when brands collide
Posted by Anthony Zumpano on October 27, 2009 07:26 PM
While it’s not Coke and Pespi sharing high-fructose corn syrup, a potential content-sharing plan between social-spacers Facebook and MySpace represents a major marriage of two brands that have caused many heated user rivalries.
This announcement comes a few days after MySpace chief Owen Van Atta, a former Facebook executive, stressed that his current employer, now refocusing on entertainment content rather than full-scale social networking, is “fundamentally different” than his former company. The partnership, still in its planning stages, theoretically would allow Facebook users to connect to and share content from their MySpace accounts, content that will likely increase thanks to recent updates to its music features.
It’s not exactly prophetic, but this news confirms what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told Time magazine in 2007 regarding his site’s future:
...there a lot of different applications that are going to be developed to allow people to share information in different ways. I would expect the user base will grow [and there will be] more ways for advertisers to reach people and communicate in a very natural way, just like users communicate with each other."
One has to agree with CNET’s Caroline McCarthy’s assessment that the deal isn’t the blockbuster it would have been a couple of years ago. MySpace has been in decline, even among teenagers, in the battle for “pure social networking, a game Facebook clearly has won,” she writes.
The social-media handshake will definitely boost the brands, as each gets to focus on what it does best, and users, many of whom have accounts on both sites anyway, won’t be as tempted to abandon one for the other. But as Facebook enjoys its leading position and MySpace eases into its “we’re not Facebook” role, both have to keep innovating in a fickle market, or they’ll risk becoming Internet artifacts like Friendster or fossils like GeoCities.