Rant of the week: MySpace

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MySpace is the second most popular social networking site (behind Facebook). It has over 100 million users, one of which is myself. The website is owned and operated by FOX Interactive. It employs over 300 staff. Despite this, I believe MySpace could be considered perhaps one of the worst websites ever. I’ve outlined my reasoning below.

1. Poorly designed navigation and layout
I’ve used the service since May 2008, and I’ve used Facebook since January in the same year. Instead of Facebook’s streamlined “home” interface, MySpace implements “Status Updates” “Friend Updates” “Bulletins” and “Top Friends”. Separating content into oversized boxes is poor design. Commenting on a friend’s profile takes you to yet another page. Blogging on MySpace could only be described as archaic, especially as support is limited to Internet Explorer, as is MySpace’s new photo uploader. Navigating to groups is difficult and time consuming. Allowing users to “decorate” their profiles with HTML and CSS, the meaning of which is unknown to the typical MySpace user, means slow to load and extremely cluttered pages.

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Note: Size and placement of advertisements have been altered in the above picture for formatting purposes

2. Intrusive advertising
MySpace’s central philosophy is something along the lines of “put irritating animated advertisements for scam sites in any space spare corner of the page”. Take for example the home page, which features eight individual advertising boxes (see above picture). Many advertisements link to IQ Tests, Love Calculators and other scams that eventually lead to ringtone subscriptions.

3. Limited interactivity
For a social networking website, MySpace has little interactivity between users. Simple features such as status commenting, events and address book are nowhere to be soon. Features that have been implemented to compete with Facebook (such as MySpace Intant Messenging) have been buried amidst thousand of confusing on-screen menus and options. 

4. Security, Spam and Safety
MySpace struggles to understand the concept of security. Numerous exploits continue to be found on the platform and are yet to be fixed. An incident recently allowed anyone to download private photos through the controversial torrent site, ThePirateBay. Not only does this endanger safety, but proves that the site can be hacked quickly and easily. Hundreds of spam profiles have been documented by Chris Boyd at the Spyware Guide Blog. Some have been found to link to pornographic material, others found to link simply to scam ringtone subscription services. Then again, I suppose that’s not much of a problem since MySpace are the ones linking to them in the first place.

MySpace will begin to find that it’s dated design, advertising, interactivity and security problems will result in many users flocking to its more popular rival, Facebook. By giving the website a complete overhaul, News Corp (owner of MySpace) will recover from this extensive loss. – r.

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