Blog Post

HOW TO: Deal with a MySpace Ban

What happens when your site gets blocked by MySpace?

Well, according to Hitwise, your traffic takes a nosedive. Video-sharing site Vidilife and webcam host Stickam were blocked by MySpace last fall, and Revver right around the end of January. IMEEM was blocked at the end of February, and the latest casualty is Photobucket, with the effects too recent to measure. But check out what Hitwise (which, by the way, ranks MySpace number one in across all sites) shows for Vidilife, Stickam, and Revver’s traffic.

myspaceblock3.jpg

This MySpace blockage effect was less pronounced, though still evident, in stats from other firms we checked with, such as comScore.

Photobucket is the latest company to feel MySpace’s wrath. The startup, which does not embed advertising in its videos and slideshows, got dinged for a Spider-Man 3 promotion that users were adding to their profiles. MySpace said the slideshow was an advertisement and responded by blocking all videos to parts of MySpace. Users were less than pleased.

Photobucket, for its part, has mounted a public relations campaign via its blog and extensive news coverage, making use of the considerable stash of goodwill it’s accumulated. But what can it learn from the tactics of other companies who’ve been banned?

  1. Stickam users have taken matters into their own hands and are circumventing the MySpace filter. “[H]undreds of our users have found and implemented ‘workarounds’ and ways to currently embed Stickam players into their MySpace pages,” Scott Flacks, Stickam VP of marketing and operations and a former Fox Interactive Media employee, told us in an email.Verdict: Apparently this tactic has been fairly effective, as Hitwise reports that Stickam still receives 32 percent of its traffic from MySpace.
  2. Revver tried to offer the 20 percent cut of ad revenue it doles out to all syndicators to MySpace, according to Angela Wilson Gyetvan, Revver’s VP of marketing and content. MySpace didn’t even write back.Verdict: Revver is unwilling to budge on its creator-compensation concept and MySpace is unwilling to budge on third-party widget makers advertising on its space, so no resolution is in sight.
  3. One of the early investors in MySpace and an active litigator against the company, Brad Greenspan’s LiveUniverse operates Vidilife. As is his fashion, Greenspan decided to lobby the courts, bringing an antitrust case against Myspace. He’s also taken the case to the court of public opinion with the website CensorSpace.LiveUniverse’ counsel, Daryl Crone and Ryan Baker from the firm Baker Marquart Crone & Hawxhurst explain their case in the video below.Verdict: Unclear. According to case records available online, District Court Judge A. Howard Matz is currently considering a motion to dismiss filed by MySpace’ counsel.

Another alternative is to hope that friendly feelings and seemingly endless signups to MySpace fade away amidst all this control freakery. Just this evening, we got an emailed pitch from Friendster positioning its relative openness as compared to MySpace, an irony the much-maligned competitor is well aware of.

“A friendlier Friendster, widgets, new tools and all, has re-emerged in 2006 and 2007 as a global leader in online social networking. While MySpace is looking less and less like the free-to-be-me place it was circa 2005 and 2006.”

Co-written with Jackson West.

7 Responses to “HOW TO: Deal with a MySpace Ban”

  1. Blake Kadatz

    “If I built a house and strangers randomly invited people I didn’t know inside offering them my ammeneties then I’d be pissed too.”

    Ty, I think the more appropriate analogy here is that MySpace built an empty house, but its users filled the house with their own creative works. Now MySpace is pissed that someone’s artwork is showing an advertisement.

    Of course, it’s their house so they get to say what goes and what doesn’t. But when their entire business model depends on the contributions of users who have questionable loyalty, I wonder how much they can try and control it before the golden geese move elsewhere.

  2. “Revver is unwilling to budge on its creator-compensation concept”

    True – Revver’s model is one way to compensate a creator.

    “MySpace is unwilling to budge on third-party widget makers advertising on its space, so no resolution is in sight.”

    False – Myspace seems to not like revver’s model and hence baned them and photbucket’s similar use of that model.

    If I built a house and strangers randomly invited people I didn’t know inside offering them my ammeneties then I’d be pissed too.

    Isn’t that obvious?

    Pay Attention, because soon, everyone is going to get blipd!

  3. Hey Liz, Alex Black here from Revver. I just wanted to chime in on a few points you bring up in your post.

    MySpace has always been a negigible source of traffic for us. Myspace is only important to us in that we want to ensure that our creators can earn money for their creativity and our sharers can earn money for their promotion on any site out there, Myspace being one of them.

    Myspace began blocking new Revver embeds in late January, meaning there wouldn’t have been an immediate traffic drop from Myspace embeds until user profiles were updated – so that certainly wouldn’t explain the small fluctuation in traffic that the graph shows for January. While the graph may correlate to the argument, the actual causes for small fluctuations in traffic are many and varied. Myspace’s ban on Revver videos has done little to affect our traffic, and, by proving that creators cannot rely on third parties such as Myspace to always act in their interests, has had the opposite effect of validating the original business model that Revver has always pursued – empowering creators and sharers to monetize their content while controlling the look and feel of their own sites and brands.

    To this end we’ve developed the most robust and full-featured API in the industry, even using it to power our own site. Partners such as VH1’s Acceptable TV (http://acceptable.tv) show just how much you can do with the API. We’ve also developed an incredibly customizable JavaScript widget that enables creators and sharers to easily add rich – and monetized – video content to their sites – entire sites are sprouting up around this easy to implement solution. We’ve got a few other tricks up our sleeves that you’ll be hearing about in the coming weeks as well.

    The Myspace ban has proven one thing above all – that creators that are serious about their trade and about their brand cannot rely on third parties such as Myspace. Myspace has always argued that other companies have built their fortunes “on Myspace’s back” – that couldn’t be further from the truth. Myspace built its fortune on its user base – the age of those users giving companies like Myspace all their hard work is coming to an end. Users increasingly see the value of the content they are creating. It won’t be long before users migrate to their own blogs and sites where they have final say over what content is and isn’t allowed – and Revver is in the perfect position to empower those users.

  4. “A friendlier Friendster, widgets, new tools and all, has re-emerged in 2006 and 2007 as a global leader in online social networking. While MySpace is looking less and less like the free-to-be-me place it was circa 2005 and 2006.”

    Honestly Liz, what and where on Friendster can you use widgets? I’ve just been on a hunt and there is not a sign of a widget on the whole site as far as I can see – unless I’m missing something? Please ask Friendster what they mean by widgets and where we can use them. I’m not huge fan of MySpace, but as far as I can see it’s far far more open than Friendster. Unless they integrate Snipperoo …

  5. Myspace is totally chump for pulling this kind of crap. Friends shouldn’t let friends lock themselves into closed networks. If you are going to make money off of user generated content, then you shouldn’t censor what your users want to say, even if someone else makes money off it. Web 2.0 was a lot more fun before people started figuring out how to make money off of it.