the death of myspace

As some of my faithful readers may note I have not been very active here on myspace in recent months. I feel that I should give a bit of explanation, as there are specific reasons. (No its not just laziness!)

About 6 months ago I started using analytics software to track the traffic on my myspace page. This allows me to see what countries are giving my page traffic (useful as I often perform and screen in various out of the way countries). After installing the bit of code I noticed that though my “profile views” number on my myspace homepage (the page I see when logged in) was going up a certain amount each day the tracking software was tracking a lower number.

Perplexed I ran several tests, and with the help of a few friends determined that my tracking code was functioning properly. Why then the exaggerated numbers that myspace was reporting? So I wrote to myspace and got nothing back from them. I wrote again, asking for an explanation of how they track hits to a page and still got nothing.

Since that time I have made some inquiries among programmers formerly employed by myspace and found that myspace deliberately falsifies its viewers page hits in order to make people feel that they are getting traffic they are not. Why would they do this? To keep you interested and coming back to there site full of advertising.

Around the same time of this discovery myspace started a whole set of new ways to make the experience more difficult and unpleasant. Constantly asking for CAPTCHA information (making you type the hard to read text in the picture), front-page flash ads that cover the login panel WHILE you are trying to type in your username and password sound in ads that can not be turned off, etc. Then, as I am sure they started loosing customer logins drastically, they started the whole Myspace 2.0 – i.e., lets pretend we look and act like Facebook.

The “friends you may know” panel now only shows you profiles they are being paid to present to you. Maybe it should be called “friends we want you to know”? The music player on band sites routinely only plays a portion of a song that used to play in full.

So basically I have had enough. I appreciate myspace for what it is, a complex and free networking tool that allows bands and others to promote themselves and to a certain degree act as a social utility. But the experience lacks more and more everyday. I will keep this site up, and will even update it from time to time, but I no longer regularly check this page nor do I use it to communicate with anyone.

I have in fact been using Facebook more often, though it doesn?t not function as a promotional tool, it has actually put me in touch with people I had lost touch with over the years. It is by no means perfect but it serves a purpose.

To end this note I want to propose an idea. What about a social utility that functions they way Wikipedia does? Giving you a basic markup language and the ability to discuss and cross promote ideas but backed not by a huge multinational media corporation but by a not for profit agency? I think if someone out there developed this it would be hugely popular.

Someday I plan to find a programmer to make me a better and more functional personal website. In the meantime I am out there in the ether, just not here as often as many would like.

Raymond Salvatore Harmon