One of last week’s more significant corporate news developments was the departure of MySpace’s boss, Owen Van Natta, just nine or so months after he joined News Corp. (our employer) and set about trying to turn a profit. The specifics of Van Natta’s exit aren’t entirely clear; the Los Angeles Times says he clashed with his colleagues and their boss, Jon Miller. I’m less interested in the corporate intrigue than with the social networking conundrum. Even mighty Facebook still struggles to make money, as does Twitter. Advertisers are in fact paying a lot of attention to social networking sites, but Facebook et al still have little pricing leverage, as a “Seeking Alpha” piece by Andy Beal shows. This is because social network users are apathetic about online ads. An earlier Beal post, citing Forrester Research, says only 2% of purchases are driven by ads on social networking sites. It’s an extraordinary phenomenon given how many hours consumers spend Tweeting and onFacebook and MySpace. In essence, these sites are simply not conducive to whetting buyers’ appetites. At MySpace, Van Natta has been replaced by a co-presidential duo of insiders, Mike Jones and Jason Hirschorn. It will be interesting to see where they take MySpace from here, including managing its pact with Google and continuing to firm up its identity as a music and entertainment destination. “It’s not yet where we want it,” News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch said of the division in a recent earnings conference call.
Advertising, Social Networking, Technology / 2 Comments
Consumer electronics, Social Networking, Technology / Comments Off
It’s that time of year when Apple unveils its next generation of the popular iPod music player. The company sent around the above invitation to members of the media saying an event would be held on Sept. 9. But in characteristic Apple fashion, you don’t learn what it is about until the day arrives.
That hasn’t stopped the bloggers who have been predicting recently that a camera could be added to the new iPods.
Slashgear.com cites rumors among suppliers that a camera is coming to the iPod. It also says there is speculation that iTunes will have some compatibility with social networks. Wired.com also gives a good rundown of what to expect at next week’s media confab.
A couple of years ago, you weren’t hip and with-it if you dind’t have a Facebook or My Space account. So naturally, I got one for myself. I loved it – couldn’t get enough of it – for a few days. Then I forgot about it. I still get Facebook-related emails – will-you-be-my-friend types of messages. I ignore them. Every few months I go into my site, race through the Inbox responding to queries, and exit as fast as I can. Life’s too short. As for Twitter, when that got big I felt un-hip and non-with-it and was poised to sign up – when I remembered Facebook. Why Twitter if I can’t even be bothered to Facebook? Oddly, someone seems to have signed me up to Twitter and every so often I receive an email from a friend or colleague saying they’re “following” me on Twitter. Maybe so. But I’m not Twittering at them. Today, these and other social networking sites have suffered temporary outages. Frumpy throwback that I am, I couldn’t care less. Actually, I’m delighted – if it means my 13-year-old daughter might read a book rather than pinching or poking her pals via Facebook.