The more I read about MySpace, its success in getting users, and its problems, the more one word keeps coming to mind.
I know you’ve got to be pretty old in Internet years to remember the PointCast fiasco. It was an early "push" system. You would sign up for news stories and get them delivered to you (yes, as in an RSS reader). Trouble was, so many people were getting so many copies of the same story sent to them that they were grabbing all the bandwidth their employers possessed. Worse, PointCast could not find a way to monetize all this traffic, since they didn’t control the content.
MySpace is beginning to look like the same kind of fiasco. The fact is, Rupert Murdoch and his team failed to vette the business model, failed to vette the technology, and failed to vette the political risks.
UPDATE: Vox Populis over in England,
which is far more willing to call an emperor naked than any American
outfit, notes that one of Murdoch’s sons suggested he buy PointCast for
$450 million in 1997 — the company eventually fetched $7 million
before disappearing. Oh, and the main point of the story is that News
Corp. may not exist in 2015 because Murdoch’s kids are idiots. (Maybe
the tree doesn’t lie far from the apple.)
Now he’s getting accused of enabling cyber-stalking (CNN loves piling
on that one), he’s got stores and colleges banning it, and we now know
that the technology has all sorts of problems, that cause it to
mis-represent its own traffic statistics.
So far, Murdoch’s major media rivals have refrained from noting this is
a Fox shop. But how long are they going to pile on before pointing it
Not very. And that’s when Rupert is going to see just how burned he’s
gotten on the Internet, and just how much it is going to cost him to
get out of this.