Thursday, October 20, 2005

MySpace

You see statistics like these and begin to wonder what really is happening to the web? Is the dominance of the big guns such as Google, Microsoft, and others coming to an end?

Here are the six web properties with the most pages viewed (remember ads run is mostly equal to pages viewed on the web):

Yahoo! - 43,700MM
Time Warner - 31,600MM (AOL is roughly 70% of this)
Microsoft - 21,800MM (MSN is part of this)
eBay - 10,900MM
MySpace - 9,600MM
Google - 6,300MM

Notwithstanding the somewhat interesting fact that Google is a relatively small page view generator, which makes sense given their reliance on search, the shocking fact is how fast MySpace is catching up to the big guys.

And what's even more amazing is that MySpace's page views have grown 50% in the past three months.

My first experience of MySpace was quite some time ago, as we were browsing through (actually studying them inside out) all the social-networking sites, like Orkut, Friendster, and Wallop for the next killer-Social-Networking-platform we were to build. And honestly, my team, including me, did not have a very high opinion of MySpace . It seemed far less appealing, far less inviting, than some of the others we came across.

Then came the big news, Rupert Murdoch had bought MySpace as a part of his big Internet plans. Suddenly, my interest in it was rekindled. I had to dig out the lost account that I had created but not used for very long, and was back MySpacing. MySpace looked bigger, and more happening. It was quite mind boggling to see so much of activity around. For all the unusable features it threw at the user, it was astonishingly bustling with activity.

MySpacing had turned into a rage. While I could see the impact of Orkut in the campus gradually declining, in part due to the boredom creeping in, and in part because of academic obligations, with MySpace, it was totally different. MySpace was taking over the territory that was once dominated by the Instant Messengers. People found the idea of leaving a message in public domain, that was non transient, much more appealing than an easily forgotten casual IM chat. It sounded weird but it was the way it was. Some of the self-admitted MySpace freaks I came across were living a Myspaced life checking on each other's activities, leaving comments, posting weird pictures, making suggestive remarks and changing silly profile titles innumerous times a day! Baffling as it is, MySpace had emerged as a way of life: a really cool way of life!

And so, these stats do not surprise me! It may not be a direct threat to Google and Microsoft, for they are completely different paradigms in my opinion, but it is something big happening on the web currently.

It may not be completely wrong to say that MySpace actually turns out to be one of the best examples of Web 2.0, incorporating collaboration, information dissemination, networking and community participation, all without the hype of the AJAX.

(And just so you know, we did build what we had set out to. Only never got anyone to host it for us.)

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Update: Adam Lashinsky has published this story on Rupert's Web strategy: http://www.fortune.com/fortune/technology/articles/0,15114,1117673,00.html.

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