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.

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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.