News Corp. chief operating officer Peter Chernin told investors at an industry conference today that since much of YouTube’s traffic comes from MySpace, it’s time to cut out the middle man. Chernin estimated that around 60-70% of YouTube’s traffic comes from MySpace, and as a result he wants to ramp up MySpace Video, giving users less incentive to look elsewhere. But while the 60% figure might not be totally accurate, MySpace is definitely a catalyst for YouTube’s growth – they actually reported a dip in traffic when MySpace temporarily disabled YouTube embeds at the end of 2005 (they were forced to allow them again after a user revolt).
But it’s not just YouTube – Chernin expressed distaste for all the services that are feeding the MySpace beast: “If you look at virtually any Web 2.0 application, whether its YouTube, whether it’s Flickr, whether it’s Photobucket…almost all of them are really driven off the back of MySpace, there’s no reason why we can’t build a parallel business.” While I’m not convinced that Flickr gained success on the back of MySpace, Photobucket almost certainly did – ImageShack isn’t mentioned, but it also owes much of its success to America’s leading social network.
The sentiments indicate a very worrying trend: MySpace has stated its intention to clone the best tools, and Chermin believes that MySpace can equal or better the third party tools with in-house products. This is such a ridiculous strategy that it’s not even worth contemplating. MySpace’s openness to third party extensions (MySpace layouts, MySpace codes) is one of its most popular attributes – squashing that ecosystem may provide short term benefits, but it will ultimately harm them in the long term.
Chernin’s sentiments also confirm our assumptions about the recent MySpace update, a reaction to the Flash-based MySpace hack which had the side effect of breaking many MySpace add-ons. With absolutely warning for developers, it was assumed that MySpace simply didn’t care about the problem – an opinion that was confirmed today. Incidentally, Robert Yeager at Cooqy just emailed me to say he has once again found a workaround to the issue, one that will only be broken if MySpace bans external widgets altogether – for some, it’s not all that hard to imagine.
However, the statement runs counter to MySpace’s recent move to sell tracks through MySpace Music: in that instance, they chose to partner with Snocap on their MySpace music player, rather than crushing the startup. The picture is not so clear with the new MySpace slideshows widget – some of my sources claim that it was developed by the folks at Slide, while others think it was created by MySpace itself.
There are literally thousands external tools plugging in to MySpace these days – among them BubbleSnaps’ picture generator, Finetune’s music player, Trakzor’s MySpace tracker, MyChingo’s audio comments tool, Snapvine’s voice comments widget, PollPub’s MySpace polls, EQO’s MySpace message boards and many more besides. All of these widgets work on other networks, but the truth is that MySpace accounts for the majority of their users. As mentioned hundreds of times on Mashable, the top sites for widget embeds include Xanga, Piczo, hi5, Blogger and Windows Live Spaces, but all of these sites added together couldn’t equal the market provided by the MySpace beast. Even so, it seems that the web’s future will be widgetized, whether MySpace play the game or not.
technorati tags: mobile, mobile alley, mobilemarketing, mobile marketing, marketing mobile, marketing, myspace, Peter Chernin, bulletin, myspace bulletin, myspace profile, myspace marketing, social networks, social networking, YouTube