Rupert Murdoch better hurry up and close a big advertising deal with Google or Microsoft, because the bloom may be falling from the MySpace rose.
The Wichita Eagle got the scoop last Sunday: “For Teens: MySpace.com Is So Last Year.” The article begins:
When it became all the rage to have a MySpace page, Luly Larios joined the social networking Web site. She rarely posts on her MySpace page, though. Instead, the high school sophomore logs on to Bebo.com, a site for high school and college students. The interface is simple, the graphics are better, and she finds more of her friends from school there.
Teens like Larios are increasingly finding other social networks that meet their needs – and that aren’t as well known to their parents.
“And that aren’t as well known to their parents”: If that doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of the MySpace proprietors, I don’t know what will. The young are capricious, particularly when it comes to the places where they hang out. Trying to hold them in one spot is like trying to hold water in your hands. As I wrote last fall:
My guess is that online hot spots, like their real-world counterparts, will go in and out of fashion fairly quickly – and that those betting on their staying power will be disappointed. One reason is simply the fickleness of the young; as soon as a place gets too popular (and the bald-headed guys with backwards baseball caps start showing up), the trendsetters head for the exits, and the crowd soon follows.
There’s another shard of anecdotal evidence that the MySpace backlash may have begun, with kids choosing to congregate at newer sites like Bebo. And Scott Karp offers some statistical evidence that MySpace traffic may have peaked. (Some believe the numbers simply point to a seasonality in demand, which would itself be interesting.) I’m not ready to write my “The death of MySpace” post quite yet, but I’m keeping the poison pen warm.
UPDATE: MySpace may be looking a little weak in the knees at the moment, but Hitwise reports that MySpace sends more traffic to Google than any other site and that – get this – it accounted for a whopping 8.2 percent of total Google traffic during the first week of this month. That’s gotta be worth something.