Will MySpace be sold for lots of money?
AOL once owned everything. They even went out and bought Time Warner who, later, became known as the parent company of AOL. AOL's business model was to dumb down the Internet so much that anyone could use it anywhere.
Later, they maintained some dominance by offering cheap dial-up access.
But people rapidly tired of the limitations of AOL, the slowness of dial-up and the mundane design. Broadband immediately made AOL irrelevant. Yes, it was more expensive, but as the Internet matured, so did the complexity of its content.
AOL went from savior to millstone for users rapidly. Their fortunes likewise declined because of a supreme lack of vision. They are now a sinking ship and to compensate, they have taken on survivors from other sinking ships.
MySpace is the exact same ship. It grew rapidly because it brought a group of people into the social networking sphere. Millions of kids signed on and began to learn how to network, how to communicate in a new way, and learned to customize their own pages.
But that was a point in time. MySpace was a primer for these technologies and a few years ago was fairly state of the art. But MySpace has stagnated and the owners know it. Everyone knows it. You can smell the rot on MySpace from a mile away.
What's interesting here is the role of assumptions. MySpace graduates expect MySpace functionality of most applications as a starting point. They expect to be able to use tools to communicate with their network and expand their relationships. This is a point of utter power for MySpace, but they are squandering it by not understanding where and how they can improve it.
This is exactly what happened to AOL. And Napoleon.
Rupert Murdoch thinks he can sell it for $6 Billion. Maybe he can. It's market value may be that high, but its societal value has greatly diminished.
I'm not saying MySpace will disappear. Like many directionless companies or offerings, they will likely float along, directionless, for years.
Written with Windows Live Writer at My Place in Seattle.