroll please) the number one ranked website in the U.S. based on market share of visits.

That same above press release also reported that MySpace accounted for 79.9 percent of the total market share of visits among top social networking sites. But gee, wouldn't it be great if we could actually track the monthly market share of visits among the top social networking websites? Oh hey well, lo and behold, that same press release has a chart entitled: Monthly Market Share of Visits Among Top Social Networking Websites (how convenient) where it shows MySpace's market share of visits increasing over a 3 month period (April, May and June 2006) while showing that of its next biggest competitor, Facebook, decreasing.

Well that was then, this is now, you say?

Alright let's look at a more recent Hitwise report - The Hitwise US Consumer Generated Media Report November 2006 where it clearly states (backed by charted statistics of course):

MySpace (www.myspace.com) was the undisputed leader in social networking, receiving 82 percent of visits among the top 20 leading social networking websites in September 2006.

Now, according to my calculations, 82 (81.92 to be exact) is a BIGGER number than 79.9. (Somebody correct if I'm wrong here. Please.) So in fact, MySpace's market share of visits among the top social networking sites is still increasing.

As for how useful MySpace is (or will be) to musicians wanting to promote themselves, of which was the gist of the MySpace is Dying article, this excerpt from the same above cited November report sheds some more light on the subject:

The Shopping and Classifieds - Music sub-category received more than 6% of its visits from MySpace for the week ending October 7, 2006, up from less than 3% in February 2006. Music is integral to the MySpace experience: since user profiles often play the users favorite songs, contain lists of favorite songs, and link to artist and band pages. Because of the social nature of MySpace, as well as its music focus, it is not surprising that Ticketing websites such as Ticketmaster and Fandango receive traffic directly from MySpace as users plan to attend future events.

But hey if you're a musician and you don't like the strong connection that MySpace engenders with the music industry then go right ahead and delete that freebie MySpace page and hire a webmaster at $50/hour to slap you together a 'real' website. ...(*chuckle*)...

As for the speculation that MySpace is going the way of the dodo because the average amount of time users are spending on the site has fallen, the actual statement made by the Washington Post article which seems to be creating all this brouhaha reads as follows:

MySpace usage ramped up heavily during its first year and a half, hitting 2 hours and 25 minutes in October last year. Then it dropped to about 2 hours and held relatively steady there for the past year.

So, in fact, the average time a user spent on MySpace has held steady for the past year while MySpace's market share of visits has actually increased. Now exactly what part of the concept of 'dying' does all this embrace? Please explain.

As for speculating on the future of MySpace, I think that Google succinctly sums this up with the recent deal it signed with MySpace owners to fork over $20 million a month starting in the first quarter of 2007 right up until the second quarter of 2010 for a grand total of 900 million smackeroos. But then we all know how poorly those folk from Googleplex manage their business affairs, now don't we? <~sarcasm.

I would also like to correct an out-and-out error in the MySpace is Dying article which stated that most of MySpace users are teenagers. This is simply not true. According to a press release last month by comScore that charts the percent composition of total unique visitors in August 2006 to select social networking sites, a whopping 68.3% of visitors to MySpace are age 25 or older (surprise). This is exemplary of a shift in the demographic composition of visitors to MySpace; the average age of which is increasing. Even in August 2005, however, 49.9% of MySpace visitors were age 25 or older. But I guess the idea that MySpace is overrun with hordes of prebuscents is more palatable with the whole sensationalist 'MySpace Sucks' routine so let's not bother actually doing any research into the matter.

And this, if I may do a little speculation of my own, might easily explain why the average time a typical MySpace user spends on the site has dropped. Adults simply have less time on their hands. What with all those little minor annoyances that tend to chew up the day like holding down a full-time job, paying the bills, taking care of the kids, you know, stuff like that.


Being a professional web designer, I won't deny that MySpace page code is simply atrocious. And yes the proliferation of glitter images on users' profiles is absolutely grotesque (and why some adults find this attractive, I do not know). And yes, sadly, younger MySpace users are subject to being victimized by social predators. But considering its gargantuan market share of visits, having a mad-on for MySpace these days is akin to hating a T-Rex. Yeah it's mean. Yeah it's ugly. But it's freakin' colossal and it doesn't appear to be going down anytime soon. So whaddaya gonna do?

But hey... Don't let me confuse you with the facts.


Addendum: 11-28-2006

I submitted this article to Digg a couple of days ago. It got 2 votes and then it got 'buried' (voted out). So it appears that many would rather believe speculation and opinion rather than cold, hard facts. On the up side, I was browsing around my web stats the day after and I noticed that somebody found this article by doing a search in Google. So I followed the link and discovered that this article currently ranks #1 in Google for the keyphrase "myspace is dying" (without the double quotation marks).

Oh, the irony...



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