MySpace = Spam 2.0?

Trent Lapinski, a freelance writer, was hired to write an exposé about MySpace, but apparently News Corp threatened to sue his publisher if they ran the story. Instead, Lapinski sold his story to Valleywag, who decided to publish it despite the threat of legal action. Why doesn’t News Corp want it published? Probably becuase Lapinski concludes that MySpace is nothing but the next generation of spyware & spam: Spam 2.0. Here’s excerpts from the condensed version:

1. MySpace is NOT a viral success. MySpace was advertised on mass levels to reach the public. MySpace was created by a company named eUniverse (who later changed their name to Intermix Media). eUniverse was a marketing and entertainment company who had over 50 million e-mail addresses in their databases, as well as over 18 million monthly web users. eUniverse leveraged their resources to proliferate and advertise MySpace.com. eUniverse went as far as telling 3 million users of their paid dating website, CupidJunction.com, to sign up for free MySpace accounts. (CupidJunction message screenshot)

2. MySpace.com is Spam 2.0. MySpace has spawned an incredibly successful twist on the age-old art of self-promotion, allowing–even encouraging–the marketing of everything from bands to businesses on their site. Essentially, they’ve opened up a channel through which to solicit and promote everyone and everything, most importantly the individual. The whole site is, in essence, a marketing tool that everyone who registers has access to. Users constantly receive spam-like messages from said bands, business, and individuals looking to add more “friends” (and therefore more potential fans, consumers, or witnesses) to their online identity. A testament to this strange new social paradigm is the phrase “Thanks for the Add,” a nicety offered when one MySpace user adds another as a friend. Best yet, to use the site, members must log in, causing them to inadvertently view advertisements, and then read their messages on a page with even more advertisements. In the world of MySpace, Spam is earth, air, fire, and water.

Lapinksi also concludes that 3) Tom Anderson did not create MySpace, 4) MySpace’s CEO Chris DeWolfe is connected to a past of spam, and 5) MySpace was a direct assault on Friendster.com.

This apparent connection between MySpace and spam should not be too surprising, and also explains Facebook’s recent decision to expand their user base beyond the halls of education. I’m sure these examples of the corporatization of social networks will be discussed in detail at the Critical Perspectives on Social Software and Web 2.0 seminar in Denmark next month.

[via Search Engine Journal]

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