Waving the proverbial white flag, MySpace on Monday said its members can now synchronize posts, and other activity, with their Facebook profiles. To some, the move represents a last-ditch effort by the once-reigning social network to live on by riding the coattails of Facebook's unprecedented global success.
"It makes you wonder whether the once-dominant social network is now trying to use Facebook to help win back users and ad dollars, as opposed to competing directly against it," said an industry watcher who wished not to be named for this story.
Officially, MySpace has been saying for months that it doesn't compete against Facebook directly, and that it's a community for music and music enthusiasts.
"MySpace hasn't been in direct competition with Facebook for a long time now," said Debra Aho Williamson, a senior analyst at eMarketer. "MySpace executives have said this several times in interviews and at conferences ... Instead of being a big social network appealing to general audience, MySpace wants to focus on delivering content and experiences to young people, its core audience."
"MySpace has realized that people turn to Facebook first when they want to communicate something to their friends," added Aho Williamson. "By integrating status updates with Facebook, MySpace is simply making it easier for people to do what they are already doing. But when it comes to offering compelling experiences to consumers, MySpace still believes that it can compete in the social media realm."
Said a MySpace spokeswoman on Monday: "This new sync functionality is part of an ongoing effort to make it simple for people to share their updates beyond MySpace and allow fans and friends to interact with that content across the Web."
MySpace members can also share music, videos, games, links and photographs with friends on Facebook.
Earlier this year, News Corp. reported that digital media earnings were down $32 million compared to a year earlier. EMarketer, meanwhile, recently predicted that ad spending at MySpace would fall 21% this year to $385 million worldwide.
In February, MySpace came up with new product strategy under the slogan "Discover and be Discovered." The shift came on the heels of CEO Owen Van Natta's removal, and the subsequent promotions of Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn to co-presidents. (Hirschhorn subsequently said he was leaving the unit in June, leaving Jones as MySpace's sole president.)
Last month, Facebook reached a staggering 145 million unique users, while MySpace hovered around 60.7 million.