The last time MySpace got this many headlines was probably when Facebook was still limited to people with .edu email addresses, but for the last month, the news has been flying fast and furious.
March 27-- Former AOL chief Jon Miller heads to News Corp. in the new position of chief digital officer. His primary mission? To fix MySpace.
April 23 -- Miller hires former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta as the new CEO of MySpace, as founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson leave the company.
April 28 -- Van Natta hires former AOL exec Michael Jones as chief operating officer, replacing Amit Kapur, who left in March, and Jason Hirschhorn as chief product officer. Hirschhorn is best known for having been chief digital officer at MTV Networks.
So, in just about a month, there are four new executives atop MySpace. The question is, what do they do now? I've stewed all day yesterday to find an answer to that question, and I don't have one. I do, however, want to talk about the problem.
It's always astonished me how quickly online brands can lose their mojo, but MySpace fascinates me the most. I've said it before, but I'll say it again -- in the 15 months that I've been writing this column, almost no one has friended me on MySpace, while my list of Facebook friends, once around 55, has ballooned to almost 340, starting with the readers of this column, and expanding over time to include colleagues from my time in the more traditional side of the ad biz, and college and high school friends. At this point, it really wouldn't matter that much to me if Facebook embraced more in-your-face ads, as long as my buds were all still there. (Whether we would all eventually decamp for something else eventually is a topic for another column.)
With each passing day, the glue that Facebook is building gets stronger, making MySpace's problem not just how to make more money but to get more glue -- glue that, as it is on Facebook, transcends the demographics it's known for and gets distributed amongst more demos. To use a phrase from Web 1.0, it needs to become more sticky.
Maybe that glue is named data portability, which MySpace can embrace more than it already has. I'd offer that it means more to the social networking also-rans than it does for those who are currently ruling the growth and the buzz. But that's not the whole answer. What would you do to get MySpace back its mojo? The Social Media Insider is stumped.
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